Resurgence of an Old Familiar Sentiment

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“The Holocaust gave the Jewish people a fifty year respite from antisemitism. I am afraid it is back again”.

—Eliot Cohen,  Renowned Author, Scholar and Professor at the SAIS school at John Hopkins.

Hatred. Sheer, unadulterated, potent hatred.  It is back again, in full force, and it is directed against my people in an alarming and accelerated rate.  Whenever I rise in the morning and open up the morning papers, I grow sick with fear.

I see it crossing over into all spheres of society, in all corners of the globe. These are just a few highlights, (or should I say “lowlights”), that have occurred this week, where it has left its malodorous trail:

It is coming out of the gentrified classes in the Academy, such as out of the unrestrained mouth of Julia Pino, a professor at Kent State University in Ohio. Mr. Pino,  interrupted a forum in which a member of Israel’s foreign ministry,  Ishmael Khaldi,  former Deputy Consul General at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco, who was speaking about his book, “A Sheppard’s Journey”, which he describes as “One man’s story of Israel’s culture, society and politics from the perspective of a Bedouin minority in a Jewish state”, when Professor Pino simply could not stand it any longer and had to cry out “Death to Israel”.

What is as disturbing is that the Kent State President Lester Lefton simply cannot decide whether or not that outcry constitutes protected speech and whether or not he should discipline Professor Pino.

I ask you:  Israel is the state of the Jews, so that is, in effect saying, “Death to Jews”. Would it be possible to love the people of Israel and cry out for its death? Is it an acceptable expression of free speech to shout out in a forum death to another minority group, such as “Death to Blacks?”

A few years ago, I was part of a United States Commission of Civil Rights Panel which helped the commissioners deem Jewish students to be “ a protected minority under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act”, which means that Jewish students have the right to feel safe and protected from hostility in their academic environment.

While legal scholars split hairs over whether or not this qualifies as a violation of that,  I pray that G-d protect any Jews who have the misfortune of being students in Professor Pino’s classes.

I see it coming out Saudi Arabia, where this week, a Saudi cleric, Alwadah Al-Gurni, promised to pay $100,000 to anyone who would capture an Israeli soldier, (so as to “liberate” other Palestinian terrorists, as in the Gilad Shalit deal). He bemoaned the fact that he could only afford a mere $100K, and wished he could afford to pay one million dollars. Iman Al Gurni did not have to worry for long. The highly philanthropic Prince Khalid Bin Talal kindly responded to the cleric’s deepest wish and offered to pay the remaining $900 K, in order to make it a full million.

I see it coming out of Syria, where there has been a four month old uprising against the suffocating regime of Bashir Assad, in which over 3,000 dissidents have been murdered in the regime’s brutal crackdown.

As in other parts of the Arab world, Syria has in the last several months has experienced an internal struggle for more basic rights, opportunities and freedoms . Israel has no bone in this fight, Yet, as reported in Saturday’s Washington Post, when Bassam Abu Abdullah,  a professor of international affairs and supporter of President Assad ‘s Baath party was asked why the United States has not intervened, as it has to overthrow Kaddafi in Libya, he responded, “Attacking Syria means regional war, because we will attack Israel directly. Hizballah will participate. Iran will participate. This is not in the interests of Europe and America.”

I see it crossing over into all segments of our society within America.  There are several popular You Tube videos going around the internet, where several of the Wall Street protestors and vociferously blaming America’s economic woes entirely on the Jews. Simply Google, “Occupy Wall Street Jews” and I guarantee that you will be nauseated at what you see.

I see it coming out of that lofty institution, the United Nations, where in the recent UNESCO, (The United Nations Education, Scientific, Cultural and Organization) vote,  the Palestinian Authority has been accepted as a full member state, avoiding the hard work of state building and going outside of the framework of the Oslo Accords and every other signed treaty with the Israelis, and making a unilateral move.  Statehood should be earned through the hard work of negotiations and institution building, not craftily manipulated.

Nor should it be based on hatred , or upon of replacing a neighboring nation with one’s own.  For information on that, please see Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas’ speech in Gaza, welcoming the terrorists freed in the Shalit deal, calling them “heroes” and “martyrs”  or the textbooks or the maps of Palestine throughout every school that look familiarly like the map of Israel, only with Arabic names substituted for Israeli ones.

Yet, the kind-hearted nations of the UN saw fit to overlook those trivial, little stumbling blocks and voted 107 in favor, 14 against with 52 abstentions.

Interesting . Doesn’t the United Nations Charter call for peaceful relations with one’s neighbors?

On the lighter side, this brings to mind a story about the late Prime Minister Golda Meir. When Prime Minister Meir visited Princeton University in 1978, at a question and answer session after she spoke,a student asked her,  “Why was it that UNESCO had rejected Israel and accepted the Palestine Liberation Organization for membership , or associate membership?

Golda replied that that was a question that should be addressed to UNESCO, not to her.

The student responded, “That is, of course, correct, but it would be interesting to know your opinion, why UNESCO made these decisions.”

To which Golda replied, “As you know, UNESCO stands for the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization. We must assume that these gentlemen, after due consideration, came to the conclusion that the PLO has more to contribute to education, science and culture than Israel does.”

At which the audience burst into roars of laughter and laud applause.

I, on the other hand, do not feel much like laughing.  It looks like an ancient, all too familiar sentiment is back in full swing, rearing its ugly head.

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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