Hot Take: Jews Shouldn’t Compare Themselves to Nazis

Palestine Israel
Hot Take: Jews Shouldn’t Compare Themselves to Nazis

I know this may seem like a patently absurd title manipulated to evoke maximum outrage from the internet, but it is simply my reaction to a thing that happened on Israeli television.

Before getting to the manifestly monstrous Nazi ideology expressed here, I’d just like to take a quick moment to give some lighthearted advice to any of my fellow Jews who may have a thought to compare themselves to Hitler: don’t do that! Hitler is bad!

I thought this was pretty well-established amongst Jews, but now I am a bit unmoored from what I previously believed to be objective reality. Now I must go back and read the Torah again to see if anyone was “well actually”-ing Haman’s genocidal aims centuries later.

It speaks to how sick and depraved the Likud party and its influence on Israeli society has been, and the inhumanity that is bred when you establish a country through the forced displacement of another people. Ravit Hecht spoke to this evil dynamic in Israeli society in Haaretz when she wrote:

When a society, or at least a large part of it, chooses again – as is reflected by recent polls – a prime minister under whose rule its citizens were slaughtered, its daughters raped, its children abducted, and who is leading it on to military bloodletting, diplomatic isolation, economic slump as well as a culture of corruption, criminality, ignorance and backwardness; when a society, or at least a large part of it, lends its hand to abandoning hostages and their relatives and allows acts of violence against them; when a society, or at least a large part of it, does not differentiate between someone who sacrificed their son for Israel and someone whose demented son is leading a parasitic life abroad, it is neither Gantz nor Gadi Eisenkot who is to blame, nor the demonstrations that are “forcefully pushing right-wingers back into Netanyahu’s arms.”

It feels like some sort of sick and twisted joke that after centuries of being expelled from countries around the world and fleeing genocidal maniacs trying to kill us all, that Jews have finally established a home state by carrying out the very crimes committed against us in the past. If Israel can only exist through the immiseration of its neighbors, then Israel has failed as a project.

I elaborated on this in my piece about the acceptable kind of antisemitism coming from our elite halls of power and their favored stenographers, but there is a natural tension inside of Judaism around the state of Israel. Our faith has taught us to regard Israel as the ultimate ideal to establish a safe haven for Jews in a world that has long been hostile to us, but for all the knowledge contained in the Torah, it never saw New York City coming, whose Jewish population surpasses that of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv combined.

The state of Israel does not speak for me, and assuming that all Jews support its government is the kind of acceptable antisemitism I wrote about. A country established in the wake of a genocide using their own tragedy to justify the genocide of another historically oppressed people is no country worth saving.

Israel as we have long idealized it is dead, and all that remains is a global pariah state run by a party whose members are comfortable invoking the Nazis to justify their own genocidal beliefs. Jews like me are not abandoning Israel, Israel is abandoning us in pursuit of Nazi-style policies and ideologies.

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