Anti-Semitism is a unique hatred. Throughout history, the Jews have dealt with adversaries not interested in territorial or economic gain, but genocide. This hatred manifests itself in irrationality and the absence of self-interest.
Take the Nazis, for example. Why did Hitler try to annihilate the Jews during WWII? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to use the Jews as slave labor, to build weapons and other items to help win the war? Instead of fighting the Russians in the East or the English and Americans in the West, thousands of able German soldiers were occupied murdering Jewish woman and children. Forget about the transparent moral disgust of the Holocaust for a second, and ask yourself why—from a strategic standpoint– did Hitler let Germany’s war effort suffer so that he could murder every Jew in Europe? This perfectly illustrates the irrationality of Jew-hatred—and this same thing is happening today.
We can see parallels of the Nazi’s actions with the Palestinian Arabs, and specifically Hamas, the Islamic terrorist group of Gaza. For the past 60-plus years, the Palestinian Arabs have ignored self-interest and have subverted every serious offer of peace from the Israelis because of their irrational lust to destroy the tiny Jewish state. The Palestinian Arabs have no one but themselves to blame for their problems.
How else can one explain Hamas waging war on an Israel that is light years ahead of the terrorist organization militarily? How else can one explain Hamas using civilians as shields, or firing weapons from schools and hospitals, knowing that Israel will justifiably retaliate? How else can one explain much of the Arab world’s obsession and hatred of a tiny country in its midst the size of New Jersey? If the Palestinian Arabs sincerely wanted a state of their own they could have had one in 1937, 1947, 2000 and 2008. However, every time they were offered a state, the Palestinians Arabs—ignoring their own self-interest—turned down the offer, usually responding with acts of terrorism and war.
Again, we see how the blind hatred of the Jews supersedes all other aspects of life. It is this kind of irrational hatred that would cause a minister of Hamas to proclaim to the Jews: “We desire death like you desire life.” He’s right.
This reveals an inconvenient truth for us all.
How can Israel defeat an enemy which declares victory after much of its infrastructure is destroyed in the war and large numbers of its citizens are killed? How can there be peace with an enemy such as this? Pundits, U.N. officials, politicians, and world leaders are all searching for a solution to the ongoing Arab war against Israel. But what sort of accommodation can be reached with an enemy that is not self-interested?
Perhaps, at this point, the best Israel can do is live by the sword. Perhaps, every few years, Israel is going to have to remind its enemies that the Jews will not walk to the slaughter again, and will defend themselves. Perhaps, at this point, the best Israel can do is maintain control of Judea and Samaria so it is not overrun by terrorists, and used as a launching pad for rockets.
This is not a politically correct notion, and may offend those who are certain peace is just around the corner if only Israel does more to appease the Palestinian Arabs. But we all need to be mature and rational, unlike Israel’s enemies, about what to expect in the coming years.
Israel cannot make peace with an entity that calls for its destruction and the annihilation of world Jewry. Israel cannot make peace with an entity that teaches its children that the most honorable achievement is to die while engaging in Jihad against Jews. Israel cannot make peace with an entity that puts killers of Jews up on the highest pedestals.
This is a tough pill to swallow. But it’s the truth.
Nevertheless, as during the last 65 years, Israel will continue to thrive. Israel will continue to be a good, generous country that sends so many of its experts to help other countries undergoing natural disasters. Israel will continue to invent life-saving medical devices. Israel will continue to advance technological breakthroughs. Israel will continue to treat its Arab citizens better than any of the surrounding Arab countries treat its own citizens. Israel will continue to be a beacon of hope and freedom amidst violence and hatred.
For those of you interested in genuine peace in the Middle East—not the meaningless signing of a piece of paper declaring as much–the best course of action is to promote a reformation of Islam, and to encourage the Palestinian Arabs to reform their society, and purge it of anti-Semitism. Only then will there be a chance for peace.
Sam Levine is the Executive Director of the Zionist Organization of America’s Western Region. He can be reached at SLevine@ZOA.org.