I very rarely call out specific individuals as anti-Semites, but David Harris-Gershon of Tikkun magazine is one. This is a terrific shame because I have no reason to doubt that his employer, Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun, is an honorable man despite whatever disagreements that we may have concerning the nature of the Jewish State of Israel.
In my recent piece entitled, Rabbi Michael Lerner Promotes an Anti-Semite, I argued that because Harris-Gershon calls Israel “apartheid” and because he promotes the classically anti-Semitic notion that the Jews control a foreign sovereign government, that he is, in fact, an anti-Semite.
Harris-Gershon was kind enough to respond to these unpleasant charges in the pages of the Times of Israel where the piece was originally published.
Harris-Gershon wrote this:
Ah yes, the evil David Harris-Gershon. That wretched man whose wife was injured in the Hebrew University bombing and had the nerve – the nerve! – to visit the family of the Palestinian bomber in East Jerusalem as a way to overcome the trauma and understand the context from which such suffering could have sprung. (Shameless self-promotion of my book: http://www.davidharrisgershon.com/).
The evil David Harris-Gershon, that horrible person who believes that the greatest moral failing of my generation, as well as the one thing that will kill Israel as a Jewish state, is the continued occupation of the West Bank.
That horrible man who notes that most rational observers, including the moderate Jeffrey Goldberg, admit “apartheid” is technically the correct term to describe the modern-day, military-tiered justice system in the West Bank.
And that horrible person who wrote about a TIME Magazine piece titled, “Just Who Do They Represent: At Hagel Hearing, Concern for Israel Tops U.S. Troops in Combat” by Brandon Friedman.
Just who does this man think he is? Seriously! Who does he think he is to rationally critique Israel, and comment upon the rational critiques of others like Goldberg and Friedman?
*Grin*…have fun everyone. And admire me for stepping into this din of right-wing love. I can almost feel your warmth.
Notice how nowhere in Harris-Gershon’s response does he actually address the charge. Nothing that the man has written above is the least bit pertinent to the fact that calling Israel “apartheid” is done only by those who wish to see Israel disappear as the protective homeland of the Jewish people. Nothing that the man has written above is the least bit pertinent to the fact that suggesting that the “pro-Israel lobby,” whatever that means exactly, controls the U.S. Congress is anti-Semitic in precisely the manner in which the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is anti-Semitic.
Harris-Gershon decries the so-called “occupation” of the “West Bank” in order to appeal to people’s emotions. It just sounds so horrible, doesn’t it? “Occupation” is an unpleasant word that raises blood-pressure in well-meaning progressives. The truth of the matter is that Israel is under occupation, but it is under the occupation of the greater Arab world who absolutely refuse to allow the Jews to live in peace.
That’s the real occupation.
The Jews of the Middle East have been under occupation since Muhammed’s armies stormed out of the Saudi Peninsula in the 7th century and subjected Jews and Christians to the form of slavery that they call dhimmitude, but you would never learn this from reading anything that Harris-Gershon writes.
When enemies of Israel refer to “occupation” what they are referring to are the various methods, including check-points and the security fence, by which the Jews of the Middle East protect themselves from a much larger and hostile majority population in the region. Speaking strictly for myself, I would love to see the check-points in Judea and Samaria dismantled and the security fence removed, but I also understand that Israel will not do so as long as the PA continues to teach their children genocidal hatred toward Jews.
Harris-Gershon suggests that other people, such as the American writer and correspondent, Jeffrey Goldberg, have used the term “apartheid” to describe what he calls the “military-tiered justice system in the West Bank.” Indeed. All sorts of people use the term “apartheid” to smear Israel, but that does not make it right. In fact, it is precisely because some people use that term to defame Israel, in preparation for its eventual destruction, that it must be countered as the lie that it is. The apartheid regime in South Africa was a matter of a small minority of Europeans controlling and oppressing a larger native population for reasons having to do with racial prejudice. What we have in Judea and Samaria is an indigenous Jewish population who are met with the Koranically-based racist contempt of the Arab migrants and who therefore take measures to protect themselves.
It’s the difference between night and day.
Finally, Harris-Gershon suggests that those of us who care about the well-being of the Jewish state of Israel, and thus oppose anti-Semitic anti-Zionists such as himself, are “right-wing.” It could hardly be more clear that Harris-Gershon uses the term as an ad hominem slur meant to encourage readers to simply dismiss the opinions of people with whom he disagrees. The truth of the matter is that standing up for the freedom of the Jewish people in the Middle East is little different than black people standing up for the civil liberties of their brothers and sisters during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States during the 1950s and the 1960s.
The ongoing effort by Jewish people to gain our freedom is a movement that transcends left and right and until the 400 million Arabs who surround the 5.5 million Jews in that part of the world come to accept Jewish sovereignty on Jewish land there can never be peace.
Sadly, Harris-Gershon is a Jew who sides with the oppressors of his brothers and sisters in the State of Israel.
Michael Lerner should be ashamed of himself for employing an enemy of his own.
Mike Lumish is the editor of the pro-Israel blog, Israel Thrives.