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Monday, 15 July 2019
Are we really living in the 1930s?
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Is there somewhere a sensitive Jewish soul go to escape it all? Not to new books, theater, talk shows, conferences or any other public venue. Jew and Israel-bashing keeps cropping up everywhere.

by Phyllis Chesler

I was among the handful who began seeing some awful parallels between the 1930s and today. Of course, the 21st century is so much worse because the entire world is involved in defaming Israel and the Jews; now, it is not merely one country or one continent—but via the internet, the Big lies are proclaimed 24/7, and in every language on earth.

History never repeats itself in exactly the same way and so I must ask: Are we really living in the 1930s? Jews are being menaced and murdered on the streets of Europe; that’s happened many times before (but not at Muslim hands which is now the case). However, Jews are also fleeing Europe and that’s new. Most Jews refused or could not do so in the 30s. 

Jews are being shot down in American synagogues, cemeteries are being vandalized, young Jews are being slandered and shamed on American campuses. Black face-masked and violent brownshirt-style mobs occupy the streets, the academy, and the internet. 

Just recently at the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conference in Washington, D.C., more than one hundred angry pro-Palestine demonstrators tried to violently storm the building. They were prevented from doing so.

But there’s more. Our infra-structure has been so fully penetrated that the Jew- and Israel-hating propaganda keeps cropping up everywhere.

For example, all in the last month or so: The European Network for Mental Health Service Evaluation cancelled their conference in Jerusalem “over fears of a backlash from the international boycott movement.” 

Richard Zimler, a best-selling British novelist who lives in Portugal, was dis-invited to two different literary events in the UK because he is Jewish—and two cultural event organizers backed out of publicizing his forthcoming novel because “the organizations feared his Jewishness would alienate Palestinian sympathizers among their clientele and could result in protests;” 

Most shamefully, the United States Holocaust Museum was castigated by more than 300 Holocaust scholars (and in the pages of the New York Review of Books), who demanded that the Museum “retract their objection to drawing any possible analogies to the Holocaust or to events leading up to it.” The Museum issued their statement hard on the heels of AOC’s equation of migrant detention facilities on the U.S.-Mexican border to “concentration camps.”

Finally, according to Elder of Zion, at their annual conference, the National Educational Association, (8,000 delegates representing 3 million public school teachers) tried—but, for budgetary reasons, failed—to pass a resolution inserting Big Lies against Israel into the educational curriculum. The resolution read as follows:

“NEA will use existing digital communication to develop and publish resources to educate members and the general public on the apartheid, atrocities, and gross violations of human rights of Palestinian children and families by the State of Israel, funded directly by the United States....NEA will publish an article in the NEA Today on the work that is being done by our members and organizations fighting for the rights of Palestinian children and families, such as but not limited to: Parents Against Child Detention, HaMoked-Center for the Defense of the Individual, Defense for Children International-Palestine, American Friends Service Committee, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

NEA will partner with the No Way to Treat Child Campaign to pressure the Israeli government to end the detention and abuse of Palestinian children.”

Elder and I agree:  Those who proposed this will return and keep proposing it until it is passed. They will not stop.

Dear God: Where can a sensitive Jewish soul take a break from all this? After trolling the Dark Side, why not indulge myself in escape entertainment? That, too, is no longer exactly possible.

Soviet-style propaganda has penetrated the American talk shows, the news broadcasts, and television soap operas. I suffered watching the nighttime soaps, including The Good Fight and Madam Secretary because of the dazzling female fashion, (where do they get those gorgeous outfits?), but both programs were merely fictionalized versions of current headlines and were anti-Trump all the time. Of course, the characters were also 1000% politically correct, in terms of race, religion, sexual identity, and point of view.

I shut the TV off, fled my home, determined to focus on Theater. Diversionary entertainment proved impossible. Whatever Broadway or off-Broadway play or musical I attended (and there were several just this past weekend)—waiting for me was naught but politically correct propaganda about the Wall, the Billionaires, ICE, Mexicans in love and in trouble at the border, heartless immigration officials, heartless capitalists, both Jewish and otherwise, and racism, racism, racism. 

Nowhere to run, no place to hide.

And then there is the censorship.  Recently, a colleague had a very good piece on antisemitism tossed back because—well, the reason does not really matter. There always are so many ways of covering for the discomfort and terror that accompanies any independent writing on Judaism, Israel, or Islam. The piece is too long or too short; it does not cover everything—or it covers too much; it does not source the handful of “good guys” and privileges only the few “rotten apples.” 

Earlier this year, after working for a week with a demanding and brilliant editor, she got me to withdraw my piece by placing more and more demands upon it, night after night, and in the middle of my night. This was a piece about the so-called Women’s March leadership in which I criticized their faux feminism. All fine but at the last minute, she wanted me to remove the bits about Jew hatred and the demonization of Israel by these very same faux feminists because it detracted from my more important critique of their failure to denounce FGM, honor killing, face veiling, child marriage, and polygamy.

I refused to do so.

To make my day: I am meeting with a colleague who has begun receiving vicious hate mail because she is an advocate for Israel. I dare not repeat the words which appeared together with her dear photo.

This cognitive war is a bit like clearing the malarial swamps in British Mandatory Palestine, inch by bloody inch or, as my colleague Richard Landes puts it, clearing the Augean Stables.

First published in Israel National News

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Posted on 07/15/2019 10:02 AM by Phyllis Chesler
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