A couple of weeks ago, Vice President Kamala Harris visited George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, to speak about the importance of voting. During her lecture, a student commented that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians, to which VP Harris nodded in apparent agreement and said that the student should not suppress “her truth.” The next day, Harris apologized and said she does not believe Israel is committing genocide. It was too late; the impact of her nod had already gone viral and created backlash. The question is not whether Harris is or is not antisemitic, but rather to what extent her gesture represents the position of her party and country. The answer, in my opinion, is that her nod represents them quite sincerely. It is her apology that’s spurious, not her gesture to the student.
A government does only what serves the interest of its country, or at least its ruling party. There are no friends in politics. In Israel, we used to think of America as our greatest friend and ally. But that was only our perspective, not the perspective of America. In truth, Israel matters to no one. The world would readily be rid of us if it only could.
For example, look at what is happening with the Labour Party in the UK. A day before Harris’ talk with the students at George Mason, UK’s Labour Party passed a motion that defined Israel as an “apartheid state.” Here, too, the Labour adopted a position that serves its interest. The UK is flooded with Arabs, the influence of Arab countries is very dominant in the UK, and the Labour Party needs the Arab constituency. Therefore, it is in its interest to declare that Israel is an apartheid state.
Not only countries, but even worldwide Jewry is turning against Israel. Among young American Jews, about half, if not more, would prefer that Israel would not exist, and the number of anti-Israel Jews is only growing.
But things will not change in Israel’s favor before we, in Israel, change ourselves for the better. People will not like us before we like each other; it’s just how it works.
The reason that the people of Israel have survived for millennia is that there is a purpose to our existence. Our nation consists of members of countless nations who formed a nation that believed in a revolutionary ideology. Thousands of years ago, those representatives joined Abraham’s group because they believed in his message of mercy and unity of all people above differences. German-Israeli historian Yitzhak Baer wrote in his book A History of the Jews in Christian Spain, that “Inwardly, Israelite society was founded upon the fundamental qualities of simplicity, brotherhood, and love.”
Because our nation consists of “representatives” of other nations, the world feels it has a “stake” in us, that it has a right to tell us what to do and demand of us to set a good example, which it does not demand of any other nation. This “double standard,” which is the principal indicator for “detecting” antisemites, is engrained in the core of every non-Jew on Earth.
This is why as long as we cannot tolerate each other, the world will not tolerate us. Since our hatred for each other has been intensifying for decades, so has the world’s hatred for us. Abraham Foxman, former national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), aptly defined Israel as “the Jew among the nations.” Accordingly, the nations will relate to us as humanity relates to Jews: When we are united, there is affection and appreciation for Israel. When we are divided, the world despises us and wants to do away with us.
Because our ancestors come from many nations, when we detest each other, we unwittingly infuse this hatred in all those nations of our ancestors. This is why the nations blame us for spreading hatred, causing war, and why they demonize us. However, if we relate to one another positively, it percolates to the rest of the world. In that case, as much as they despise and hate us now, they will appreciate and love us then.
Therefore, we should not expect non-Jews, including Vice President Harris, not to hate us as long as we are hateful toward each other. They cannot help it. Through our love or hate for one another, we determine how humanity feels toward us, and through our love or hate for one another, we determine whether love and peace, or hatred and war, prevail around the world.
Vice President Kamala Harris visits a political science class to commemorate National Voter Registration Day at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.