Wednesday, January 07, 2009

No Exit -- The Existential Nightmare to Nowhere I agree with Jeff Jacoby's January 7, 2009 op editorial. I am always astounded at the pervasiveness of the two thousand year old viral infection that is antisemitism . The Jewish people cannot seem to shake its onslaught or find the antibody to it. I also cannot believe how those who would take the Holocaust's name in vain and perpetrate the same Nazi-like venom still overwhelm me with ire. They get to me. That is exactly, I think, what they want to do.

When I finished watching the news last evening, though, I thought it was a particularly difficult broadcast to watch. I worry that Israel, as much as I support it, is losing the public relations war. Gaza is so horrific that I simply do not know how it can continue like this despite what each side says the rationales for it are. It reminded me, staggeringly and ironically, of the Warsaw Ghetto where a huge number of Jews were jammed into a small area with no food, no medical supplies no electricity, and no sanitation existentially trying to live in an unlivable situation. As a Jew the Holocaust is burned into my psyche. It is with me every day I live because I think about it every day I live.

I fear, though, at this moment the Jewish people morally are losing the Holocaust high ground. The slaughter of innocents in Gaza, although surely brought about, in part, by the intractability of Hamas, is a moral disaster and cannot, I think, continue. The invasion of Gaza has become so disgusting that I cannot even watch it on the news. It is a moral conundrum to me because my entire left leaning political philosophical bent was molded in opposition to the Nazi era and the Holocaust. I truly now do not know what the answer is.

My cousin living in Jerusalem emailed that Hamas is hiding in UN houses with children and puts explosives underneath as they know Israelis will bomb them and fuel a public relations nightmare. I know that. Your editorial was excellent as antisemitism and its direct relationship to criticism of the Jewish state has veracity understood even by Martin Luther King. I know that too. I know people want to kill Jews and eliminate the Jewish state. Where does that leave us? What does never again mean? Is it only in relation to Jews or is it the broader implication that there are some human behaviors even in war that are so abominable they cannot be tolerated and must be rejected by the civilized world entire?

The three hour cease fire just ended and the dreadful killing continues. More bodies, many of women and children, will be stacked up. So now what? Where are we in this struggle? Will Jews be better off for this? I do not think so. Grimly, I think we are nowhere and there is, existentially, at least for now, no way out.