Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to France on June 5th yielded interesting statements from French President Emmanuel Macron.
After going through the routine of condemning all forms of violence against civilians and committing France to the security of Israel, Macron’s problematic ideas about violence and peace came when he “condemn[ed] all form of expressions to incite, made by certain groups, and I am thinking of Hamas here,” as well as when he spoke about his disapproval of the moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, which led to “people dying”… in Gaza. “If this [move of the embassy] leads to people dying, it’s not a celebration,” he said.
Macron, if he ever takes notice, could sue me for attaching antisemitism to his name, and if that happens, I will lose the case in a heartbeat, because Macron is not an anti-Semite. This being said, there can be no denial that Macron is using logical and moral arguments of the kind that will show their true colors only if taken to their logical conclusion, ad absurdum.
By today’s moral standard, Israel would never have come into being for the simple reason that it is viewed as a white colonialist entity that displaced indigenous people and occupied their land. This argument, you might be interested to know, is the oldest anti-Semitic ploy in the book. This moral charge, echoed repeatedly in the Bible, has become the standard reason for opposing Jewish presence in the Land of Israel ever since.
Now, since the Jewish people stand on the three-legged foundation of Torah-People-Land, removing one leg will bring an end to the whole thing called Israel. Antisemitism, therefore, goes far deeper than Holocaust-denial or raw hatred of the Jews. Fundamentally, antisemitism is any attempt to remove any one of these legs.
Concerning today’s most pressing issue, the land, in his opening comments on the Book of Genesis, Rashi, arguably the most important Jewish interpreter of the Bible, explains why Genesis was even written. The reason, he argues, is written in Psalm 111:6: “He has shown his people the power of his works by giving them the lands of other nations.”
Accordingly, Genesis was written in case “the nations of the world will say that ‘you are robbers because you have occupied the lands of seven nations,’ tell them that the Land is the Lord’s. He created it and He gave it to whom He pleased.” Rashi’s answer is chillingly candid. Without divine decree, he seems to be saying, Israel is indeed a moral travesty.
In this scheme, overt antisemitism, which denies the very idea of a “chosen people” rightfully dwelling on the land of seven nations, becomes a morally-sound position that was, and still is, used against Israel.
Consider the 1919 Paris peace treaty, which among other things approved the Balfour Declaration for a Jewish home in Mandatory Palestine. Leading up to this treaty was the King-Crane Commission that concluded that support for a Jewish state in Palestine would lead to violence since, due to Arab resistance, “only by force can a Jewish state in Palestine be established or maintained.” If, as it is today, peace was the primary driving principal behind the superpowers’ foreign policy, Israel would have never come into being.
Macron’s logic and morality run along the same lines. If the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem breeds violence in Gaza, it is morally and politically imperative not to do it. Peace above all, even if it means the clogging of the arteries of Israel’s heart, is good for Israel, and for the world, according to this moral anti-Semitic argument. To balance it off, Macron draws moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas by refusing to address this entity’s expressed supreme goal of destroying Israel. Peace, the anti-Semites will argue, is more important than Israel.
Whether or not he realizes it, Macron is softly whispering, much like the famous MASH theme song, the lullaby of “suicide is painless. It brings on many changes.” While for some it might be unwittingly done, this is part of a “valiant” European effort to euthanize Israel.