I’m so glad they were “peace activists,” those nice folks who were screaming in my face as I walked into the Sheraton Boston the other night. Had they been Israel-hating anti-Semites it might have been disturbing. Okay, how do I know they really were Israel-hating anti-Semites? Because those who truly care about peace do not single out for their venom the landmass that takes up 1/6th of 1% of the Middle East, the only democracy in that human rights cesspool, the only nation in the region which gives equal rights to all regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender or sexual orientation — the state of Israel, of course.
On my way to attending the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Leadership Dinner on June 6, I had to walk a gauntlet of “demonstrators,” and even use of that designation is being generous. In fact, attending any Israel-related event these days, even a cultural one, guarantees one’s being on the receiving end of something vile. No event connected to Israel is considered apolitical by “peace activists.”
I grew up in the Boston area. How nice to know that Jew hatred is alive and well in my hometown. What went through my mind as I walked from the car to the sanctuary of the hotel was something my mother-in-law once said about her hometown. A native of Kracow, Poland, and Holocaust survivor thanks to Oskar Schindler, in whose factory she worked as a slave laborer for six years, my mother-in-law is in her mid-80s. When the Germans marched into Kracow, as she recalls, they goose-stepped to the beat of songs celebrating the joys of taking over inferior nations and killing Jews. The faces and voices so close to me – there seemed to be no buffer zone – made me think of my mother-in-law’s stories of the voices she heard not so long ago.
While the crowd outside the Sheraton – including one gentleman who screamed as he held a toddler with each hand — bellowed in my ears, I heard the hatred in their voices. I heard no quest for peace, not even love for the Palestinians whom they claim to represent. I know the sound of hatred when I hear it; I know the face of malevolence when I see it. I did make out these words: “We want peace, you want war.” Oh, really? And how did they know this? Did they ask me? Of course not. I was just another Jew about to meet with an organization which supports the Jewish state, which was good enough reason for them to spew their poison.
With these “activists” it’s not a question of merely disagreeing with Israeli policy, as some of them would like you to believe. It’s a question of denying Israel the basic right of defending itself as any nation on earth would be allowed, of existing in peace as any nation would be allowed, of having its case be heard fairly in the court of public opinion or international law. It’s Israel being subjected to double standards, lies, foregone conclusions, hatred, racism, and on and on and on. This is anti-Semitism. It’s also the Jewish inability to stand up for our own; I have no doubt that there were Jews in that crowd.
And, while we’re at it, could someone please phone Helen Thomas and let her know that people like my mother-in-law (and, were he still alive, my husband’s father) could not return to Poland, because their homes there are no longer available and the neighbors not all that friendly. Remind her that over 1000 Jews were murdered in Poland after WWII, and that Jews were not exactly treated royally in Russia or anywhere in post-war Eastern Europe. Remind her that at least 800,000 Jews were expelled with barely the shirts on their backs from the many Arab countries which had been their homes for millennia. Perhaps someone could show her the film “The Forgotten Refugees.”
In their book A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel, Allis Radosh and Ronald Radosh document the struggle of post-war Jewish refugees in Europe, that is, the tiny remnant that was left. Truman was among those distressed by the fact that Holocaust survivors were still dying in liberated concentration camps with no place to go, while the British dithered and held meetings. The Arab response at the time: send them back to Poland and German. So Helen, your ideas aren’t even original.
Ms. Thomas and her “activist” pals can say all they want about their ideas for “peace” for the Middle East. What they really want for Jews is the peace of the grave.