How did Hitler convince a cultured people that Jews were evil? By analogy, we see it again.
Have we not asked ourselves: How did Hitler successfully promulgate the absolutely absurd idea that Jews were responsible for Germany’s defeat in WW I, which became the idea that Jews were subhuman, worthy of destruction? Even the worst anti-Semites over the previous centuries did not conceive of such an idea, however egregious and absurd their own religious, economic or cultural hatred of Jews was. The answer is: The Big Lie. It is counterintuitive. The more absurd the hatred, the more successful its implementation can be. Say it doesn’t make any sense, if you like; but it worked only too well.
We see another big lie emerging. It too is absurd. It, alas, might make the success of Hitler’s big lie much more understandable, for we see another big lie unfolding before our very eyes. It is not the same as Hitler’s big lie. It has not succeeded as Hitler’s did, though it aspires to. It does not find the Jewish people weak and stateless as did Hitler’s aggression against the Jewish people. The current big lie, gaining traction all around us, is this: Israel is an oppressor people. Israel is brutal. Israel is inhumane. The logical conclusion of this idea, which some are beginning to draw, is that Israel has no right to exist.
Where is the absurdity here? It is in its almost total contradiction to Israeli society. Israel is a society that contributes to the food supply, the water supply, the agricultural success, the medical healing of countless billions of people around the world, “punching way above its weight,” as they say. Israel is a society that internally is filled with countless agencies of chesed.
Israel is a society that, as Golda Meir famously said, must live with this moral dilemma: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing us, but we cannot forgive them for making us kill them.” Israel is a society that is forced, by virtue of the Palestinian rejection of its right to exist, to go to war, to defend itself, to isolate its enemies. It is ugly, it is not self-caused, it is unavoidable, it is not a reflection of the essence of Israel.
Israel is a society that is not perfect. It is a society that indeed contains a very small number of people who would harass and abuse Palestinians, if they could.
But the emerging big lie says otherwise. It says that Israel is inherently brutal, that Israel chooses to harm others, that Israel’s desire for peace is irrelevant, that Israel deserves only international punishment and isolation as a pariah state — either that, or destruction.
The new big lie says: Israel is evil.
This is the new anti-Semitism. The new absurdity. The new attempt to turn the counterintuitive into the reasonable and the plausible. This is the mindless, reflexive, anti-nuanced approach of enemies of Israel in most (not all) Muslim and Arab communities in the Middle East, as well as their supporters in the West — the entertainers who boycott Israel, the so-called activists who would boycott Israel if they could, the academics who defend freedom of inquiry until it comes to Israel, the Uber driver who kicks out pro-Israel passengers, the growing number of political enemies of Israel, whether on the left (as in Britain) or on the right (as in France).
The big lie. It has succeeded before. It is emerging again. Beware!
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