These notes reproduce themselves. Correspondents send me items I haven't seen, and provide material for another session on the keyboard.
Monday morning there were several items in my inbox that led to this item in my outbox.
Nothing provided anything new about issues that have been developing for some time, but the concentration of items provided further indications that the world can be a strange place, where up is down, black is white.
One dealt with conditions on the better campuses of the US, where anti-Israel movements that come along with anti-Semitism receive better protection from university authorities that efforts of Jewish students to defend themselves. The item appeared in Arutz 7, the settlers' media. No surprise that it was more shrill than other reports of the same phenomenon, but it does appear reliable.
Another came from two separate sources, and reminds us of the bizarre nature of several of the organs associated with the United Nations. The report originated with one of the Jewish organizations that sees news of madness as the best way of combating it. There is a substantial industry of International Jewish and Israeli organizations dedicated to countering political animosity. There may be no easy victories in this war by resolution countered by exposure of the absurd. So far, however, we are not losing where it counts.
"The UN Commission on the Status of Women concluded its 60th annual session in New York by condemning only Israel – and no other nation in the world – as an abuser of women’s rights. . .. (What the Commission did not condemn were) Palestinian women . . . murdered and subjugated for the sake of male honor, Saudi women (who) can’t drive, Iranian women . . . stoned to death for so-called ‘adultery,’ Egyptian women (who) have their genitals mutilated and Sudanese women give (who) birth in prison with their legs shackled (on account of) . . . being Christian,”
Also in my mail during the most recent 24 hours was an announcement of a conference organized by an institute associated with Bar Ilan University. Among the topics would be
Current ThreatsInternational Constraints and OpportunitiesIntelligence ChallengesRetaining Conventional Superiority While Countering Unconventional ThreatsIsraeli ResilienceOn Conscientious Objectors, Rabbis, and Unnecessary PanicOrder of BattleOperational ConceptsChanges Needed in the IDFAmerican Influence on the IDF
Another item, also received Monday morning, reported on a speech given by the prominent French intellectual, Bernard-Henri Lévy. While receiving yet another award from an international Jewish organization, Levy described three prominent themes in the current popularity of anti-Semitism.
- Demonetization and delegitimazation of Israel
- Denial of the Holocaust
- Assertions that Jews are preoccupied with their own suffering and are blind to the suffering of others
Historians argue whether Christians or Muslims were more prone to blame Jews for their own problems. It's generally thought that Christians were more hostile prior to modern times, but Jews from Muslim countries also have stories of family suffering. A late friend who was a neighbor in French Hill told of growing up in Mashhad, Iran, where his family was one of those in the 19th century that chose Islam rather than death, but lived secretly as Jews and married only other secret Jews until freed from the masquerade by a governmental reform in the 1920s.[email protected]
While the Holocaust may have brought about a renunciation of anti-Semitism by Christian Churches , the independence of Israel and its defense against Arab animosity produced the ascendance of anti-Semitism among Muslims. And even more recent is the signing on to the Palestinian narrative by some of the more upscale Protestant Churches.
It may be in bad taste to claim that Israelis and other Jews are crying all the way to the bank. However, the reality is that this country, and Jews generally, are living better than those who cannot tolerate us.
Jealousy was always part of the enmity. Jews as a group may not have been more well to do than their neighbors throughout history, but there were often Jews who were prominent, and targets of enmity, due to their wealth and their closeness as financiers, advisers, physicians, or lawyers to powerful non-Jews.
It's not hard to find articles via Google about Jews' successes in life expectancy, economic, cultural, and academic achievements.
The International Monetary Fund ranks Israel as the 22nd most wealthiest country according to its GDP per capita. Currently it ranks on that measure higher than Japan and several countries of Western Europe.
Rankings of universities generally show the Hebrew University, Technion, Weizmann Institute, and Tel Aviv University among the leading universities of the world. They may not rival the most prestigious American or British universities. According to one prominent ranking, however, the Hebrew University scores ahead of several prominent European universities, and two Ivy League institutions where tuition is 15 times higher what it is here.
Modesty has never been among our faults. The creation stories of numerous tribes put themselves at the center of history, but it's our claims of being God's Chosen that has gotten the most publicity. It's also one of the items that provokes ridicule and worse. But here we are, many of us looking at the Bible's view of history with more than a grain of salt, and doing what we can to keep the rabble at bay. It adds to the irony and our cynicism that the rabble includes professional colleagues in distinguished universities, with some of them being Jews.
Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)Department of Political ScienceHebrew University of Jerusalem