University of California, Berkeley, 2015
It was in that moment, during that conference, that I realized that every identity and every intersection of identity was to be welcomed and championed in progressive spaces – except mine. [Emphasis added.]
– Arielle Mokhtarzadeh
Read the statement by this Iranian American young Jewish woman, who attended a meeting at the University of California, Berkeley, my alma mater. The meeting was titled “Students of Color Conference,” which for 27 years was a “safe space” for progressive ideas. But no more. “Progressive” has come to mean leftist, and leftist has come to mean anti-Israel and arguably anti-Semitic.
Arielle Mokhtarzadeh went on:
…my history was denied, the murder of my people was justified, and a movement whose sole purpose is the destruction of the Jewish homeland was glorified. Statements were made justifying the ruthless murder of innocent Israeli civilians, blatantly denying Jewish indigeneity in the land, and denying the Holocaust in which six million Jews were murdered…
But this is nothing new. My father was born in the part of Poland ruled by the czar. Growing up, he saw notices for jobs or places at the university, each ending Kromye Yevrayev, “except Jews.” Unwilling to live under such an oppressive regime, my father came to the United States. He worked his way through school and eventually became a respected physician. If my father were here, he would be saddened by Mokhtarzadeh’s statement – but not surprised. He would nod his head and mutter, “Kromye Yevrayev.”
● People have a right to defend themselves – except Jews. Israel gave up the Gaza Strip, which then was used to launch over 4000 rockets at Israel. Israel was condemned for a “disproportionate” response. But what would the American response be if Mexicans in Tijuana fired 4000 rockets at San Diego? In fact, what is demanded of Israel is a disproportionately small response − or better still, none at all.
● Independent nations control their borders − except Jews (and recently, except Americans). When vans filled with illegal immigrants attempted to crash the border from Mexico, U.S. agents opened fire, wounding three in the vans and an innocent motorist. The U.N. did not call this “disproportionate.”
● After World War II, the Allies redrew the borders of Germany. Some Germans long for the return of eastern territory taken by Poland, but realists know that only winners of wars redraw borders – except Jews. Israelis were victorious in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973. But a four-to-nothing record does not entitle them to the rights normally accorded to victors. Why?
● Victors in struggles for independence are entitled to a homeland, as witness Ireland, India, Pakistan, and former Soviet provinces from Latvia to Kyrgyzstan. This principle applies to all peoples – except Jews. Israel was established in 1948, but maps printed in Arab nations still fail to show it.
● All peoples have a right to name the capital of their country – except Jews. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel since 1950. There the parliament meets, the supreme court sits, and the prime minister has his office. But the United States, like most nations, recognizes Tel Aviv as the capital, though it never was. Pakistan moved its capital from Karachi to Rawalpindi to Islamabad; no one complained, and nations dutifully moved their embassies. Israel keeps its capital as Jerusalem, and nearly everyone objects.
Imagine how Americans would feel if other nations refused to recognize Washington as our capital, and instead insisted on locating their embassies in Boston, which had never been our capital. We would feel – correctly – that other nations regarded Americans as their inferiors.
● No one questions whether Catholics should control the Vatican, or whether Muslims should control Mecca. Religious groups have a right to control their holy places – except Jews. Some insist that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem be under Muslim control, because the site also contains two mosques. Others push for U.N. control. But no one suggests that any other religion’s holiest site be under the control of others.
From 1948 to 1967, the Temple Mount was controlled by Jordan. No Jews were allowed, but the “world community” did nothing. Few cared about the Temple Mount until Israel took control, when it suddenly became a topic of keen interest.
● The French have reason to resent Germany, but they do not claim that Bach and Beethoven were French. All peoples are entitled to their history – except Jews. Hitler ridiculed the Old Testament as “Jewish chicaneries,” “Jewish filth and priestly twaddle,” and “Jewish mumbo-jumbo.” Now Hitler is quoted on Islamic websites.
Palestinian leaders claim there never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Are we to believe the ancient Romans who destroyed the Temple were Zionists, and that carvings on the Arch of Titus in Rome showing seven-branched candlesticks being carried off by Roman soldiers are bogus?
The pattern is clear: First deny that the Old Testament is genuine, then deny that Jews have a historical claim to live in their homeland, and finally deny that they have a right to live at all.
● England was settled by Normans, who displaced Saxons, who in turn had displaced Britons. The sad story of Native Americans is well known. It is accepted that most nations were settled by people who displaced the former inhabitants – except Jews. It ill-behooves those who displaced other peoples to condemn Israelis for displacing Palestinians.
● About 1.2 million Arabs live in Israel, a fact that is taken for granted. About 350,000 Jews live in the West Bank, a fact that causes major distress. Why? Many of them have lived there for decades. But the media describe them as “settlers,” not residents, living in “settlements,” not towns. (One pictures bearded miners in tents.) Turks live in Germany. Germans live in France. Koreans live in Japan. Even unpopular groups are allowed to live among other groups – except Jews.
The avowed aim of Muslim leaders is that “their” land be “cleansed” of Jews – judenrein the Nazis termed it. The model for “Palestine” − that is, all of Israel − is Gaza and Saudi Arabia, where there are no Jews. The map of “Palestine” in Abbas’ office includes all of Israel. Those who support the creation of a state where Jews are forbidden to live are racists.
● In 1947, India was split into largely Hindu India and largely Muslim Pakistan, which had never existed before. Millions of Hindus fled to India, and millions of Muslims fled to Pakistan. What occurred was seen as a tragedy, but as a mutual resettlement, not a unilateral expulsion.
Something similar occurred in 1948. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled from areas that became Israel. And hundreds of thousands of Jews fled from Muslim lands. As with India and Pakistan, what occurred was an exchange of populations. Yet one hears only about Palestinian refugees, never about Jewish refugees. Israelis are told they “stole the land,” but Pakistanis never are. Why?
● Hitler first wanted the Jews to leave, “…for all I care, on luxury liners.” But no nation wanted the refugees, except for a pitiful few. A Nazi newspaper gloated, “Nobody Wants Them.” Only then did the Nazis implement the Final Solution and exterminate every Jew they could.
Do all those who now insist that Israel accept responsibility for the refugees of 1948-1967 also agree to accept their responsibility for the refugees of 1940-1945? Of course not. Why is it that refugee status lasts long enough to impose obligations on Jews, but expires just in time to absolve anyone of obligations to Jews?
● If the nations had accepted Jewish refugees, there would have been no Holocaust – and probably no Israel. The descendants of those who fled from Hitler would now be living in America, Canada, Australia, Britain, and Russia. And with no Israel, there would be no Palestinian refugees. Those nations that turned their backs on Jewish refugees are thus indirectly responsible for Palestinian refugees − and in a poor moral position to make demands on Israelis.
● Americans who support claims by Palestinians would not give their property to Native Americans or Mexicans whose ancestors were dispossessed in years past, nor would Europeans give their homes or businesses to descendants of the Jews who lived there before the Holocaust. They do not hold themselves to the same standard.
Nobody is expected to give up his or her home or workplace to the descendants (or alleged descendants) of those who were dispossessed generations ago – nobody except Jews.
● Years ago, miners took canaries into mines. Canaries are sensitive to toxic gas, so if they died, the miners knew there was danger. Jews are like canaries. They are often the first to die – but never the only ones. This was true in the Nazi era, and it is still true in the era of Muslim extremism.
Terrorists bombed Israeli buses, markets, and pizzerias, and the world yawned. But then came 9/11, Madrid, London, Bali, Mumbai, Paris, Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, and San Bernardino. The world should have paid attention when the canaries started dying.
Will American-born Muslims teach foreign-born Muslims tolerance? Or will foreign-born Muslims teach American-born Muslims extremism? Right now, things don’t look promising.
To deny people the right to defend themselves is to imply that they do not deserve to live. When the dean of the White House press corps told the Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine” and go “home” to Germany and Poland, we knew that anti-Israel sentiment had morphed into frank anti-Semitism, and that anti-Semitism is again socially acceptable.
Universities sponsor anti-Israel conferences that lapse into anti-Semitism. Neville Chamberlain Obama sends 1.7 billion in cash to Iran, a leading sponsor of terrorism, while Iranian leaders threaten to wipe Israel off the map. Hamas denies Israel’s right to exist. Hezbollah proclaims it intends to murder every Jew on Earth. And again the “world community” yawns.
I can hear my father now: Kromye Yevrayev. Except Jews.
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