David Frum: Post-zionism is just another name for Israel hatred (NATIONAL POST COMMENT) 03/18/12)
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Over the past 100 years, the world has seen the creation of some 100
new states — perhaps more states in a shorter period than ever before
in the history of the world. Most of those new states have not proved
very successful. But there is one among the states that has succeeded
magnificently: the state of Israel. So guess which is the one state
that people worldwide seek to overthrow? Terrorist-sponsoring
Pakistan? Oil-corrupted Nigeria? Oppressive Uzbekistan?
Nope, nope, and nope again.
Okay, okay, you say, tell us something we don’t know.
Fine. Over the past few years, there’s been an interesting shift
among opponents of the state of Israel. They’ve begun to call
themselves “post-Zionist” — a bland, bloodless phrase. The idea
embedded in the phrase is that Israel can somehow be transitioned
away from its current status as a Jewish homeland via some technical
process not involving massacres and exile — that Israel can be
abolished without harm to the Israelis.
It’s not a very realistic project, to put it mildly. But it’s an
attractive slogan to those who dislike Israel and don’t want to face
the implications of that dislike.
Last weekend, militant groups inside Gaza launched a rocket barrage
against southern Israel. Up to a million Israelis have had to take
refuge in bomb shelters. 200,000 children missed school. This is what
anti-Zionism looks like.
Over that same week, as so often in the past, Canadian university
campuses have been disgraced by renewed vilification of Israel under
the slogan of “Israel Apartheid Week.” The good news for Canada is
that these acts of vilification have been met with resounding
criticism from political leaders. Federal Citizenship and Immigration
miniser Jason Kenney said forcefully: “The organizers of Israeli
Apartheid Week use the cover of academic freedom to demonize and
delegitimize the state of Israel. In reality, this week is nothing
more than an unbalanced attempt to paint Israel and her supporters as
racist; this week runs contrary to Canadian values of tolerance,
mutual respect and understanding.”
Liberal leader Bob Rae agreed: “It is … difficult to understand why
this year the focus continues to be on Israel, rather than on the
appalling massacres and human-rights violations that have reached
intolerable heights in countries such as Syria and Iran.”
The short answer to Rae’s haunting question is that anti-Israelism
has never been about human rights. Anti-Israelism has always been
about the destruction of one nation and one people.
For many Israelis and many Jews, the continuing intensity of that
ancient hatred understandably feels a crushing, intolerable and
ultimately baffling burden.
It’s a tragic fact of human psychology that some people targeted by
hatred will seek to find in themselves some reason that they are
hated. By blaming themselves, they can impose some sense on a
universe that otherwise seems terrifyingly senseless. By blaming
themselves, they can perhaps hope to find some escape from hatred —
short, that is, of the murder or suicide which is what the haters say
they want for them.
“If we abolish this part of ourselves — or that — will you then stop
despising us? Will you then grant us permission to continue to exist
in some subordinated form or other?”
It’s a pattern of thought we see in abused children, in battered
women, in bullied gays — and in post-Zionist Jews.
Sometimes it even works a little and for a time, but always at a
The point of Zionism was to put an end to the centuries-old pattern
that taught Jews to survive by abnegating themselves. And in that,
Zionism succeeded. It succeeded for Jews inside Israel — and as
Israel flourished, Zionism succeeded for Jews outside Israel, too. If
Jews in Canada and Europe and the United States dare today to speak
up for themselves in ways that would have shocked their great-
grandparents, it is in great part the success of Israel that inspires
And those Jews who imagine that they can advance or even retain that
self-respect by denigrating Israel — or, worse, by appeasing those
who seek to destroy Israel — are making a terrible error. There is
no “post-Zionism.” There is only “anti-Zionism” — the modern form of
an ancient malignity.
That’s the issue for the Jews in the Israeli bomb shelters. It’s the
same issue for the Jews taunted on Canadian university campuses by
those who push pamphlets calling for the destruction of this one, and
only one, of the nations of the world. (© 2012 National Post, a
division of Postmedia Network Inc. 03/18/12)
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