We are faced today with a very remarkable phenomenon, one in which a group of people have decided that they are not simply the finest and most moral people in the world, but the finest and most moral people who have ever existed. For such people, hypocrisy is inevitable. But the hypocrisy of these self-appointed saints is most acute on the issue of Israel and their hatred of it.
There are innumerable examples of this, but it is worth noting a few of the most blatant:
Imperialism and Colonialism: The claim that Israel is an imperialist and colonialist state is one of the oldest cliches proffered by the saints. Israel, they claim, is an invasion of Palestine by a foreign people who colonized it at the expense of the indigenous population. These invaders must either “go back to Poland” — as the vulgar among them put it — or be exterminated.
We may put aside, for the moment, the complications of the term “indigenous” — no one, after all, is indigenous to anywhere except to the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. If we must use the saints’ vague definition of the term, however, then we should note that even the most avowedly secular archeologists — who reject most or all of the biblical narrative — agree that the Jewish nation began several thousand years ago as a subset of the indigenous Canaanite tribes of the Levant.
More to the point, however, is the supposedly indigenous Arab presence, which to the saints is a sacred fact. But it is a matter of historical record that the Arabs came much later as foreign imperial conquerors who colonized the region and expelled or forcibly converted the native populations by various coercive means, not the least of which was placing them under an apartheid system. And this holds true not only of the land of Israel, but the entire Middle East and North Africa.
It is clear, then, that by the saints’ own logic, almost the entire Arab population of the Middle East and North Africa ought to be expelled and sent back to their homeland in Saudi Arabia, with the vacated territories returned to the remnants of their native populations. Those of us who are at least vaguely reasonable would not advocate such a thing in a million years, but then again, we are not hypocrites.
Genocide: Our self-appointed saints are, to say the least, extremely fond of accusing Israel of genocide. This blood libel is absurd on its face, but its hypocrisy is equally obvious, because Israel’s most dedicated enemies, sanctified by the saints, have displayed a remarkable weakness for genocide over the past 1,500 years.
Even a brief examination is sufficient proof of this. We may note, for example, Muhammad’s annihilation of the Jews of the Hijaz; the slow whittling of Egypt’s native Coptic or North Africa’s Berber populations down to a tiny minority; Turkey’s near-annihilation of the Armenians and the Anatolian Greeks; the slow-motion genocide that was the Ottoman Empire’s enthusiastic trade in both European and African slaves; Saddam Hussein’s murderous assault on the Kurds; and ISIS’s recent slaughter of Iraq’s Yazidis.
More to the point, however, is the fact that many Arabs and Muslims are currently threatening another genocide, this time against Israel’s Jewish population. And our self-appointed saints not only refuse to say a word against any of this, but in many cases whitewash, erase, or even openly collaborate with it.
Settlement: The saints are endlessly outraged by Israeli settlement policies, and it is a mistake to think this is confined to Judea and Samaria. They are, in fact, outraged by the building of Jewish communities anywhere in the land of Israel, including Israel proper. Equally galling to them is Israel’s sponsorship of aliyah and even the Law of Return itself. All of this, the saints assert, is an insidious plot to displace the Arab population.
This claim is perhaps the most bizarre of the saints’ hypocrisies, because it is, for all intents and purposes, identical to the ideology of white supremacists, nativists, and ethno-nationalists in Europe and the US. Racist opposition to Third World immigration — or indeed any immigration by people of color — is, after all, entirely based on the belief that it is an insidious plot to displace or replace the white population.
The difference between this “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory and the saints’ opposition to Jewish immigration and settlement in Israel is essentially no difference at all. It is simply another iteration of it, with the contentious tribes exchanged for others, but the essential principle still intact. One can oppose or support both Third World immigration to the West and Jewish immigration and settlement in the land of Israel, but one cannot embrace one and demonize the other without being a hypocrite.
Terrorism: There are few contortions into which the saints will not twist themselves in order to whitewash or justify Palestinian terrorism. No matter how heinous the atrocity, the saints will inevitably declare terrorism an “understandable result of…” or, among the less subtle, a commendable act of resistance.
What this comes down to is the idea that, in response to horrible acts of violence, horrible acts of violence are justified. Being a moral argument, this claim must, by definition, be universal. If one holds to it, one cannot say that violence committed by one group of people is justified in response to violence, but not that committed by another in response to violence — at least, one cannot say it without being self-evidently racist.
If one does not wish to be a hypocrite, then, one must extend to Israel the same indulgence granted the Palestinians. Under the saints’ supposed moral rubric, it would be perfectly justifiable if, in response to a terrorist attack, Israel chose to level an orphanage with the orphans inside, machine-gun schoolchildren en masse, or blow up buses packed with people. Nor could the possibility of a Jewish suicide bomber possibly be met with anything other than praise. If one refuses to engage in such praise, then one must acknowledge the essential hypocrisy of that refusal.
Racism: While it should be noted that, in the hands of the saints, the word “racism” has essentially lost all meaning beyond “something of which I violently disapprove,” the accusation that Israel is racist has become ubiquitous. But on this, perhaps more than any other issue, hypocrisy is the essence of the accusation; because, however much the saints may wish to whitewash, cover up, or outright deny it, it is a simple fact that racism is ubiquitous among Israel’s sanctified enemies.
According to an Anti-Defamation League survey of global antisemitism, the Muslim nations are by far the most antisemitic in the world, with the Palestinians leading the way. This pervasive racism has caused numerous acts of violence in Europe over the last 20 years, but this year it moved to the United States, with a pogrom sweeping the nation during last May’s conflict between Israel and Hamas. And regarding this wave of hate crimes, the saints have said, for all intents and purposes, not a single word. When the right group of people is racist, it seems, racism is perfectly acceptable.
These are just a few of the most glaring examples of the hypocrisy of the Israel-haters. But the most remarkable aspect of this hypocrisy may be that hypocrites do not even have the courage of their hypocrisy. The famously antisemitic French writer Louis-Ferdinand Celine was at least willing to state outright that, in his opinion, “a pile of a million dead stinking yids is not worth the life of a single Aryan.” Today’s anti-Israel hypocrites cannot lay claim to even that monstrous sincerity. Like all hypocrites, they are cowards first and foremost, and cowards have little sense of irony.
But ultimately, this is not just a question of hypocrisy. It is a question of who presumes to judge Israel and the Jewish people. And as long as the saints remain hypocrites, we may reserve the right not to take their judgment seriously.
Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr