Sinat chinam (baseless hatred) is alive and well

Jerusalem was destroyed on account of Kamtza and bar Kamtza.
There was a certain man whose friend was named Kamtza
and whose enemy was named bar Kamtza.
He once made a large feast and said to his servant:
Go bring me Kamtza.
The servant went and mistakenly brought him bar Kamtza. (Gittin 55b)

קמצא ובר קמצא חרוב ירושלים
דההוא גברא דרחמיה קמצא ובעל דבביה בר קמצא
עבד סעודתא אמר ליה לשמעיה זיל אייתי לי קמצא
אזל אייתי ליה בר קמצא (גיטין נה:)

In response to my recent blog “They’re embarrassed and ashamed,” a fellow tour guide, an Israeli Jew, commented:

“I think Israel should retake Gaza. As an IDF soldier, I would be the first one in. God, I hate left-wing, self-hating, liberal Jews. You are worse than all the terrorists combined”

I responded:

“Your sinat chinam is horrible, especially during the 9 Days. I hope you have a meaningful Tisha Beav. Tzom kal u’moil.”

He responded:

“if you love hamas and the Palestinians so much (and apparently more than you love your own people) then why don’t you go live in Gaza. I’ll come and watch you go in from the Israeli border. I don’t want to miss out on the fun as I know what they will do to you. You should also wear a kippa when you cross into Gaza, they will love that”

I responded:

“I feel bad that you’re so filled with hate. If you want to have an open dialog, then great. Otherwise, have a nice life! Goodbye.”

He responded:

“The liberal Jews of today are the exact equivalent of the Jews that used to help round up the other Jews for the nazis”

I responded:

“That’s a truly terrible comment. I’m sorry you’re so filled with hate for people who have a different opinion to you. Goodbye.”

He responded:

“I only have hatred for backstabbing Jews and terrorists who want to destroy the Jewish state”

I responded:

“I’m sorry you think any Jew who disagrees with you is a “backstabbing Jew.” I’m sorry you’re filled with such hate. I don’t want to continue this discussion with you. Have a good life. Goodbye.”

I am not including the name of the person who chose to comment on my blog post with vitriol and invective, with what can only be described as incitement to hatred and violence, even though he happily posted publicly in his own name. I cannot imagine what goes on in somebody’s head when they think these things, let alone write them in a public forum. My initial blog post was simply a plea for Jewish unity and for dialog:- “But maybe, if we really, really care about achdut Yisrael (Jewish unity), we need to engage in an open and real dialog with our Diaspora sisters and brothers — “negotiations without preconditions” so to speak, without dismissing one another’s views a priori.”

Sinat chinam is alive and well in Israel 2021. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” seems truer than ever. May we merit being wise enough to learn lessons from Jewish history.

About the Author
Ilan Bloch is a licensed Israel tour guide and teacher.
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