Guardian

Letter from Jerusalem: A message to the Jewish left on your efforts to “save us from ourselves”


H/T Elaine

Be it the NYT’s Thomas Friedman, NIF’s Ben MuraneJonathan Freedland – or even such overtly hostile anti-Zionist voices such as Walt and Mearsheimer or the editors at the Guardian – a common paternalistic refrain from Israel’s obsessive critics is that they don’t dislike Israel at all, but are merely acting out of ‘tough love’ towards a Jewish state which continually pursues policies that aren’t in their own best interest.  

So, as a citizen of Israel, I respectfully ask my American Jewish friends who see their role as providing guidance to ‘save us from our ourselves’, to please show a bit of humility the next time you provide advice which will result in very real consequences that neither you, nor your family and loved ones, will have to burden.

Please avoid the hubris of telling my democracy, continually under siege by state and non-state actors who don’t disguise their malevolence towards us and rejection of our existence within any borders, what kind of risks we should take on the hope that our every peaceful gesture will be reciprocated in kind.

Kindly attempt to refrain from decidedly ahistorical assumptions, such as the belief that a cessation of construction in “East” Jerusalem or the West Bank (whatever your views on such communities beyond the Green Line) will necessarily be reciprocated with peace from our Palestinian neighbors.

While we appreciate a friendly debate with our diaspora supporters, please understand that it wasn’t diaspora Jews who saved Israel when multiple Arab armies sought Israel’s destruction on the day of its birth in 1948; nor in June 1967 when 500,000 Arab troops amassed along its borders, and Arab leaders assured rapturous crowds in Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad that the Jewish state’s end was near; nor when Arab armies launched a surprise attack in 1973 on the holiest day of the year.

It wasn’t diaspora Jews who, in 1976, launched a daring raid to save Jews (Israelis and non-Israelis) held hostage in Uganda, by Palestinian and German terrorists, from execution.

It wasn’t diaspora Jews who, in 2002, fought a bloody house to house battle in Jenin – where Palestinians used bombs, grenades, booby-traps and machine guns to turn the camp into a war zone – to root out a terrorist infrastructure responsible for scores of suicide bombings during the 2nd Intifada. 

And, it wasn’t diaspora Jews who have had to absorb over 12,000 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel since 2002.

Like any democracy, Israel not only has a right to defend its citizens, but a moral obligation to protect its men, women and children from ongoing clear and present dangers.

The recent Israeli withdrawals from S. Lebanon and Gaza, 63 years of statehood – and certainly much of Jewish history – simply does not support this seemingly immutable belief in the efficacy of the assumption of good will. 

Yes, we certainly seek (and sincerely appreciate) your moral support in our ongoing battle against enemies waging a relentless cognitive and military war against our nation, and respect those who genuinely empathize with our plight but merely differ with us on how to successfully defend ourselves from such an onslaught.

However, we are not children.

Respectfully, when engaging in such criticism please attempt to avoid the hubris of believing that you alone possess the sechel, wisdom, and moral understanding necessary for peace which has somehow eluded Israeli citizens, scholars and even the most dovish statesmen for nearly 64 years.

After leaving politics, Yosef ‘Tommy’ Lapid, an Israeli journalist, politician and Holocaust survivor (who died of cancer at the age of 77) was appointed to head the Yad VaShem Memorial for the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

This is part of Lapid’s speech upon his appointment to Yad Vashem:

Six million of our dead speak to us from the earth. ‘We did not think’, they say to us, ‘that such a thing could come to pass. We trusted others’ benevolence…..We believed there was a limit to the madness. BY THE TIME WE AWAKENED FROM THESE DELUSIONS IT WAS TOO LATE.

Do  not follow in our footsteps. THE ENLIGHTENED WORLD COUNSELS US TO COMPROMISE, TO TAKE CHANCES IN THE NAME OF PEACE. And we ask the enlightened world, on Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance DAY, WE ASK ALL THOSE WHO PREACH AND MORALIZE TO US; What will you do if we take chances and make sacrifices and put our trust in you – and then something goes wrong, WHAT WILL YOU DO THEN, ask our forgiveness. say, WE were wrong, SEND BANDAGES, Open orphanages for the children who survive? pray that our souls rise to heaven?

As Lapid asked, and as I urgently repeat, what will WE do if your most stubbornly held assumptions about peace in the Middle East are dead wrong?

We have little room for error, and there is no nobility in victimhood.

Adam Levick

Jerusalem, Israel


20 replies »

  1. You’re absolutely right but it’s not going to stop them by telling them the truth. They’re not interested in it. Only in their agenda. Notice the latest from the UN and our ‘friends.’ The usual. Stop building ‘settlements’ in East Jerusalem and the ‘West Bank.’ Never a missive to the other side. Of course nothing else is happening in the world that could possibly engage them. Nothing like murder in Syria and Egypt. Only Israel engages them and enrages them. Parallel universe.

  2. Not only are they paternalistic, but their favored description of Israel is that it behaves like a small child that needs to be punished.

  3. Excellent Adam.

    Compromise as the West and Israel construes it is a non-starter with any Arab/Muslim entity and particularly not with the rabid Jew-hating PA and Hamas. They don’t understand the notion, much less what compromise requires from them long term. It would feel to them that they had lost and been shamed, because they had not triumphed overwhelmingly.

    Israel is foolish indeed if it believes that anything it concedes will advance peace. It may appear to do so, but remember that, according to sharia law Muslims are only allowed to be non-belligerent towards kufar for as long as it takes for Muslims to be strong enough to overpower them. We have seen this from Gaza.

    Prof Moshe Sharon, scholar of Islam says it very well at

    http://www.faithfreedom.org/articles/quran-koran/koran-contains-not-a-hint-at-peace/

    It’s a long article but well worth reading and Sharon’s arguments are persuasive because he is a scholar of excellent reputation who is not easily fooled. The following is particularly good advice to Israeli governments who may well fall victims to the cognitive egocentricity which makes them believe that Arabs/Muslim governments are really just like them and so can be reasoned with as if they were honest, decent people, as well as to the idiot leaders of Western governments who try to tell Israel what to do:

    “..If we become much stronger than them, they will have to postpone jihad again and again. They should feel our might; they should feel they
    can’t defeat us. Only then they will disarm even if the terms are not
    favourable for them.

    • I read and thoroughly enjoyed Wisse’s book, Jews and Power, and have indeed quoted from it in the past. I especially appreciate her observation that some Jews have, though years of exile, come to fetishize powerless, and see it as something approaching a requirement for Jewish virtue, and fail to see how such weakness inevitably goads our enemies.

  4. Indeed, Adam, and only followers of HaRav HaGadol Meir Kahane, Zt”L Hy”D, and his top follower in the UK, Jonathan Hoffman, yibadel le’chaim aroukim, know how to deal with these cancerous modern-day Hellenised Jews. Happy Chanukah all

  5. Personally, I don’t believe that the hubris that leftists purport to impose on Israel comes from a genuine feeling of concern for the state. Their allegiance is to the Left and what ever so-called “progressives” happen to deem “cause celebre.”

    It’s no different from the most phony politicians who tell whatever crowd they address as saying “I support your position.”

  6. Excellent letter Adam, but it is unrealistic to expect Israel (or any other country for that matter) to act unregarded or without reaction from the rest of the world, and frankly we should be grateful for that fact.

    I am in no way drawing parallels between Israel and Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa or the Balkan warlords, but personally I am glad that I live in a world that doesn’t accept extreme behaviour of this type and allow it to go unpunished (although of course it does just that in other cases, such as the massacres in Southern Sudan and the oppression in places like Iran, North Korea etc).

    While I agree absolutely with everything you say about Israel’s motives and would not want to suggest in any way that the world SHOULD intervene to prevent her from securing her people and her borders, but we cannot call for the world to support oIsrael’s position without allowing for the possibility that it will take the opposite stance.

  7. The beauty of Israel is that despite what the rest of the world thinks and does Israel will purely advocate for itself and own interests. @GoonerEll is right.

    Let’s not just use the stupid words of Tom Freidman to jump on the “You’re either with us or against us” band wagon.

    And never forget that Zionism was first dreamed by a reporter for a European left wing newspaper.

  8. We are oversensitive to criticism,we need to have a thicker skin like our enemies have.When you have someone called James Adler who not many heard of,and who dust books in the Harvard University Library writing in the Jerusalem Post telling us how to run our affairs,then it’s time to pull the plug on these people.

    They are not in the game,and yet they insist on calling the shots….Reminds us of eunuchs who can’t perform,yet know very well how it should be done……

  9. Adam–as a “Diaspora Jew” i would simply say “right on”! The sad truth of the matter is those who criticize Israel relentlessly and simultaneously ignore the brutality spawned by the Islamofascists, whether they hide behind the mantle of “tough love”, or “just don’t like some things the Israel government does…etc. etc.) won’t be persuaded by the compelling logic of this article.

    These people are clearly so far from reality and truth with their incessant Israel-bashing that they can be only either 1. Self-hating Jews e.g. the NY Times types like Friedman et. al.–“really folks, love me, I’m not that Jewish, really..”, or like Mearshimer and Walt, obvious antiSemites pure and simple.

    So given the deep-seated emotional need that these bigoted people are somehow fulfilling, don’t expect them to be persuaded by anything like facts.

  10. I would also like to add, that this paternalistic attitude of the left leaning group addressed in this article, is not just reserved for Israel, but seems to permeate all their positions from social to financial to political….alienating pretty much anyone who doesn’t completely agree with them.

  11. While I understand where you’re coming from, Adam, you could have made a better job distinguishing between self-righteous anti-Zionists and many diaspora Jews (and non-Jews) who support Israel. In fact, some of these “diaspora” Jews supporting Israel have much better understanding of the threat Israel faces than non-diaspora bien-pensant lefties in Israel who made one concession after another to Arabs, who withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza and who still refuse to learn their lessons. So, please, don’t tar all diaspora Jews with the same brush and don’t forget that some of your compatriots are more anti-Zionist than Tom Friedman (and can cause more damage too)

  12. Great stuff, as usual Adam! Just like there will always be the poor – there will always be Jews and non-Jews of the Thomas Friedman ilk; and even worse the Chomskys, Finklesteins and Kasrils (history is replete with such examples).

    Nevertheless, they need to be countered for the sake of spreading truth about Israel’s position in her on-going existential war against a ruthless and relentless enemy – even if the chances of changing their mindsets are negligible. They cannot be allowed to monopolize the field of public relations.

    However, most heartening and encouraging, is the growing phenomenon of an unapologetic, worldwide network of Jewish, Zionist and Christian groups, associations and monitors dedicated to advocacy on behalf of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state within the ancient boundaries of the Jewish homeland, according to biblical prophecy.

    CiF Watch is an indispensable component of that universal network. Well done and Yisher Koach!

  13. “May it get the virality it deserves.”

    Yes, I am sure that there are many Jewish Americans as well as Jonathan Freedland who achieve some sort of erotic frisson by shaming themselves as Jews. A complex issue I would imagine.

  14. Erotic frission? Yes that’s exactly it, DP. These self-possessed ASHamed Jews should not be tolerated. Only true Jewish leaders like HaRav HaGadol Meir Kahane, Zt”L Hy”D, and, yibadel le’Chaim Aroukim, his follower in perfidious Albion Jonathan Hoffman know how to deal with these cancerous, renegade, Theobald Jews and their helpers.

  15. If Gettalife can’t take his own advice he should at least learn to vary his monotonous diatribe. In the interests of helping this boring individual here is a thesaurus for him to use, so that even if he’s too limited to find something new to say he could at least use different words to say it. http://thesaurus.com/