When a friend informed the late comedian Alan King, that he had converted to Judaism, King characteristically replied-“Congratulations. You’re now entitled to 2000 years of retroactive persecution.” This was illustrated just last week by a little reported incident that occurred at the recently concluded Olympics. A weight lifting competition in the first round pitted an Israeli athlete against an Egyptian. The Israeli won, and extended his arm to shake the Egyptian’s hand, as is customary in all Olympic competitions, but the Egyptian refused to shake the hand of a Jew. Even though Israel has diplomatic relations with Egypt, and even though the professed Olympics goal is to promote peace, harmony, goodwill and friendship among all participating nations through sports competition. It further illustrates how an all-consuming hatred toward Jews among all Arab counties and citizens in the Mid-East is virtually universal, and largely accounts for the reason that almost all Arab countries are such a basket case upon the world stage. As I’ve stated before, hate hollows out the container it’s kept in, from the inside out.
Hatred in the Mid-East, not only toward Israel, but also toward fellow Arabs through sectarian rivalries is as common as sand in Saudi Arabia. All Arab nations (with the possible exception of the Emirates and Saudi Arabia) are total economic and social disaster areas. A place where Islamic Jihadist terror groups thrive like weeds in an unkempt garden. Where economic living conditions are barely sustainable, and yet, are on an unstoppable downhill slide. Where ideological obsessions trump all standards of decency and rationality. For not only is there an all-consuming hatred toward Jews, but a similar type of bigotry exists between the Shia and Sunni factions of Islam, even though there are only minor ideological differences between the two sects. And, of course, you have Iran, a non-Arab but fanatical Moslem state whose ayatollahs routinely threaten to wipe Israel off the map. Which is a distinct possibility since Iran has supposedly armed Hezbollah, a devoutly terrorist organization located in Lebanon, with as many as 100 thousand missiles, all aimed at Israel.
And then, of course, there is the Palestinian problem. The Palestinians want their own nation consisting of the West Bank and Gaza. The problem is how to exist side-by-side with a people seeking your total destruction. The Gaza Strip is now all Palestinian, but is ruled by the terrorist organization known as Hamas. There have been at least 3 wars between Israel and Hamas, who is quite willing to sacrifice the lives of their people by the thousands, if it leads to resultant Israeli deaths. And a fourth war seems to be on the horizon. In the supposedly more moderate West Bank, Arab “martyrs” are given special places of honor in Palestinian society. “Martyrs” who have stabbed to death unarmed Israeli civilians peacefully going about their business. Who have murdered babies in their cribs, and recently stabbed to death a 13 year old Israeli girl sleeping in her bed. Whose very charter calls for the total destruction of the nation of Israel. Yes, Israeli settlements on the West Bank have dramatically complicated the task of those seeking a two state solution. My feeling is, however, that you cannot have a two-state solution when there is such huge enmity on both sides of the fence. Only a one state solution is possible, but that won’t happen until the level of hatred among both Jews and Moslems subsides. It will probably take another couple of hundred years or so through the evolutionary process for all this hate to run its course.
When Israel was first formed shortly after WWII, surrounding Arab nations immediately declared war and sought destruction of the Jewish state, but Israel prevailed. In the years after, while Israel began to thrive, while most surrounding Arab nations saw their economies and cultures go steadily downhill. In the past 70 years, the Arab world rid itself of over 900,000 of its Jewish citizens, but still held onto its hatred of them. Over that period this hatred has proved fatal to Arab society. A combination of lost human capital, ruinously expensive wars, and mis-directed ideological obsessions have taken a huge toll on most Arab nations in the Mid-East. And yet the beat goes on, unabated, with no end in sight.
Of course, the entire spectacle of anti-semitism began in Europe, shortly after the death of Jesus, when the Roman Empire drove most Jews out of their homeland, with many migrating to various European countries. It wasn’t long after, that the Catholic Church in Rome began labeling Jews as “Christ killers” thereby setting off a wave of pogroms and bigotry against a small minority of each country’s inhabitants. Never mind the irony of the fact that Jesus was a Hebrew Rabbi, and that all his disciples were Jews, and that Christianity didn’t exist when Jesus strode this planet. And it wasn’t just Catholic bigotry. Martin Luther, who launched the Protestant movement in the 15th century, was rabidly anti-semitic, and posted many writings on church doors, expressing his virulent hatred toward Jews. And, of course, the hit parade of violence against Jews would not be complete without mention of the Spanish Inquisition, during which Jews were burned at the stake in order to purify their souls for entrance into Heaven. One could even make a cogent argument that the Holocaust could never have taken place if Europeans had not been injected with the anti-semitic virus over nearly 2000 years. After all, it took hundreds of thousands of European bureaucrats to provide the logistics, trains and bodies that enabled Nazi death camps to function so efficiently.
After WWII, anti-semitism in Europe was pretty much forced to retreat into the shadows but never really disappeared. Today, Jew haters in Europe now feel free to come out into the open, and express their enmity toward “Zionists” as if that was any different than anti-semitism. The United States is probably the only friend Israel has left in the world today. One can only wonder how long that will likely last.