On Hating Yourself…..

How do people do it? What drives someone so far, that they actually hate the person that they are or the culture that they come from? What is it about today’s very small but very vocal group of Jewish Israel haters that causes them to turn on their own people? To make excuses for those that would willingly exterminate them? To go so far as to even deny the horror of the Shoah and tell us to “move on” from what happened in Germany a mere 65-70 years ago?

In reading a hateful article at Daily Kos, David Harris-Gershon (also a blogger at Tikkun Daily), writes

However, the painful truth is this: while Germany as a country and a societal entity has largely (though not entirely) moved beyond the historical atrocities committed by the Nazis, the same unfortunately cannot be said for Israel.”


The country has been obsessed by security concerns for over 60 years. And it is my view that, because of these factors, Israel has never had a chance to recover from a national, post-Holocaust PTSD that continues to fuel a self-perceived sense of collective victimhood despite its overwhelming military.


It is a collective sense of victimhood that has compelled Israel’s leaders to perpetually have their fingers on the trigger, and has been partially responsible for the human rights abuses and atrocities Israel continues to commit against the Palestinians.

Finishing up with:

Israel will only become more popular – or, to borrow some biblical phrasing, a greater light unto the nations – once it makes peace with its past and with those Palestinians still held under its thumb.


And those who think otherwise are only contributing to Israel’s decline and the actions that is at the root of the way the world has come to view Israel: as a negative force.”

All I could think to myself is what could Harris Gershon be thinking when he wrote this drivel? Now, I believe some background is in order. Harris Gershon claims that his wife was one of the injured in the 2002 Hamas Bombing at Hebrew University. After this, Harris Gershon then went on to some small bit of notoriety by actually visiting the family of one of the bombers to ask them what had happened and why had this event occurred. And further, he is a full on supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement who also supports the meme that Jews control the U.S. government as he writes here:

But when the hawkish, “pro-Israel” lobby in America can influence our representatives to sound as if they – well – are representing Israel’s citizens more than our own?


We have a problem. A problem that must be discussed openly and honestly

Finally, in his Daily Kos signature line posts commentary from Judith Butler concerning anti-Semitism (and remember Butler was the academic who claimed that support for Hamas was a “progressive” value).

This all said and now that we know what we are dealing with, Harris-Gershon’s commentary is disturbing in a few ways.

I believe the most disturbing thing here is that Harris-Gershon demands that Israel “move beyond” the Shoah and that it is “unfortunate” that Israelis (and Jews) can’t do that. That really got to me as Jew. I read that thinking “Wait.. What??? It is unfortunate that we can’t move beyond the Shoah????” I mean it’s unfortunate that Israelis specifically and Jews in general can’t move beyond a relatively recent historical event that was a systematic attempt to destroy the world’s Jewish population that resulted in the deaths of 1/3 of the worlds Jewish population?  I had to ask myself, “What in the world is Harris-Gershon thinking?”

But then Harris-Gershon goes on to further disparage Israelis and Jews when he talks about Israel’s “self perceived victimhood”. Well, forgive me, but having every other country in the region wanting you dead, having the Palestinians continually refusing peace deal after peace deal (and having their last elected government with a charter calling for the annihilation of the Jewish people), and having the U.N. vote negatively on something or anything regarding Israel while completely ignoring far worse abusive behavior on the part of it’s many nations will certainly make some folks “wary”.

It is NOT a collective sense of “victimhood” that causes Israel to act to maintain it’s security, it is 2,500 years of continual abuse that tells Israel and the Jewish people that it (and they) must be vigilant in defending the Jewish people. In other words it is the harsh realities that Israel faces on a daily basis.

Look at Harris-Gershon’s language when it comes to “Cast Lead”. He talks in terms of “Israeli Atrocities”, never once mentioning the thousands of rockets fired into civilian areas of Israel that prompted “Cast Lead”. He never talks about the fact that Hamas launched it’s attacks from the heart of civilian areas and then left the civilians to face retaliatory strikes that it knew were coming. In Harris-Gershon’s world It’s all solely on Israel. It’s all Israel’s fault. All the time.

The next sentence then struck me… It states that it is Israel’s sole responsibility to “make peace” with its past and the Palestinians whom it still oppresses. Somehow, it is implied that we as the Jewish people have done wrong in creating and supporting the State of Israel. Somehow, everything that has gone wrong is on Israel and the Jewish people. WE have to come to peace with what? Defending ourselves from those who want to kill us? What does Israel have to “make peace” with in its history? Its fight for existence? The creation of a Jewish State, the first one in over 2,000 years?

AND where does Palestinian and Arab responsibility fit in with this?  Don’t they have a responsibility to accept Israel for what it is as the National Homeland and State of the Jewish people? I don’t understand how Harris-Gershon, or any of those Jewish people that support him can look at this and agree with it. I don’t understand how someone can blame themselves and their people for the hatred and abuse that they suffer.

Finally in a severe twist of logic, Harris-Gershon goes on to say that those who oppose him and his vision are: “only contributing to Israel’s decline and the actions that is at the root of the way the world has come to view Israel: as a negative force”. Here, Harris-Gershon (like anti-Semites throughout history) casts blame on those who would actually stand up for the Jewish people as if to say, that when we deny the framing of anti-Zionists or anti-Semites in some way, we are hurting the Jewish people and anything that results from that is our own fault.

Harris-Gershon though is far from unique. He is just one of a number of Jewish individuals who seemingly go out of their way to blame Israel and the Jewish people for all of the problems that they may have. These people even go so far as coddle blatant anti-Semitism, as they seem to believe that any ally against their own people is an ally worth having (witness Judith Butler and her support for Hamas). We can see an example of this behavior, by this tepid response when a comment is made in his re-post of his article at Tikkun Daily by one Alice LaChappelle who said:

“Israel has “cried wolf” too often. For centuries, Jews’ isolation within countries, their rapaciousness, and obsession with financial control have made them disliked in every country in which they have lived”

To which Harris-Gershon replies:

“Alice, these words — “their rapaciousness, and obsession with financial control” — have no place in a rational, truthful discussion. I’m loathe to reflexively yell “anti-Semitism” as so many do when encountering someone with whom they disagree vis-a-vis Israeli politics, but you are either on the line or have crossed over it.”

Well, for David and others like him… You may be “loathe” to call an anti-Semite an anti-Semite, but dear Alice’s comments are straight up anti-Semitic. They are not “on the line” or even “close to the line”. LaChappelle’s comment is the stuff of Nazi / Hamas propaganda.

So, what I wonder about is what makes someone so hateful of that Jewish part of themselves or of the Jewish people, that they are willing to seek common cause with those who would annihilate their own people. I don’t understand self-hate or the vicious anti-Semitism that exists in the world and when it comes from a fellow Jew… Well that is beyond comprehension.

About the Author
Jon Segall is creator of the blog The Progressive Zionist. Jon has lived in Israel and studied Israeli and American Policy in the region. Currently Jon, is re-learning Hebrew, and is an active practitioner of the Israel Self Defense Martial Art Krav Maga.