We have just read the portion of the Torah which describes the episode of the twelve spies and the repercussions which ensued following their devastating reports about the Promised Land.
I researched some synonyms for “bad mouthing” and the following examples presented themselves: “disparage; malign; slur; smear”.
These perfectly exemplify the reports of the spies as the Israelites stood poised to enter Canaan and the myriad of today’s bad mouthers who follow the same old script.
I am not necessarily referring to the non-Jewish knee-jerk haters of anything Jewish but to our own assorted individuals and groups whose mission seems to be to denigrate and delegitimize the very idea and concept of sovereignty in the one and only place which should be central to Jews and Judaism.
Consider the similarities between then and now.
According to many commentators of the Biblical episode, the opposition to settling the Land was not because of a rejection of the original divine promise but rather a reluctance to abandon the “luxury” of an exile where food was delivered to their doorstep on a daily basis (except Shabbat) and most other daily decisions were made for them. All of a sudden the masses faced the daunting prospect of defending their sovereignty against implacable enemies, creating a structure to settle and develop the territory, provide food and other services and struggle to sustain a governable society.
The bounty of the land was so evident (flowing with milk and honey) and overwhelming that the spies had no alternative but to bring back samples of the produce. However, what the majority could and did do was to create doubt and panic by reporting in graphic detail the perceived strength of the occupiers already ensconced there and the formidable struggle to exist and make a living. In order to clinch negative perceptions in the minds of the people, the ten spies described in graphic detail the weakness and (in their minds) the hopeless situation of even trying to enter the land. Describing themselves as “grasshoppers” as opposed to the resident “giants” had the immediate effect of panicking the multitudes and created the required reluctance to make aliyah.
We all know the resultant consequences.
It took another 40 years of wandering in the desert and the demise of a whole generation of ex-slaves (except for Joshua and Caleb) and the death of Moses before our ancestors were deemed ready, willing and able to take possession of Eretz Israel and establish sovereignty. Despite subsequent strife and exiles the centrality of Israel and Jerusalem was firmly established so much so that against seemingly overwhelming odds the land never was entirely bereft of Jews again.
One would have thought given all these historical precedents and experiences that anyone who self-identifies as a Jew these days might acknowledge the lunacy of divorcing from any connection to the place promised to our Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
Disagreement with the political policies of any particular Government is perfectly normal and is indulged in by Israeli citizens as is their democratic right. I am not even referring to the same excuses as used by the spies such as the “impossibility of making a decent living, learning a different language and having to defend the country” all possibly valid reasons for postponing aliyah at a particular moment.
Preferring to live in places where one is always a vulnerable minority and where the noxious winds of hate are swirling is unfortunately a genetic fault that far too many keep repeating at their continual peril. Perhaps that explains the recent survey conducted by the European Jewish Association which asked “which is the best European country for Jews to live in?” One would think that given past and current events no country in Europe should be classified as a safe haven for Jews.
The real and present scandal is the total distancing, delegitimizing and refusal to support the very concept of Jews being sovereign in their own country. It is the twisted logic of supporting each and every struggle for national independence for everyone except Jews.
This warped way of thinking spans the spectrum from those who are still waiting for a free airline ticket from the Messiah all the way to those who have no active connection to anything remotely resembling a Jewish affiliation and have the urge to deny national sovereignty to Jews. All of a sudden from out of the assimilationist woodwork we have individuals and groups popping up and working hard to shmutz the very concept of Jewish independence in a place that resonates with so many historical connections.
Adopting the slogans and narratives of discredited radical non-Jewish copycats those who accuse Israel of being illegitimate, born in sin and practitioners of apartheid and racist colonialism are all liberally funded by an assortment of well-known sources. Funds provided by various European and Scandinavian foundations plus the money received from UN entities and known extreme progressive circles all help to keep the torrent of Israel hate flowing. Hand in hand with a complicit media, the campaign to create a horror image of the Jewish State releases its poison into the mainstream.
The phenomenon of those who willingly or unwittingly work side by side with known Jew-haters to denigrate and disparage is not something new. It has been around for millennia.
Although the views expressed are repugnant it is important to know exactly what is being peddled.
The New York Jewish Week reported that Jewish board members of NYU LSJP – NY University law students for justice in Palestine – issued a statement “in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation”. “Zionist violence is done in our name.” They go on to declare that “Zionism is not Judaism. It is a racist, imperialist, white supremacist ideology, not a religious movement.”
This presses all the extreme progressive buttons. It would be interesting to know, given the over 70% assimilation rate among non-Orthodox American Jews, how many of the students involved are actually Jewish, how many are religious and how many have actually visited Israel. They speak in the name of Judaism and the oppressed Palestinians but I wonder how many of them have any meaningful involvement with their religion or have researched the real factual history of the Jewish connection to Israel instead of being brainwashed by prevailing revisionist dogmas.
The Jewish NGO Jewish Voices for Peace wrote a series of posts on its social media accounts which sum up the self-flagellating and outright lies now being promoted as infallible articles of faith.
“Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and victims of Terrorism and Independence Day were created to promote harmful Zionist narratives that Jews can only be protected through militarism, colonialism and apartheid and to justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Israeli leaders intentionally designed the sequence of these fabricated, secular holidays timing them to fall just after Passover on the Jewish calendar. Unlike other holocaust days, Israel’s Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day celebrates Jews’ justified armed resistance to Nazism and disturbingly and wrongly connects it to the inexcusable mass murder and expulsion of Palestinians by Zionist militias i.e. the Nakba.
The Zionist state-building narrative reaches a climax the next day on Yom Ha’Atzmaut or Independence Day which commemorates the creation of Israel in 1948. By pairing its memorial to fallen soldiers with its statehood celebration Israel reinforces the myth of Jews as perennial victims who need a militarized state to protect us.”
If you managed to read all this you will get some idea of the screwy logic that is being promoted by some “Jews.”
The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation hosted a Nakba event in Tel Aviv on the eve of Yom Ha’Atzmaut calling for “dezionization.” In case you don’t understand this word it basically means the dismantlement of Israel as the nation State of the Jewish People.
There you have it in a nutshell. Those extreme left Jewish supporters who took part, advocate the self-destruction of Israel and presumably all its Jewish citizens.
You may be interested to know that this Foundation is linked to the German Left Party (Die Linke) and also receives funding from the budget of the German Government. Draw your own conclusions from that.
It is abundantly apparent that the bad-mouthing of Israel which started with the 10 spies has survived and mutated to this very day.
The Israelites of Joshua and Caleb’s day panicked into believing the worst about Israel with subsequent dire results.
Hopefully, todays and future generations have learned the lessons of their ancestors’ actions and will consign these modern purveyors of lies and slanders to where they belong.