Pinchas Baram

The battle of Israel goes on, and on, and on…

I thought I was strong, habituated to all the anti-Jewish shmutz thrown by older Arab nationalists and newer jihadi Islamists, vicious hardcore lefties, stupid softcore liberals, post-Zionist Israeli academics, turncoat American Jews and mainline Christians behind the boycott and divestment movement, Obama’s insincerities, the Vatican’s perennial duplicities—but lately I’ve become depressed. The trigger was reading at length about the ongoing falsification of Jewish history. The title of a remarkable, not well publicized research essay by David Meir-Levi tells the story in a nutshell: Stolen History: How the Palestinians and Their Allies Attack Israel’s Right to Exist by Erasing Its Past (published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center).

Erasing the past—is that not the ultimate falsification? One axiom of this new gospel is the blanket charge that that there is not and never was a Jewish people, it’s all Zionist propaganda and fiction, the so-called Jews in Israel today are total usurpers, strangers, colonizers, Palestinian Arabs are the true, continuous, indigenous natives and owners of the land, the ever crafty Jews conspired, invented, falsified their so-called connection to Palestine, the so-called Jewish Temple in Jerusalem never existed– and so on and so forth. ..

More and more, this steady flow of garbage (the bigger the lie, the more it’s believed, remember?) is becoming mainstream and is being published in the West by respectable university (!) presses. More and more the big lie has defenders among the “intelligentsia”—teachers and preachers who vote Democratic and write long approving talkbacks to the NYTimes every time Roger Cohen and Tom Friedman open their sorry mouths against Israel. This chattering class resonates especially to the idea—the age-old “precedent,” as it were– of thieving Jews conspiring (remember so recently Bernie Madoff and his disgraceful confreres on Wall Street, many with Jewish names?)

And against this tide of muck—what? Have there been any determined demonstrators in Jerusalem preventing dump trucks from removing thousands of tons (you heard that right) of debris containing shards of Temple artifacts? A recent obscenity was the action of the Moslem Wakf in charge of the Temple Mount (thanks to the foul and stupid deed of Moshe Dayan who in ’67 ordered the Israeli flag removed and in a peace of the brave gesture which was never reciprocated gave the Wakf ownership of the Mount). I refer to the Wakf’s putting scaffolding on top of the Foundation Stone, the site Jewish tradition ascribes as the holy of holies and the stone where the Akeida (Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac) took place.

Another ongoing Jerusalem obscenity is the ugly behavior of the Israeli police and IDF as they literally push Jews away from visiting the Temple area, lest a Jew– God forbid– closes his eyes for a second and whispers the Sh’ma. For this would be a grave act and might cause a riot (!), would definitely incite and anger the Moslem masters of the Temple Mount– which the IDF and police obsequiously bow to, all in the name of keeping public order. And Jewish reaction? Some articles here and there about Moslem desecration of Jewish holy sites in a few media outlets like and The Jewish Press —and that’s it! Indeed, a Conservative rabbi at a local synagogue who considers himself an ardent Zionist thought nothing of this, like, what’s the problem?

Has there been any organized professorial censoring of hateful academics, especially in the UK, like the notorious Keith Whitelam of Sheffield University who authored a major source of fabricated history titled The Invention of Ancient Israel: The Silencing of Palestinian History?
Any serious effort to clean the academic stables– in Israel!– and fire the many blatantly anti-Zionist, pro-Arab “professors” who totally abuse academic freedom by preaching from their lecterns about the evil and illegitimacy of Zionism, thus undermining Israel in the classrooms at Ben Gurion University, Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, University Haifa, not to mention teacher colleges and high schools? ( I recently emailed a female activist professor at the University of Haifa about her public stance in favor of banning Hatikvah from graduation ceremonies there. She basically told me to go to hell. )

Any rabbinical group with the guts to stand up and loudly and publicly condemn the Islamist, jihadi, anti-semitic tendencies of Islam today, as this “faith” spreads across America today with its catechism of hateful lies about Jews, even as Islamists go berserk if someone questions or mocks their oh so holy prophet?

Any corrective censuring by objective, fair-minded journalistic associations aimed at what is indeed a cabal of evil, the distortion artists at Haaretz newspaper, probably the single most important English-language source for the world’s haters of Zionism—e.g., Amira Haas, Gideon Levy, Akiba Eldar, Amos Schocken? Think about that for a moment—from out of Zion comes the voice of Amalek!

The answer is a loud NO to all the above questions. Yes, in the media and cyberspace there are many scattershot objections , refutations, articles, letters to the editor regarding each of these poisonous phenomena, occasionally there are actual demonstrations, but all in all there is no critical mass– and the enemies of the Jews are winning bigtime.

Furthermore, Jews are perpetually divided, too busy, wimpish to begin with. In Israel they are used to the “noise and nonsense” (as one of my relatives put it) of Israel’s enemies and are too busy being high-tech “start-up nation” to deal with picyayune mishigas in Jerusalem. In the U.S., it’s still summer time and the living is easy… Real defenders of Israel like CAMERA, Commentary Magazine, Stand With Us, and rugged individuals like Daniel Pipes, Charles Jacobs, Pamela Geller, Glen Beck stand out, and more power to them; but the big guns which should be firing their artillery against our enemies are mostly silent—I refer to our faux defense agencies (ADL, AJCom, the network of federations and JCRCs) typically timid don’t- rock-the boat bureaucracies, twiddling their fat thumbs or busily planning the next irrelevant interfaith Christmas-Chanukah brunch.

As an aside, Boston’s ADL this month came out strong in favor of—what? The struggle against jihadi Islam and demonizers of Israel? Against Obama’s putdowns of Netanyahu and the latter’s urgent warnings regarding Iran’s imminent acquisition of nuclear weapons? Of course not. Instead, the ADL asserted loud and clear that its big fight will be for “gay marriage… the civil rights issue of our generation” because ADL is “very committed to the LGBT community.”

Furthermore, as I can again testify regarding Boston, synagogues—even conservative and orthodox ones– tend to avoid displaying outside literature or newsletters highlighting all the Israelphobia out there, which is often intermixed with antisemitism and masked by arguments that Israel is a strategic burden pushing the US into a war with Iran and Islam in general. Local Jewish newspapers are similarly loath to publish what their editors consider “emotional, extremist articles”– which was the response I personally received when I sent an earlier draft of this essay to the editor of Boston’s Jewish Advocate. From friends and contacts elsewhere, I hear that the same weak (sick?) spirit prevails across the Jewish landscape.

In short, too many Jews are fiddling while Rome (meaning Israel and its 6 million Jews) may soon, God forbid a million times, be burning. Is this unthinkable and terrible scare talk—or is this not an actual possibility?! (BTW, dear reader, did you know that a high point of Jewish art in Spain was right before the Expulsion in 1492– which the Jews did not expect– and that a highpoint in German Jewish culture and science was in the 1930’s, right before you know who– and the Jews did not expect the Final Solution either. So who’s to say that Israel’s strong high-tech economy, military and flowering culture will be enough to overcome from without boycotts, ostracism, Hezbolla’s 50,000 missiles, and the worst scenario of all, a sudden nuclear attack from Iran, at a time when from within the virus of a post-Zionist malaise has been spreading and weakening Israel’s moral fibre?)

Alas, people like me, anxious about Israel’s existential status and not just this or that mundane problem, are still too few in number, scattered. We are out there, but we lack critical mass. Indeed, to a lot of complacent Jews my words probably sound like an annoying barking dog— even as the caravans of hate and indifference, heavy with freight, steadily move on…

So what to do? First, depression is a natural reaction but we know it doesn’t help, so one must never lose heart. Adonay li v’lo ira, HaShem is with me, I shall not fear– must be our prayer and motto. Second, let’s ever remember that from Avraham Ha’Ivri in 1948 BCE (ivri: he was on one side, everyone else was on the other side) to the Maccabees in 165 BCE to the miraculous wars of 1948 CE and 1967, it’s always been an uphill fight of the “ few against the many”– and so it is again today.

Third, regarding all the Jewish sermonizing and incessant shrying about peace, peace, we want peace—let’s stop it already, it is defeatist and cowardly, it just weakens any resolve to stand tall and fight back, and as we saw from the stupid concessions and withdrawals Israel made in Gaza and in the north, it merely whets the appetite of the neighborhood predators.

Fourth, we must remember that the best defense is offense, and we must shame, expose, fight the various Jewish enemies within, what Professory Steven Plaut at Haifa University aptly called “Jewish enablers of the war against Israel.” And it means working against the reelection of Obama!

If all this means less civility and more nastiness, if it means washing dirty Jewish linen in public, if it means fostering disunity, being accused of McCarthyism, going against the big tent fallacy which guides the machers who run the federations—SO BE IT! In short, I am in favor of promoting Disunity because the fake unity we have today is worse as it talks the talk of Am Yisrael Chai but does not walk the walk. The fake “unity” exponents pretend to be fighting the good fight for Israel but as my comments on typical synagogues, Jewish papers and Jewish bloated bureaucracies show, THEY LIE.

Ideally, all the above efforts require a critical mass of motivated Jews, money, leadership, influential contacts, a movement, and of course siyata di’shamaya, heavenly assistance. But you know what, we—you—me–each individual—can at least get started, can pray, get psyched, see this great struggle of our generation as an opportunity for mitzvah and tikkun,and hopefully siyata di’shamaya will be the response.

In the words of the sage Hillel: Im ain ani li, mi li— if I am not for myself, who will be? Im lo achshav, aimatai— if not now, when? And finally this gem: U’vakom sh’ain anashim, hishtadel l’yot ish—and in a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.

About the Author
Pinchas (aka Phillip) Baram, PhD, was the director of Zionist House/Israel Cultural Center in Boston and of the New England Zionist Federation in the '80s. He has taught history at Boston University, UMass-Lowell, etc., and is also the author of a prize-winning book on foreign policy, recently republished in an augmented edition by Ktav Publ.: 'The Department of State in the Middle East 1919-1945.' He is a dual citizen and currently lives in Brookline, Mass.