April 20, 2012
The unique nature of Jew-hatred, and what this reveals about Iran
There are some, including General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who have argued that Iran is a rational actor, and could therefore be reasoned with because it’s leaders will ultimately act based on self-interest. Fareed Zakaria recently wrote that the policy of “containment”—which would allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons—could be effective against Iran, because they understand that if they launch a nuclear weapon, then their society will be destroyed by a reciprocal action by America or Israel. Mr. Zakaria has written that MAD—the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction—would work with Iran in the same way it did with the United States and the Soviets, and Pakistan and India. However, Mr. Zakaria, General Dempsey and others who argue Iran is rational, and will therefore act in predictable ways to further their self-interest, are dangerously naive, as those who have hated Jews throughout history have rarely acted in such a manner.
Anti-Semitism is particularly vicious and unique. During the Holocaust—the culmination of centuries of hate and persecution against the Jews—several distinct conditions were met that made it an unrivaled event of human suffering. It is unparalleled because of the Nazi’s goal to totally exterminate the Jewish people; the fact that being born Jewish was sufficient to be condemned to death; and because the slaughter of Jews had no political or economic justification (it was not a means to any particular end, just an end in itself). There have, of course, been terrible atrocities committed against many different peoples. However, only during the Holocaust were the three conditions mentioned above realized on such a grand scale. Hitler and the Nazis did not want to enslave or oppress the Jews; they wanted to exterminate the Jews (and this goal was almost accomplished).
The Japanese slaughter of the Chinese during World War II was especially brutal, but the Japanese did not seek to exterminate every living Chinese person. Rather, the Japanese had imperialist desires. The Turkish genocide against the Armenians at the beginning of the 20th century was also terrible—but it was the result of rebellions and battles between the two sides, whereas the Jews were at war with no one. America’s persecution of blacks, by way of slavery in the early years of our Republic, is an awful stain on American history. However, the Jews of Europe would have been blessed had they only been enslaved by the Germans (It is important to note that I do not seek to trivialize the very real suffering of other groups throughout history, but rather to illustrate the unique nature of Jewish suffering and why this is relevant today).
Another reason for the uniqueness of Jewish persecution in history is because of its blind, disproportional and irrational nature. In the recent past we see the disproportionate amount of negative attention Israel has received at the United Nation, while other true calamities are ignored. The U.N. did nothing to curb the Soviet aggression in Afghanistan, the Cambodian genocide, and the massacre of civilians in Uganda, yet finds time to pass resolutions condemning Israel for building apartments. Does this make any sense? Why does a democratic state the size of New Jersey, surrounded by so much tyranny and hate, get an overwhelming amount of the world’s attention and criticism?
Moreover, throughout history, the Jew’s enemies have consistently sought annihilation, even when this aim contradicted their basic self-interest. For example, why did Hitler try to exterminate 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 did Hitler let Germany’s war effort suffer so that he could murder every Jew in Europe. It makes no sense from a strategic standpoint. However, this illustrates perfectly the irrationality of Jew hatred—and this same thing is happening today.
We can see parallels of the Nazi’s actions with the Palestinians, and specifically Hamas, the Islamic terrorist group of Gaza. For the past 60 plus years, the Palestinians 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. It is for this reason—not because of “the occupation”—that the lives of the Palestinians have become so miserable.
How else can one explain Hamas using children as shields, or firing weapons from schools and hospitals, knowing that Israel will justifiably retaliate? How else can we explain the Palestinians encouraging their children to be suicide bombers in order kill Jewish children in Israel? If the Palestinians sincerely wanted a state of their own they could have had one in 1948, 2000 and 2008. However, every time Israel offered them a state, the Palestinians—ignoring their own self-interest—turned down the offer, usually responding with acts of terrorism and war.
David Horowitz has discussed at length how the irrational and unique nature of Jew hatred is manifest with the Palestinians. He says that when the Jews unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in 2005 (an amazing gesture for peace that many people have seemingly forgot about) they left behind their very successful and hi-tech horticulture industry, comprised of greenhouses and irrigation systems. As a gesture of peace and goodwill, this infrastructure was given to the Palestinians to help benefit their society. But then, on the day the Israeli troops left Gaza, Hamas took control and destroyed the greenhouses and irrigation systems—an industry that accounted for 10% of Gaza’s GDP. Why did the Palestinian leadership do this? One would think that a society that we so often hear is undergoing a “humanitarian crisis” would be so grateful for anything to benefit their society. But again, we see how the blind hatred of the Jews supersedes all other fundamental goals of survival. 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.
If the Palestinians would abandon their bloodthirsty desire to destroy Israel, marginalize the terrorist elements in their society, and make peace with a willing Israel, they could have a vibrant, prosperous society. Gaza is right on the coast of the Mediterranean, a beautiful location that would attract foreigners in the same way as Israel, if the Palestinians would just focus on building their society, rather than on killing Jews. But so far, contempt of the Jews seems to consume their lives.
With this historical—and current—example of the irrationality of Jew hatred, why does anyone think the leadership of Iran would act in a rational manner? This is a country led by a man—Mahmoud Ahmedinejad—who openly calls for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” while he denies the existence of the Holocaust. Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons because there is a real possibility that they will use them against the Jewish State of Israel—despite the consequences and apparent irrationality of such an act—to finish what Hitler started. If the Palestinians and the Nazis sacrificed self-interest to destroy the Jews, why wont Ahmedinejad do the same? Fareed Zakaria, and others who argue Iran is self-interested and can be contained through the policy of MAD, must explain why this anti-Semite is rational, while so many others are demonstrably not.
Sammy Levine is the Associate Producer PJTV, he can be reached at email@example.com.
JewishJournal.com is produced by TRIBE Media Corp., a non-profit media company whose mission is to inform, connect and enlighten community