August 10, 2006

Proud self-hating Jew

Here's a response, in today's Independent, to the 2,000 years of suffering school of Jewish "thought" :
Sir: As a Jew (albeit a non-practising one) I am increasingly fed up with hearing about "2,000 years of persecution" culminating in the Holocaust (letters, passim), as if we are the only people on earth who have ever suffered, or that that somehow exempts us from conventional morality.

Other peoples have endured persecution for just as long and were killed in even greater numbers. Seventy million Chinese died under Mao's purges, 20 million Russians met a similar fate under Stalin; in America the legal segregation of blacks only recently ended, while in the Czech republic and elsewhere gypsies continue to be persecuted as they have been for centuries. As members of the world community, Jews (and Israel) must have no greater nor lesser standing than anyone else, and must be held to the same standards of behaviour.

Horrific as the Holocaust was, it occurred over two generations ago, and while it must never be forgotten, it is now time to relegate it to the past, where it belongs, so that it can no longer be used as justification for the dubious treatment of others. In so many cases the continuance of hatreds from the past is responsible for the conflicts of the present; witness the Shiite/Sunni split, which can be traced back 14 centuries.

And lest I be accused of being a "self-hating Jew", I am proud of my Jewish heritage; it is Israel's callous treatment of the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples that shames me.


I don't think that last paragraph will get him off the hook somehow. Here's a piece from a Guardian article detailing Maureen Lipman's view of Jews who criticise Israel.
Maureen Lipman, the actor and Guardian columnist, said she was contemptuous of "self-despising" British Jews who signed a petition by the Jews for Justice for Palestinians group this summer criticising Israeli government policy.
You criticise a state and it means you despise yourself? What kind of ideology would inspire such an inhuman notion?


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