Painful as it may be for Israelis, neither the EU nor the US is friends with Israel anymore. The Jewish state must come together and unite in the face of hatred and isolation, or see the dream of Israel disintegrate.
B’nai B’rith International recently released an alarming report that exposes the extent of the anti-Israel activity among purportedly friendly EU countries. The report, titled “Aligning Principles and Practice: EU Assistance to the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian NGOs, Rethinking the Approach to Meet Normative Goals,” exposes the EU’s tacit support of terrorism against Israel. Coupled with the waning support of the US, it is clear that Israel has no friends left in the international arena. This leaves Israel with a very hard choice: Unite over its deep divisions and face the headwind, or disintegrate and vanish from existence.
Despite a press release by the EU, stating that it “has never and will never finance or support any terrorist organisations,” and that “it exercises maximum diligence to avoid any such situation and takes such allegations extremely serious,” the reality is very different. The B’nai Brith report quotes Member of the European Parliament David Lega stating that the EU “has … aided and abetted persistent human rights abuses by the Palestinian Authority and has turned a blind eye to unconscionable practices such as the payments to families of convicted terrorists, considered martyrs for the killing of Israeli civilians. The European Union has for the longest time also failed to hold both UNRWA and the Palestinian Ministry of Education accountable for gross anti-Semitism and incitement to violence against Jews and Israelis in Palestinian textbooks.”
No one likes bad news, but I always prefer being painfully aware to being blissfully ignorant. The financial (and other forms of) support that EU countries give to terror-supporting Palestinian organizations expresses their genuine view: They would like to see Israel gone.
Nevertheless, it cannot be otherwise before we realize our task here in Israel. In 1929, Dr. Kurt Fleischer, leader of the Liberals in the Berlin Jewish Community Assembly, sensed why the Germans were becoming increasingly antisemitic. He stated, “Anti-Semitism is the scourge that God has sent us in order to lead us together and weld us together.” Regrettably, the awareness of the linkage between antisemitism and internal disunity did not penetrate deep enough, and the result was catastrophic.
Division has always plagued the Jewish people, as has antisemitism. Yet, if we look at history, and if we notice what our own leaders have been telling us since the inception of our people, we will see that the two are inseparable: When division intensifies, so does antisemitism.
We do not have the privilege of testing history; the house is on fire, and we are bickering over every petty issue, just to spite our antagonists. We may not realize it, but it is precisely the malice among ourselves that is evoking the world’s hatred toward us. As Fleischer said, the purpose of antisemitism is to weld us together, to fuse us into a nation whose members transcend all divisions, love one another, and care for one another without denying or suppressing the differences among them.
This is our vocation—to rise above our divisions and form the union that our ancestors pledged to form, “as one man with one heart.” If out of 19 condemnations that the UN completed in the previous year, 14 were against Israel, and 5 were against other countries, it means that the world holds us to a different standard than it holds the rest of the world.
We, too, have it in our core values that we aspire for Tikkun Olam [the correction of the world], so we, too, demand of ourselves more than we demand from the rest of the world. Yet, we must realize that the Tikkun begins at home, with one another. This is the example that the world needs to see from us, and the lack thereof is the reason it condemns us so much more than any other nation.
We do not need to correct anyone else, and the nations of the world do not need us to love them. They need us to love each other. If we let it sink into our minds and hearts that this is what we need to do, the world will change its attitude toward us and will be happy to see us living here and setting an example of love that covers all the crimes, as King Solomon put it in Proverbs (10:12).