The phenomenon of Israel-hatred among Jewish Israeli academics and journalists has gone far beyond what can be explained by the distribution of Jewish Israelis across the political spectrum. Here in the US, it seems to me that Jewish attitudes toward Israel are more or less the same as those of the general population, with a few exceptions in either direction like the anti-Zionist Hasidic sects and the pro-Zionists of the Young Israel movement. For most other American Jews, their position depends on their overall political orientation, with the Left tending to be anti-Zionist and the right pro-Zionist. Only a small number hold extreme positions, and even fewer seem to be activists.
This makes me unhappy — I think there should be a natural tendency for Jews to be Zionists — but it is far from the pathological death wish found among Israeli academics and media elite:
Dr. Anat Matar of [the Tel Aviv University] Philosophy Department will be speaking on February 17 at London University’s School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) – a campus renowned for anti-Israel activity. [link added by editor]
Matar’s talk is to be titled “Supporting the Boycott on Israel: A View from Within.”
She is taking part in a series of events over the coming weeks organized by the Palestinian societies at five University of London campuses – University College London, SOAS, Imperial College, Kings College and Goldsmiths – as well as at the University of Westminster.
In an article in Haaretz in August, Matar accused her own university of being complicit with the “occupation” and questioned Israel’s stance on Palestinian academic freedom and basic education…
The series of events is titled, “Gaza: Our Guernica,” in reference to the bombing of a Basque town during the Spanish Civil War. The 1937 attack caused widespread destruction and civilian deaths, with 1,650 reportedly killed…
The series of events opened last Thursday with a candlelight vigil at University College London, recently in the headlines after it was discovered that failed Detroit airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a former president of the Islamic Society there.
Two other Israelis are taking part in the series. On Monday, journalist Daphna Baram spoke at SOAS in a talk titled, “Besieged in Self-Righteousness: Israeli public discourse after the last invasion of Gaza.”
Next Wednesday, Israeli academic Avi Shlaim, professor of International Relations at Oxford University, will speak about “Gaza: Past and Present” at Goldsmiths. — Jerusalem Post
This is in addition to Prof. Neve Gordon of Ben Gurion University who recently called for an international boycott of Israel like that of apartheid South Africa, to “save Israel from herself.” In addition, we can’t ignore Ha’aretz pundits Akiva Eldar, Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, etc. And then there are the Jewish workers in Israeli NGOs such as the European-funded B’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights — Israel whose activities directly support the campaign to delegitimize the state.
Everyone agrees that free speech has limits. During time of war — and Israel has been at war since its founding — the limits are even narrower. And these Jewish Israelis, especially since they speak to foreign audiences, clearly cross the line. Dr. David Hirsh, who is British and no right-winger, said this:
Israeli anti-Zionists boast that their country carries out the most important and horrific genocides in the world… The delusions of grandeur of Israeli anti-Zionists are as puerile as those of the most naive and proud nationalists. But it is dangerous to tell Europeans that the Israelis are a unique evil on the planet, because this lie finds a resonance in the collective memory and it feels plausible to some contemporary Europeans.
Regarding the obscene comparison of Israel’s action to the Nazi bombing of Guernica, Hirsh added some historical dimension:
In April 1937, on a market day, the Nazis attacked Guernica from the air, first with bombs and then with incendiaries. Fighter planes followed the bombers to machine-gun survivors. It was the first time anybody had launched an attack from the air to kill a civilian population. A third of the population was killed or seriously injured in an afternoon.
This, of course, is how the Gaza operation is portrayed by Hamas and its sympathizers, but the reality — an operation in which unprecedented care was taken to reduce civilian casualties and damage — was exactly the opposite. This reality has by now been almost entirely obliterated in the public mind by a massive disinformation campaign, of which the notorious Goldstone report is emblematic.
Nothing is more effective in this campaign than its support by Israeli Jews. And since the object of it is to pave the way to the destruction of the state, these Israelis are in effect guilty of treason.
Of course I don’t expect them to get their just deserts, but it is unacceptable that there are no negative consequences for them at all.