Homegrown hatred should be resisted  

Homegrown hatred should be resisted  

It’s a safe bet that the Jews are the most persecuted people in history. More than 1,000 years of hatred, from the Roman period to the present day, easily qualifies us for that distinction.
Which is why the rising tide of racial hatred in Israel is so disturbing.
As you will read in this week’s Chronicle, Arab Israelis and African migrants –- many in the country illegally — are under fire. And the hostility level is rising.
In some city neighborhoods, the longtime residents view the new arrivals as criminals, even though there’s no evidence to suggest that criminal activity is any higher among the African immigrants than the mainstream population.
Be that as it may, every Jew in Israel and the Diaspora ought to wince at remarks such as this one an Israeli made about the black Africans in her neighborhood:
“We need to get the kushim (a derogatory Hebrew term for blacks) out of here. They are criminals; they steal things. They rape women.”
How often have Jews been the targets of remarks equally as vicious?
For Arab Israelis, who have lived alongside their Jewish neighbors since independence, their situation is no better.
In Jerusalem, police arrested a group of teenagers for allegedly attacking Arabs. In Tel Aviv, street demonstrators called on locals not to rent or sell apartments to Arabs. Fliers distributed ahead of the rally urged residents to save daughters of the town from dating young Arab Israeli men in Jaffa.
And recently, a letter signed by numerous Israeli municipal rabbis announced that it is against Jewish law to rent or sell properties to non-Jews, and calling for excommunication from the Jewish community.
This sounds Kafka-esque.
Let’s be clear, we’re not calling for amnesty for illegal immigrants. Let the Israeli legal process take its course, whatever the outcome.
Neither are we saying intermarriage is preferable to marrying within the faith. That is a different issue.
But something dark and dangerous is starting to happen.
Israel’s founding fathers, in general, and David Ben-Gurion, in particular, were adamant that Israel, while a Jewish state, should also be ethnically diverse and tolerant and protective of all minorities. The late Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek lived this philosophy throughout his administration, reaching out to all groups in the city and making Israel’s eternal capital a rich and eclectic place to visit and live.
This is the kind of Israel that the founders envisioned, and this is the kind of Israel that is now under fire — from within. Jews in Israel and the Diaspora should do all they can to resist it.
As a persecuted people ourselves, we should learn some lessons from our experiences — and not just that we can only depend on ourselves (though self-sufficiency is a valuable lesson). But how about this: That which is hateful to us, do not do to others?