Suicidal Jews: When Will They Learn? (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS OP-ED) by Cinnamon Stillwell 02/03/05)
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A remarkable thing happened in the Bay Area last month. San Francisco
and Berkeley, two cities known for their anti-American, anti-Israel
and increasingly anti-Semitic character, hosted rallies against
global terrorism. The mangled wreckage of the Jerusalem #19 bus,
destroyed in a suicide bombing and displayed at both events, brought
the reality of terrorism closer to home. It was a powerful reminder
of what too many, especially in the Bay Area, still label acceptable.
One could be forgiven for assuming that these rallies had enjoyed the
support of the Jewish community, but instead, the opposite was true.
An inordinate amount of disdain was directed at rally supporters, the
bulk of it from Jews. Jewish organizations, individuals and even
rabbis did everything in their power to either ignore the rallies,
urge people not to attend, or to condemn those who took part. But
their hostility was misplaced, to say the least.
Although the rallies were all encompassing, it was obvious that at
the heart of the matter were Jews and those that hate them. After
all, what else motivated the suicide bomber of bus #19? Or the Arab
protesters across the street from the rally in Berkeley
screaming, "Go back to Germany"? Why else were their children
carrying gruesome signs accusing Jews of "organ thievery", the modern
blood libel? The Nazi-like hatred for Jews indoctrinated in
Palestinian youth from the moment they´re born is undeniable, and
peace in the Middle East will not be achieved until that changes. The
results were clear for all to see on the streets of Berkeley and San
Francisco. And yet, it was those in the anti-terror crowd who were
One of the most spurious accusations leveled against rally supporters
was that somehow they had "incited" violence simply by their
presence. Violence was indeed the goal of a mob of keffiyeh-clad
youth who disrupted the peaceful rally in "free speech" bastion
Berkeley. And in San Francisco, the same group was thwarted. No doubt
the disapproving Jewish community felt a certain "I told you so" at
the news. But does it then follow that it was the rally-goers´ fault
they were attacked? Unscrupulous lawyers accusing rape victims
of "asking for it" have used the same argument. It´s called blaming
If holding a rally against global terrorism and commemorating the
victims of suicide bombings is inciting others to violence, then so
be it. Jews should not have to feel guilty for condemning terrorism
or cower in fear of those who oppose their very existence. The day
they do is the day they surrender that existence.
Unfortunately, not all feel that way. In a strange psychological case
of identification, some Jews throw in their lot with the opposition.
They have bought into their own demonization and have become, in
effect, Jewish anti-Semites. It appears they would rather assist in
their own annihilation than come to grips with the hatred directed
towards them. This propensity for self-loathing is well known. Why
else would openly anti-Semitic, self-styled "pro-Palestinian"
organizations make recruiting Jewish members their main focus? Just
ask the members of "Jews for a Free Palestine", who stood shoulder to
shoulder with the Jew-haters in Berkeley.
Having just commemorated the 60th anniversary of the liberation of
Auschwitz, it´s instructive to look back and see how this disunity
has harmed Jews in the past.
During the Holocaust, Jews were used by the Nazis to calm their co-
religionists and help make them more docile for the trip to the gas
chambers. There were Jewish prisoners (among others) who worked as
guards in the concentration camps, often treating their fellow Jews
as brutally as the SS. They were called "kapos", a term that´s
gaining currency once again as old wounds are reopened.
When you hear leaders in the French Jewish community telling others
to "remain calm" amidst a backdrop of anti-Semitic attacks and
vandalism, echoes of the past can be heard. Similarly, when fellow
Jews told those who supported the anti-terrorism rallies that they
should "be quiet", "not make waves" and, most outrageously, that
they "incited" hatred, it seemed as if history was repeating itself
all over again.
Yet, even in their darkest moments, Jews managed to fight back. The
Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943, when Jews of all political stripes -
facing certain death at the concentration camp in Treblinka - banded
together to form the Jewish Resistance Organization, was a shining
example. They dealt a severe blow to the Nazis, forcing propaganda
chief Josef Goebbels to concede in his diary: "The Jews have actually
succeeded in making a defensive position of the Ghetto. Heavy
engagements are being fought... this just shows what you can expect
from Jews if they lay hands on weapons."
A year later, in 1944, Jews living in what was the British Mandate
called Palestine formed the Jewish Brigade, an all-Jewish fighting
force. They fought with the Allies against the German army in Italy,
and after the war ended, did everything they could to smuggle
Holocaust survivors out of Europe and to Palestine. Later, in 1948,
these veterans fought bravely in Israel´s War of Independence. Member
Jonathan Peltz summed up the Brigade´s main achievement: "We proved
to the world that we can fight. We proved to ourselves that we can
The story of the Jews themselves is one of triumph over adversity and
the quest to reclaim or hold onto their homeland. Israel´s (or
Judea´s) ancient history is that of a nation constantly besieged by
enemies. But no matter the hardships, the Jews never gave up. The
founding of the nation of Israel in 1948 speaks to this tenacity, as
does the Six-Day War of 1967, which was a further triumph of which
Jews should be proud.
This is why Israel is so resented in the world - because it
represents Jewish strength. The current "disengagement plan" and the
resurgence of Oslo-like naivete are not examples of such strength,
but rather the capitulation without cause that seems to plague the
country in moments of doubt. The path Israel takes will help
determine the fate of Jews in the years to come.
One thing is certain, it´s time for Jews to stop apologizing for
being Zionists. At a time of rising worldwide anti-Semitism and an
increase in Jews making Aliyah, it should be painfully obvious why
the nation of Israel is so important. Jews have always faced hatred,
but unlike in the past, they now have a place to turn. And it is one
with which Jews have deep religious and historical ties.
My mother once told me about an encounter she had in "liberal" Marin
County (where I grew up) with a Jewish family she knew. During one
conversation, she let drop casually that she was a Zionist.
"You´re a Zionist?" the man asked, in shocked horror.
"Of course," she answered. "How can you be a Jew and not be a
A better question I couldn´t have asked myself. (IsraelNationalNews
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