January 3, 2009
Protesting Against Israel or Hating Jews?
The anti-Israel demonstration of some 200 to 300 people outside the Ft. Lauderdale courthouse on December 30th , which took place on the same day in other major American and European cities, gave Palestinian supporters yet another excuse to decry Israel: this time because of its recent incursions into Gaza to counterstrike Hamas personnel and infrastructure, and the Jewish state's attempt to stop the barrages of 6300 rockets that have rained down on southern Israel since 2005.
The members of A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition: Act Now to Stop War & End Racism and the Muslim American Society who attended Tuesday's demonstration apparently were not sufficiently concerned when rockets and mortars were launched almost daily into Israel from Gaza by Hamas, aimed at civilian targets for no other reason than the intended victims were Jews. Once Israel retaliated with targeted strikes against Hamas, however, and some 400 Palestinians were killed (most of whom were Hamas terrorists), civilian casualties were immediately elevated by Israel's worldwide critics to "crimes against humanity," "genocide," and "disproportionate" responses.
What was particularly revealing, and chilling, about the Ft. Lauderdale demonstration was the virulence of the chants and messages on the placards, much of it seeming to suggest that more sinister hatreds and feelings-over and above concern for the current military operations-were simmering slightly below the surface. Several of the protestors, for instance, carried signs saying "Nuke Israel," a sentiment that was also shouted out to pro-Israel counter-demonstrators standing across the street.
Now the notion of using of a nuclear device to eliminate Israel and thereby attempting to kill its roughly 5 million Jews is not a unique one, since words to that effect are regularly uttered, among others, by Iran's raving president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who dreams of such apocalyptic final solutions. What is unique is the morally-defective logic that would enable someone to justify a second Holocaust, the mass murder of Jews, on the basis of Israel having defended itself from years of rocket attacks and having killed several hundred murderous terrorists in the process. Making the Middle East free of Jews, Judenfrein, is exactly what Hamas, the group of murderous thugs being cheered on by the demonstrators here, ardently longs for; Hamas' charter, in fact, expresses as one of its core tenets that Israel should be eliminated, that "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."
Other protestors were less overt in their angry protestations, carrying signs and shouting out the oft-heard slogan, "Free Palestine," or, as it is generally expressed when the odious messenger has sufficient time and space, "Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea." That phrase suggests the same situation that the nuclear option would help bring about, namely that if "Palestine" is "liberated," is free, there will of course be no Israel between the Jordan River and Mediterranean, and no Jews.
So the careless talk about the so-called "occupation" of the West Bank and previously of Gaza, or disputes over the 1967 borders, or the division of Jerusalem, or the construction of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria is obviously all meaningless, merely a smokescreen put up by the enemies of Israel to disguise the fact that they have no intention of living peacefully in their own state beside a Jewish one because they have no intention of letting the Jewish one exist. Hamas' charter announces quite clearly "that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up."
The most frightening incident during the demonstration, caught on video by Tom Trento, director of the Florida Security Council, and one which reveals the actual nature of the naked hatred of the pro-Hamas demonstrators, involved a Muslim-American woman in headscarf who was taunting the (presumably) Jewish counter-protestors across the street. She first screams that someone's "mother is a whore," but finding that a little ineffective she then reaches for something that captures the particularity of the event and screams, "Go back to the ovens. You need a big oven. That's what you need," suggesting, in a rather insensitive way, that if Hamas is not able to eliminate Jews in the Middle East successfully, wouldn't it be convenient to be able to ship Jews back to the crematoria of the Nazi's Final Solution?
This demonstrator's ugly and revealing comments expose what many have thought of Israel's most virulent critics for some time -- that if you scratch the surface of an Israel-hater long enough, you will eventually find a Jew-hater lurking below. Even critics of Israel as odious as Ahmadinejad never publicly admit that they despise Jews. He merely loathes the "Zionist regime." The argument always goes something like this: it's not that they hate Jews; it's only Zionism or Israeli policies they abhor.
So the British university lecturers union can call for boycotts of Israeli academics because of Zionist policies; or two American professors can write about an ominous "Israel Lobby" while they actually question the motives, and loyalty, of American Jews; or a former American president can accuse Israel of "apartheid" as opposed to peace; or Arab states and the UN can continually denounce the alleged ongoing "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide" of the Palestinians at the hands of the brutal Zionist regime; and all of them can escape what should be painfully obvious: that they despise and want to dismantle Israel not because its policies or actions are so beyond acceptable standards of nationhood, but precisely because Israel is, and always will be, the Jew among nations.
Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., director of Boston University's Program in Publishing at the Center for Professional Education, is writing a book about the demonizing of Israel taking place on college campuses.