In a poignant scene from the movie, A Time to Kill, the defense lawyer, played by Matthew McConaughey, describes in gruesome detail the brutal physical and sexual assault on a black child and then asks the jurors to close their eyes and imagine that child as white. Perhaps, it is time to apply such reverse imagery to the Palestinian-Israeli situation. Instead of Jewish children running to bomb shelters in Sderot, where the sculpted dragon in the playground is itself a bomb shelter, think of them as your children. Instead of Jewish victims of knife attacks in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, think of them as your children, your family, your friends, and your neighbors. And then, perhaps your perception of the horror of the situation will be closer to reality.
Better yet, how would the world react if it were Jews running around with knives, incited by their political and religious leaders to kill and maim innocent Palestinians? Instead of imams preaching death to the Jews, imagine rabbinic sermons calling for the killing of Muslims — all Muslims.
Imagine Israeli television using children to teach other children to kill Muslims. If that were the case, there would be international outrage of seismic proportions, emergency meetings of the United Nations, wholesale condemnation of everything Jewish, and a call for a UN force to patrol the streets of Jerusalem.
If planes hijacked by Jews had crashed into the World Trade Center, I would be writing this from behind barbed wire. Everything Jewish would fall under intense suspicion. Old blood libels would be resurrected and new ones fabricated. Elected officials would not be parsing something called “radical Judaism” as is now done with Islam. No administration — certainly not this one — would be redacting documents to avoid “Judaism” and “terrorism” appearing in the same paragraph, unlike the words “Islam” and “terrorism.”
In the early 20th century, European Jews were told to go to Palestine. In the early 21st century, Israeli Jews, born in Israel, are told to go back to Europe. Highly Westernized Jewish refugees fleeing fascist Europe were denied sanctuary. No interfaith group rose to plead their case. Today, faith groups lobby for accepting Muslim refugees whose culture and political socialization are antithetical to Western values.
It is not Zionism that caused anti-Semitism. Zionism became the solution to the virulence and destructiveness of European anti-Jewish hatred. That hatred has now increasingly become politically and socially acceptable throughout the West, and its leading edge is the political Left. The college campus is the most anti-Semitic institution in Western society — and the sandbox of the political Left.
Israel Apartheid Week is nothing less than an anti-Jewish hate fest. No campus would tolerate a Muslim Honor Killing Week, Muslim Female Genital Mutilation Week, or Muslim Stoning Rape Victim Week. At the University of California, there is one standard for Muslims, whose outbursts and threats are tolerated, and another for Jews, who are ignored victims.
Try and speak positively about Israel or even about Jewish history and you will be assaulted by organized Muslim student groups and their leftist allies who have no commitment to the values of a free society. They have embraced the idea that heckler’s veto is an integral component of the Bill of Rights.
Vassar was recently showcased for hosting an anti-Semitic speaker who engaged in thoroughly unsubstantiated blood libels reminiscent of medieval times. Anti-Israel Muslim and leftist scholars hide behind their academic credentials to disseminate propaganda masquerading as scholarship. If a Jewish professor called for the equivalent of an American intifada, as Berkeley instructor Hatem Bazian has, he’d be shown the door.
As long as the academic contumely is directed against Jews, there is no outrage. It is possible for the Rev. Louis Farrakhan to fill an auditorium at the University of California, Berkeley and regurgitate a thesis about Jews and the slave trade that has been both discredited and denounced by eminent black scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and by the American Historical Association.
Imagine a Jewish clergyman coming to any university and speaking about the distribution of IQ scores by race. He’d never get to the podium. The university administration would withdraw the invitation, if it were ever offered. Moreover, local Jewish groups would be stumbling over themselves to denounce it.
About Jews, however, the most ludicrous and unfounded accusations can be made and justified in the name of academic freedom.
To understand the current nature of anti-Semitism, simply reverse the positions. Follow Matthew McConaughey’s courtroom instruction. Reverse the ethnicities and see what you still feel.