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The Short Cut


Rabbi Berel Wein

The rabbis of the Talmud in their far seeing view of human and national behavior outlined that the short cut to recognition and importance in the world is to be against the Jewish people. In our times this view has been refined to be against the Jewish state, Israel. The Talmud stated: "Those who oppose and oppress Israel (the people though it certainly applies to the state as well) become the head - well known and apparently successful and popular." Whoever heard Bolivia take any important position on any world subject until now? But now Bolivia wants to play a role on the world stage so it attacks Israel viciously, demands war crimes trials and breaks off diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. And how about that champion of human rights, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela? What is his humanitarian problem? And if he is so interested in human rights why doesn’t he start at home in Caracas? Because the shortcut to notoriety and releasing pressure against their own misdeeds is to be vocally against Israel and to tolerate anti-Semitic acts in their own countries. Why else would Time magazine in the USA have on its cover its cynical question as to the survival of Israel? They are interested in selling more magazines and bashing Israel is the shortcut to popularity. Just ask the New York Times, the Guardian and CNN and they will confirm how well this tactic and viewpoint works. The Talmud as usual had it right.

But there are lessons of history that the world never seems to learn. All of the empires that persecuted the Jewish people from Pharaoh’s Egypt to Gorbachev’s Soviet Union did not stand the test of eternal time while the Jewish people persevered and remained vital and disproportionately influential in the advance of civilization. Like many shortcuts that appear so enticing and successful at the onset, the shortcut regarding the persecution of Jews in the long run is a boomerang. Unfortunately the Jews always pay a large price at the onset of the story. And it seems that we are going to be liable again in our current situation. The hypocritical world will undoubtedly demand the punishment of Israel for its self defense war. The "humanitarians" will cry their crocodile tears over the destruction in Gaza. But very few will be honest to admit what the true cause of that destruction was and who is the guilty party in this struggle. But there will also undoubtedly come a day when the shortcut will turn back on itself and lead to nowhere. All of history teaches us that that is inevitable. But until that happens we will have to be strong and proud. The Talmud also taught us that the Jewish people are the strongest of all nations, a hard boiled egg that can stand the heat. We will have ample opportunity to prove that in the near future. The pride and strength exhibited by the Israeli army and the home front over the past month will certainly stand us in good stead over this critical near term of time and events.

We certainly wish to be better liked by the non-Jewish world. The problem is that all of our efforts to achieve this have never been truly successful. Assimilation, keeping a low profile, even being critical of the Jewish people and the Jewish state has not proven successful over the long run of history. Only after the Holocaust did there arise a certain change of attitude towards Jews, born mainly out of terrible guilt rather than sympathy or understanding. As the Holocaust fades from memory, our enemies have turned the Holocaust against us, either by denying its existence or by accusing us of perpetrating another so called holocaust. Thus Israel is portrayed with swastikas and our soldiers are called Nazis. This accomplishes two goals - it relieves the world of its guilt over the true Holocaust and it justifies the otherwise spurious and irrational hatred of Jews and Israel. The terrible coincidence of so many Jewish swindlers and criminals being exposed in our recent time only serves to complicate the issue and make our task of defending ourselves morally and diplomatically more difficult. Nevertheless we should not be overly despondent over the situation. We should be steadfast in what Lincoln once again said to do "the right as God gives us to see that right." We have no choice and we intend to survive and triumph. This has always been the Jewish response to the malicious and dangerous shortcut that the world regularly takes.
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