There are many ways to philosophically divide Americans. Liberal-conservative and religious-secular are two obvious ways. But there is another, no less significant, division: Those who are ashamed of America for being hated and those who wear this hatred as a badge of honor.
I am in the latter group.
I understand such hatred. I am a Jew, a member of the most consistently and deeply hated people in world history. As such, and as coauthor of "Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.), I have devoted decades to thinking about Jew-hatred.
There are basically two possible ways to look at anti-Semitism. One is that anti-Semites are essentially decent folks and Jews have usually been so bad that they have merited anti-Semitic hatred. The second is that the Jews have generally been a decent people who antagonized many of the morally worst people of their time and place.
Anti-Semites would, of course, choose the first explanation. Others would acknowledge that those who have hated the Jews have usually been the vilest of their generation. Whether Roman torturers, Crusaders who massacred Jewish communities on their way to the Holy Land, Nazis or Communists — they all hated Jews. The monsters of the 20th century, the Nazis, made Jew-hatred the centerpiece of their ideology. And the monsters of our young century, militant Muslims, have done the same.
Why have the Jews, always among the weakest and smallest of peoples, attracted the hatred of the most evil people? Because of what the Jews represented. The civility of the Jews' lives and the values the Jews brought into the world — especially ethical monotheism, i.e., a standard of right and wrong based on a moral and judging G-d — made them loathsome in the eyes of those who led particularly uncivil lives and who celebrated moral chaos and cruelty.
Turning to hatred of America, the same questions and answers apply. Either America is evil and hatred of it is merited, or America is a decent country and the haters are evil.
The correct explanation is so obvious that only one who already hates America or who is simply morally confused would choose the first.
Hamas and its many supporters among Palestinians have developed a new theology of cruelty and death — that a Muslim boy who blows himself up while maiming and murdering as many innocent Jews as possible goes to heaven where he is then sexually serviced by dozens of virgins. In the annals of the history of religion, no analogous theology of cruelty and vulgarity has ever been devised. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that Hamas and its Palestinian supporters hate this country?
One more point. When you look at the roster of the America-haters and realize that none of them hates France or Sweden, this assessment of America-hatred is rendered even more obvious. America, largely alone, calls these groups and regimes what they are — evil. America, largely alone, wages war against them. America, largely alone (with Israel), prevents them from assuming far more power.
As I said to my synagogue on the Sabbath after 9-11, "I stand before you as a proud member of the world's two most hated peoples — Americans and Jews."
Friday, April 28, 2006
All The Right Enemies