|Laurel Dunay Israeli Flag at Masada Source|
I've very consciously never posted a lengthy blog saying
that I support Israel. There are several reasons.
1.) I like to say things that might get heard, and I
don't think saying "I support Israel" would be heard.
Some would say, "You are saying this only to deflect
condemnation for your inborn Polish, Catholic anti-Semitism."
Some would say "If a Polish Catholic like you is
saying something positive about Israel, it's because you have been sold out to
the all-powerful Jews."
Some would say, "We always knew you were secretly
I have received email saying some variation of all of
2.) I don't really feel like it's my job to say "I
support Israel." Israel does have a powerful lobby, and nothing I do or
say is going to contribute in any significant way.
3.) Support for Israel strikes me as such an overtly
obvious position, stating it publicly feels, to me, like saying "Yes I
believe that there is such a thing as gravity."
Yesterday I went shopping at my local grocery store. I
had a choice between five pounds of carrots from California or five pounds of
carrots from Israel. Both were offered at the same price. Though I usually
strive to buy produce locally, and to buy American, I chose the Israeli
carrots, as I have been doing since I first noticed them in the market.
I mentioned this on Facebook. A Facebook friend
responded, "How utterly obnoxious." Her words shocked and hurt me,
and made me realize that in spite of all my reservations, I would blog my
support for Israel, as anonymous, ineffectual, and insignificant as it is.
Below will be my random, idiosyncratic, and incomplete
thoughts about why I support Israel, and why I assess boycotts of Israel as
The selective outrage exhibited by those who target
Israel for condemnation strikes me as so outrageous that it is utterly unworthy
of anything but intellectual and ethical contempt.
North Korea, a nation that is one big concentration camp.
The nightmare fate of 170,000 Untouchables in India. The treatment of Native
people in Latin America. Gender apartheid throughout the Muslim world. The
selective destruction of female fetuses in Hindu, Muslim and Confucian Asian,
and among their populations abroad, creating what Nobel Prize winner Amartya
Sen called a hundred million missing women and girls. The government of Burma,
that allowed hundreds of thousands of its own citizens to die in the wake of
Cyclone Nargis, and refused to allow aid to enter the country. The open market
in little girls in Cambodia. Darfur. Boko Haram. I could go on.
In the face of all that human misery, anti-Israel
activists focus on a country slightly larger than New Jersey, my own state, a
country you can drive across in the daylight hours of one day, leaving generous
time for three meals and bathroom breaks.
The obvious ethical and intellectual question here is,
The obvious response is "Give me a break."
The obvious suggestion is "What are you on?"
My second idiosyncratic and undisciplined response to
criticism of Israel. I've actually been to Israel, and I have lived among
Muslim Arabs from the Middle East – aka "Palestinians" – my entire
If Israel really were the simulacrum of Auschwitz that
its critics insist it is, yes, it would be appropriate to focus outrage on
Here's the thing. I've been to Auschwitz. I've studied
Auschwitz. I've published a prize winning scholarly book that cites Auschwitz.
Israel is no Auschwitz.
I know Muslim Arabs from Israel, Jordan, Syria and Egypt.
I've spent time with them in New Jersey, California, and in Israel. I've been
in their homes. I've shared their secrets. I've gone over their photograph
albums. I've met grandmothers and new born babes. I've met pillars of the
community with white collar jobs and young men who say that they were
imprisoned in Israel for terrorist activities. I've spent time with members of
the same family over the course of generations.
Muslim Arabs are not Auschwitz inmates. Auschwitz is not
part of their life experience. They are, for the most part, healthy, well-fed,
well-adjusted college students, college professors, pharmacists, jewelers,
furniture salesmen, dentists, and slackers.
I've been to Israel. I've spent time in Jewish areas,
Arab Muslim areas, and mixed areas. It's not Nazi Germany. Again, stating this
I feel like I'm saying "Yes, gravity is real."
Next time someone tells you that Israel is just like Nazi
Germany and Arabs live under conditions comparable to Auschwitz in Israel,
please ask for evidence. And show it to the whole world.
There is no evidence because this claim is just not true.
Some say that terrorism is proof that Israel is
comparable to Nazi Germany. Conditions for Arab Muslims are so bad, these folks
insist, that Arabs were forced, forced, forced I tell you, to become
To blow up school buses full of children, as happened
near Be'er Ora. To throw a crippled man in a wheelchair into the Mediterranean
Sea, has happened to Leon Klinghoffer. To murder Olympic athletes, as happened
in Munich. To stab to death a three month old baby girl, Hadas Fogel. To train
their children to become suicide bombers. To indoctrinate their children, using
official school curricula, into hating Jews as subhuman apes and pigs.
Yes. All of these atrocities, committed by Muslim Arabs,
with the financial support and religious blessing of the Muslim world, are
proof … that Jews are horrible people. Because Jews are responsible. Jews
forced Muslim Arabs to do these bad things.
How did Jews force Muslim Arabs to do these bad things?
Jews "stole" "Arab land."
One. I'm Polish. Just about every single Polish person I
know is the period at the end of a sentence that includes the words
"dispossession," "concentration camp," "slave
labor," "exile," "displaced persons camp," "redrawn
map," and "genocide."
Talk to any Polish person with any consciousness of his
or her history and you will discover that that person standing in front of you
who seems so American was born in a displaced persons camp, or had parents who
were inmates in a concentration camp, or had grandparents who were sent to
Siberia, or was the product of a vast immigration driven by starvation and
injustice, an immigration that included labor under conditions that compare
unfavorably to the conditions antebellum slaves endured.
If they are just a tad more conscious they will be able
to tell you about great grandparents who fought the Russians in 1863 or the
Russians in 1920 or the Ukrainians and the Germans in the interwar period.
We had a country, and it was stolen from us, countless
times. Our border was redrawn. Areas that had been Polish for hundreds of years
are now Ukrainian or Lithuanian.
Germans were similarly dispossessed after WW II. There
were mass movements of impoverished, war-battered people who lost everything
they owned and faced rape and starvation, barbed wire and homelessness. That's
*normal* for us. It has been for hundreds of years.
My fellow Polish American writer John Guzlowski was born
in a DP camp. His father was in Buchenwald. His mother was a slave laborer.
Germans, Ukrainians and Russians tore his family's worlds apart. My fellow
blogger Otto Gross's German grandparents were exiled to Siberia. Lithuanian
American writer Daiva Markelis' family members were also in Siberia.
I could go on and on and on and on.
None of us use our family's nightmares as an excuse to
Rather, terrorism has been an approved method of Jihad
for 1400 years. It didn't start with the recognition of the state of Israel. Mohammed
himself declared, "I have been made victorious through terror."
And … about that insistence that Israel is a modern
invention of European Jews colonizing the Middle East. Jews have lived in the
land of Israel continuously for four thousand years. Yes, the political entity
Israel has come and gone and come and gone again. But the people have been
there. Genetic research has shown this multiple times – check out Y chromosomal
Yes, many Israelis descend from European Jews, but many
Israelis descend from Middle Eastern Jews who were kicked out of countries like
Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, etc. My student Gidon was born in Iraq
and spoke Arabic as a first language. Iraq was an inhospitable place for Jews
and he and his family moved to Israel.
Anti-Israel activists focus on the creation of Israel
while ignoring the creation of Pakistan. Why?
Pakistan is a completely artificial creation. There was
nothing comparable to Pakistan before it was invented in the 1940s. The
Pakistan that was invented then no longer exists; "East Pakistan,"
after suffering from atrocities so massive they are sometimes assessed as a
genocide, atrocities inflicted by their Muslim brothers in "West
Pakistan," is now Bangladesh.
Pakistan was invented so that sub-continental Muslims
could have their own country. The invention of Pakistan resulted in the
displacement of 14.5 million people. Fourteen point five million people.
Fourteen point five million people! Hundreds of thousands, or perhaps a million
– no one knows for sure – died.
Why do the anti-Israel critics not SEE their own
hypocrisy on this? If you want to protest a completely artificial nation whose
creation displaced millions of impoverished peasants, and resulted in the
deaths of uncounted multitudes, why do you give Pakistan a free pass? Why? This
is not a rhetorical question.
Further, Pakistan is widely cited as one of the worst
countries on earth to live in. It is a source of terrorism. It is cited as the
most likely cause of the next world war. It has no concept of human rights.
Tell me again why Pakistan gets a free pass?
I'm veering off into a rant, which I knew I would if I
tried to insist that gravity exists, and that criticism of Israel defies
intellectual and ethical standards.
Some say that anti-Semitism in the Muslim world is all
because of Israel. Facts are not on their side. Anti-Semitism has existed in
Islam from the first. In the Koran, Allah turns Jews into apes and pigs. The
Koran tells Muslims not to befriend Christians and Jews. Jews are among the
"worst enemies" of the Muslims, the Koran says. Muslims must pray
five times a day not to become like Jews "who have incurred your wrath."
A hadith, or saying of Mohammed, says that the end of the world will not arrive
until stones say to Muslims, "There is a Jew hiding behind me; kill
him." "Whenever a Jew is killed, it is for the benefit of Islam,"
wrote Sufi jurist Sirhindi (d. 1621)
Yes, Christianity has a long history of anti-Semitism.
Yes, Christian texts have been used as supports for anti-Semitism. The most
notorious example is Matthew 27:25. There has also been a healthy resistance to
anti-Semitism in Christianity, a resistance that goes back centuries and was led
by the Vatican. One such example can be found here;
there are many more.
The point is that Christianity offers a serious
resistance to religiously-inspired anti-Semitism and such resistance would
benefit Islam and Muslims. The destruction of the state of Israel would benefit
neither Islam nor Muslims.
Israel is not responsible for either terrorism or
anti-Semitism, and terrorism and anti-Semitism are neither natural nor
inevitable. Terrorism and anti-Semitism are worldwide problems for Islam, they
always have been, and categorical rejection of both should and must come from
Muslims themselves and the world will be a better place for Muslims and
non-Muslims when that happens.
There's more to be said, much more. As I promised, this
post is random, incomplete, and idiosyncratic.
I, too, support Israel. I believe that Jews have a right to their own homeland just as much as Poles have a right to their own homeland.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your very informative letter. I have taken the liberty to send it to Rabbi Aliza Weiss who heads a group of Jews that have helped lobby the Presbyterrian Church into an antt-Israel position. They have selected Israel as a world wide pariah that muct be boycotted in order to force them intoReplyDelete
what they consider "to be the correct and humane position." They seem obsesseds with what "they consider to be Israel's inhumane behavior."
In their enthusiasm to help Protestants take an anti-Jewish positon; ignore many of the issues of the world which you so eloquently call to our attention. Thanks for getting the record straight for so many who either ignore it or are to stupid to acknowledge it in their eageness to assert their self-hatred as Jews or their Anti-Semitism
Hi, Hank. Thank you so much for letting me know that you were able to make use of my blog post expressing my support for Israel. Good luck!ReplyDelete
its so sad when an educated person holds such views....why does a jew living in america have more rights in isreal than a native palestinian whose family has lived there for many years.....just because its not nazi germany,doesnt mean its right....its more like apatheid south africa...and the whole world boycotted it!...i bet you didnt go to gaza where people are penned into such a small area like animals..and...were bombed by phospherus bombs....did you go to one of the many check points and wait hours to pass only to be humiliated and told that no one is going through that day....one set of laws for arabs and one set of laws for jews....daily expropriation of land for the express purpose of ethnic cleansing....and you support that?....chew on all that while you gorge yourself on carrots compliments of the misery of millions on palestinians.....stick to the polish stuff....you are better at it!Delete
Poles should be completely indifferent until it is shown what's better for Poles - until then this is not our fight.ReplyDelete
Danusha,some Christians in church history have been anti-Jewish, most notoriously some Syriac Christian writers like Isaac of Antioch(who lived in the 5th century AD). Most have not been, for example Ephrem the Syrian. See the book Ephrem, a 'Jewish' Sage.ReplyDelete