As you read this, I will be away from my desk. While I am gone, I will be posting a mini-retrospective of some of my previously published, copy-righted work. The articles seem to hold up. In some cases, I will introduce the piece. In most instances, I will let the piece speak for itself.
(This essay is based on a speech I delivered at the 2008 National Convention of Emunah Women of America on a panel that consisted of Ari Goldman, Marty Peretz and myself. A version appeared in The Jewish Press, April 23, 2008.)
Only yesterday, in 2001, I wrote that “Now we are all Israelis.” The same Intifada against Israel that the world chose not to stop swiftly and inevitably became a global Intifada against all civilians. Ironically, governments everywhere are now learning how to guard themselves from terrorist attacks by copying Israel, who had to do so first.
In 2002-2003, I wrote that anti-Zionism is the new-Anti-Semitism, that decades of increasingly lethal propaganda against Israel has finally turned the Jewish state into the Jew of the World. I also said that anti-Zionism= Racism. In 2004, I wrote that Jews were once again “on the precipice,” that we were back in the 1930s, or even 1940s, that a potential Second Holocaust against us, (God forbid), had quite obviously begun in Israel.
Only a few years ago, such views were unique and were often mocked; today they have become more apparent to more people. But we are only a handful and our voices are mainly carried away by the winds of indifference and denial. However, we have also been attacked and marginalized for our pro-Israel views. This suggests that all those who stand for Israel, are, in a way, also under siege.
I am honored to be among you today–I am honored to stand with Emunah for Israel, for America, for the truth and for God.
What’s wrong with the world?
The world is ready to sacrifice the Jews once again.
The world is ready to embrace fascism and totalitarianism once again.
Most of the world’s leaders are blind, they are greedy, they are arrogant. They lack humility and gratitude. They act as if they are immortal, as if they are Gods.
Therefore, the world continues to brutally sacrifice its most vulnerable citizens: Its widows and orphans, its elderly, its women, its children–and, in an orgy of misguided self-righteousness, to then blame its own cruelty on the Jews. The world dares, once again, to believe that it will only be redeemed if tiny Israel, the only Jewish state is, perpetually defamed and tormented and then God forbid, destroyed.
What’s wrong with the world? We live at a time in which the truth goes begging for a hearing, a time in which Big Lies prevail. The world’s universities, media, and international bodies, including human rights groups, have all been Palestinianized. Indeed, reality itself has been Palestinianized. We live amidst a glut of doctored film footage, blood libels, internet videos that proclaim the essential evil of the Jews 24/7 in all the world’s languages.
One can find Islamists and Palestinian terrorists glorified and Israel demonized on the internet at all hours: On an academic listserv group, on YouTube, in popular rap music videos posted on the web. Israel is proclaimed as the “apartheid” oppressor and genocidal “ethnic cleanser” of the noble Palestinians. The mainstream media call terrorists “freedom fighters” or “militants.” And they describe Israelis trying to defend themselves as “Nazis.”
Such media bias has inevitably taken its toll. The “international community” has spent forty years turning Israel into a pariah nation. Surrounding nations, like Sudan, in which ethnic Arab Muslims are perpetuating a real genocide against black African Muslims and Christians is barely noticed, never demonized, neither condemned nor stopped.
Yes, some western intellectuals, including Israeli academics, including Jewish academics, not only believe this propaganda–often, they are the first to say so.
What’s wrong with the world? Fundamentalist Islam, which is the world’s largest practitioner of gender and religious apartheid, is nevertheless passionately embraced by the most “distinguished” Western progressives, academics, intellectuals, and feminists. Yes, by Israeli academics and by Jewish intellectuals too.
In the name of “political correctness,” “anti-colonialism,” “anti-racism,” and “multicultural relativism,” the West is ready to throw open the gates to the barbarians. The Western intelligentsia were the first to surrender to this death-cult.
What’s wrong with the world? We, even the Jews, still believe certain dangerous myths: That the Jews are to blame for anti-Semitism, that if we only appease our enemies that things will go well for us. Or, that the world will somehow be “saved” by moderate, peace-loving Muslims. To this I say: There were, no doubt, moderate and peace-loving Germans in the Nazi era but since they did not actively resist Hitler, they ended up collaborating with radical evil.
I am ready to work with moderate and religious Muslims. But, my friends and colleagues, who are Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents assure me that such moderates do not exist. There are practically no leading Muslim clerics who dare to publicly oppose the extremist mullahs. (Many secular and anti-religious Muslim dissidents do so). How many mullahs condemn the relentless and pitiless destruction of the Jewish reputation and of the Jewish state? How many decry the demonization of the West?
What’s wrong with the world? It grieves me to say what I am about to say but: Israel itself has not taken care of its most vulnerable citizens either. Israel has withheld justice from its needy, its endangered, from its women, its agunot, its widows, its elderly, its poor–its own internal exiles, re-located from Gaza. Read Isaiah. Israeli leaders dare not continue to do so lightly.
What’s wrong with the world? It remains indifferent to the plight of the Jews; no, it is worse than this. As I’ve already said, the world continues to scapegoat and sacrifice Israel either for opportunistic reasons or because they hate and envy Jews and the Jewish nation. The civilians of Sderot are relentlessly shelled, yeshiva students in Jerusalem are gunned down at point-blank range–and the UN refuses to condemn the Palestinians and the world media condemns Israel for finally trying to protect her own citizens.
I fear it is almost too late, the harm has been done, the brainwashing is pervasive, an atmosphere has been created in which no one will stop a slow motion or a nuclear/dramatic Second Holocaust.
We are up against a new kind of enemy and massive weapons of propaganda. In turn, Jews and Israelis have not yet developed any anti-propaganda weaponry of our own. We need a war room to combat the propaganda in the War of Ideas, not separate, poorly funded, and funding-competitive grassroots groups who are each trying to tackle this particular Monster.
The world’s heart is harder than Pharoah’s against the Jews and against the Jewish state.
Jewish women’s voices now matter more than ever. Of course, they always have. Where would we be as a people without our great Matriarchs, and without Miriam, Dvorah, Channa, Ruth, Esther?
Queen Esther saved the Diaspora community in which she lived. She was ready to risk her life in order to save the Jews of Shushan. We, as a people, are again faced with Esther’s task. In her merit, may we also rise to the occasion.
Acts of chesed and emunah are, as ever, urgently required. But, in addition, acts of heroism are needed too. Indeed, heroism is now our only Jewish alternative.
From left to right: Phyllis Chesler, Steve Emerson, and an Emunah official
Left to right: Phyllis Chesler, Ari Goldman, and Martin Peretz