Gaza, Israel and all those damned ‘isms’


Israelis and Jews have been advocating this week. For facts, for truth. For our side of the story, for what’s right.  We’ve written it, tweeted it, videoed it, and shouted it out loud wherever they’ll have us. And it’s fallen on deaf ears. Even the Jews did and didn’t get it. From Sarah Silverman’s tweet that Jews in the diaspora needs allies. WE ARE NOT ISRAEL , to Jewglers at Google who called for the company to provide a safe space to express anti-Zionist beliefs.

We scratch our collective Israeli heads together. The government doesn’t have a strategy. We didn’t explain properly. Iron Dome does us no favors. Our houses aren’t bombed enough. We’re not suffering enough. We’re not dead enough.

And we’re a persistent people. Just a little more and they’ll get it. One more op-ed, one more picture of scared kids, one more heartfelt post about moms running with babies to a stairwell. None of it works or dents the opposition, because those damned ‘isms’ just aren’t in our favor…

We assume universalism (universal facts exist and can be discoved by everyone) in a land of social media where absolutism (facts are relative to individual perspective) reigns supreme. We advocate for communitarianism (protect the rights of the community), in a Western society where liberalism (protect the rights of individuals) is the only agenda. We defend ourselves with collectivism (members of the collective come before those outside it), at odds with individualism (individuals are equal, and human rights apply to all). And it’s not that  liberalism or individualism isn’t our thing too. It’s just that when the crap hits the fan, we huddle down together in this tiny land like the village we are.

And here’s the thing. The anti-Israel sentiment we’ve seen over the last few weeks has out’ed the other side, and their ‘isms’ that simply don’t apply to us. Denial of universalism when the facts come from us. Hatred for our communitarianism, and the steps we take to protect ourselves. Loathing for our collectivism, and the sheer chutzpah that though we care about the other side, we care about ourselves just a little more.

Those Western values don’t apply much around here it seems. Not much support for liberalism that protects the rights of Israelis. No shouts for individualism to ensure that every Israeli’s human rights matter.

And so, in a week where no universalism, liberalism, or individualism managed to spur Western crowds to march against Turks pummeling Kurdish villagers in Iraq, and Saudi Arabia blowing up a school bus, it seems that the only ‘ism’ left is the oldest one in the book. Only anti-semitism can explain the effort involved in the buying of Israeli flags in order to rip them up,  the digging out of anti-Israeli placards from the last demo, the rising at dawn to join 100,000 strong marches throughout Europe.

And in response to the hate-reflex, the feverish rage, the libels, the spiteful language, we explain ourselves. In spite of the fact that they never answer that most basic question, “Why is your hatred of Israel more than your hatred of any other nation”, we continue to explain ourselves in the hope that someone, somewhere, will get it. Our explanations matter, but they might matter to us more than to anyone else. And as we wait for someone to listen, we shouldn’t hold our breath.

About the Author
Rayne Wiselman is a writer living in a kibbutz in the Galilee. Never quite sure how she ended up here, she mostly loves and never tires of living in this marvelous messy country.
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