By Bernard J. Shapiro

The Israeli national elections scheduled for May 29th may have already been decided. Not, of course, in the technical sense, but in the all important information battle. The extreme leftist Labor government has succeeded in manipulating the minds of Israelis and Jews worldwide. The age old longing of the Jewish people for peace has been used to perpetuate a policy of appeasement and surrender. Those opposed to this insane suicide policy have been labeled "enemies of peace" by Israel's Orwellian public opinion molders.

Words are distorted and their meaning obfuscated. Concessions to terrorism equals "peace." Resistance to terrorism means you are an "enemy of peace." Terrorists, whose hands drip with Jewish blood, are freed from prison or welcomed to enter Israel from abroad. Rabbis, Zionist patriots, and housewives with a love of Israel are placed in jail for "sedition." The world cheers the "peace loving" Israeli Stalinists while condemning similar behavior in other countries like China. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres agrees to place Syria on the committee to monitor Hizbullah in Lebanon. Allowing the fox to guard the henhouse certainly comes to mind.

Has the world gone mad? Are Israelis that stupid as to allow such delusions to masquerade as policy. Is Peres evil: a curse sent to Israel as punishment for some unknown sin? Or is he just an old, leftist lost in his fantasy world of the "New Middle East," who thinks he is doing good?

As a child my grandfather used to entertain me with delightful tales about the foolish Jews of Chelm. Chelm was said to be a tiny shtetal (Jewish village) in the Russian Pale of Settlement during czarist times. Its inhabitants were known primarily for their foolishness. In most of these tales one finds that a resident of Chelm becomes fixed upon an idea which is totally a variance to objective reality.

Chelm has been on my mind lately as I view the current move to give Israel's sacred patrimony to the Arabs. I raised this issue through one of my computer networks saying, "I wish someone would explain to me why ANY INTELLIGENT Israeli could believe the nonsense (PLO/Israel deal) its leaders are expounding." A wonderful response came from Professor Mark Steinberger (Department of Math and Statistics, State University of New York in Albany, New York). He writes: "This has also been bothering me lately. I would say that leftists must inhabit an alternate universe, except that WE wind up having to pay the consequences for their detachment from reality.

But while we do live in the same objective world, their vision of it seems to have nothing in common with ours. They do not comprehend reality as we see it, and when challenged with evidence that would seem to buttress our view, they seem either to dismiss it for theoretical reason or ignore it completely.

One can list various dangers in the agreement, and give objective evidence that Palestinians have no desire for peace, but still want to drive our people into the sea. What is the reaction? They will tell you that self-determination and prosperity will change the Palestinians' outlook and behavior. On what do they base this? Not on evidence from Arab societies. Rather it is based on theory.

Indeed, one can point to the fact that warfare, macho-one upmanship, racist hegemonism and Islamic fanaticism are endemic to Arab cultures, including the more prosperous ones such as Egypt and Lebanon. The leftist response is either to ignore the point or to counter with accusations of insensitivity and Eurocentrism.

To me, this looks like an unwillingness to deal with reality, and it echoes the unwillingness of the Jewish community of the thirties to recognize the threat posed by the Nazis.

Indeed, it seems we have learned nothing at all from our experience with Nazism. The Holocaust has become little more than a tale to frighten children: demons in a morality play. They have turned the Holocaust into an image divorced from real world happenings. Millions more Jews could die in Israel, but they refuse to even imagine the possibility.


Unfortunately, Jews throughout history have deluded themselves about their position in society. They pursue utopian solutions to complex political problems and disputes. Jews rejoiced as the enlightenment spread across Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many were eager to give up their Jewishness and become German, French, Italian, and English. In the final analysis those societies viewed them as Jews. Self-delusion came into collision with reality and left us with the stench of burning flesh in the ovens of Auschwitz. Many Russian Jews eagerly supported the communist idea of a worker's utopia with no nationalities and no religion. Reality taught them that their neighbors still considered them Jews.

The left-wing in Israel believes in a common humanity of shared values with the Arabs. In the face of all empirical evidence to the contrary they believe peace is possible. In the book Self Portrait Of A Hero: The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu (1963-1976), Jonathan Netanyahu, the fallen hero of Entebbe and brother of Benjamin, said it best: "I see with sorrow and great anger how a part of the people still clings to hopes of reaching a peaceful settlement with the Arabs. Common sense tells them, too, that the Arabs haven't abandoned their basic aim of destroying the State; but the self-delusion and self-deception that have always plagued the Jews are at work again. It's our great misfortune. They want to believe, so they believe. They want not to see, so they shut their eyes. They want not to learn from thousands of years of history, so they distort it. They want to bring about a sacrifice, and they do indeed. It would be comic, if it wasn't so tragic. What a saddening and irritating lot this Jewish people is!"

The stories from Chelm have amused Jews for many generations. Many of us, however, are not amused that the peacemakers of Israel seem to be operating in the best tradition of the colorful inhabitants of Chelm. Israel is in great danger. We must pray that Israeli voters will choose Netanyahu and send the Chelmites into retirement. Need I say more?


Bernard J. Shapiro is editor of THE MACCABEAN and Executive Director of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.

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