Kenneth Cohen
Kenneth Cohen

Settlements, Anti-Semitism, and Self-Hating Jews

The great Jewish philosopher and halachist, Maimonides, once made a very poignant statement. He said that one who says he only follows the Written Law and not the Oral Law, is really saying that the entire Torah is false.

The point here is that people often camouflage their true feelings so as not to sound too extreme for fear of being unpopular. It is unacceptable to openly say that one hates Jews. Therefore, in our modern sophisticated world, this sentiment is expressed in a more subtle way.

In the 70s, the anti-Semitic campaign was initiated with slogans such as, “Jewish people, yes. Zionism, no.” There was also an attempt to equate Zionism with racism. One’s conscience could be clear for one might justify one’s feelings by thinking that he or she only hates Zionists and not Jews. The reality, of course, is that Jews and Zionists are one and the same.

Later, a new mantra was initiated to play on the sentiments of the liberal world by repeatedly mentioning the “self determination of the Palestinian people.” Suddenly, the same Jewish people that were persecuted for nearly 2,000 years, became the “bullies” to this poor downtrodden people. This proved to be another successful attempt that aroused those anti-Jewish feelings.

The most successful campaign to undermine the entire Jewish people is the repeated declaration that “Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria are an obstacle to peace.” It must be stated loud and clear that anyone who expresses this view is actually covering up his hatred of Israel and the Jewish people! And if a Jew believes this to be true, he is a self-hating Jew.

Once and for all the truth must finally come out with no apologies. Israel is not in “occupied” territory but Jews have returned to lands promised to us in the Bible and liberated in a defensive battle. If the Palestinians truly wanted peace, why can’t they accept living side by side with the Jewish people. The Jews will live in their settlements and the Arabs will live in their villages. Most settlements were established on empty hilltops far away from Arab populations. Is this an obstacle to peace?

Any non-Jew from the United Nations to the President of the United States who reinforces this notion of “settlements being an obstacle to peace”, does not like the Jewish people. It is a cover-up for their great disdain for Israel and the Jewish people. We are not occupiers and we do not mistreat the Palestinian people. Failure to acknowledge this, fans the flames of Jew hatred.

If a Jew adopts such a philosophy regarding the settlements, it is an indication that he is ashamed of his being part of the Jewish nation. He would rather be “politically correct” and feel the pain of foreign nations  than feel the plight of his own people. This makes him a self-hating Jew because he does not take pride in his Jewish heritage and the specialness of being a Jew.

This disconnection from his Jewish roots, causes him to bend over backwards to try to “understand” the frustrations of those who wish to destroy us. They delude themselves into believing that if they were only given love and economic opportunity, they would behave. They become blind to the vicious hatred that threatens Jewish survival and they aid the cause of the enemy.

If we would finally collectively announce without hesitation that this “obstacle to peace” is an anti-Semitic declaration, we would all be better off. When lies and falsehoods are allowed to exist in the world, darkness and evil is given strength. If we are to be a “light unto the nations”, we must eliminate falsehood with truth and goodness.

Israel’s existence and revival is good for the world. For out of Zion comes compassion, love of mankind and all that is sacred. We are in an era where G-d’s glory is again being manifest in the world. This light will shine brighter when lies and deception and the covering up of truth continues to exist. The first lie that must be put to rest once and for all is the “occupation” question. Settlements are not an obstacle to peace. Hatred of Jews and Israel is the real obstacle to peace.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for more than twenty years. He has been teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach, Old Katamon, Jerusalem, for the nearly seventeen years. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles.