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IDEALISM AND REALITY
Her tough eyes were focused on me and her demeanor was disapproving. "What do you know about "Makee?" She asked. I was puzzled, what was she talking about? Why was she asking me this question when she is evaluating my application for permanent US citizenship?
Then I remembered: "It was the French underground against the Nazis."
She paused, shrugged her shoulders and continued with her next question.
I did not know then, in the late fifties, that "Makee" was the acronym for the Israeli Communist Party. Nor did I know that several members of my own family had joined the Israeli Communist party. I did not know then, and not for many years later. My late brother, a man I always admired, who was one of the pioneering member of the Lechi Israeli underground, was later a leader of the Communist party. People like him then were dedicated heart and soul to make the world a better place for all humanity. They developed close relationships with Israeli Arabs and were eager to get peace almost at any price. Until they woke up to the difficult realities and moved to the right.
Many Jews, most of them with weak ties to Judaism, were very strong supporters of communist parties globally and were dedicated supporters during the brutal Stalin regime. In their passion to improve the human condition across the world, they ignored the immense atrocities Stalin perpetrated on his people. Stalin, one of the most brutal dictators of all times, caused the death of tens of millions of his own people. Just one example not typically known: When one million Russian soldiers were released from Nazi prisons at the end of WWII, Stalin said, "There are no Russian prisoners, they all fought to their death", and sent them to the Gulag- Siberia and most of them died there.
Many Jews in the US and Israel, were supporters of Stalin's communism, denying every bad news pointing to Stalin's atrocities. They were not willing to look at reality; their dedication to improving the world blinded them to the horrible facts emanating from the USSR. These Jews and other Stalin supporters claimed it was all American propaganda to discredit the good work of Communism.
And when I look now at many dedicated liberals I often see a similar situation. They blame Israel for most of the problems with the Arab world, they ignore Arab terrorism, ignore the wars on Israel, ignore Arab poll after Arab poll wishing the destruction of Israel and Arab's killing of innocent Jews world-wide. The thousands of rockets from Gaza, they do not see. These idealists, caring people, say it is just Israeli propaganda.
They have great difficulty separating facts from fiction. Their liberal world view is the core of their lives. When facts dispute or contradict their long-held beliefs, they are unable to deal with them. They ignore them, deny them, and are unshaken in their idealism. They say, "If the Israelis just gave more, peace will arrive." The security issue is beyond their grasp too often.
It is easier for them to demand sacrifices from others, sacrifices they would not have to make themselves.
During my long life I have seen both American and Israeli Jews that were strong supporters of Stalin and communism switch to being strong supporters of "Peace-at-any- price" in Israel. They moved from one dream to another, ignoring in both cases the realities and facts they do not like to see.
In all the decades I have studied the Israel/Arab conflicts, I have never heard of another people, another nation, whose people have worked against their own national origin as many liberal Jews have..
What is it that drives some Jews to this strange and dangerous attitude?
Could it be the continuation of the Galut, Diaspora, and mentality: the need to be very good to protect our neck?
The inability to defend ourselves? The need to get approval of the rulers?
I wonder to what extent Eli Wiesel's statement applies here: "If I have to deny my Jewishness to help others and society; if I have to betray my people, I will betray everybody." (Sacramento 1996)
I think it may apply to those who are eager to see their idealism work and deny the dire survival needs of their own brothers in Israel.