The Author


I finally discovered the root of the Israel-bashing by progressive Jews – in a book store.

For a very long time, I have been troubled by the amount of invective and criticism directed at Israel by some Western Jews.  These progressives can always find something objectionable in whatever action Israel takes, be it militarily or politically or socially or economically.  It seems to me that these ultra-liberal Jews must be reading from the same playbook, their critiques being so drearily consistent and off-base.

Well, lo and behold, I finally discovered the root of this homogeneous contrariness.  While browsing in my local bookstore the other day, there it was – The Progressive Jew’s Handbook – right next to the bins of Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Baron de Rothschild’s Weather Control Operating Manual.

Since it’s unlikely that supporters of ‘United with Israel’ will rush out to buy this guide, let me share with you just some of its contents so that you can better understand the principles and rationalizations that motivate leftist Jews to undercut Israel at every turn.

– The most important precept by which progressive Jews are guided is the ‘Israel must be perfect’ principle. That means Israel cannot live by the usual code of human conduct that governs every other person and community on the planet. No siree, Israel must be more humane, more generous, more forgiving, more transparent, more sacrificing, more understanding and less self-serving than any other nation or society. How else could the Jewish people demonstrate their moral purity to the rest of the world?

– The enlightened Jew realizes that Israel’s ‘Nation-State Law’ is racist and undemocratic. So what if many countries have adopted similar laws to protect their culture? And so what if all the law does is articulate Israel’s very raison-d’etre; to be a Jewish state that protects and nurtures the Jewish community and provides a safe haven for the Jewish people who are the subject of constant and heightening threats?  Again, Israel must operate on a loftier moral plane than every other individual and group in the known universe.

– Never, ever admit that Israel is surrounded by hundreds of millions of Koran-abiding Muslims who would be proud to complete Hitler’s Jew-extermination mission. Why, that’s just unadulterated Islamophobia.

Israel’s ‘Disproportionate Response’

– Whenever Israel takes action to defend itself against terrorist attacks, remind everyone that Israel’s disproportionate responses are the root cause of the terrorist activities. If only Israel would ignore the thousands of rockets fired at their border communities and pay no attention to the tunnels that terrorists build to access Israeli villages, peace would practically be guaranteed.

– You must defend the BDS movement as it is one of the few weapons available to the powerless Palestinian people, and you must celebrate the role of progressives in concocting and promulgating the movement.

– If you have to choose sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an enlightened progressive must favor the people who believe in blowing up school buses, pizzerias and wedding parties over the side that stubbornly and unreasonably demands the right not to be murdered.

– When a Palestinian mother decides to bring her young child to a rock-throwing, Molotov cocktail-firing demonstration at the Israel/Gaza border (it’s not a ‘riot’ or an ‘attack’ when it’s Palestinians doing it), and that child is injured when Palestinian activists (never use the judgy pejorative ‘terrorists’) push that child to the front of the crowd, loudly decry Israel’s use of excessive force. Sure, the Palestinians are trying to penetrate the border to slaughter as many Israelis as possible, and sure, the Palestinians want child martyrs because they fully comprehend the gullibility of western journalists, but hey, they’re victims of Western colonialism so the normal rules of human conduct do not apply to them.

– Try to use the word ‘settlers’ as often and as disparagingly as possible when discussing Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria. How dare Jews reside in areas that were meant to be part of Israel as per the United Nations’ original partition plan because of Jews historical connections to those areas, and why should Jews be allowed to live in territories that they seized from enemies who were trying very hard to exterminate them?

– Insist as often as you can that the ‘settlements’ are the major impediment to peace. Cite the example of Gaza which is practically a reincarnated Eden now that the Jews are no longer present. As for those Katyusha rockets raining down from the Golan Heights when Syria controlled that region?  Just a cry for peace, obviously. You must also understand that when Jews were denied access to their holy sites and Jewish cemeteries were destroyed when parts of Jerusalem were under Jordanian control, that was an inevitable response to the stubborn Israelis’ insistence on fighting back when attacked.

Participate in Birthright – to Lambast Israel

– For the younger generation: when you visit Israel on the Birthright Program, make sure you show your appreciation for the generosity of the program’s benefactors by publicly lambasting Israel for its insensitivity to the plight of the Palestinians. If you can get yourself on television crying for the victims of Israeli aggression and intransigence, even better.

– Under no circumstances are you to acknowledge that a growing Muslim population in a particular community leads inevitably to an increase in anti-Semitic acts. Pay no attention to the concerns of Jews in the affected communities; they are simply not as ‘woke’ as you are. When a gang of Muslim or neo-Nazi thugs attack kipah-wearing Jews, it’s not anti-Semitism, rather, it’s obviously a case of disenfranchised and marginalized youth reacting to people flaunting their white privilege.  If those Jews happen to be of Ethiopian origin, then the principle of victim-ranking must be invoked, i.e., the attackers belong to a group that’s even more oppressed than the Jews.

– When the Democratic Party nominates a slew of candidates with proven records of anti-Semitism, well, they’re still better than those horrible Republicans and people like Linda Sarsour with her resumé overflowing with anti-Jewish screeds and avowed admiration for Lewis Farrakhan must be understood in the proper context: she is just a proud Palestinian woman of color.

– When Donald Trump takes action to support Israel, you must remind everybody that he’s just a brazen politician trying to curry favor with his ultra-conservative Christian evangelical base.

– If someone should point out any of the 4,299 things Barak Obama did to harm Israel, use your hands to block your ears and repeat loudly ‘la-la-la, I don’t hear you’ as often as necessary to get your tormentor to stop.

– If your synagogue happens to have some extra money in the coffers, do not donate any of that money to the One Israel Fund or to Beit Halochem or to any of the other of the hundreds of organizations and charities trying to improve the life of Israelis. Use those surplus funds instead to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. How else will you be able to demonstrate that you live by a superior moral code and how else to prove to non-Jews that the concept of Tikkun Olam means that Jews are personally and collectively responsible for correcting each and every injustice in this world?

– When confronting a conservative, pro-Israel Jew, remember to sneer at their obvious preference for biased news sources like Fox News and Breitbart. If only they could be as well-informed as you are, getting your information from inarguably fact-driven and unbiased sources such as CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR and late-night comedians. Those media giants are always ready to provide a platform for healthy debates with speakers who represent the full spectrum of opinion on the Middle East, from anti-Israel all the way to ultra-anti-Israel.

Only Israel to Blame for Lack of Peace

– If someone should point out that Israel has offered statehood to the Palestinians on numerous occasions with significant concessions on territorial claims only to be answered with Intifadas and increased terrorism, remind everyone that the Israelis’ offers were insincere and wholly inadequate. Why on earth should Palestinians accept a meagre 99.5% of their demands when they might be able to get 125% of what they’re seeking if only they keep slaughtering Jewish teenagers, mothers and babies?

– Remember your guiding mantra: Progressive Jews know what’s best for Israel even though they don’t live there. Does one really have to contend with the harsh realities and constraints Israelis face every day in order to credibly lecture them on how they should behave? Of course not, especially if you’re a show business celebrity which means you’re operating on an intellectual level far above those poorly-informed Israelis. Even more so if you’re a university professor. Nothing says ‘Middle East Expert’ like a Ph.D. in 17th century English poetry.

That pretty well covers it.  Please keep this instruction manual in mind next time you hear a Jewish person gleefully joining the Israel-bashing crowd.  They are the ‘People of the Book’ after all, even if it’s the wrong book.

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Article by Henry Roth

Henry Roth was born in Haifa and immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s. The son of Romanian Holocaust survivors, he has been married to Brenda for 43 years, is the father of two sons, Marc and David, the happy grandfather of Nicolas and a proud and loud Zionist.