State of the Nation

The storm clouds are gathering as the Palestinians – or at least those represented by Mahmoud Abbas – are threatening to go to the UNSC in September and ask for recognition as a state and full membership. If they do and receive UN backing without US veto, future negotiations are likely to become more difficult, protracted and possibly violent. 

It might be interesting to speculate what the Jews of the Diaspora are likely to make of this. A walk around Le Marais brings one up against all forms and species. Orthodox Jews, non-orthodox, gays, gay Jews, Jewish gays, black Jewish gays…you get the picture. Love them or hate them, they’re here. Wherever the Jews have gone, they have both insulated themselves theologically and often geographically yet societally they have assimilated and learned from their new cultural homes. I’m no fan of Christopher Hitchens, despite his formidable logical grasp and razor-sharp intellect, but he did write something quite profound which illustrated the nature of anti-Semitism perfectly.

“It’s logically fallacious to suggest this but anti-Semitism has flourished without banking or capitalism (for which Jews were at one time blamed) and without Communism (for which they were also blamed). It has existed without Zionism (of which leading Jews were at one time the only critics) and without the state of Israel. There has even been anti-Semitism without Jews, in states like Malaysia whose political leaders are paranoid demagogues looking for a scapegoat. This is enough to demonstrate that anti-Semitism is not a mere prejudice like any other. The chief impetus of anti-Semitism remains theocratic, and in our epoch anti-Semitism has shifted from Christian to Muslim: a more searching inquiry into its origins and nature might begin by asking if faith is not the problem to begin with.”

The Jews’ chief crime against those who hate them is the book of Genesis, in which they discovered the indelible sense of shame attendant on man’s recognition of the moral universe.   That universe takes its inescapable authority from the goodness of its creator.  And whether people  are calling Jews Christ-killers (as in, “They did it, not us!”), or culture polluters (as in “Without them, we’d be free of religion.”) or the secret rulers of the world (“It’s not God at all – it’s them!”), it’s possible that the people who feel they hate Jews actually hate God.  And they hate God because, in the light of his goodness, they hate themselves.

2 thoughts on “State of the Nation

  1. Profound. I'm sure as events unfold you'll have more, equally erudite commentary to add. I shall have a response, I'm sure.

    P.S. It sounds a bit like you hang out with psychologists.


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