Here is a multiple choice quiz:
1. Who made the following statement? “We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and that culture of violence is eventually going to destroy humanity."
A) A person named “Hitler”,
B) A person named “Stalin”
C) A person named “Gandhi”?
2. Who described the establishment of the state of Israel as a “historical, moral, political calamity,” blames the existence of Israel for putting the entire world in “peril” and condemns “American Jews” for the “shame” of failing to denounce Israel?
A) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
B) The Hamas Charter
C) Award-winning American playwright Tony Kushner.
3. Who has said that Israel may eventually cause the “end of the human race” by means of global warming?
A) American losing politician Ralph Nader
B) American losing politician Pat Buchanan
C) Former minister in the Blair government, Clare Short.
The answer to the first question is Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and himself the former head of the MK Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence at the University of Rochester, who recently wrote those Nazi-like words in a widely circulated blog. He subsequently apologized for including “all Jewish people,” implying that it is only Israel and most Jewish people who are “the biggest players” in the culture of violence that is eventually going to destroy humanity. Not Islamic terrorists, not nuclear sabre-rattling Iran – but “the Jews!” If you answered Hitler, that is understandable since Hitler made very similar accusations. Hitler, like Gandhi, accused the Jews of causing all the problems in the world.
The answer to the second question is Tony Kushner, who is thoroughly ignorant about the history, morality and politics of Israel’s establishment as the result of the United Nations division of the contested area into two states: one for the Palestinians and one for the Jews. The Jews accepted the two-state solution and declared statehood. The Arab nations rejected the two-state solution and declared a genocidal war against the Jewish state. But you wouldn’t know that by listening to Kushner. If you mistakenly believed that the correct answer was Iran or the Hamas Charter, that too is understandable, because both have made the same point.
The answer to the third question is Clare Short, former Secretary of State for International Development in the UK Labor government, who has said that Israel will cause the end of the human race because it diverts the world’s attention from the problem of global warming. Not China, the United States or other large polluters, but tiny Israel, which is one of the most environmental-friendly nations of the world!
These are highly regarded individuals who have large followings around the world. Yet they mimic the most despised group in modern history – the Nazi Party – in blaming the world’s ills on “the Jews,” the Jewish state and “American Jews.” If this were not so dangerous and tragic, its patent ignorance would almost be humorous. It reminds me of the old joke about Hitler making an harangue in Nuremberg, during which he shouted out his favorite rhetorical question: “Who is causing all the problems of the world?” A voice from the back of the crowd shouted out, “the bicycle riders.” A shocked Hitler asked “Why the bicycle riders?” The voice responded, “why the Jews?”
It’s easy to scapegoat “the Jews” or the Jewish state for all the world’s problems. One would expect, however, that in light of the history of Nazism, people like Gandhi, Kushner, and Short would reflect more deeply before issuing this modern day version of the Blood Libel. Shame on them.