Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor in the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) into possible “war crimes” against Israel, promised that the investigation “will be conducted independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.” Right. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out, the ICC, which was established to prevent atrocities like the Holocaust from happening again, is now coming after the Jewish state. Instead of genuine impartiality, “It turns a blind eye to Iran, Syria and the other dictatorships that are committing real war crimes left and right,” said Netanyahu. As always, the easiest way to expose antisemitism is to look for double standards, and in this case, it couldn’t be more patent.
Yet, anyone who knows me, or who has read my books, The Jewish Choice, and Like a Bundle of Reeds, will not be surprised if I express no grievances against antisemites or the existence of antisemitism. In fact, I fully understand where it is coming from and I treat it as a natural phenomenon and a call to action rather than as an unwarranted accusation against my people.
I am not in the least surprised that the world judges us by a different standard than it judges the rest of the nations. They expect something different from us and judge accordingly. We may state that we are the same as everyone else, that we are no different from any other nation, but no one believes this declaration, and deep down, neither do we.
Instead of complaining about the world’s double standard against the Jews, we should see it as both a compliment and a challenge. They expect us to be more righteous than everyone else, more ethical than everyone else, and when we fail their test, they accuse us of crimes against humanity.
We try to be righteous and ethical but the world does not believe us. It is wrong, of course; no army is more careful with human rights violations than the Israeli army, but no one believes us, and for a good reason: This ethical conduct is unreliable for a very simple reason—the way we treat each other. We first have to learn how to relate to one another, and then the world will listen to our arguments about being virtuous. They see in our treatment of each other a testimony to our wickedness, and they will not believe a word we say in court before we act out who we profess to be.
Let me ask you this: Would you trust someone who you knew was mean to his own brother, stole from his own sister, framed his own parents in order to put his hands on their money and property, and then told you he’s a good person? No, you wouldn’t, and rightly so. This is how the world sees us Jews—as a band of warmongers stealing from each other, cheating on each other, betraying one another, while pretending to be harmless and innocent. In their eyes, we are guilty before the trial at the ICC even started, and it makes no difference what we will say in our defense.
If we want to win the world’s favor, we have to stop treating each other with such guile and odium. We have to stop hating one another or the world will not stop hating us.
They know we are smart; they know we are able; and they know what we have contributed to the world. However, they also know that they cannot trust us because they see how we treat one another. If we want fair treatment anywhere, we must start by doing so among ourselves, and then we will begin to see the world changing its approach toward us.
For more on this topic, read my books The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord, and Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour.
[Reuters: ICC Public Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda]