All States Are Created Equal: The Jewish State Less Equal Than Others

Accusing somebody who claims to be anti-Israel or anti-Zionist of being anti-Semitic can be difficult to substantiate. Most are simply fed up of such accusations and are often ready with a predictable list of refutations such as “why can I not criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic,” “some of my best friends are Jewish and even they don’t agree with Israel” or even “I am Jewish. How can I be anti-Semitic?”

So for the sake of argument, let us leave aside such charges and instead analyze the recent trend in popular responses to modern conflicts. Let us also monitor them all the way to the highest echelons of world institutions including the United States and the United nations.

The “Arab Spring,” so it was called, seemed to offer a promising future. Country by country, brutal leaders and dictators began to topple in rapid succession much like had happened in the Eastern bloc of Europe during the close of the Cold War.

The world was witnessing a great revolution from below before their very eyes. Even Arab countries with all the religious odds stacked against them seemed to be undergoing a transformation to real democracy. While the Arab spring did not start there, it was Egypt that really grabbed the world’s attention.

In the process of Hosni Mubarak’s political descent, he killed approximately 846 people in efforts to retain his grasp on power. Revolutions are rarely bloodless but the Egyptian people may have gained some condolence in the idea that these slain had fallen in the name of freedom. But as time transpired and self-styled revolutionaries sought to secure the tenuous reins of power, the state-sponsored massacres began. When the newly installed President Morsi was deposed and replaced with an interim government, 1,000 were killed by Egyptian security forces purely for expressing their support. Unfortunately, the death toll did not stop there.

Everyone could see the headlines, but where were the humanitarians taking to the streets numbering in their thousands? Nazis and all other dictators repress/ed violently when support is openly expressed for opposition, so where were the specific accusations of Nazism? Where were the condemnations of genocide – accusations of which Israel so frequently finds itself a recipient?

To be sure, the example cited does not amount to anything even close to genocide and so should not therefore be subject to such comparisons. But surely some condemnation from the world would be expected.

Events in Syria are even worse. To the present day, approximately 100,000 people in Syria have been slaughtered and more than 9 million have been forced from their homes since the outbreak of violence. Yet unlike Netanyahu, Asad escapes the comparisons to Hitler. But the questions must be asked again: Where are the humanitarians? Why are they not taking to the streets? Why is London, Paris, New York and many other cities of the world not brought to a permanent standstill in the name of humanity?

Then, of course, there is ISIS in Iraq and Syria rampaging and murdering people in their hundreds. There are the fundamentalists of Boko Haram in Nigeria where one hundred residents of a conquered town were recently mowed down by machine guns – if they were lucky enough to escape from their incinerating houses. The school girls – numbering more than 200 – kidnapped by the same fundamentalists have received about as much support as one would expect for a primary school popularity contest – a few “likes” on an essentially worthless “bring back our girls” social media campaign. The humanitarians pay “click” service to their plight but continue about their daily business.

And what of world leaders and their responses? Currently UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, is frantically searching for avenues through which he may broker a ceasefire – that is, of course, after condemning Israel’s actions as “atrocious.” But where was he before Israel decided to retaliate and was absorbing thousands of rockets on its territory?

Similarly, President Obama, having apparently given the green light to Israel’s ground offensive, has been eager to state publicly that he wishes to see a proportionate response from the Israeli military and that civilian casualties should be kept to a minimum. On this latter point, nobody need school Israel on the humanitarian and public relations costs.

Once again, where was Obama when Israeli’s were running to bomb shelters every day for almost a decade? True, American-Israeli collaboration in the construction of the Iron Dome defensive missile system was underway, but does that mean that a barrage of rockets deliberately fired on civilians should be accepted an incorrigible order with which we are compelled to live and is therefore, no longer worthy of criticism?

Most world leaders begin their comments on Israel’s retaliation with the words “I believe in Israel’s right to defend itself” only to follow with the inevitable, “but” proportionately and with restraint. Where were the calls for restraint when 20,000 civilians in Afghanistan were killed as a result of British-American landings, or the hundreds of thousands of civilian fatalities in Iraq in an operation designed to locate and destroy WMD’s which never actually existed?

It is about time that people recognize that Israel’s right to defend itself is not a privilege granted by world consensus or leading figures and nor does it require an official permission slip. It is a fact rooted in human dignity, the right to life and particularly Jewish history. Does anybody ever hear the same words applied to Britain, America, France or any other western democracy? The phrase is frankly patronizing and must stop.

Jews should have learned long ago that nobody will defend them and they are a nation that truly stands alone. This is a somewhat exhausted sentence but has lost no meaning. Just as nobody bombed the tracks to Auschwitz, so nobody will enter Gaza and destroy the tunnels which have inflicted so much suffering on the Jewish people or destroy the Hamas terrorists whose charter is literally an Islamic version of Mein Kampf.

The very fact that world leaders have the audacity to express such statements implies that the Jewish people should have to grovel before them before any defensive measures may be deployed – something which Bibi Netanyahu has sadly had to do.

Yet it has been to no avail. For while the world’s silence rings loud as atrocities take place throughout the world, and despite all of Netanyahu’s reasoning and PR campaigns, it takes a tiny country such as Jewish Israel to finally retaliate with all the accompanying risks and challenges, which can finally spark vociferous protests and riots stretching from all corners of the globe. It is only this tiny Jewish country which seems to infuriate the masses and draw comparisons to Hitler, Nazi strategies and outright lies of genocide.

Thus, for all those who claim that they are not anti-Semitic when they direct disproportionate criticism against Israel while simultaneously abandoning the victims of genuine persecution at the hands of Muslim fundamentalists, the equation, based on real evidence of popular responses, simply does not add up. It is difficult to prove definitively any hatred against Jews because it disguises itself under the veil of anti-Zionism and spurious humanitarianism. However, the evidence does push us strongly in the direction of such a conclusion.

It is particularly difficult when someone Jewish is so overtly critical of Israel but such people do practically all they can to ingratiate themselves with the country in which they live or simply another people thereby distancing themselves from any loyalty to the Jewish nation. This is not a new phenomenon. Many Israelis do it and it is extremely transparent. There would be nothing wrong at all in disagreeing with an Israeli policy and doing so does not render a person “anti-Israel” or “anti-Semitic”.

Yet the fact that they only show their support for Palestinians despite all the aforementioned suffering and often spice their language with inappropriate phrases such as “never again…for anyone” places them in the same category as all other self-proclaimed “anti-Zionists” or “humanitarians.” The phrase anti-Semitic Jew may also have been exhausted but it has also lost no meaning.  Such people choose only to focus on the actions of Jews and their “Nazi strategies” – a particularly heinous and calculated accusation.

But after all these considerations, perhaps such rabid “anti-Zionists” really do just hate tiny Israel and it has absolutely nothing to do with Jews or the fact that Israel happens to be the only Jewish state in the world. The reader may decide for himself.

About the Author
Alexander Apfel holds a BA and MA in Modern History. He is an IDF reservist in the armored corps.