J'Accuse: Equivalency in Moral Standards
The French writer Emile Zola penned a newspaper article in 1898 in which he called out his government for its mishandling of the Dreyfus Affair. The article, entitled “J'Accuse!” (I accuse!), served as a wake-up call for people to see the blatant anti-Semitism that was masquerading as a military trial.
Today we are seeing something very similar, but on a global scale. Israel is (again) at war with the Hamas government in Gaza while the world wrings its collective hands at the IDF’s “disproportional response.” Yet the most disproportional thing about this battle is the inordinate amount of blame and responsibility that the world places on Israel for a war that we neither sought nor desired.
I won’t go into the geopolitical or historical factors that led to the war. We can argue about whether or not Israel has the right to exist or defend herself until the Messiah comes without reaching an agreement. The bottom line is that when Israeli men, women and children are on the receiving end of rocket fire, it is the job of our leaders to protect us.
Protests around the world – ostensibly decrying the Israel’s current actions – seem to ignore that responsibility of our government. These rallies have witnessed calls of “Death to the Jews,” attacks on Jewish-owned businesses and individual Jews. What further proof is needed of anti-Semitism underlying the world’s “case” against us?
We do not need a “J’Accuse” letter to see the anti-Semitism that has already been raised often and is well-documented. But something else is going on with the international attitude towards the conflict that must be addressed.
Blaming Israel for the deaths of Palestinians while remaining silent on the far more horrific body counts inflicted upon Arabs by other Arabs, is not only anti-Semitic, it is also racist against Arabs.
Israel is clearly held to standards that the Arab world is not.
It has been suggested by some that the world will not cry out against the Arab world for fear of alienating the primary provider of oil in the world. However, Syria produces so little that offending them should not affect oil, but the international response to the Syrian civil war has been mostly non-existent. This, despite the fact that in three years over 150,000 civilians have been killed (including some 11,000 children) and more than one million refugees have been forced to flee their homes.
Perhaps the world expects barbaric behavior in Arabs that is unfathomable in Jews. If so, then maybe the reason that nobody cries out against Arab atrocities is that they are only “acting according to their nature."
So – to quote Mr. Zola – J’Accuse! I accuse the world of wrapping its anti-Arab racism inside the shell of anti-Semitism!
I accuse the world of treating the Arabs as incapable of meeting the same moral standards that we expect from Israel and all other nations.
By refusing to hold the Arab world - and their so-called "leaders" accountable for their actions, we deny their equality with the rest of the human race.
And that is every bit as racist as holding the Jewish people and Israel to a higher moral standard of behavior.
People can (and should) hold themselves to the highest possible standard, striving to be the best that they can be, both as individuals as nations. The failure of Arab leaders to do so is their failing. It need not be ours as well.
I accuse the international media of turning a blind eye to so much of the suffering in the world in general and the Arab world in particular. Of focusing instead on what it chooses to lay at Israel’s feet. It refuses to see the Arab people as equal to the Jews or the rest of the world, and does not demand that they accept responsibility for their own actions.
I accuse the Arab leadership, particularly of Hamas, for valuing death over life. It matters not one whit to them whose death - Palestinian or Jew - as long as it furthers their political goal. They hold themselves to a lower standard of behavior, and refuse to see themselves as equals with the rest of the world.
I accuse the protesters around the world, who focus so much energy on a simplistic, anti-intellectual interpretation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They see the lopsided numbers coming out of the battles, and draw the easy conclusions that it must be Israel's fault for inflicting so much damage on the poor defenseless Palestinian while suffering so few losses.
Even a smidgen of open-mindedness would show that most Israelis are surviving because our leaders choose life, and have invested billions of dollars into a missile defense system, air-raid sirens and safe bomb shelters. Unlike Hamas, we want people to protect themselves and their loved ones when threatened, not to embrace death for some “greater cause.”
I accuse those of my fellow Jews and Israelis who seek to dehumanize the Arab population, grouping them all as “animals” and “barbarians” who are collectively guilty for the actions of the extremist elements of their society. In doing so these Jews not only violate the biblical precept that all of mankind was created in God’s image, but they justify the lower standard that world maintains for the Arabs.
And I accuse all who refuse to see the wrong in the Hamas bombardment of Israel. They are the biggest racists, towards Arabs and Jews alike.