How I became an 'unconscious fascist' By Fiamma Nirenstein
In 1967 I was a young communist, like most Italian youngsters.
Bored by my rebellious behavior my family sent me to a Kibbutz in the upper Galilee, Neot Mordechai.
I was quite satisfied there, the kibbutz used to give some money every month to the Vietcong.
When the Six Day War began, Moshe Dayan spoke on the radio to announce it.
I asked: "What is he saying?" and the comrades of Neot answered: "Shtuyot," silly things.
During the war I took children to shelters; I dug trenches, and learned some simple shooting and acts of self defense.
We continued working in the orchards, but were quick to identify the incoming Mig-im and the outgoing Mirage-im, chasing one another in the sky of the Golan Heights.
When I went back to Italy, some of my fellow students stared at me as somebody new, an enemy, a wicked person who would soon become an imperialist.
My life was about to change. I didn't yet know that, because I simply thought that Israel rightly won a war after having been assaulted with an incredible number of harassments.
But I soon noticed that I had lost the innocence of the good Jew, of the very special Jewish friend, their Jew:
I was now connected with the Jews of the State of Israel, and slowly I was put out of the dodecaphonic, psychoanalytic, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Philip Roth, Freud shtetl, the coterie that sanctified my Judaism in left wing eyes.
I have tried for a long time to bring back that sanctification, and they tried to give it back to me, because we desperately needed each other, the left and the Jews.
But today's anti Semitism has overwhelmed any good intention.
Throughout the years, even people that, like me, who had signed petitions asking the IDF to withdraw from Lebanon, became an "unconscious fascist" as a reader of mine wrote me in a letter filled with insults. In one book it was simply written that I was "a passionate woman that fell in love with Israel, confusing Jerusalem with Florence."
One Palestinian told me that if I see things so differently from the majority, this plainly means that my brain doesn't work too well.
Also, I've been called a cruel and insensitive human rights denier who doesn't care about Palestinian children's lives.
A very famous Israeli writer told me on the phone a couple of months ago: "You really have become a right-winger."
What? Right winger? Me? An old feminist human rights activist, even a communist when I was young?
Only because I described the Arab-Israeli conflict as accurately as I could and because sometimes I identified with a country continuously attacked by terror, I became a right-winger?
In the contemporary world, the world of human rights, when you call a person a right-winger, this is the first step toward his or her delegitimization.
The Left blessed the Jews as the victim "par excellence," always a great partner in the struggle for the rights of the weak against the wicked.
In return for being coddled, published, filmed, considered artists, intellectuals and moral judges, Jews, even during the Soviet anti-Semitic persecutions, gave the Left moral support and invited it to cry with them at Holocaust memorials.
Today the game is clearly over. The left has proved itself the real cradle of contemporary anti-Semitism.
When I speak about anti-Semitism, I'm not speaking of legitimate criticism of the State of Israel. I am speaking of pure anti-Semitism:
Criminalization, stereotypes, specific and generic lies which have fluctuated between lies about the Jews (conspiring, blood thirsty, dominating the world) to lies about Israel (conspiring, ruthlessly violent) starting most widely since the beginning of the second Intifada in September 2000, and becoming more and more ferocious since Operation Chomat Magen ("Defensive Shield"), when the IDF reentered Palestinian cities in response to terrorism.
The basic idea of anti-Semitism, today as always, is that Jews have a perverted soul that makes them unfit, as a morally inferior people, to be regular members of the human family.
Today, this Untermensch ideology has shifted to the Jewish state:
A separate, unequal, basically evil stranger whose national existence is slowly but surely emptied and deprived of justification. Israel, as the classic evil Jew, according to contemporary anti-Semitism, doesn't have a birthright, but exists with its "original sin" perpetrated against the Palestinians.
Israel's heroic history has become a history of arrogance.
Nowadays, its narrative focuses much more on Deir Yassin massacre than on the creation and defense of Kibbutz Degania; it focuses more and more the suffering of the Palestinian refugees than on the surprise of seeing five armies in 1948 denying Israel's right to exist just after being established by the United Nations; much more on the Jewish underground resistance organizations, the Lechi and the Irgun, than on the heroic battle along the way to Jerusalem.
The caricature of the evil Jew is transformed to the caricature of the evil state. And now the traditional hook-nosed Jew bears a gun and kills Arab children with pleasure.
On the front pages of European newspapers Sharon munches Palestinian children and little Jesuses in cradles are threatened by Israeli soldiers.
This new anti-Semitism has materialized in unprecedented physical violence towards Jewish persons and symbols, coming from organizations officially devoted to human rights.
Its peak occurred at the United Nations summit in Durban when anti-Semitism officially became the banner of the new secular religion of human rights, and Israel and Jews became its official enemy.
Jews, and the international community in general, have been caught unaware, and have failed to denounce the new trend of anti-Semitism. Nobody is scandalized when Israel is accused daily, without explanation, of excessive violence, of atrocities, of cruelty.
Everybody is tormented about the necessity of painful attacks against terrorist nests, often located among families and children.
Still, every country has the right to defend itself. Only the Jews in history have been denied the right of self-defense, and so it is today.
Why is the war on terrorism often looked upon as a strategic problem that the world still must solve (look at the US war against Afghanistan and Iraq) and Israel is treated like a guilty defendant for fighting it?
Is it not anti-Semitism, when you act as if Jews must die quietly?
Why is Israel officially accused by the human rights commission in Geneva of violating human rights, while, China, Libya, Sudan, have never ever been accused?
Why has Israel been denied a fixed place in regional groups in the UN while Syria sits in the Security Council?
Why can everybody join a war against Iraq except Israel, despite the fact that Saddam has always threatened Israel with complete destruction?
When sovereign states and organizations threaten death to Israel, why does nobody raise the question at the UN?
Has Italy been threatened by France or Spain like those Iranian leaders who openly say that they will destroy Israel with an atomic bomb?
And what is said when a large part of the world newspapers, TV, radio and school textbooks recommend kicking the Jews out of Israel and killing them all over the world using terrorist bombers?
The international community doesn't consider this a problem.
Israel is an "unterstate", denied the basic rights of every other state, to exist in honor and peace.
The Jewish state is not equal.
Like the mythical Medusa, this new Anti-Semitism has a face that petrifies anyone who looks at it.
People don't want to admit it, don't even want to name it because doing so reveals both the identity of its perpetrators and its object.
Even Jews don't want to call an anti-Semite by his name, fearing disruption of old alliances. Because the left has a precise idea of what a Jew must be, when Jews don't match its prescription, they ask:
How do you dare being different from the Jew I ordered you to be? Fighting against terrorism?
Electing Sharon? Are you crazy?
And here the answer of Jews and Israelis is the same.
We are still very shy, very concerned about your affection.
So, instead of requesting that Israel become an equal nation and that Jews become equal citizens in the world, we prefer standing with you shoulder to shoulder, even when you have come out with hundreds, thousands of anti-Semitic statements.
We prefer to stand with you at Holocaust memorials cursing old anti-Semitism while you accuse Israel, and therefore the Jews, of being racist killers. ..... etc.... etc...
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How I became an ‘unconscious fascist’