The world is shrinking again for Israelis and Jews. This week's call by the National Security Council (NSC) to refrain from externalizing religious or national identification symbols in many destinations around the world may not have surprised anyone, but it certainly added another dimension of despondency to the general atmosphere that has prevailed over us since Simchat Torah.
Even in the safest countries in Western Europe, we are now forced to be vigilant, suspicious, look around, or, in the words of the National Security Council, beware of "occasional threats." If we want to take part in events, it's better to be secure. Or in other words, marked.
The waves of anti-Semitism that followed the horrific massacre changed the boundaries of consciousness of many Jews and Israelis. The main Jewish activists in human rights organizations around the world have always been required, to one degree or another, to disconnect from their Jewish or national identity. Jewish national identity, by the way, is the only identity that these movements demand to disintegrate. The other ethnic groups actually receive support for their self-determination and nationality. This is especially true in recent decades, with the intensification of radicalization in relation to Israel.
Protest against the silence of women's organizations around the world // Photo: Yoni Rikner
In the international human rights community, Jews today remain primarily a marker of the occupying power, and thus any Jewish or national symbol is perceived. Jewish nationalism became purely nationalism. It is not surprising, then, that when Jews are attacked for their very identity, they are not credited with their significant presence as activists and donors in those liberal movements. The deep understanding that Jews do not deserve the protection of the global human rights community is shaking worlds.
A mistake in reading reality
Many Israelis and liberal Jews identified themselves as citizens of the world, with a global-cosmopolitan identity that transcends countries and nationalities. The West was home to them. Open borders were self-evident, as were cultural and business ties with economic and intellectual elites around the world. The younger generations of secular Jews from strong strata have become accustomed to the fact that Israel is a kind of inferior country, from which eyes and feet are looked to other places: a sabbatical year in London, an internship in Berlin, friends and wine in France.
But more than that, the global human rights communities have given Jewish leftists in Israel and around the world an identity and meaning, a shared destiny and values. For years they were willing to compromise on their Jewish identity, their sense of national belonging and their connection to the place. Maybe these really haven't been very significant things to them so far. Sometimes they even happily did so. It's as if they've removed this heavy burden of being Jewish and/or Israeli. But too many years of wanting to be global citizens have led to an incorrect and perhaps even distorted reading of reality.
Gal Gadot. Now she too has to explain, Photo: Coco
How empty today the Me To campaign passionately promoted by the international media looks, when Gal Gadot is forced to fight for the campaign's basic value – "I believe you" – in the face of voices in Hollywood denying the massacre. During the campaign, which is unclear what change it has made, many women felt empowered. It seemed that hitting the powerful people in the industry, at its head, would create effective change. Each of the local journalists who covered the drift saw himself as belonging to an international community, a community leading the changes to which every liberal, democratic and Western society aspires. Total identification with these values was also ostensibly our moral Iron Dome, our self-confidence, our sense that we were worthy enough.
Institutions such as the UN were a distillation of the idea of an international community, and they were seen by Israelis and liberal Jews as a significant reference group. Sometimes much more from the local communities or communities. But the voices condemning Israel, which increased dramatically after the massacre, were an expression of unilateral severing of relations.
The Israeli left has not lived up to the standards set by the enlightened world. His every demand for recognition of the crimes committed by Palestinians against Jews contradicted the dominant voice that legitimized the massacre as a just war of total powerlessness. The attempts by international human rights organizations to silence the mass rapes and brutal massacres were a fatal blow to the idea of community.
Where agendas are buried
With anti-Semitism in the Western world only increasing, giving up Jewish identity, a concession that involves fear and concealment, becomes especially difficult. It is impossible to think of the children who would have to experience Jew-hatred as if they lived in dark times, or to experience hatred directed at them like occupying colonialist whites.
From day to day, it becomes clearer that for Jews it is dangerous to live in a world without roots, without a tangible community. Among religious and large Mizrahi populations, the self-perception as Jews in the Middle East has taken shape differently. For the most part, they did not perceive themselves as a foreign or occupying colonial power, but as part of the historical movement in the region. They were also less exposed to spaces that embraced the liberal discourse of the global left. For most of them, belonging to this place is self-evident and stems from the story of the Jewish people throughout the generations.
The international human rights community has won the hearts of the masses who identify themselves with liberal values. But reality has shown that not only is it an imagined community, it is also a cruel community. Especially if you're Jewish.
Local existence in Israel is not universal and certainly not cosmopolitan, but most of all it is not theoretical. The Middle Eastern province is the center of things, it is reality. It is where theories collapse one after the other and agendas are buried.
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