Op-ed: The incitement against Israel these days is reminiscent of the incitement against Jews in the 1930s. But there is a difference: This time, many Jews are joining the chorus of cries against the Jewish state.
We just celebrated Passover, the holiday of freedom. Democracy, human rights, freedom of speech, women’s equality, and the rule of law are the free world’s foundational principles. It seems we’ve reached the age of freedom. But something went wrong. Freedom of speech includes the right to spread lies. The liars have become, over time, much more efficient. If you repeat a lie a thousand times, it breaks through. If thousands of intellectuals, journalists, and politicians have said over the past decade that “Israel is the main source of violence in the world” – and they have – then the free(!) world’s opinion will lean towards believing that.
Rothschild Award recipient Professor Nathan Linial recently decried Israel’s fascistic turn during his acceptance speech. That was another sad moment in Israeli discourse. His statements weren’t different from those of other members of his social strata. Sometimes it seems that if you don’t say that “Israel is fascist” you may no longer count yourself among the ranks of the enlightened.
It’s easy to understand where Linial is coming from. It’s doubtful whether a day passes without the only paper he likely reads calling Israel fascist. When it has been written so many times, these are the results. And any silly statement by a minor MK turns into proof of this. After all, are there no fascists and anti-Semites in the British Parliament? Of course there are. The parliaments of Europe are filled with racist and fascist members such as George Galloway and David Ward. UKIP in Britain, the French National Front, and the Freedom Party of Austria are all bigger and more extreme than the Bayit Yehudi party in Israel.
Mosques and refugee centers are being burnt at higher rates in Europe, even in relative terms. And the Belgian prime minister, just last week, backed his interior minister after the latter said very harsh things about Muslims. The difference is that in Europe, these things are seen in their correct proportions. The press there is not slowly trickling the poisonous idea into the public’s mind that fascism has taken over the government.
And that is interesting, since Linial and his ilk, the movers and shakers, like comparing Israel to Germany of the 1930s. In Europe, it’s happening as part of the campaign of anti-Semitism. In Israel, it’s done in the name of enlightenment. History is indeed repeating itself. Almost everything Nazis said of Jews in the 1930s is being said today of the Jewish State by self-professed enlightened people. Back then, it was hatred, now it’s supposedly enlightenment. Nothing has changed.
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