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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Who the hell is Roman Bronfman, and why was he elected?

And how can he possibly blame the Jews for antisemitism?
Sometimes I get discouraged about making aliyah to Israel, like when I read this, written by a Minister of the Knesset. "Fanning the flames of hatred,"- published at Haaretz -
Another day of Jewish victims somewhere in the world, and this time in a terrible attack on synagogues in Istanbul. The number of violent incidents worldwide against anything identified with the State of Israel and the Jewish people no longer leaves any doubt that this is a real wave.

Even a quick glance at the newspapers in recent weeks indicates the worrisome change in world public opinion: Israel as a symbol - and Jews, in general - have been transformed from the helpless victims of the Nazi extermination machine into "the most dangerous country to world peace," as defined by the latest European Union Commission survey. This was a problematic survey from a structural point of view, so I shall reword the statement - Israel has become the most hated nation in the world.

How can this hatred toward us be explained, particularly in the developed European states? And why is it being expressed specifically now, and with such intensity? At first, Israel officially assumed that these were only marginal expressions of radicalization toward Israel. But when the waves of hatred spread and appeared on all the media networks around the world and penetrated every home, the new-old answer surfaced: anti-Semitism.

After all, anti-Semitism has always been the Jews' trump card because it is easy to quote some crazy figure from history and seek cover. This time, too, the anti-Semitism card has been pulled from the sleeve of explanations by the Israeli government and its most faithful spokespeople have been sent to wave it. But the time has come for the Israeli public to wake up from the fairy tale being told by its elected government.

The rhetoric of the perpetual victim is not a sufficient answer for the question of the timing. Why all of a sudden have all the anti-Semites, or haters of Israel, raised their heads and begun chanting hate slogans? Enough of our whining, "The whole world is against us."

After all, every country first takes care of its national interests and no other country has to be included among the fans of the Zionist effort. The time has come to look at the facts and admit the simple but bitter truth - Israel has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the world and we are guilty for what has happened. This generalization is a bit harsh for me, so I will be more precise - not all of us, but our government. Even though I am absolutely certain that each one of its ministers really wants what is best for the country, the government is mistaken and is bringing calamity upon us.

The government is mistaken because it is conducting a destructive policy. No government in Israel has succeeded in solving the tragedy of the two peoples - the occupier and the occupied. Governments have had 36 years to do this, and no government has figured out how to be rid of the territories.

But this government, which Prime Minister Ariel Sharon heads, has brought the Palestinians' despair to new depths. Considering the criticism of the international community, there is only one nation left that insists on believing in the government's path - the Jewish nation, which backs up the government's actions time after time.

Where do we get our pretentiousness for such sympathy at a time when the Sharon government is conducting an unethical and inhumane policy? This is the answer to all the surveys that have been published around the world lately. This is the answer to all those "anti-Semitic" statements that have been voiced lately. This is the answer to all the arsons, the murders and the terror attacks we have suffered.

The Jewish people, who went through a Holocaust just decades ago - a short moment in historical terms - must not oppress another people and deny them their rights and any shadow of hope for a future. We must not be blinded by the unrestrained support from "Uncle Sam" - even the United States is being run by a radical, aggressive government that is, therefore, also failing.

It is this government that entangled the "leader of the free world" in an unnecessary and painful war, and this government is responsible for the erosion of America's status in the world.

True, the roots of anti-Semitism are planted very deeply in the culture and history of Christian Europe. It is also reasonable to assume that even the ideas of the liberals, who wanted to sever ties with traditional nationalism, will be unable to pull out these roots. But if anti-Semitism was until now found exclusively in the extreme political fringes, Israel's continued policy of the cruel occupation will only encourage and fan the spread of anti-Semitic sentiments.

From this, I conclude that if Israel wants to be embraced by the family of nations as a full member, it must learn how to behave according to the accepted rules around the world - rules of ethics, fairness and justice.

If you are an enemy of Israel, you call it "the Zionist entity." If you are a lefty Euro-appeasement groupie, you call it "the Sharon government." (Jimmy Carter did that constantly in his interview with Charlie Rose.) It's a transparent effort to delegitimize that government by pointing up its transience, and separating it from that which it represents. I am ashamed for this author. Bronfman should take off his kippah, if he owns one, and move to France. And take Haaretz.com with him.