"Esav hates Yaakov, " our Sages tell us. Hatred of Yaakov may take many different forms, but it will never go away.
Jew hatred today is primarily directed at the idea of the Jews as a nation. And Israel, however imperfect a model of Jewish nationhood it may be, signifies to the world the assertion of Jewish people hood.
"To the Jews as a nation, we must deny everything; to Jews as individuals, we must grant everything," said Count Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnere in 1789, and today much of the world follows suit.
The U.N.’s obsession with Israel is but one proof that something deeper than a concern with human rights or even national self-interest underlies the animosity to Israel. The hijacking of the upcoming United Nations conference on racism to condemn Israel is but the most recent example.
The double standard to which Israel is held further hints to the deeper source of hatred of Israel. Arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat, his hands drenched in blood, is warmly welcomed in every world capital, except Washington, while Prime Minister Sharon is charged with war crimes in a Belgium court and a BBC documentary.
Israel is threatened by Europe with economic sanctions while the same nations vote to award the 2001 Summer Olympics to China, in which citizens are routinely executed for minor economic "crimes," religion brutally suppressed, and couples sterilized after one child.
Every response by Israel to lethal attacks on its civilians and soldiers is condemned as "excessive force." Compared to what? The 1,000 Panamanian civilians killed by U.S. forces in order to arrest Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega on drug-running charges? The hundreds of Somalian civilians, including many unarmed women and children, killed by U.S. peacekeepers in 1993? Did the U.S. have more important interests in Panama or Somalia, than Israel has protecting its citizens from attack in its heartland?
No European state has yet explicitly called for end of Israel. But make no mistake about it, the very legitimacy of the Jewish state is on the table. Already the Guardian has posed the rhetorical question: Is Palestinian suffering too great a price to have paid for the creation of Israel?
Note that the same argument made today against the settlements – a Jewish population has been imposed on a majority Arab population – can be turned against Israel itself. (True, the U.N. voted in 1947 to create the State of Israel, but that is a mere legal technicality to Israel's enemies.)
No matter where one draws Israel’s borders, it is possible to demonstrate that more Arabs than Jews lived there at some point freeze-framed in time. Presto, the Jews are European colonizers.
In that freeze-frame, all context becomes irrelevant: Jewish historical ties to the Land; the barren nature of the Land during the entire period of Jewish exile; how the Arab population was attracted by renewed Jewish settlement; the Jews' purchase of the land on which they settled.
That same stripping away of all context typifies the way the world views the current violence. For CNN, BBC, the New York Times, the rights and wrongs of the last ten months are all summarized in one box score: Palestinian dead vs. Jewish dead. Who initiated the violence and why? Were those killed deliberately murdered or killed in military confrontations? All irrelevant.
Increasingly, the world has come to view the conflict through Palestinian eyes –at Palestinian funerals, Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints (again without wondering why such checkpoints are erected in the first place). And not just the last ten months, but the entire conflict since Al Naqba, the catastrophe of Israel’s creation.
No European government has gone so far as to deny Israel the right to self-defense. Yet the list of tools granted Israel in practice turns out to be a null set. No Israeli response has escaped condemnation.
Even the traditional role of victim is denied Israel. There was something perfunctory about the "condemnations" of last Thursday’s suicide bombing: a pro forma condemnation followed by the real point – Israel should "show restraint" and do nothing in order to "end the cycle of violence."
What should Israel do about suicide bombers who find safe haven in the Palestinian Authority? Answers the world: Pray, Jew. Allow the bombers be booby-trapped and sent on their way. Then pray they get second thoughts or that the bombs go off prematurely or that an alert bus driver miraculously disarms the bomber.
The only prescription offered Israel is: Return to the bargaining table and offer further concessions. Won't that inevitably lead to the end of Israel, as each new flare-up of violence elicits further concessions, until there is nothing left to concede?
Of course. That’s the point, you see.