Friday, 4 September 2015

The Presumption of Jewish Guilt


Several weeks ago, following an atrocious terror attack in which an Arab baby and eventually his father were burned to death, a few of our leaders, several journalists and bloggers accused members of my people of committing that crime. “My people have elected terror,” ( “בני עמי בחרו בטרור”) read the Hebrew headlines quoting our President. There is not even one iota of qualification in that statement. The president did not say, “Some of my people.” He did not suggest that “a few of “ his people might have carried out such an attack. No! He held us all responsible!

In another paper, MK, Yair Lapid, likewise, rushed to a similar conclusion. “The enemy acted last night in Duma. Terrorists entered at night and set fire to a baby. As always, the IDF is going to war against the enemy. Only this time the enemy is from here, from inside, from within us.”  MK Lapid, without any apprehensiveness connected the Duma attack to the enemy "from within us.” Others rushed to condemn us,  to preach to us, to praise and defend these leaders for their premature condemnations. 

I trust I am not the only one who is perplexed by the taunting questions that such accusations raised. Nearly a month later and we are still waiting to learn who are these people who “elected” terror? Who are these “Jewish terrorists” that we suddenly hear so much about?  More importantly, where is the evidence against them? Are we going to get the answers we deserve?

And we do deserve answers. As a nation that has been wronged for so long throughout history, the last  
indignation we need is to be rebuked and scolded by our own for a crime we may not even have committed. If we have, it is not merely our right to know. It is our duty to remove the evil from within is, to repent, improve our ways. Israelis and Jews may not be perfect, like anyone else, but why in the world should we take responsibility for other people’s crimes, both individually and collectively when so many of the details of that crime are still shrouded in mystery and uncertainty?
“Yesterday’s papers are today’s fish and chips wrappers,” I was once told when I lived in New Zealand. What this saying implies is that the farther away in time one moves from an event, the more it sinks into the creases of the subconscious and the realm of forgetfulness.

Not this time!  Until we get the answers we deserve, these accusations, these uncertainties will continue to haunt us as individuals and as a nation. Such unpleasant collective memories, if left unresolved untreated, can turn into monsters that could rear their ugly heads at any moment, consume the well-being of a nation and bring it to the brink of the abyss.

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