By Naomi Klein
In These Times
Edited by RePortersNoteBook.com
- For Ariel Sharon, it is the fear of anti-Semitism, both real and imagined, that is the weapon. Sharon
likes to say that he stands up to terrorists to show he is not afraid. In fact, his policies are driven by fear. His great
talent is that he fully understands the depths of Jewish fear of another Holocaust. He knows how to draw parallels between
Jewish anxieties about anti-Semitism and American fears of terrorism. And he is an expert at harnessing all of it for his
- The primary, and familiar, fear that Sharon draws on, the one that allows him to claim all aggressive
actions as defensive ones, is the fear that Israel's neighbors want to drive the Jews into the sea. The secondary fear Sharon
manipulates is the fear among Jews in the Diaspora that they will eventually be driven to seek safe haven in Israel. This
fear leads millions of Jews around the world, many of them sickened by Israeli aggression, to shut up and send their checks,
a down payment on future sanctuary.
- The equation is simple: The more fearful Jews are, the more powerful Sharon is. Elected on a platform
of 'peace through security,' Sharon's administration could barely hide its delight at Le Pen's ascendancy, immediately calling
on French Jews to pack their bags and come to the promised land.
- For Sharon, Jewish fear is a guarantee that his power will go unchecked, granting him the impunity
needed to do the unthinkable: send troops into the Palestinian Authority's education ministry to steal and destroy records;
bury children alive in their homes; block ambulances from getting to the dying.
- Jews outside Israel now find themselves in a tightening vice: The actions of the country that was
supposed to ensure their future safety are making them less safe right now. Sharon is deliberately erasing distinctions between
the terms 'Jew' and 'Israeli,' claiming he is fighting not for Israeli territory, but for the survival of the Jewish people.
And when anti-Semitism rises at least partly as a result of his actions, it is Sharon who is positioned once again to collect
the political dividends.
- And it works. Most Jews are so frightened that they are now willing to do anything to defend Israeli
policies. So, at my neighborhood synagogue, where the humble facade was just badly scarred by a suspicious fire, the sign
on the door doesn't say, "Thanks for nothing, Sharon." It says, "Support Israel -- now more than ever."
- There is a way out. Nothing is going to erase anti-Semitism, but Jews outside and inside Israel might
be a little safer if there was a campaign to distinguish between diverse Jewish positions and the actions of the Israeli state.
This is where an international movement can play a crucial role.
- Already, alliances are being made between globalization activists and Israeli 'refuseniks.' soldiers
who refuse to serve their mandatory duty in the occupied territories. And the most powerful images from Saturday's protests
were rabbis walking alongside Palestinians. But more needs to be done. It's easy for social justice activists to tell themselves
that since Jews already have such powerful defenders in Washington and Jerusalem, anti-Semitism is one battle they don't need
to fight. This is a deadly error. It is precisely because anti-Semitism is used by the likes of Sharon that the fight against
it must be reclaimed.
- When anti-Semitism is no longer treated as Jewish business, to be taken care of by Israel and the
Zionist lobby, Sharon will be robbed of his most effective weapon in the indefensible and increasingly brutal occupation.
And as an extra bonus, whenever hatred of Jews diminishes, the likes of Jean-Marie Le Pen shrink right down with it. ===========
- More Proof of no Freedom of Speech for Jews or Non-Jews Without Losing Your Job...
- "Many rabbis and professionals have told me recently that they fear for their jobs should they even
begin to articulate their doubts about Israeli policy--much less give explicit support to calls for an end to the occupation."
- -- Rabbi Michael Lerner Published on Sunday, April 28, 2002 in the Los Angeles Times
- Peace is patriotic! Michael Santomauro Editorial Director RePortersNoteBook.com