By Ira Sharkansky
Letter from Israel 

Sound and fury, signifying ??


It is difficult to determine what is most offensive: the Jewish candidate for president condemning Israel’s actions, exaggerating by five times the deaths in Gaza during the military operation in 2014 without anything like an appropriate weighing of chronic attacks on Israel from Gaza; his emissary to Jews describing Gazans’ deaths as “murder”; or UNESCO’s resolution condemning Israel’s violation of Muslim holy places, without any consideration of their central place in Jewish history.

We shouldn’t forget the even greater offense to good sense among the Muslims, busy killing one another, justifying themselves with the ancient accusation of heresy.

Intra-Muslim madness is at one of its historic heights, marking them as a religious community stuck in the dark past, with fanaticism coupled with a primitive mode of politics, widespread poverty, and limited education. 

The political madness of Jews ganging up against Israel, is so off the scale of credibility as to provoke images of an unfortunate dressed in rags, pushing a shopping cart overflowing with belongings, and raving at invisible adversaries.

The best we can think about Sanders, et al, is Jewish guilt at success and excessive pity for the underdog. More likely, it reflects the egos of a politician and his wannabees feeling that they can climb on a hot issue, and damn the damage they’ll cause Israeli Jews.

UNESCO’s action may reflect the weight of the poor and miserable in the United Nations, a view that the U.S. is too big to attack, but its feisty little Jewish client is a convenient target.

Somewhat encouraging was the action of several Arab countries to remove from the draft resolution language indicating that the Western Wall is a Muslim site stolen by the Jews. 

On its surface, this suggests that politicking in the United Nations is in the league with the conventional nonsense of student politics, i.e., exciting resolutions producing nothing but noise. Between the lines, however, one can see indications of the muted approach to Israel apparent in other matters among Arab countries.

What we’re left with is several cheap shots at the Jews of Israel, with some of our American cousins joining the mob. We shouldn’t worry that this will derail the tangible accomplishments of Israel since 1948 or to provide for the Palestinians what they have demonstrated time and again they are unable to acquire for themselves.

Israelis can worry about animosity and occasional attacks, while scoring high on surveys of national contentment. We remind overseas Jews that there is a Zionist solution for the threats they feel. This country has struggled against enmity, preserved a high level of political and governmental quality, and has restrained itself from using anything close to its military capacity against those who attack it.

Condemnation ain’t fair, and the actions of anti-Israel Jews is more bizarre than threatening. But when have Jews been judged fairly? And when have we been free of those who turned against us?

Comments welcome.

Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus), Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem,


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