Michael Lerner and the Social Construction of Hatred

The social construction of hatred toward the Jewish people by the Islamic world and the western-left should, at this point in human history, be axiomatic.

In the Arab-Muslim world they scream bloody murder on a daily basis that the Jewish minority is evil and must be destroyed.  Western “liberals” either do not care or believe that the Jews deserve whatever beating that we get for allegedly being mean to Palestinian-Arabs.  Ayatollahs and imams throughout the Middle East shake their fists in the air and tell their people that the tiny Jewish minority are vile in the sight of Allah and that it is a spiritual blessing to murder Jews.  In the mean time, western progressives tell one another that the Jews of the Middle East are racist, imperialistic, colonialist, apartheid, war-mongers and thereby justify an ancient Arab-Muslim culture of violence toward the Jewish people.

This, of course, is nothing new.  What led to the various persecutions and pogroms and expulsions of the Jewish people throughout European and Arabic history was the defamation of the Jew.  My father’s side of the family was slaughtered in the town of Medzhybizh, in the western Ukraine during Operation Barbarossa in July of 1941, precisely because of the incessant defamation of Jewish people in western Europe.  They were forced into road building, along with the Christian population of the small town, to aid the Nazi advance into the Soviet Union and when the roadways were completed they were made to dig ditches just outside of town at the point of a rifle.  When the ditches were completed the estimated 3,000 Jews of Medzhybizh were lined up in those ditches and shot dead by the Einsatzgruppen, professional Jew murderers.

This is a brief video of the last old Jew of my family town.


Since the end of World War II the primary sources of genocidal anti-Semitism have been the Arab-Muslim world and the United Nations, within which the Arab and Muslim governments have huge influence due to the simple fact of numbers.  As anyone who follows the long Arab war against the Jews knows, the United Nations is an enemy of the Jewish people and of the Jewish State.  The United Nations has 193 member states and yet an exceedingly disproportionate number of its resolutions represent hostility toward Israel despite the fact that Israel has a far better human rights record than does any other country throughout its entire region.

In the beginning of this year the United Nations compiled a report entitled,”Children in Israeli Military Detention,” which claims that, “It is understood that in no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights.”

The UN also claims that “Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized. This conclusion is based on the repeated allegations about such treatment over the past 10 years and the volume, consistency and persistence of these allegations.”

These conclusions reflect another UN report from June of this year, addressed by scholar Phyllis Chesler in a Times of Israel piece entitled, UNICEF’s Blood Libel Against Israel, which suggests that Israel tortures Arab children.

Chesler writes:

UNICEF has not released a similar report which focuses on the systematic use of Palestinian children as human shields by Palestinian jihadists; on the increase in honor killings of Palestinian daughters by their Palestinian families on the West Bank and in Gaza; or on the sophisticated indoctrination of Palestinian children by Palestinian adults into becoming suicide killers.


In the more than fifty UNICEF reports on the “state of Palestine,” it blames Israel for whatever harm comes to Palestinian children. And, when UNICEF does look at the horrifying war raging in Syria, these reports do not register psychologically with a global community eager to believe that Israel is the worst country in the world.

Chesler clearly understands what most of us understand and that is the simple fact that when it comes to Israel the United Nations is simply not to be trusted.   We all know that the UN spends far more time and energy kicking the hell out of the Jewish State than it does addressing the far worse human rights violations that we see throughout Africa and the rest of Asia.  In fact, the main business of the UN seems to be ripping down the Jewish State of Israel and it does so out of Arab-Muslim Koranically-based loathing for Jews.

Thus, I do not believe for one minute that this UN report is either honest or fair.  And even if I am wrong, and that Israel is as morally heinous as the report claims, how can any fair-minded person trust such claims when the Sudan and the Congo and China and Turkey – in its occupation of Cyprus – get a free pass?

And this brings me to my central point.

Why is Michael Lerner, of Tikkun Daily, publishing Jew Haters like David Harris-Gershon?

In a recent piece for both Daily Kos and Tikkun Daily, Harris-Gershon spreads hatred toward his fellow Jews by citing the first UN report above which simply cannot be trusted.  Even if the UN report is accurate, which I highly doubt, given the fact of UN malice toward Israel why would this man cite it in a malicious manner that could very easily incite violence toward his own people?  He must know that the UN is hostile to Israel and yet he uses a UN report as a club with which to beat the Jewish people and to create hatred toward them.

And that, finally, is the point.

Harris-Gershon writes:

While this report found the IDF’s practice of awaking children at night, blindfolding them and escorting them, unaccompanied, to interrogation centers most troubling, it also highlighted Israeli soldiers’ practice of binding children and holding them to be of concern.


The children who were cuffed and detained on Friday were, according to an Israeli military spokesperson, suspected of preparing to alight a tire, and that the children were detained to “prevent mayhem.” However, witnesses say that Israeli troops’ presence at the weekly protest is what sparked clashes, and that soldiers began rounding up children after stun grenades were thrown toward them.

He draws this conclusion from a report by the Palestinian-Arab Ma’an News Agency.

It might be that this report is accurate, but I have to wonder why Harris-Gershon gives such credence to a “news agency” that is absolutely hostile toward his own people and then uses a report from that “news agency” to cite a United Nations report that spreads the blood-libel against Jews?

The bottom line is that people like Michael Lerner and David Harris-Gershon are constructing hatred toward their fellow Jews and they do so, with hideous irony, in the name of social justice and human rights.  The truth, of course, is that neither Lerner, nor Harris-Gershon, are the least bit interested in social justice.  If they were they would also be interested in social justice for the Jewish people, but instead they spread hatred toward their own.


Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.

About the Author
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel and at his own blog, Israel Thrives (http://israel-thrives.blogspot.com/). He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at mike.lumish@gmail.com.