It is difficult to determine what is most offensive, The Jewish candidate for President condemning Israel's actions, exaggerating by a multiple of five the deaths in Gaza during the military operation in 2014 without anything like an appropriate weighing of chronic attacks on Israel from Gaza; his emissary to Jews describing Gazans' deaths as "murder;" or UNESCO's resolution condemning Israel's violation of Muslim holy places, without any consideration of their central place in Jewish history.
We shouldn't forget the even greater offense to good sense among the Muslims, busy killing one another--as well as others unfortunate to be in their way--justifying themselves with the ancient accusation of heresy.
Christians are no longer burning the unfaithful, and Jews only condemn one another. However, there are enough of both ganging up on Israel for defending itself to be grouped with mad Muslims and to support the conclusion that people who ought to be patients have taken over the asylums.
The madness of Muslim warriors must be resisted with force. We'll leave aside the fussing among Russian, American, and Western European interests as to who should do what, where. Their squabble could become serious, but it isn't, yet.
Intra-Muslim madness is at one of its historic heights, marking them as a religious community stuck in the dark past, with fanaticism coupled with a primitive mode of politics, widespread poverty, and limited education,
The political madness of Jews ganging up against Israel, is so off the scale of credibility as to provoke images of an unfortunate dressed in rags, pushing a shopping cart overflowing with belongings, and raving at invisible adversaries.
The best we can think about Sanders et al is Jewish guilt at success and excessive pity for the underdog. More likely, it reflects the egos of a politician and his wannabees feeling that they can climb on a hot issue, and damn the damage they'll cause Israeli Jews.
UNESCO's action may reflect the weight of the poor and miserable in the United Nations, a view that the US is too big to attack, but its feisty little Jewish client is a convenient target.
Perhaps we should concede the existence of madness and continue our life, as much as possible, among the sane.
There are competing reports about which countries voted for or against the UNESCO resolution, and which chose the safer ground of abstention. The confusion may reflect the contrast between the bombast of yet another UN anti-Israel resolution, and its insignificance. It isn't all that important who voted on what side.
Somewhat encouraging was the action of several Arab countries to remove from the draft resolution language indicating that the Western Wall is a Muslim site stolen by the Jews.
On its surface, this suggests that politicking in the United Nations is in the league with the conventional nonsense of student politics, i.e., exciting resolutions producing nothing but noise. Between the lines, however, one can see indications of the muted approach to Israel apparent in other matters among Arab countries. On the matter of the Western Wall, the US, Russia, and the UNESCO director-general worked along with representatives of Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.
What we're left with is several cheap shots at the Jews of Israel, with some of our American cousins joining the mob. We shouldn't worry that this will derail the tangible accomplishments of Israel since 1948, or to provide for the Palestinians what they have demonstrated time and again they are unable to acquire for themselves.
Israel can claim to be the most successful of the hundred or so countries to emerge from World War II and the economic/political collapse of European colonial powers. It's not the richest of the new countries. But the few richer ones are even tinier than Israel, and more like cities than real countries. Singapore and a couple of the tiny Emirates have higher GDP/c, but Israel does the best when the criteria of working democracy and real country are added to economic success.
Forty years ago Africa was the darling of Western countries with open wallets and lots of scholarships for who were expected to become the new elites. Now more than four dozen countries are marked by poverty, disease, internal violence, and governmental corruption. Many can be counted on to vote against Israel, whatever the issue.
I worked in Kenya for six months in the early 1970s, and traveled freely throughout most of East Africa. What had been a good road from Nairobi to the coast has crumbled, and the country has been put on the list of places to avoid by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Latin American countries gained independence a century or more earlier. Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile have a mixed record of ups and downs, promise and disappointment on both economic and political criteria, Most of the others haven't gotten that far. Like African countries, Latin Americans usually vote with Arabs against Israel.
An Argentinian friend tells me that his country's definition of stupidity is someone who keeps his money there.
I've enjoyed fine dinners in well appointed homes of several Latin American cities, but passed through walls topped with broken glass, with armed guards at the gate, and hovels of the poor leaning against the outside walls.
Years ago it was Argentinian and Chilean Jews flowing to Israel to avoid problems at home. Then the Russians, Ukrainians, and other Jews from the former Soviet Union. Now we hear French on the sidewalks.
Israelis can worry about animosity and occasional attacks, while scoring high on surveys of national contentment. We remind overseas Jews that there is a Zionist solution for the threats they feel.. This country has struggled against enmity, preserved a high level of political and governmental quality, and has restrained itself from using anything close to its military capacity against those who attack it.
Condemnation ain't fair, and the actions of anti-Israel Jews is more bizarre than threatening. But when have Jews been judged fairly? And when have we been free of those who turned against us?
Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem