I rarely read items from the Times of Israel these days. As one of the early bloggers at TOI, I rode the coattails of this media giant on its way to fame and gained a following as a result. Soon enough however, TOI evolved into a cross between Haaretz, the far left Israeli newspaper, and the Huffington Post, that free-for-all blogging venue where should anyone meekly posit that Israel has a right to exist, he will be bludgeoned to a pulp. I decided that as a personal protest, I would try not to read or share items from TOI with my followers.
I kept my options open. I would not leave the ranks of TOI completely. Why close a door, I thought. And so piqued by the title of TOI editor David Horovitz’s latest piece, It’s the settlements, stupid, I both broke my own rule, and decided to blog my response here in this space.
I like David Horovitz. I believe he is sincere and thoughtful. But in this apologia for Britain’s recognition of Palestine, he has lost me completely. Yes, it’s not news that Britain and the world at large always come back to rest on a single issue: the settlements. Yes we, the world, would be blind not to take note of this fact.
It’s an odd sort of blindness though, akin to the emperor unaware of his own public nudity, or at least pretending to be. Where Horovitz sees settlements, I see Jew-hatred, naked for all the world to see.
Horovitz writes of deafness:
Israel is building over the Green Line. Israel is deaf to the entreaties of even its best friends to stop doing so until the status of the disputed territories is resolved through negotiations.
But I see only blindness. These “best friends” are not friends and Israel is not deaf. No matter how much the world hammers home the point It’s the settlements, Stupid, it’s NOT.
It’s NOT settlements that drives dislike for Israel. Building homes? For Jews?
There is no logic to the suggestion that Jews should not build homes here, there, or anywhere. This is a train of thought that has never made sense.
It is a train of thought that covers its malevolent purpose in an imaginary veil of imagined political correctness.
The politically correct spout the lie that Jews building homes in this area or that is an obstacle to peace, when in reality, barring Jews from building homes in specific locales is nothing more than an ugly expression of segregation that targets the Jews. Who is so blind as not to be able to see this for what it is?
For it is nothing more than bigotry and hatred and never has been anything more or less.
I was grateful to Paula Stern for her earnest rebuttal of Horovitz’s op-ed in her piece, It’s about Israel, stupid, which goes a long way toward offering light to the blind. And yet, I feel that she is only edging closer to the truth, rather than undressing it for the world to see.
It’s the Jews, Stupid. Always has been and always will be. It doesn’t need to get more complicated than that.
One doesn’t need a Braille manual to expose the naked truth for what it is and always has been. Jews building homes in their indigenous territories Judea and Samaria? How much vision does one need to see that there could never be anything illegal or wrong about this?
How much history does one need to read to see through the veil? Is it enough to read the bible, view archaeological artifacts, and read about the 7th century Muslim Conquest? Or do we need to read up on contemporary history: the British Mandate, the illegal Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria in 1948, the White Paper, the Balfour Declaration, Sykes Picot, and the San Remo Conference? Should we skip all that and use the prism of the Holocaust to make it acceptable for Jews to reclaim their property?
To Horovitz, all this history, past and present, is immaterial. The world will still not allow itself the revealed truth. The world will continue to cry foul. The world will still see “settlements” where I see my land.
Except they won’t. Because they aren’t fooling me. The world knows this is my land and that I have every right to build in every inch of Eretz Yisroel, no matter whether it is my spiritual right or my indigenous peoples’ right. The settlements are a smokescreen that offers voluntary blindness to those who see Jews, everywhere.
Blindness can be a comfort to those who refuse to see what they cannot change: that the world will always hate Jews and deny them of their rightful property. Such blindness can make us appear reasonable to the nations that see the segregation of Jews as right and proper and good. But purchasing these thickened spectacles comes with a risk: you can forget who you are. You can forget that you are no different than other Jews and that in parroting the lines you are only adopting the thinnest most gossamer mask. You are vulnerable to exposure in the end.
Whether they send you to the left or the right, you will be a Jew. They won’t bomb the train tracks. They won’t let you in. Your money won’t be green enough or your skin white enough.
You, like every one of the rest of us, will still be a Jew. You’ll be a Jew whether or not a settlement is built on a barren rocky hillside. And you’ll be a Jew no matter how wisely you choose your lenses.
You’ll be a Jew, exposed, naked and trembling before God and the world. And at a certain point, everything else will be merely peripheral.