We Thought It Was Finished – Cynthia Ozick (New York Observer)

We Thought It Was Finished – Cynthia Ozick (New York Observer)

We thought it was finished. The ovens are long cooled, the anti-vermin gas dissipated. Yet current anti-Semitism is accelerating throughout advanced and sophisticated Europe – albeit under the rubric of anti-Zionism, and masked by the deceptive lingo of human rights.

The contemporary Big Lie concerns the Jews of Israel: they are oppressors in the style of the Nazis; they ruthlessly pursue, and perpetuate, “occupation” solely for the sake of domination and humiliation; they purposefully kill Palestinian children; their military have committed massacres; their government “violates international law”; their nationhood and their sovereignty have no legitimacy; they are intruders and usurpers inhabiting an illicit “entity,” and not a people entitled as other peoples are entitled.

Yet the modern history of Jews in the Holy Land overwhelmingly refutes these scurrilities. It is the Arabs, not the Jews, who have been determined to dispose of a people’s right to live in peace. The current roar of “resistance to occupation” is notoriously belied by the bloody Arab pogroms of 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936, and 1939, when there was no Jewish state at all, let alone any issue of “settlements.” The 1929 attacks left Hebron, the site of an ancient and uninterrupted Jewish community, effectively Judenrein.

In 1948, Arab rejection of an independent Palestinian state under the UN partition plan led to the invasion by five Arab armies intent on crushing nascent Jewish sovereignty. The Arab war against the Jews of Israel continued through the terror incursions of 1956, the Six-Day War of 1967, the Yom Kippur attacks of 1973, and the fomented violence of 1987, the so-called first intifada. In short, for two-thirds of a century the Arabs have warred against a Jewish presence in “their” part of the world.

This is the history that is ignored or denigrated or distorted or spitefully misrepresented. And because it is a history that has been assaulted and undermined by world-wide falsehoods in the mouths of pundits and journalists, in Europe and all over the Muslim world, the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism has finally and utterly collapsed.

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