I have suppressed for many years the feeling that when a Jew mentions the Holocaust everyone else in the room gets uncomfortable and looks in the other direction. This is followed immediately after by the rest of the world screaming holocaust at Jews whenever Israel is involved in a conflict. As if all of the frustration of having to hear about the Holocaust is released in one go.
Right now there’s a conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. The Holocaust shouldn’t come into it. Genocide shouldn’t come into it. There’s fighting, there are rockets being fired at Israel, there are tactical objectives that the army has that include destroying tunnels dug into Israeli territory and eliminating some of the weapons stockpiles Hamas has amassed.
The Holocaust shouldn’t be a part of this. But it is. It’s a part of everything that Israel does.
Both because we remember but also because they do. Because they can’t let us forget that our job is to die. Not to kill. Not even in our own defence. This world that is big on empathy can’t even bring itself to imagine what it is like if missiles were being fired at New York or San Francisco or London or Paris. The last time there was an attack on New York two countries thousands of miles away were invaded and we all know how that turned out.
I don’t even need to quote one of the many, many Facebook posts or tweets that I’ve seen in the last 27 days from anti-Semites posing as supporters of the Palestinians, you already know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve seen them too. The placards at the demonstrations, the constant demonization of our political and military leaders, the baseless accusations of genocide.
How many of you have found that friends of yours, people you’ve known for years, were suddenly posting anti Semitic slurs on Facebook during this time of conflict? People you thought were your friends who you have now discovered jumped on the Jew hating bandwagon the moment it rolled into town.
When politicians in the UK like David Ward stand up and make their snide comments about Jews I wonder how many, more ambitious politicians are nodding while remaining silent. His comments certainly haven’t affected his popularity in his constituency. Such is the lot of the Jew in the diaspora, you can complain, you can shake your head in frustration, you can even demonstrate, but you can’t make that seething hatred go away.
Any conflict involving the Jews takes on a life above beyond that of a ‘regular’ conflict in the world. Every death is filmed, every body posted online, every bullet fired is condemned by the UN. The scale of the weight against us is breathtaking.
Surely the UN will insist on an inquiry in the wake of the fighting to discover war crimes. Just as certainly they’ll find a Jew to head it. We’ll have to sit still and take it, the rest of the world will insist.
This is particularly dispiriting when you believe in making sacrifices for peace in the Middle East. I still believe in negotiating with the PA, I still believe that a state of Palestine is just as important for us as it is for them. Some people use the hatred they feel from the world as a reason to never give any ground, to build the iron wall. I say no. We don’t give up our own morality so cheaply.
This is a hard world. Jews live in danger while in the diaspora and an altogether different kind of danger here in Israel. At least here we don’t have to watch helplessly while we are abused. At least here we have the power to stand up to those who would do us harm.
But what I really can’t help thinking, what really hits me in the gut is that we Jews gave this world everything it asked of us. We gave them every ism they ever wanted from communism to capitalism, we provided them with nuclear weapons, the theory of relativity, we are their bankers, their lawyers, their doctors, their statesmen, their politicians, their diplomats, their philosophers, their physicists, their entertainers and a whole range more.
We gave the Christians their Messiah and they accused us of killing him. We contributed to this world for hundreds of years and we were killed and discriminated against for it. It has gotten to the point where I feel guilty if I see a Jew mention the Holocaust since I am convinced that everyone just resents us for it.
I am sorry for these words. They are borne from looking out at the world and seeing nothing more than the rage and negativity directed against my ancient people who have suffered and continue to at the hands of so many people in it.
It is no longer our lot in life to suffer.