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The BBC and The Morgantinis Print E-mail

By Sarah Honig
March 15, 2007

What a shocker - a BBC poll (of 28,389 respondents in 27 countries) revealed that we aren't liked!

Israel topped the list of countries deemed to have "the most negative influence on the world," and even beat Iran for the dubious distinction.

You could have knocked most Israelis over with a feather - except, obviously, those trendy post-Zionists who confoundedly trash their country's already battered image to win accolades from guardians of propriety in those unassailable European bastions of self-professed enlightenment and proven penchants for craven appeasement.

Nothing new here. In 2003 the EU citizenry voted Israel "the greatest danger to world peace." The same happened in 2000, when Ehud Barak headed Israel's most compromising government ever. Right-wingers, left-wingers, patriots, defeatists - it makes no difference, not in this 21st century, nor in the 20th, 14th, seventh or in BCE days.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Jews have always attracted abuse - even when they call themselves Israelis. From time immemorial, they found themselves in the eye of whatever storm was brewing. They didn't rouse the tempest, but it always revolved around them.

From the dawn of history Jews were civilization's codifiers of ethics and harbingers of progress. That's enough in itself to render them unbearable irritants. Higher ideals accentuate others' deficiencies. Jews robbed the world of its complacency and, as mankind's killjoys, became catalysts of controversy.

When humanity was caught in paganism's fear, frenzy and frolic, we introduced the principled One God. When others adopted offshoots of our monotheism, they accused us of deicide, or of spurning Allah's prophet.

The secular lot - be they of the fascist or academic varieties - denigrate Jews as imposers of austerity, moralistic emasculators and corrupters of mythical natural bliss.

Jews were the reviled plutocrats and bourgeoisie in dictatorships of the proletariat, and proletarian agitators to robber-barons and captains of capitalist industry. We were too ostentatiously rich or too bedraggled poor, too repulsively ugly or too exotically enticing, too obsequious or too arrogant, too downtrodden or too exploiting, too high on the moral ground or baking matzot with the blood of Christian tots (or Muslims, depending on libelous particulars).

We were continuously too smart for our own good, and were therefore accused of cabals and hatching nefarious plots. We were the perfect target because we were weak, but decried as too strong when we strove not to be so helpless.

Taking up our cause was always unfashionable. It still is. Toynbee's exasperating "fossils," we remain the irksome touchstone for what transcends the sordid and selfish. We are in their faces, be they Nordic or Malay - even when we belittle ourselves, borrow their inane ways, look like them, adopt their fads, dance to their rhythms and try to win their acceptance at any cost.

They'll always remember that we aren't of their ilk. They'll always side with our attackers and fault us for it. Our existence constitutes a constant embarrassing reminder of their crimes.

That's why German Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke likened Ramallah to the Warsaw Ghetto only hours after his visit to Yad Vashem during a recent short tour of Israel (sufficient to certify him an expert). Hanke, a member of the Permanent Mission of the German Bishops' Conference to the Holy Land, explicitly told reporters that Yad Vashem's Warsaw Ghetto display inspired the analogy. He tossed his national/Christian culpability right back at the survivors and the victims' descendants, still forced to defend themselves against would-be destroyers and Nazi-torchbearers.

Whopping lies of Goebbels proportions can apparently expiate collective guilt.

SMEARING JEWS inevitably justifies enmity toward them. They bring it on themselves. They always did. Killing Jews was never like killing others. Since Israel is Ahmadinejad's primary target, there's no urgency for even nonviolent measures like sanctions against his nuclear ambitions. If only Jews are nuked, the rest of the world can tolerate Iran's Bomb. A Jewish-only target is almost a plausible compromise.

That's why, when an Israeli rock group croons nonspecific lyrics about dreading missiles, it's accused of offensive politicization and threatened with exclusion from the imbecilic Eurovision Song Contest. Jews have no right to even hint at being opposed to their own annihilation.

Jewish rights to life and liberty are forever conditional, not to be taken for granted. Had Marwan Barghouti murdered Italians and been sentenced to five life terms by an Italian court - after egregious due-process breaks and indulgence for his media manipulations and antics - it's doubtful that even the European Parliament's vice president, communist Luisa Morgantini, would have dared clamor for his release.

But as his victims were Jews/Israelis, no constraints apply. Morgantini, recipient of the 1995 Women in Black "peace prize" and nominee for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, has made Barghouti's release her cause celebre. She actively raises funds for all other Palestinian convicts, thereby delegitimizing Israel's ultra-liberal judiciary, as if those with Jewish blood on their hands are tantamount to saintly prisoners of conscience, wrongfully incarcerated by malevolent Jewish ogres.

Europeans who decades ago shouted "Jews to Palestine," and showed no mercy to those who didn't flee in time now shout "Jews out of Palestine."

With Jews unwanted anywhere, the bottom line precludes any Jewish existence.

This is where Israelis' dulled self-preservation instincts must take over. If we blame ourselves to curry favor with cynical maligners, to make them like us, to secure their approval and good press - if we obsess about their opinion of us - then we're goners. If we don't overcome our awe of remorseless Judeophobes - genteel or otherwise - who presume to pass judgment, then our 2,000-year-old hope is tragically lost.

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