Let’s give this man a book deal!
What does it mean to be anti-Israel? It should be pretty straight forward right? Anyone that acts in a way that threatens the continued existence and viability of the State of Israel is probably going to be considered anti-Israel. But then the question is whether or not this is an objective or subjective standard? Surely, many people who seem ubber Zionist and pro-Israel may go to extremes that are in fact destructive to the interests of the State of Israel. Conversely, some who seem to be highly critical of the State of Israel are motivated by the sincere desire to make Israel a better and safer place.
Many of Israel’s harshest enemies proudly trumpet the fact that they are anti-Israel. Their intent is unequivocally clear – they wish for nothing less than the complete destruction of the enterprise known as the Jewish state and the Zionism. Others are more mendacious, claiming to be pro-Israel while promoting an agenda whose fulfillment will undeniably and by any reasonable measure, lead to the same destruction wished for by the former. By promoting this charade they seek to ensnare otherwise well meaning people who are loathe to think of themselves as anti-Israel, but still feel Israel is not above criticism.
So how do we classify someone who seeks to justify violent murder against Israeli civilians by likening the murderers to… the Israelites in Egypt and Moses? That’s exactly what Richard Silverstein did in his latest Passover post titled “Next year in a shared Jerusalem.” Silverstein who claims to be a pro-Israel Zionist wrote the following:
Our ancestors were slaves in Egypt who threw off the yoke of bondage through violent resistance to oppression. Their resistance earned them liberation, freedom and the right to live as free men and women in their own land. Their leader was an angry man who himself killed an Egyptian taskmaster, no doubt transforming him into a terrorist in his day in the eyes of the Egyptian Pharoah. Remind you of anyone?
In case it wasn’t clear enough, Silverstein, in the same paragraph lets us in on who the subject of his comparison is meant to be:
Not many Israelis are going to be thinking of this as they celebrate Passover seder. Not many Israelis ever think much about the Palestinians unless theyâ€™re forced to do so. And itâ€™s a shame really.
Thus, the Palestinians are modern day Israelites and Moses is a proto-terrorist. We should thus be sympathetic to Palestinian actions and aspirations, especially at this time of year, because we were in a similar position once upon a time.
This post of Silverstein’s is revealing and it is instructive. First and foremost it reveals Silverstein’s boundless ignorance. The Israelites did not engage in violent resistance at all. The plagues suffered by the Egyptians were administered by God. According to the Torah, at no time did an Israelite rise up and murder Egyptians. As for Moses being an angry man, while he did kill an Egyptian taskmaster, said taskmaster was in the midst of violently beating a Jew. He killed the taskmaster in order to spare the life of someone innocent. The actions of the Israelites and Moses during the Exodus from Egypt hardly correspond to the actions of terrorists who target innocent civilians and wish to destroy a nation. The Israelites never sought to destroy Egypt. We are in fact even commanded to be particularly hospitable to Egyptians because we were once strangers in their midst. But I digress.
Why on earth would someone make such a blatantly faulty equivalency? Richard Silverstein might be ignorant. He may in fact believe that that’s how the story of Passover went down. But more than that, he seeks to elevate the Palestinian terrorists, their craven leaders that exploit them and the society that spawned them. He seeks our sympathy for individuals and groups, despite the fact that their oft repeated actions and their oft repeated words, demonstrate a strong desire to destroy us. In doing so, he is lending succor to our sworn enemies and facilitating their ultimate mission. In doing so, Richard Silverstein demonstrates quite clearly what it means to be anti-Israel. In subverting, distorting and making a mockery of the story of Passover, Silverstein also demonstrates what it means to be anti-Jewish.
By all means we should be kind to the stranger amongst us. By all means we should try to conduct our personal and national affairs in a way that is just and compassionate. I am in fact in favor of territorial compromise and I care deeply for the welfare of the Palestinian people, who whether we like it or not, will be our close neighbors forever. But Judaism does not teach you to sit passively in the face of aggression. We will continue to long for and pray for peace, but we will also vigorously defend the lives of our people against anyone who seeks to destroy us.
Have a wonderful Passover Richard Silverstein. You are in fact anti-Israel.