One of the things that election campaigns in Israel highlight is self-hatred. Some parties in the Israeli parliament are overtly and explicitly anti-Zionist. That is, they oppose the very existence of the Jewish state. The fact that they even exist proves more than anything the freedom of expression that exists in Israel, but what is truly unique is the fact that there are quite a few Jews among the leaders of these parties. They support terrorists and terrorism, deny Israel’s right to defend its civilians, mourn the loss of every terrorist, and do not mourn the death of unarmed civilians in terrorist attacks.
In any other country, they would be considered traitors. In Israel, they continue to express themselves freely and openly in the name of free speech, and the State of Israel does not feel it has the right to stop them.
For Jews, this type of self-hatred is nothing new. In the days of the Third Reich, some Jews were just as avid about the Nazi ideology as the German Nazis. In the days of the Spanish Inquisition, there were Jews and former Jews who personally persecuted Jews. In the days of the Great Revolt, the commander of the Roman army that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple was Jewish, and the list goes on and on.
Self-hatred goes hand in hand with Judaism from its inception because the Jewish people were founded in order to correct the world. We invented the term Tikkun Olam (correction of the world), and to this day, we debate over its meaning. That is, we still feel that we must partake in the correction of the world, but we are unsure as to how we should go about it, or what correction of the world even means.
When a Jew hates Jews, it is not so much hatred for the Jews, as it is denial of one’s personal responsibility, an attempt to avoid the obligation to partake in the correction of the world.
However, just as Prophet Jonah could not run away from his vocation to save the gentile city of Nineveh, the Jews cannot escape from their vocation to save the world. The Book of Jonah became the centerpiece of the closing prayer on the Jewish Day of Atonement precisely in order to remind us of our calling.
The nations, for their part, hate us because they feel dependent on us. This is why they blame us for their woes. They may not understand how we are meant to ease their hardships, but they sense that it is our responsibility.
They are right; their woes are our responsibility. Tikkun Olam depends on our behavior. However, it does not depend on our behavior toward them, but toward each other. We did not become a nation until we pledged to love each other “as one man with one heart.” Only once we accomplished this, we were tasked with being “a light to the nations.”
In other words, all we have to do is unite among us as one man with one heart, and that will make us a light to the nations. Our responsibility to the world is to unite among ourselves.
As our history of self-hatred proves, this is far easier said than done. The last thing we want is another episode of Jews slaughtering Jews, as it happened in Jerusalem before the Jewish commander of the Roman army marched in to finish the destruction of the city.
Yet, we cannot escape our calling. Jew-hatred exists because Jews hate each other. When Jews turn away from Jews and toward their enemies, it does not appease our enemies; it intensifies their hatred even more because by hating each other and loving our enemies, we move further away from unity and deeper into division. Our only escape from antisemitism is internal unity. The cure for antisemitism does not lie in anything other than in Jews curing their hatred for each other.
#antisemitism #jews #selfhatred
A woman holds an anti-Zionist sign in front of the Israeli consulate in Manhattan. Hostilities between Israel and Hamas escalated overnight, with 35 Palestinians killed in Gaza and 5 in Israel in the most intensive aerial exchanges for years. Central Israel was hit by a massive wave of rocket fire from Gaza, shortly after Hamas warned of a barrage on the Tel Aviv area if the IDF did not halt airstrikes that hit civilian buildings within the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, 300 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip within 18 hours. Hamas is designated as a terrorist group by the US and EU. (Photo by Ron Adar / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
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