Fratricide is an ugly word. It evokes the image of siblings in conflict with one another. The Old Testament is replete with stories of such disharmony, that serves both as a lesson in morality and a warning for future generations. The story of Cain and Abel, the enslavement of Joseph in Egypt by his brothers, the enmity between Jacob and Esau, and the hostility between Solomon’s son and heir Rehoboam and his brother Jeroboam which eventually led to a split in the ancient kingdom of Israel are classic examples. This last example proves conclusively, that even when we were an indigenous people in our own homeland surrounded by a plethora of enemies; the Jews still could not get along. The Northern kingdom compromising ten of the original tribes, kept the name of Israel and had its capital at Shechem; while the Southern kingdom re-named Judah, retained the city of Jerusalem. Both Jewish kingdoms remained inherently hostile toward one another. When the Northern kingdom of Israel was attacked by the Assyrians, the Southern kingdom refused to render assistance. Israel fell in 722 BCE. Thus began the odyssey of the ten lost tribes. Competent leadership in the Southern kingdom managed to keep potential enemies at bay for over a century, but this could not last and Judah eventually succumbed to the Babylonians in 597 BCE.
What does all this ancient history have to do with events today? Most Jews would probably say that as a people, we have evolved past fratricidal disputes. Since the destruction of the second temple, we have lived for almost 2000 years as a nation within the nations of the world. This has produced a “diasporic mentality,” where we sought some form of accommodation with the ruling elites of the countries in which we resided. This strategy has not always been successful. Witness the many pogroms, expulsions, and exterminations that have been endured in many lands, over many centuries, finally culminating in the Holocaust. In response, Jews naturally gravitated toward any movement or ideology that promised relief. Philosophies such as Communism, Nihilism, Anarchy, and Socialism were widely embraced. Millions of Jews carried these ideas with them when they migrated to the new world, passing them on to their children and grandchildren. As a result, the vast majority of American Jews tend to identify with the far left of the political spectrum.
The establishment of the state of Israel, after the revelations of the Holocaust, produced a period of euphoria among diasporic Jewry. The far left and the Soviet Union initially supported this action, but changed course when it became clear that the expected alignment of Israel with the Soviet bloc would not be forthcoming. Now, embracing the cause of those who seek the destruction of the Jewish state, the radical left of today supports and condones virulent anti-Semitic policies and propaganda; the ultimate goal of which is the annihilation of Israel. A great many American Jews, keeping the faith with the beliefs of their forebearers, have gone along with this policy; embracing organizations such as J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, Peace Now, Americans For Peace Now, One Voice Movement, and Rabbi’s for Human Rights who call themselves pro-Israel, but in reality are doing everything within their power to undermine Israel’s security. It seems that American Jews are forced to choose between a state which offers them sanctuary in the face of global anti-Semitism and their cherished ideology. Recently, in an American Jewish publication, a prominent rabbi said as much when he admitted that given a choice between his liberal (leftist) point of view and the Jewish state; he would choose the former. Another editorialist, an advocate for J Street, all but called Israel a racist apartheid state; saying it must confront its “racist demons.” As proof, he cites an isolated instance in which Israeli extremists murdered a 16 year old Palestinian youth in revenge for the brutal killing of 3 Israeli boys. Left unsaid, is the fact that the slaying of the Palestinian youth was widely condemned in Israel and his killers arrested. Contrast this with the images of Palestinians dancing in the streets and passing out cakes and candies to celebrate the murder of the 3 Israeli youths. There is no Palestinian equivalent of J Street to condemn the atrocities committed by terrorists against Israeli civilians.
One cannot deny that Israel today is loathed, despised, and detested, not just in the Middle East, but around the world. The haters say that they are not anti-Semitic; they are anti-Zionist. Listen very carefully to what is being said and you will find language and accusations right out of the “Protocol’s of the Elders of Zion” and the pages of “Der Sturmer.” Why then, is this one state; just a small strip of sand on the coast of the Eastern Mediterranean held to a set of standards no other nation in the world is called upon to endure and why are so many American Jews jumping on the anti-Israel bandwagon? The answer is in three parts. The first part is, as alluded to previously, that most American Jews cannot break with the belief system of their ancestors and refuse to recognize that their precious neo-Marxist ideology has shifted its allegiances to their enemies. Additionally, they feel safe and secure in America, protected from the global wave of anti-Semitism now engulfing Europe and the world. The second part has to do with the radical left view of Israel as an extension of American power in the Middle East; an island of Western imperialism that threatens its Muslim neighbors with military occupation or worse. Also, Israel is a country whose technological advances and achievements far outweigh proportionally, those of the rest of the world. In the far left view, this could only be accomplished by exploiting and appropriating both the labor and land of their neighbors. Finally, there is the long treasured neo-Marxist goal of world revolution; the major impediment to which is America. Israel, the “little Satan,” must first be eradicated as a precursor to the collapse of the “Great Satan”: the United States. Toward this end, they have found a common cause with radical Islam, which seeks the same goals.
It is unfortunate that most American Jews cannot comprehend global trends as they transpire. The almost complete isolation of Israel from the rest of the world, the tsunami of anti-Semitism now engulfing the globe, and the rise of the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanction) movement are viewed as being caused by Israeli intransigence. Most Jews dismiss and deny the wave of “pure” Jew hatred that is about to engulf them. “If only Israel would just give in,” is a widely heard comment. They continue to cling to their revered ancestral ideology and delude themselves with the idea that the “two-state solution” offers the only real possibility for the problems that beset the Middle East; as if the depredations of radical Islamists would suddenly cease once Israel and the Palestinians sign a peace treaty. They prefer to ignore the fact that on at least three prior occasions, Israel offered the Palestinians their own state; giving them almost everything they were, in theory, asking for, only to be rebuffed. So, the war between the Jews continues: between the pragmatic realists who seek a genuine peace based on mutual recognition, an end to terrorist activity, and defined security arrangements versus the radical ideologues who see Israel’s pertinacious stance as the reason for the failure to achieve it. The late author Robert A. Heinlein once wrote that “a generation which ignores history has no past and no future.” We can only hope that the children of Israel will absorb this lesson; hopefully before the next Holocaust.