The Little Nation That Cries Wolf.

It’s a topic that bothers me, but I wasn’t prepared to write about it yet. Well, Larry Derfner did it for me in today’s JPost. Here are some excerpts:

“Any antagonistic, morally outraged criticism of Israel is automatically deemed unfair, and any unfair criticism of Israel is automatically deemed anti-Semitic.”

This is what we’re talking about. Just because it hurts, doesn’t it mean it’s going to kill you.

“I’m against the campaign to boycott, sanction or divest in Israel. I think such tactics should be used only against countries, such as apartheid South Africa, that are wholly, 100% guilty of oppressing wholly, 100% innocent people, which, as bad as the occupation has been, is definitely not the case with Israel.”


“I disagree with Harvard professors Walt and Mearsheimer about the Israel lobby in the US. I think they exaggerated the lobby’s power, which, although fearsome, isn’t nearly fearsome enough to force any US government to do anything it really doesn’t want to do in the Middle East – certainly not fight a war in Iraq, which the Bush administration would have fought if there was no Israel lobby or even no Israel.”


“Having said that, I do not believe that the people who favor boycotts and sanctions against Israel, or the anti-Zionists, or the Israel-lobby-bashers, are necessarily anti-Semites. They may or may not be. I’m sure that some of them are.”


“But I’m afraid that in recent years… the organized Jewish world has begun flinging the charge of anti-Semitism too far, too wide, and too fast – almost automatically.”

He says what I think. We are the little nation that cries wolf too often. As Derfner calls it: “character assasination”. For the people of a machismo country, Jews sure do look like babycries.

“…by waving the red flag of anti-Semitism, the Jewish establishment in Israel and the Diaspora is also playing on gentile guilt and Jewish solidarity to intimidate a lot of gentiles and Jews into silence. The rage for anti-Semite-baiting has also stoked the paranoia and xenophobia of all the Jewish paranoids and xenophobes.”

Isn’t there another way to gain solidarity than fear of the Other? Isn’t our cause just enough itself that fellow Jews should give a damn? And if they don’t, isn’t that a sign that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way the Jewish people and the nations with which it surrounds itself are raising their generations?

“Meanwhile, the bar for anti-Semitism seems to keep getting lower and lower.”

I wonder when it will stop – when we decide so, or the world gives up feeling guilty about less than 1% of its population.

Please note: I am not saying that all criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism, but I am arguing, with Derfner’s assistance, that perhaps we need to examine a little better before we so quickly – and heatedly – assume and accuse the worst.

I wonder if this post will, ahem, crucify me… But that’s just it, we need to not let every little word touch every little nerve, especially when it’s from within.






  1. Hannah Avatar

    I couldn’t agree more.

    I get in arguments all the time with folks about this issue. They always say I have no right to say anything because I have never directly experienced an act of anti-semitism. But I don’t know if that’s particularly fair, being as I am still a Jew and I am allowed to care about how my faith presents itself to the world. I hate this perpetual state of victimhood. I am not a victim.

    Anyways, glad to see that there is someone else who also views things a bit differently.

  2. eliesheva Avatar

    It’s interesting that you used the word victim that way. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on victimhood’s role in the Palestinian – Israeli conflict… I gave examples but was still pretty vague about it, but I might take it further in my post graduate thesis coming up…

    Anyways, I agree; it’s new for me to hear someone openly admitting this too.

  3. amechad Avatar

    Damn straight! I wonder if there is a difference between Anglo olim (or olim stam but I suspect Anglo olim are more attune to the American Jewish community that is part of doing this) who make their Judaism more then reflexive “pro-Israelism” (of course we are the ones who live here and contribute) and non-Israelis.

    I blogged about this on my own blog

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