It would be nice if the role play might cease for a moment in the Arab-Israeli dialogue. Perhaps then an answer would come to my question about what motivates a person like Sultan to come forth? Is she just a Zionist tool or, according to Time Magazine, one whose power, talent or moral example is transforming our world? In truth, I cannot understand the objection to the argument she offers, particularly from a human rights perspective as I understand it to be. Indeed, I see her as a proponent of human dignity.
Which brings me to look at another woman, one not of the Middle East, but the Left. Her name is Pilar Rahola, and she is a Spanish Catalan journalist, writer, and former Member of Parliament, and member of the far Left.
On December 16, 2009 she gave a talk she called, Jews with Six Arms, which raised another set of questions for those activists that call call themselves pro-Palestinian. Or are they just anti-Israel?
Rahola laments the state of the environment when it comes the Arab-Israeli conflict:
The problem that those of us who do not demonize Israel have, is that there exists no debate on the conflict.She says we throw slogans, not information, full of prejudices, propaganda and simplification. One cannot sway from universal idea of criticizing Israel without risk to become suspect and unfaithful to the cause. Why?
To adherents of the anti-Israel Left, she asks:
Why, of all the conflicts in the world, only this one interests them?
Why is a tiny country which struggles to survive criminalized?
Why does manipulated information triumph so easily?
Why are all the people of Israel, reduced to a simple mass of murderous imperialists?
Why is there no Palestinian guilt?
Why is Arafat a hero and Sharon a monster?
Finally, why when Israel is the only country in the World which is threatened with extinction, it is also the only one that nobody considers a victim?The question about Palestinian guilt is certainly apt considering the aftermath of the Gilat Shalit release in exchange for 1,027. I commend this blog at CiF Watch for context: Shalit after Hamas captivity vs Palestinian terrorists after Israeli incarceration: A visual/moral contrast.
Rahola's last question is the most critical, however. Why is Israel not entitled to the same victim status that would most assuredly be accorded if it was not Israel?
As it affects her questions, she understands and articulates effects of antisemitism.
Just as it is impossible to completely explain the historical evil of anti-Semitism, it is also not possible to totally explain the present-day imbecility of anti-Israelism. Both drink from the fountain of intolerance and lies. Also, if we accept that anti-Israelism is the new form of anti-Semitism, we conclude that circumstances may have changed, but the deepest myths, both of the Medieval Christian anti-Semitism and of the modern political anti-Semitism, are still intact. Those myths are part of the chronicle of Israel.
She also raises the matter of Islamic antisemitism that "contaminates more than 1,400 million people, who are educated, massively, in hatred towards the Jew."
The anti-Israel Left remains oblivious to the fundamentalist and supremacist (racist) totalitarian strain within present day Islam that impedes ethical development and violently attacks the forces of Islamic moderation and toleration.
[It] uses the name of God to perpetrate the most terrible horrors: lapidate women, enslave them, use youths as human bombs. [...] If Stalinism destroyed the left, and Nazism destroyed Europe, Islamic fundamentalism is destroying Islam.Rather, it is too wrapped up in a narrative that seems too narrow and illusory.
That is why, when someone tries to go beyond the “single thought” of criticizing Israel, he becomes suspect and unfaithful, and is immediately segregated.Rahola shows the nexus between totalitarian movements and Jew hatred, an Orwellian dichotomy that we ignore at our peril.
Nothing seems strange. Jewish culture represents, as no other does, the metaphor of a concept of civilization which suffers today attacks on all flanks. The Jews are the thermometer of the world’s health. Whenever the world has had totalitarian fever, they have suffered. In the Spanish Middle Ages, in Christian persecutions, in Russian pogroms, in European Fascism, in Islamic fundamentalism. Always, the first enemy of totalitarianism has been the Jew. And, in these times of energy dependency and social uncertainty, Israel embodies, in its own flesh, the eternal Jew.So there you have it. Israel is embodies the eternal Jew, who remains an object of hate to far too many, grounded in an ugly history of persecution in new clothes, so much so that the community of states and the anti-Israeli activists are incapable of recognizing victim status.