Candidly speaking: Concerning ‘self-hating Jews’ (JERUSALEM POST OP-ED) By ISI LEIBLER 06/14/12)
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In a column appearing in The Independent, the fiercely anti-Israel UK
daily, Avram Burg, former Knesset speaker, chairman of the Jewish
Agency and scion of one of Israel’s renowned religious Zionist
families, commended the UK government for measures designed to
boycott Israeli goods produced beyond the Green Line and urged the EU
to do likewise “in Israel’s interest.”
Burg, who had the chutzpah to state that he was writing as a Zionist,
described Israel “as the last colonial occupier in the Western world”
and proclaimed that “the Israeli people’s eyes are blind and their
ears are deaf” and the “real enemy of Israel’s future is Bibi
Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel.”
In the past, Burg has called for the abrogation of the Law of Return,
which he defined as “a mirror image of Hitler.” He has described the
Jewish state as “a ghetto of belligerent colonialism” and urged
Israelis to obtain foreign passports. He also recommended the
dismantlement of Yad Vashem and its substitution by new headquarters
for the International Criminal Court.
Yet few would dare to describe this man, whose mother’s family was
butchered in 1929 during the pogroms in Hebron, as a “self-hating
That is because one of the most effective accomplishments chalked up
by political far-left activists was their success in eliminating the
term “self-hating Jew” from the Jewish political lexicon. They are
abetted by those from the extreme Right who indiscriminately label
every Jewish critic of Israeli policy a self-hating Jew.
By cynically employing inverse McCarthyist tactics to silence their
critics, the far Left succeeded in intimidating politicians and
writers into adopting a form of political correctness which
suppresses mention of one of the primary factors motivating the
bizarre Jewish involvement in the campaign to demonize and
Today, anyone employing the term “self-hating” in relation to Jews is
summarily condemned and accused of being chauvinistic.
Yet any objective review of Jewish history demonstrates that self-
hatred was always an important element motivating Jews who turned
against their own people and far predates the existence of Israel.
The current situation was accurately summarized in a recent interview
with Howard Jacobson, recipient of the highly coveted Man Booker
Prize for the novel The Finkler Question, which satirized British
anti-Semitism and self-hating Jews.
Ironically, his interview with Maya Sela appeared in the English
Internet edition of the Israeli daily Haaretz, which is probably the
most important global media platform promoting the rantings of Jews
Jacobson nonchalantly abandons political correctness by ignoring the
taboo on the term “self-hating Jews” when referring to Jews who
demonize and delegitimize Israel.
He relates to “the need for Jews to be, one way or another, anti-
Jewish. The need for so many Jews, particularly intellectual Jews, to
express their hatred with embarrassment with Jewishness, and hating
Israel is just the latest version of it. Jews were doing that long
before there was a modern State of Israel... I suppose that if you
belong to a minority that has been hated for so long, then you begin
to sort of absorb some of that. It would be very surprising if you
didn’t. In psychology they would tell you that an abused child will
in the end come to take the view of himself that the abuser has. I
don’t doubt that some Jews do that.”
OVER THE ages, anti-Semitism has inflicted such devastating suffering
on the Jewish people that it inevitably spawned a small but highly
vocal number of Jews obsessed with dissociating themselves.
If one analyzes the behavior of Jewish apostates during the Middle
Ages, notorious for accusing their kinsmen of satanic rites and
churning out the vilest anti- Semitic tracts, there is little doubt
that they were motivated by self-hatred and opportunism.
The era of Emancipation also witnessed Jewish Universalists engaged
in campaigns defaming their fellow Jews. In the 19th-century
socialist revolutionary arena, self-hatred led to justifying pogroms
as a lubricant to generate revolutions.
Karl Marx was a prime example of this. Although converted to
Christianity, he was a descendant of a long line of rabbis. His
noxious self-hatred was the basis for his vile anti-Semitic tract Zur
Judenfrage, in which he stated that “money is a jealous God of
Israel... The social emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of
society from Judaism.”
The tradition of self-hatred was sustained by Jewish communists. In
the Soviet Union, the members of the Yevsektsia, the Jewish section
of the Bolsheviks, were notorious for behaving more harshly and
displaying a greater determination to destroy synagogues and Jewish
cultural institutions than their non-Jewish counterparts.
Western Jewish communists applauded Stalin’s murder of Jews and
crimes against the Jewish people and were among the staunchest
defenders of the Evil Empire.
In Israel, the fellow-traveling members of Mapam, the forerunner of
Meretz, behaved as schizophrenics, seeking to combine their Zionism
with love and allegiance to the Soviet Union, even when one of their
leaders, Mordechai Oren, was arrested and tried on trumped-up
espionage charges in Czechoslovakia.
Yet it was only after the Oslo Accords, when Labor (Mapai) was
desperately trying to convince Israelis that peace with the fork-
tongued Arafat was feasible, that the self-haters emerged en masse
from the closet. They assumed prominent roles at universities and
attained political respectability by infiltrating the Labor Party and
obtaining excessive media coverage in Haaretz and its English-
language website, which prior to becoming dominated by post-Zionists
was considered the leading intellectual newspaper of the land. Today
it vigorously promotes journalists who demonize the state with the
same vigor as their communist antecedents.
The Israeli self-haters range from outright political psychopaths
like former Israeli musician Gilad Atzmon who justifies the Nazi
murder of the Jews, to failed politician Avram Burg who delegitimizes
his country. They include journalists who paved the way for the
Goldstone Report and charges of war crimes against Israel by
demonizing the IDF, while defending the intransigent and duplicitous
In addition, there are some Diaspora Jews, ugly blemishes on the
fringes of Jewish communities throughout the world, who stand at the
vanguard of the anti-Israeli pack. Most of those engaged in these
activities, unlike Avram Burg, stem from assimilated or delusional
leftist backgrounds and have no genuine involvement in Jewish life.
But occasional despicable behavior by groups on the extreme Right may
also qualify as a manifestation of self-hatred. Ironically, I clearly
recollect the late National Religious Party leader Dr. Josef Burg,
father of Avram, confessing to me that he was having sleepless nights
out of concern that some Jews residing in isolated settlements would
absorb and transform the fierce animosity radiated by Palestinians
surrounding them into a form of self-hatred which could manifest
itself by anti-social behavior.
In summary, “self-hating Jews” is unquestionably a term which should
be employed to identify those small pockets of Jews who demonize
their own people.
But it should be employed in a highly selective manner and not
utilized indiscriminately against naďve, well-meaning “bleeding
hearts” or legitimate critics of Israeli policies with whom we may
disagree. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/14/12)
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