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Rationalizing Evil
Israel - Middle East
Friday, January 27, 2017
Alf Cengia

Earlier this year as a bunch of us were walking together, one of my friends suddenly wondered out loud, "Why does everyone hate the Jews? It was as if the thought suddenly struck him out of the blue and it puzzled him. He wasn't specifically talking about the nation Israel but individual ethnic Jewish people. I think the two are inextricably related yet not entirely dependant on each other.

While, it's not true that everyone hates Jews, it is prevalent enough that I was easily able to understand why my friend asked the question, although I don't know what prompted it. I could immediately think of one main reason that would have involved moving away from relying on secular reasoning. I offered him a supernatural reason and, predictably, he rejected it.

My friend's question followed him around for two or three weeks without being resolved. He elicited responses from a number of people and received several suggestions relating to the current Israel and Palestinian conflict. One comment was stereotypical racism based on subjective bias.

It's noteworthy that part of Hamas's charter employs a saying taken from a hadith which was written long before Israel's recognition as a nation, the Palestinian conflict and before the most recent Jewish holocaust. In it Allah declares that the Day of Judgement will not come until the Jews are all killed and that even the stones and trees will assist in killing them.

In a separate conversation someone else expressed his frustration that the Holocaust Story was being constantly regurgitated in the media. His point was that you can find many examples of genocide perpetrated against other groups and races, not just the Jews. What makes them so special? His insinuation was that the Jews were capitalizing on victim-hood.

Given that he was the one who broached the subject and that he emphasized that particular point suggests to me that he was harboring a personal prejudice. But it's not the first time I've come across that question. Most people have some information on the depth of monstrosity perpetuated against the Jews during the WW2 yet some will share the same irritation as did my friend.

A quick look at the Wikipedia's website's Genocides and alleged genocides cites several examples of genocide. In the category for Genocides under Nazi Germany; despite the overwhelming representation of the Jewish people, Wikipedia feels obligated to point out that:

"With around 6 million Jews murdered, many scholars define the Holocaust as a genocide of European Jewry alone. Broader definitions include the genocide of the Romani: most estimates of Romani deaths are in the 200,000-500,000 range but some estimate more than a million. A broader definition includes political and religious dissenters, 200,000 handicapped, 2 to 3 million Soviet POWs, 5,000 Jehovah's Witnesses, 15,000 homosexuals."

Nobel-laureate Jose de Sousa Saramago wrote, "the Jews endlessly scratch their own wound to keep it bleeding, to make it incurable, and they show it to the world as if it were a banner."

David Solway examines the same question when he rhetorically asks:

"Are six to seven million Ukrainians starved to death by Josef Stalin in the forced collectivization program known as the Black Famine any less to be mourned than six million dead Jews at the hands of Adolf Hitler? Do Jews have a monopoly on affliction?"
Absolutely not.

Yet something different is going on with the Jewish example and it relates to my friend's original enquiry. Solway goes on to write:

"For the campaign against the Israelite has an inordinately long pedigree, going back to the Egyptian captivity, the Babylonian exile, the Roman wars and dispossession, the mass killings of Jews during the First Crusade, the Edict of Expulsion from England during the reign of Edward I, the Alhambra Decree in Spain ordering the expulsion of the Jews, the Chmielnicki massacre in 17th century Ukraine, and the innumerable purges in between and since, in both Christian and Muslim lands, leading to its culmination in the Holocaust."

However we attempt to rationalize this phenomenon, the fact remains that throughout the history of the Jewish people they have suffered expulsion, persecution and mass murder. No other race has had to suffer this.

Are we to continuously find pragmatic excuses for each atrocity perpetrated on the Jewish people and find excuses to point the finger back at them? Rationalizing this is irrational in itself.

Originally written: July 15, 2010

About Alf Cengia

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