Just recently, Amnesty International fired a quiver of poisonous arrows at Israel. One may ask, what is new? A new report by the international NGO accuses Israel of being an apartheid state not only in terms of its policies in the West Bank and Gaza, but also within its borders. This time, it bluntly questions the very nature of the Jewish State, and even Israel’s right to exist. There is only one antidote to this hateful polemic: Jewish unity.
“In the course of establishing Israel as a Jewish state in 1948, Israel expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages in what amounted to ethnic cleansing,” reads the 278 page report titled Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity. No more no less.
Where are the voices against other totalitarian and dictatorial regimes around the world while Israel is systematically singled out and accused of hideous crimes? Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that the Jewish state is judged by a completely different standard than the rest of the world, and this is called antisemitism. We must question where this antisemitism has its roots in order to tackle it.
In the complicated global reality we live in today, the more frequent and intense the problems are, the more humanity blames this tiny nation of Jews for its problems. Amnesty International and other haters seem to be telling us that If Israel were wiped out, the world’s problems would end.
They cannot even explain to themselves why they persistently and determinedly persecute us, but by this “special treatment” antisemites unconsciously elevate our status as a people with a special role in this world. Summarized in simple terms, their message is that the State of Israel, founded on the Land of Israel, is obligated to exist according to the laws of the nation of Israel – to be “like one man with one heart” and to act according to the rule of “love your neighbor as yourself.” If the nation does not exist in this way, in accordance with these laws, they believe that the Jews have no right to exist on their land, so they must be sent back to the Diaspora until perhaps in a few hundred years they will return and succeed to unite.
The principle of unity should be implemented first and foremost within the Jewish people in order to set an example to other peoples. Such high expectations on Israel have been expressed by some of our most vociferous critics throughout history. For example, American antisemite Henry Ford admitted in his book The International Jew: “The whole prophetic purpose in regard to the people of Israel seems to be to enlighten the world morally through their agency.”
At the other end of the spectrum are the lovers of Israel, the sages of the nation who knew how to define the meaning and purpose of the Jewish people, such as Rav Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook, who explained the role of the Jewish nation in his writings: “Within Israel is a hidden sanctity of elevating the value of life itself through the Divinity that is present in Israel… With utter completeness will it be completed within the house of Israel, and from it, it will radiate to the earth and to the whole world, ‘for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations.'” (Rav Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook, Ein Ayah [A Hawk’s Eye])
In other words: If we fail to maintain solidarity and cohesion among ourselves, we will continue experiencing big trouble. But if we base our relationships on love and mutual understanding, we will be a source of goodness that spreads to the whole world, and hostility towards us will vanish.