It's the nature of bad little seeds that if allowed to take root they'll grow into big bad weeds of the sort that pervade and invade whole stretches of land, despoil crops and poison livestock. It's hard to be rid of them. Like perennial pests, they re-emerge, overrun, nettle and blight.
In September 2003 Avraham "Avrum" Burg sowed a noxious seed in the form of an op-ed that was avidly lapped up around the world. It germinated into compulsory reading for fanatical Israel-bashers everywhere. The Knesset's ex-speaker and former Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization chairman depicted the Zionist state as propped "on a scaffolding of corruption and on a foundation of oppression and injustice."
At its helm is "an amoral clique of corrupt bureaucrats, deaf to both their citizens and their enemies." Burg even understood why suicide-bombers "spill their blood in our restaurants - because they have parents and children at home who are angry and humiliated."
There was much more, but its gist was that we cause our own misfortune and have only our loathsome selves to blame for our comeuppance.
Although only 48 at the time, Burg seethed with all the pent-up resentments and antipathies of an exceedingly bitter old man. He rose high too fast, mainly by virtue of being the son of the NRP's legendary Dr. Yosef Burg, for years allied to Menachem Begin.
Perhaps motivated by a slew of Freudian Oedipal complexes, Avrum went out of his way to spite everything to which his father was committed. He became a prize acquisition for Peace Now and the Labor Party, where he was gleefully catapulted to prominence - thereby thumbing radical noses at the National Camp's face. His acerbic tongue and bull-in-a-china-shop aggressiveness served the Left expediently.
But in 2001 he overreached and failed to win Labor's leadership. Never gracious even in victory, Burg was the sorest conceivable loser. His self-indulgent vengefulness bore sour grapes and invective aplenty (most memorably when he wished that Ehud Barak would "choke").
NOT EVERYONE can handle thwarted ambition, but none can disguise hostility and frustration less than Burg. A clue to his driven personality was perhaps already evident on Avrum's first day in school. According to his own recollections, he was tall for a six-year-old, and hence assigned to a seat at the back of the classroom. He kept moving to the first row. The teacher explained that smaller pupils couldn't see the blackboard with him in front, but he didn't care. Though sent repeatedly to the rear, he continuously advanced forward with tenacious insistence.
Though in 2004 he departed politics in a huff, announcing rancorously that he was off to make money, he still regularly reappears on our front pages. Last year, Burg barely escaped a felony indictment for shady business practices. More recently he lost his lawsuit against the Jewish Agency because it wouldn't foot the bill for his fancy jeep and driver. Burg, while often rolling his eyes sanctimoniously heavenward on behalf of assorted politically correct social causes, felt no compunction in claiming the Agency owed him a vehicle and chauffeur for the rest of his life.
THEN IT transpired that he had acquired French citizenship (via his French-born wife) and rushed to vote against Nicolas Sarkozy, whom he pronounced "a great danger" - an aspersion the new French patriot and erstwhile Zionist headliner liberally casts upon anyone he viscerally dislikes.
His new book, Defeating Hitler, is a tour de force of detestation. If the op-ed of four years ago was the seed, this is the malicious outcropping of the wild inimical growth. These are the nefarious weeds Labor shamefully allowed to sprout and flourish on its fertile field. Burg's ramblings indeed may be the logical conclusion of post-Zionist peace prattle and creeping leftist delegitimization of Jewish nationalism.
Yesteryear, Burg would have been disowned as at least a lunatic. The grave danger is that today he gives voice and lends insidious quasi-respectability to what was heretofore unutterable. By tomorrow, the uncontrollable infestation he spreads might confer outright legitimacy on Israel's delegitimization.
In an interview with Haaretz last week, Burg declared his opposition to Israel as a Jewish state, because "a Jewish state is explosive." Personally he admits to no longer regarding himself a Zionist. Actually, however, he comes off as an obsessive anti-Zionist. Israel reminds him of "incipient National-Socialism in Germany." Translation: We're Nazis-in-the-making. Nonetheless, Burg furiously fulminates against Eichmann's execution.
He advocates abrogation of the Law of Return and recommends Israelis obtain foreign passports, as he has. Significantly, his initial title for the book was Hitler Won. His thesis is that Hitler rendered the Jews mentally impaired and severely paranoid. "Is every enemy Auschwitz? Is Hamas the fuehrer?" Burg asks.
OURS ARE all fears implanted by right-wing panic-mongering, he contends. In other words, we mustn't listen to what's shouted hysterically from every Islamofascist corner. We mustn't believe avowed Arab intentions to eradicate us. We must comport ourselves more like pre-WWII Germanized cosmopolitan Jews, who superciliously belittled Mein Kampf and urbanely pooh-poohed what Der Sturmer's demonizations of them portended. To meet Burg's rigorous standards for civility, we similarly mustn't focus on the Arab world's Sturmer-clone calumnies - including venom spouted from Cairo and Amman, ostensible peace treaties notwithstanding.
Francophile citizen-of-the-world Burg advises we discount threats of another Final Solution and instead appease wannabe genocide-perpetrators, shrink to what ultra-dove Abba Eban dubbed the "Auschwitz borders" and cede even Jewish sovereignty.
And what then? Burg probably won't stick around to risk the ensuing slaughter. The new Wandering Jew will pack his sinister seeds and propagate his wicked wandering weeds from afar.