Randy's Corner Deli Library

07 March 2006

Thanks to the Financial Times' John Lloyd

Dear Mr. Lloyd:

Thank you for your comments in today’s column in the FT. Well done. You summed up the issues very well and put to the public what we Jews have always known: that we are, by virtue of our religion, held to a higher standard by ourselves and by others. That standard – a higher one – has resulted in Jews and Israel always being held to a double standard to which no other group of people or political entity (state/nation) in the history of mankind has been and continues to be subjected to. The result is the production of the likes of the President of Iran calling for the destruction of Israel and the Anglican Church calling for divestiture from companies that do business in Israel. As you ask, why is Israel, and only Israel, subject to hysterical criticism when its government takes measures to do what a State’s main function is – protect its citizens? This tiny little piece of land – nothing in terms of all the area of its Arab neighbours – is only subject to this level of scrutiny because it is a Jewish state. Plain and simple. I am thankful that you have given voice to this truism which I have not hitherto seen in print.

That Jewish state is a miracle in terms of growth, production, high-tech research and development, and manufacturing. Israelis have turned that patch of desert into an economic and military powerhouse, the latter more out of necessity than desire, I am afraid. It is, according to one source, the fourth most “wired” nation on the planet. As to any of the foregoing, what can be said in comparison about those nations that surround it or that would see it die? Israel is, by anyone’s measure, a first-world country in a sea of regressive, oppressive governments who cannot stand the sight of success. We are, I am afraid, our own worst enemies. Is there such a thing as being too good? We are all taught from a young age to succeed, but why, if it is Israel which succeeds economically and otherwise, do people gasp in horror? You know the answer: it’s because it was established by and for Jews so that we would always have a place to go in the event of the rise of another Hitler. It was established out of worry.

Israel’s existence posed no problems for organizations such as the Anglican Church so long as it was the “underdog”. When that façade ceased to be true (after 1967), those in power became nervous, and now, nearly 40 years hence, discussion about Israel has descended into shrieking hysteria from all corners, from the left to the right. It is scrutinized with a microscope by everyone to ensure that it stands by the higher standard we hold ourselves to. That higher standard might just be (and I truly hope not) the end of the political entity – people in positions of power cannot stand the notion of Jews with a State -- but will never be the death of am Yisroel (Hebrew for “the people Israel”), because that higher standard has allowed us to continue as a people for a very, very long time and we will never, as a people at least, die. Is Israel perfect? No. Nothing is. But it is the task of every Jew to try to make the world a better place (the concept of tikkun olam in the Hebrew) – and it is trying, in spite of itself at times and in spite of the actions and words of organizations such as the Anglican Church, to do so.

Once again, thank you for your insight. It is high time that someone in the mainstream press said what you have.

I. Randolph S. Shiner, Esq.
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