Hat tip to Imre Herzog. You may have read the tweet exchanges by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic with leftist anti-Zionist columnists at Ha’aretz who call Israel, ‘evil’. Goldberg took both them and the publisher Amos Schocken to task for their bizarre commentaries. Ruthie Blum chronicled that in the Algemeiner yesterday. That prompted University of Washington professor Edward Alexander, author of Jews against Themselves and colleague Paul Bogdanor, author of Kasztner’s Crime to expose two America academics of similar evil intent who have published in Ha’aretz: Professor Dina Hasia of NYU and Professor Marjorie Feld on Babson College near Boston. They wrote a profile of both in an Algemeiner article appropriately entitled, “Jewish Apostates”for their hateful anti-Semitic anti-Israelism giving aid and comfort to the enemy of the Jewish nation. Note these scathing condemnations of both ‘apostates’:
Since the fury of Feld and Diner is aroused by Israel’s being a Jewish state, why do they not direct it also against Britain, a Christian state, with an official Protestant church, a Protestant monarch, and a Protestant state education system? Other self-declared Christian states with numerous non-Christian citizens include such progressive bastions as Denmark, Finland, Greece, and Norway. And let us not speak of all the states whose names begin with “Islamic Republic of…” or “United Arab…,” and who are among the most zealous supporters of such hate fests as “Israel Apartheid Week.”
Since Israel’s people have been under military as well as ideological siege throughout its existence, our professorial duo could hardly avoid the subject of atrocities. They deal with it, alas, just as one might have expected. Diner writes: “I abhor violence, bombings, stabbings, or whatever hurtful means oppressed individuals resort to out of anger and frustration. And yet, I am not surprised when they do so, after so many decades of occupation, with no evidence of progress.” Can these historians really be unaware that terrorism against Jews in the Jewish homeland began decades before the “occupation”? As Paul Berman observed about apologists of their ilk, “Each new act of murder and suicide testified to how oppressive the Israelis were. Palestinian terror, in this view, was the measure of Israeli guilt. The more grotesque the terror, the deeper the guilt…”
Feld and Diner are nothing if not frank. They do not even bother to hide the logical end-point of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Diner not only boycotts everything Israeli, but also many of her co-religionists in the Diaspora. “I feel a sense of repulsion,” she explains, “when I enter a synagogue in front of which the congregation has planted a sign reading, ‘We Stand With Israel.’ I just do not go and avoid many Jewish settings where I know Israel will loom large as an icon of identity.”
As genocidal fanatics build nuclear bombs in Iran; as Hezbollah arms itself with over a hundred thousand missiles in Lebanon; as men, women, and children are butchered with knives in Israel; as small children in a Jewish school and shoppers in a kosher deli are massacred in Europe; as synagogues and community institutions are fortified against the never-ending nightmare of Islamist violence throughout the world, the Israel-haters take pride in their own perfidy by shunning their fellow Jews.
“One who separates himself from the [Jewish] community” – by showing indifference when it is in distress – “has no share in the world to come.” So declared Maimonides, the greatest of all Jewish sages, in the twelfth century (Laws of Repentance, iii). But if this verdict seems too remote and old-fashioned for Diner and Feld, let them ponder the following, delivered at the height of the Holocaust: “The history of our times will one day make bitter reading, when it records that some Jews were so morally uncertain that they denied they were obligated to risk their own safety in order to save other Jews who were being done to death abroad” (Ben Halpern, Jewish Frontier, August 1943).
Last October, we published in the Iconoclast blog of the New English Review, a review of Alexander’s “Jews against Themselves” by Phoenix-based David Isaac, “Why are Jews against Israel”. the creator of the video education series, “Zionism 101”that appeared in the Washington Free Beacon. We wrote:
Isaac’s review of Alexander‘s collection of jeremiads, “The Enemy Within” published in today’s Washington Free Beacon excoriates these diverse ‘shadtlanim’ beyond the usual suspects. Isaac pays tribute to Alexander withering and acerbic wit in these essays. He writes:
Alexander describes “the new forms taken by Jewish apostasy in an age when Jewish existence is threatened more starkly and immediately than at any time since the Nazi war against the Jews.” He notes that there are always readers astonished to learn that Israel-bashing Jews exist. But precisely these home-grown haters are the ones who “play a disproportionate role in basic
Isaac notes Alexander’s theme threading his oeuvre defending Israel against the usual and not so usual suspects:
Alexander is a staunch defender of Israel, the foundation of which he calls one of the “few redeeming events in a century of blood and shame, one of the greatest affirmations of the will to live ever made by a martyred people, and a uniquely hopeful sign for humanity itself.” As an English professor at the University of Washington, he wrote books on moral exemplars of the Victorian period like Matthew Arnold. He could have remained in his ivory tower, but instead he has delved into the muck. With pen in hand—happily Alexander is a superb writer and wields a very sharp pen—he has taken apart Israel’s enemies in books ranging from The Jewish Idea and Its Enemies to The Jewish Wars to The State of the Jews and The Jewish Divide Against Israel.
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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.