The time has come to draw red lines between legitimate criticism and initiatives seeking to demonize Israel.
Richard Goldstone’s infamous role as the token head of the UNHRC report accusing the IDF of war crimes is only one example of prominent Jews who exploit their origins as a way to defame their people. In fact, until recently, Goldstone was considered a respectable Jew, even a Zionist. He was blinded by hubris and ego, and allowed himself to be seduced by the bitterest enemies of his people into providing legitimization for a blood libel against the Jewish state.
Unlike Goldstone, most Jewish renegades were driven by desperation to unburden themselves from what they regarded as their repressive ethnic and cultural roots. Historian Jacob Talmon described such deviant behavior as “a Jewish neurosis” in response to centuries of oppression and pariah status.
The purported commitment of these Jews to universal and humanitarian values was usually belied by extreme attacks on their own people and association with sponsors who were outright anti-Semites.
Streams of such Jews emerged during the 19th century in the wake of emancipation. A classic example was Karl Marx, whose anti-Semitic diatribes were reflected in outbursts like “money is the jealous god of Israel, by the side of which no other god may exist… The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.”
In czarist Russia, some Jewish social revolutionaries even endorsed pogroms against their own kinsmen, hoping that by venting their frustrations on Jews, the masses would ultimately turn on the czar.
Their successors, the Yevsektsiya, the notorious Jewish section of the Soviet Communist Party, became the most vicious persecutors of their own people, frenziedly suppressing all manifestations of Jewish cultural and religious life. Ultimately they too were liquidated in Stalin’s anti-Semitic campaigns.
Many Jews outside the Soviet Union joined the Communist Party out of a mistaken conviction that it represented the most effective way to combat Nazism. But once in the party, they became brainwashed, and applauded as the evil Soviet regime executed their kinsmen and institutionalized state-sponsored anti-Semitism.
AFTER THE Holocaust and the struggle to create the State of Israel, most Jewish anti-Semites hibernated. As the plight of Soviet Jewry became a rallying call uniting Jews throughout the world, the few remaining Jewish communists were marginalized.
Modern Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, a genuine social democrat, appreciated the dangers posed by left-wing nihilists. He strove strenuously to neutralize the extremists and post-Zionists, who only became influential after his retirement and the end of Mapai-Labor Party hegemony.
Today, despite representing a small fringe, the disproportionate influence of anti-Zionist Jewish extremists in global campaigns demonizing Israel has reached an all-time high.
Ironically, the worst elements emanate from Israel.
There is the frenzied agitation by Israeli academics who abuse academic freedom by utilizing their universities as launching pads to delegitimize their own country. Neve Gordon, a political science lecturer at Ben-Gurion University and a typical Jewish defamer of Zion, published an opinion piece last year in The Los Angeles Times calling on the international community to boycott Israel. He and others like him, funded by the Israeli government and philanthropic Diaspora Zionists, exploit their academic positions to support those seeking to destroy us.
A recent study by Im Tirtzu claims that over 90% of the false allegations of Israeli war crimes originating from Israel cited in the Goldstone report were provided by 16 NGOs who received close to $8 million from the New Israel Fund, an organization purporting to promote social integration and welfare in Israel, headed by former Meretz MK Naomi Chazan. The NIF also sponsors Arab-Israeli groups promoting a bi-national state and US lecture tours by Arab Israelis on Israel Independence Day promoting the Nakba and calling on American Jews to use their influence to replace The Israeli flag and Hatikva.
Last year Haaretz highlighted reports accusing the IDF of war crimes which were subsequently proven false. These received massive global media exposure and made a major contribution toward creating the hostile anti-Israeli climate preceding the Goldstone report.
THE ROT extends to the Diaspora, where as a matter of course anti-Israeli groups now employ Jewish spokesmen to cover up their bias and double standards. In the US, the demonizers of Zion are exploiting the eroding relationship between the Obama administration and Israel. Former American Jewish Congress director Henry Siegman described Israel as “the only apartheid regime in the Western world.” Jewish students at campuses are increasingly bombarded with anti-Israel diatribes by Jewish academics such as Norman Finkelstein, who supports Iranians and terrorists, even exploiting the Holocaust suffering of his parents to delegitimize Israel.
In the UK, Jewish parliamentarian Gerald Kaufman compares Hamas to Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto, disregarding the Hamas Charter which declares that the Day of Judgment will not come until all Jews are killed.
In Belgium, a Jewish playwright scripted a play in which the Philistines assume the role of Israelis and Samson emerges as a heroic Palestinian using a dynamite-loaded vest to blow up his oppressors.
Shlomo Sand, a political science lecturer at Tel Aviv University, achieved celebrity status in Europe by publishing a book titled The Invention of the Jewish People, a farrago of utter nonsense promoting the thesis that being the descendents of the Khazars from the Black Sea region who converted to Judaism in the eighth century, Jews have no historical affinity with the Land of Israel.
This was endorsed in a recent UK Financial Times article by Tony Judt, an American historian who regards the creation of Israel as a mistake and favors a binational state. Under the title “Israel must unpick its ethnic mix,” Judt expressed the hope that American Jews would detach themselves from Israel, as Irish-Americans did from Ireland.
The time has come for action – not to suppress freedom of expression, but to draw red lines between legitimate criticism of government policies and initiatives seeking to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. The first step must be to deny tenure in government-sponsored educational institutions to academics who brazenly collaborate with our enemies.
It is gratifying that opposition Kadima MKs are now calling for what will hopefully become a bipartisan investigation into the activities and sources of funding for the NIF and other NGOs.
Whenever criticized, those who call for boycotts of their own country and demonize the IDF as war criminals have the chutzpah to try to defame their critics as McCarthyites and fascists, and threaten libel proceedings. It is their behavior which is morally reprehensible, and we must not be intimidated by such hypocritical tactics.
Israelis and the global Jewish community should be under no illusions. The damage inflicted by Jews collaborating with Israel’s enemies to demonize or delegitimize their country is immense. The only way to neutralize the impact of these renegade groups is to expose and confront them.
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post