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Is 2009 the new 1933?

This is a note a friend of mine wrote and shared on facebook. I wanted to share it with my readers. The original note can be found here.

Here it is:

Facebook notes are not my forum of choice to air my grievances, but I was recently distracted by a Facebook posting by a student in my law school at the University of Calgary and I feel as though I have no other option. What is most concerning about this incident is that I know this student. He is intelligent. He is a hard worker. Everything I know about him leads me to believe he will be a successful lawyer. What is most concerning is how any intelligent law student, in the year 2009, could possibly believe the things this individual believes. Is this what it was like in 1933? In 1933, did law students, professors, our next-door neighbours, and other enlightened members of society actually believe the propaganda about Jews? Did the Jews of 1933, like those of 2009, think that the anti-Semitism would simply pass over time? The reason I ask this question is because this student recently posted an article from the LA Times, which essentially claims that the underlying problem in the Arab-Israel conflict is Zionism, a thesis which I find offensive, anti-Semitic, and frightenning. Is today’s anti-Israel propaganda our grandparents’ equivalent of blood libels of Jews killing Christian babies? I fear the answer is yes, as those who seek to destroy Judaism have turned their attention to one target in the hopes of avoiding labels of anti-Semitism: Israel.

Being the person that I am, which will not surprise most of you, I could not let this posting pass without a response – some response. Over the course of one day, a debate between myself and someone from Seattle named Todd ensued. This debate was your typical Israel advocate vs. anti-Israel advocate debate, the same one you’ve seen on campus and read about in Dershowitz books for decades. Once again, I found myself defending the same senseless anti-Israel propaganda – accusations of the IDF as war criminals, the use of phosphorous bombs on civilians, Gaza concentration camps, deliberate attacks on civilians, all the usual bullshit. I tried to explain to Todd why he is an anti-Semite, and although he didn’t take it well, he should have understood that I was giving him the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t a complete moron. Allow me to explain: One who holds these ultra-liberal anti-Israel views must be, by virtue of their beliefs when measured against the actual truth (which of course they will say is also propaganda), either completely naive, unintelligent, or an anti-Semite. There is no other reasonable alternative. Now that is not to say that anyone who criticizes Israel is anti-Semitic, as Todd misinterpreted understandably. So I explained myself further. I, myself, am critical of many Israeli policies. I explained to Todd that criticism of Israel constitutes anti-Semitism when that criticism comes on account of holding Israel to a higher standard than one would hold any other democratic nation. Todd wouldn’t dare mention how Hamas murdered any Gazans they suspected of collaboration (e.g. pointing out to the IDF where terrorists are hiding) in the week that followed the war. Hamas killed 181 Fatah loyalists that week, but as long as it wasn’t a Jew who lifted his hand, you won’t hear about it from Todd. It is inconsistent with his agenda of Israel’s destruction. Todd wouldn’t dare mention that Egypt, like Israel, has closed its border with Gaza and effectively adopted Israel’s security policy with regards to Gaza. That, too, is inconsistent with Todd’s agenda. Todd wouldn’t dare claim that those phosphorous bombs are used to illuminate the sky at night so as to minimize civilian casualties, AS DEFENDED BY INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS. Todd wouldn’t dare mention that Palestinian terrorists hide and attack Israeli soldiers from the schools and mosques that the IDF bombs in legitimate self defence. Todd wouldn’t dare mention that prior to a bombing, the IDF drops leaflets and sends text-messages to Palestinians in residential areas where Hamas is hiding behind them (i.e. using them as human shields) telling them to point out to the IDF where the terrorists are hiding and to evacuate the area as the bombers will be coming the next day. Todd wouldn’t dare mention a lot of things, and the reason is most likely that the liberal media biases around us have succeeded. People cheer for the underdog for the sake of cheering for the underdog, even when that underdog sends his children to blow themselves up in our pizzerias, clubs, and banquet halls. They have succeeded in making people like Todd appear confident in what he is saying, even though 99% of it is complete bullshit. That is exactly what people like Todd are doing today on campuses, in the workplace, and everywhere. That is why I fear that 2009 is our grandparents’ 1933. THAT IS WHY YOU AND I HAVE AN OBLIGATION WE MUST FULFILL, IRRESPECTIVE OF HOW DIFFICULT THAT MAY BE.

I’m writing this note in the hopes that at least one person reads it and acts on it. I’m writing this note to let other Jews on campus and in the workplace know that you are not alone. Anti-Israel advocates strive to make these environments intimidating for Israel advocates, and I recognize that not all of you welcome confrontation as easily as others. I get that. But this conflict is bigger than you. This is bigger than what the rest of the class will think about you, what the professor will think about you, and what your employer will think about you. We, as Jews living outside of the Diaspora, fight a different war than the one our friends in the IDF fight every day. We fight a war against propagandists, false-accusers, and those who seek Israel’s destruction behind the comfort of a computer monitor or a university podium. WE MUST WIN THIS WAR, because it is arguably as important as the war our brothers and sisters in the IDF fight. It is certainly different, but equally important. Friends, we are losing this war very badly, and we must all step up to the plate, as uncomfortable as that may be. AS A JEW LIVING IN THE DIASPORA, THAT IS YOUR OBLIGATION. Your silence and indifference are unfortunately interpretted by outsiders as a concession of the opposition’s argument. Outsiders that lack the facts and truths of the Arab-Israeli conflict may not know many Jews; you may be the only Jew s/he knows. YOU, BY VIRTUE OF BEING A JEW LIVING IN THE DIASPORA, ARE AN AMBASSADOR FOR YOUR PEOPLE AND OUR HOMELAND, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER YOU ACKNOWLEDGE IT.

We must educate ourselves and engage in debate, even seek out debate. Our voices must be heard and one cannot speak without something first to say. I urge you all to read books, watch movies, attend seminars – they are all around you. Please notify me, or anyone else, if you need some suggestions for educational materials. Educate yourselves so that we may properly defend Israel when she is attacked here, outside of Israel. Force yourselves to stand when it is difficult to do so. More importantly, force yourselves to stand when it is unpopular to do so. Let us act as though it is 1933 and with all due respect to our grandparents, God forbid we should act the way they acted in 1933, with passivity and baseless hope. We must be proactive in our struggle, because we, like the IDF, cannot afford to lose this war. WE CANNOT AFFORD ANOTHER 1933.

*Please “share” this note on your Facebook page if you feel it’s important to do so. In the alternative, feel free to comment below, but please be respectful to others.

-By Steven Arie Glowinsky

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4 Responses to “Is 2009 the new 1933?”

  1. Brad Brzezinski says:

    Leveling the charge of antisemitism has become counterproductive. Those accused of it mostly don’t believe they are; too many Jews are caught up in the fashion of anti-Israelism; the belief that anyone critising Israel is automatically called and antisemite has taken hold; at the UNHRC. OIC adherents are even arguing that anti-Semitism is about them! All of these simply deflect from the main argument about whether Israel is evil or a force for good.

    (I advisedly use antisemitism instead of anti-Semitism.)

    It is more instructive to argue the issues on there merits. Occasionally I point to the similarity in the mass-psychology at play in 1930s antisemitism and today’s anti-Israelism. Both use demonisation, repetition of false adjectives etc.

    One needs to adapt defences to suit the conditions.

  2. Brad Brzezinski says:

    PS: excuse the typos in the above.

    “an antisemite” not “and”

    “their merits” not “there”

  3. Josephine says:

    This is very good and I wouldn’t have seen it if you hadn’t posted it here. Thank you.

  4. Steve says:

    Brad, I agree that false accusations of anti-Semitism are counter-productive to Israel advocacy, but I was clear as to when anti-Israel beliefs constitute anti-Semitism. Please take note of the following excerpt from the note above:

    “Now that is not to say that anyone who criticizes Israel is anti-Semitic, as Todd misinterpreted understandably. So I explained myself further. I, myself, am critical of many Israeli policies. I explained to Todd that criticism of Israel constitutes anti-Semitism when that criticism comes on account of holding Israel to a higher standard than one would hold any other democratic nation.”

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