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The presumption of Jewish guilt

The as-yet unproven charge that Jews perpetrated the Duma arson attack could have disastrous consequences

Several weeks ago, following an atrocious terror attack in which an Arab baby and eventually his father were burned to death, a few of our leaders, some journalists and bloggers accused members of our people of committing that crime. “My people have elected terror,” ( “בני עמי בחרו בטרור”) read the Hebrew headlines quoting our President. What is most perturbing is that there is not one iota of qualifications in that statement. The president did not say, “Some of my people.” He did not suggest that “a few of “ his people might have carried out such an attack. No, he held us all responsible.

In another paper, MK, Yair Lapid, likewise, rushed to a similar conclusion. He wrote, “…the enemy acted last night in Duma. Terrorists entered at night and set fire to a baby. As always, the IDF is going to war against the enemy. Only this time the enemy is from here, from inside, from within us.” MK Lapid, without any apprehensiveness connected the Duma attack to the “enemy from within us.” Others rushed to condemn us, preach to us and praise and defend these leaders for their position.

I trust I am not the only one who is perplexed by the taunting questions that such accusations raised. Over one month later, we are still waiting to learn the details to these tormenting issue that have deeply scarred our nation. Who are these people who “elected” terror? Who are these “Jewish terrorists” that we suddenly hear so much about? More importantly, where is the evidence against them? Are we going to get the answers we deserve?

And we do deserve answers. As a nation that has been wronged for so long throughout history, the last indignation we need is to be rebuked and scolded by our own for a crime we may not even be remotely connected to. If we are indeed, if the perpetrators of such a heinous act are some of our own then it is not merely our right to know, it is our duty to address the problem, to remove the evil from within is, to repent and improve our ways. Israelis and Jews, like anyone else, may not be perfect, but why in the world should we take responsibility for other people’s wrongdoing, both individually and collectively, when so many of the details of such actions are still shrouded in mystery and uncertainty?

“Yesterday’s papers are today’s fish and chips wrappers,” I was once told when I lived in New Zealand. What this saying implies is that the farther away in time one moves from an event, the more it sinks into the creases of the subconscious and the realm of forgetfulness.

Not this time! Until we get the answers we deserve, these accusations, these uncertainties will continue to haunt us as individuals and as a nation. Such unpleasant collective memories, if they remain unresolved, untreated, can turn into monsters that could rear their ugly heads at any moment, consume the well-being of a nation and bring it to the brink of the abyss.

About the Author
Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks is an English teacher and a pro Israel advocate. She lives in Israel and has recently published her first novel, "On A Wing From The Holy Land."