OpinionIsrael at War

The world must re-evaluate its values

Sometimes, the “strong” are right and the “weak” are wrong.

Anti-Israel protesters in London on Oct. 14, 2023. Credit: Koca Vehbi/Shutterstock.
Anti-Israel protesters in London on Oct. 14, 2023. Credit: Koca Vehbi/Shutterstock.
Rabbi Uri Pilichowski
Rabbi Uri Pilichowski
Rabbi Uri Pilichowski is a senior educator at numerous educational institutions. The author of three books, he teaches Torah, Zionism and Israel studies around the world.

After 75 years of a successful Israel, it’s hard to imagine that in its early years, Zionism garnered less than 10% of global Jewry’s support. Many Jews preferred to assimilate into the nations in which they resided. Others were afraid that advocating for their own state would inspire antisemitic attacks.

It was only after the Holocaust that global Jewry, especially American Jewry, came around to supporting Zionism. As Germany transformed into an antisemitic killing machine, world Jewry witnessed the great powers refuse to admit Jews even though they were in danger of being exterminated.

American Jews were also powerless to influence President Franklin D. Roosevelt to bomb the train tracks to the concentration camps or do anything else to stop the Holocaust.

It was then Jews realized that without their own state and military, they could never guarantee their own safety. Today, over 90% of American Jews support some form of Zionism.

The world, by contrast, has usually favored Israel’s enemies. It did so for several reasons. Many countries feared being denied Arab oil. Others worried about being dragged into Israel’s wars. Latent antisemitism, of course, was a major factor.

Over time, it became the major factor. Antisemitism has long been the driving force behind anti-Zionist and anti-Israel sentiment around the world. Institutions like the United Nations, created to protect minority populations like the Jewish people, turned against the Jews and favored the Palestinians despite Israeli offers of peace and Palestinian rejectionism.

Today, the world has shown some sympathy for the Jewish people since Israel was brutally attacked by Palestinian barbarians on Oct. 7, but is still mostly sympathetic to the Palestinians. In a recent U.N. General Assembly vote, only 14 out of 196 votes went in Israel’s favor.

In the wider world, the spectacle was even more appalling. From London Bridge to Harvard Yard, protestors waved Palestinian flags and banners advocating a “Free Palestine.” They chanted “Gas the Jews.” What has brought masses of people, often the allegedly best and the brightest, to support a genocidal ideology?

Many of these new genocidists embrace supposedly “progressive” values. These values demand reflexively sympathizing with the “weak” and opposing the “powerful.” Given their lack of interest in facts, progressives generally assume that the weak are weak because they have been made weak by the powerful.

Applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Palestinians, being the weaker party, are seen as “oppressed” by the “powerful” Israel. Ironically, to the extent that the Palestinians are weak and Israel strong, it is entirely the Palestinians’ fault. Israel took advantage of the chance for an independent state and succeeded in building one. The Palestinians rejected this opportunity and have built a failed terrorist proto-state.

The global community’s approach to measuring which nations, groups, and people deserve its support needs to be recalibrated. Hamas’s rampage of crimes against humanity has provided the world with an opportunity for clarity. The world has been shown that the poor circumstances of the Palestinians are due to their embrace of terrorism over the chance for peace and prosperity.

While pointing the finger at Israel was always the easy way out, it has become obvious that it was at best a superficial and erroneous understanding of the Palestinian situation. While the conflict with Israel caused great harm to the Palestinians, this was entirely due to their decision to continue the conflict by the most barbaric means possible. It was the poor decisions of the Palestinian leadership, the abominations committed by Palestinian terror groups and the Palestinian obsession with destroying Israel that ultimately doomed the Palestinians to their current state.

Going forward, instead of the shallow paradigm of “power equals oppressor” and “weak equals oppressed,” the world must judge nations by their morality, not their relative strength and weakness. When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the world must look at the values of both peoples and see which values best reflect their own.

The barbaric Oct. 7 attack was an expression of a morally corrupt culture that encourages its people to rape, behead, murder and kidnap the innocent. These, we hope, are not the values and morals of the civilized world. It is time for the world to change its ways, view Israel with new eyes and demand a change in Palestinian values and culture.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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