Embrace anti-Israel hate
OpinionGuest columnist

Embrace anti-Israel hate

We are victims no longer.

Golda Meir (Photo in public domain, via Wikimedia)
Golda Meir (Photo in public domain, via Wikimedia)

“The world hates a Jew who hits back. The world loves us only when we are to be pitied.”
Golda Meir

Since striking back at Hamas following their deadly surprise attack on Oct. 7 that took the lives of more than 1,000 innocent Israeli citizens, Jews everywhere have seen how painfully true the former Israeli prime minister’s comment is.

From virtually the moment Israel mounted its Gaza campaign, it has faced increasing levels of scrutiny, criticism and condemnation, culminating in the latest slander de rigueur: being labeled a “genocidal” regime. Strategically unfurled on the world stage at places like the U.N. and International Court of Justice, as well as by other groups claiming the imprimatur of protecting “human rights,” these wholly unsupported allegations come on the heels of equally spurious labels like “apartheid regime,” “bully” and “aggressor” — labels that apparently lost their intended shock value and were in need of supplementation. This latest aspersion merely represents an extension of those that preceded it, all aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy, and indeed its very right to exist, by any means necessary.

As the IDF unleashes its superior military force and tactical efficiency to eliminate the Hamas threat, these enemies of Israel see their eliminationist dreams (“from the river to the sea”) fading away after appearing so tantalizingly close on Oct. 7. As such, and in their desperation to attack Israel any way they can, their unrelenting campaign of defamation marches on, with truth and facts being gladly sacrificed along the way.

To all of which I say, good. Or at least, better. Better than the alternative Golda Meir presciently identified, an alternative Jews have known all too well for far too long: that of being perpetual victims of bullies, aggressors and genocide. The tables have now turned, with Jews and Israel being accused of these acts.

By any objective measure, of course, it is untrue, evidenced by the unprecedented lengths to which the IDF has gone to minimize civilian casualties, including providing humanitarian aid to the citizens of Gaza, portions of which it knows will end up in the hands of the enemy.

But as hurtful as it may be for Jews to see Israel subjected to this endless torrent of baseless claims, this emerging worldview of Israel as bully signifies something far more historically significant that should not be overlooked: We are victims no longer.

Amidst the handwringing and angst Jews understandably feel about seeing the world’s only Jewish state unjustly accused of using excessive force in its war against Hamas, it is worth pausing to note just how historically unique this criticism is. For centuries, being born Jewish carried with it the very real possibility that one’s life would end through an act of violence. Murders of Jews, and even entire Jewish communities, occurred all too frequently, with this systematic elimination of Jewish life culminating in the near extermination of European Jewry during the Shoah. Now, for barely over 50 years, since the emergence of Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor in the 1960s and the military power that followed it, Jews for the first time in history have a homeland they can unquestionably defend. They are doing so. A new reality has been born: Those who launch unprovoked attacks against Israel do so at their own peril. Much of the world doesn’t like it. Too bad.

For centuries, as deadly pogroms, bloodthirsty persecutions and countless acts of cruelty were exacted against them by their oppressors with nary a hand raised in their defense, Jews could only dream of a day when being falsely accused of using excessive force would be their greatest concern. That day, thankfully, has come. Israel owes neither penance nor apology for defending herself, and if the world now insists on Jews choosing between being weak and pitied or being strong and hated, we should be grateful to have the choice. PJC

Mitchell Bober has practiced law since 1993, working in private practice as well as for the government, where he served as a prosecutor for the City of Philadelphia and for the Department of Justice under both Democrat and Republican administrations. He is on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh where he teaches classes in terrorism, homeland security, and white collar crime. He lives in Pittsburgh can be reached at mbober@pitt.edu. This piece first appeared on The Times of Israel.

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