Hitler Is Dead

The case against Jewish ethnic panic.

Continued from page 3

Is Hamas Amalek? I have no idea. Also I do not care. It is bad enough that Hamas is Hamas. (Was Hitler Amalek? No, he was worse.) Anyway, Amalek is not all that justifies the use of force. But the important point is that Amalek justifies nothing but the use of force. There is no other solution to the Amalek problem. And that is why all this pessimism is not only intellectually sloppy, it is also operationally superfluous. It is a view of history that provides no foundation for Israeli restraint, and sometimes restraint is the intelligent policy. Consider this week's calamity. If Netanya was Kristallnacht, then Rishon Letzion was Kristallnacht. The villain in Netanya came from Jenin, and Israel turned its might on Jenin. The villain in Rishon Letzion came from Gaza, but Israel is not turning its might on Gaza. Why not? The logic is the same. The answer, of course, is that this is not the logic of statecraft. If, as the Israeli press is reporting, there may be signs of flexibility on the Palestinian side, it is the duty of the Israeli government to stay its hand and have a look. These signs may be false; but too many people have perished not to take their measure. The exploration of opportunities for accommodation and understanding is a matter of both prudence and principle. It may be that Ariel Sharon, of all people, has comprehended this. As long as the prime minister of Israel continues to speak of the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state, Kristallnacht is over. (For Netanyahu, by contrast, every Nacht is Kristallnacht.)

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The fright of American Jewry is owed also to a new recognition of the reality of antiSemitism. Up to a point, this is as it should be: The happiness of the Jews in the United States certainly demands a regular refreshment of their awareness of evil. There is something a little odd, though, about the shock with which the news of European anti-Semitism has been met, since it is for the Jews the oldest news. There was one blessing, and one blessing only, that the Second World War conferred upon the Jewish people, and it is that the future of the Jewish people forever departed Europe. Anti-Semitism in Europe must be fought, but not with the confidence that this will be a European fight, too. European nationalism includes no conception of the multiethnic state. European culture is permeated with a contempt for otherness. Indeed, the moral incompetence of European culture with regard to otherness now falls more heavily upon Muslims than upon Jews.

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