Henry Roth

Misguided Jews

Just when I thought that no Jewish celebrity would ever be able to challenge Natalie Portman for the title of Most Ill-Informed and Most Anti-Zionist Jew in Hollywood, along comes Richard Dreyfuss desperately trying to wrest the title from Ms. Portman’s hands.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter last week, Dreyfuss declared that Jews didn’t really have to be concerned about anti-Semitism.  The greater issue, according to this acclaimed expert on international affairs is “ … Jews not behaving like Jews.”  He then went on to say that “ … most Jews are willing to celebrate their own history of being oppressed and then they’ll get up and oppress other people…”.

Where to begin?  How about questioning the credentials of a person who proudly proclaims that he is “… less Jewish than I have been” lecturing other Jews (many of whom actually respect Jewish religious practices and cultural traditions) on how they should behave.  I doubt that Dreyfuss has seen the interior of a synagogue or spent time with Jews whose perspectives don’t closely match his own or visited Israel in decades, and yet he professes to be an expert on proper Jewish behaviour.  I’d love to know Dreyfuss’s ideas on how Jews should comport themselves when they’re being punched in the face or spat upon or having their grandparents’ gravestones desecrated or seeing family members murdered for the crime of being Jewish.  Oh that’s right: he has no time to answer that question because he’s too busy being bitterly disappointed by us poorly-informed Jews not heeding his sagacious advice.

Then we have Dreyfuss describing Jews as oppressors and this is where he is actually beating Portman by a nose in the race to the bottom of anti-Zionist zeal.

Exactly who are Jews oppressing?  Obviously, it is Israelis to whom Dreyfuss is referring because Jews in the Diaspora are too busy trying not to be steamrollered by growing anti-Semitism to find the time to bother other people.

And what, precisely, constitutes this Israeli oppression?  Is it maintaining a security perimeter around Gaza from where thousands of rockets have been fired at Israeli villages?  Is it refusing to allow unfettered access to Israel for Gazan Palestinians who have committed innumerable terrorist acts against Israelis?  Is it searching out and destroying the tunnels used by the Palestinians to gain access to Israel so that they can continue to slaughter innocent civilians?  Is it allowing the safe passage of food and medical supplies despite the very real risk of illicit goods and weapons being hidden in those transports?

If Palestinians in Gaza are suffering deprivation or oppression, they need look no further than their own leadership for the source of their misfortunes.   Those leaders have no interest in alleviating the suffering of their people because they actually benefit from the Gazans’ continuing plight (witness the accumulation of vast wealth by Palestinian leaders beginning with billionaire Yassir Arafat).  It is certainly not Israel that has repeatedly rebuffed efforts to forge a livable agreement for both sides.

And what of the treatment of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria?  There’s a reason so many Arab inhabitants of these two regions show very little interest in the situation of their countrymen in Gaza, and that is because they enjoy a standard of living and personal freedom far beyond what they might expect under Palestinian governance.  Someone should also remind Dreyfuss that Judea and Samaria have been home to Jews for millennia and were acquired by Israel (after their unlawful seizure by Jordan in 1948) in a defensive war precipitated by Arab aggression and overt acts of war.

Israel has demonstrated super-human restraint in the face of continuous and inhumane provocations and its treatment of non-Jews in territories they control is to be admired and respected.  If Dreyfuss and the rest of his Hollywood buddies cannot understand the monumental challenges Israel faces, guess we need to remember that these are people who became wealthy by being able to read words written by other people.  Perhaps they should try tackling a history book if that’s not too much of a challenge for them.

About the Author
Businessman, son of Holocaust survivors, father of two, grandfather of one, married for 45 years. Born in Israel but lived in Canada for most of my life. Proud and vocal Zionist.