In his March 11 column, “One of these things is not like the other…,” Andrew Silow-Carroll expressed his disappointment in Maureen Dowd’s partial concession to Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal’s comparison of civil rights in Saudi Arabia and Israel. I have two objections to Mr. Silow-Carroll’s analysis:
First, he should not have likened such a comparison to a comparison of the New Jersey Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. After all, the Nets could theoretically beat the Cavaliers.
Second, he seems to be suggesting that Ms. Dowd’s error was in conceding a point to Prince al-Faisal, as though consistent objection to such sentiments might help alter Prince al-Faisal’s point of view. But in making this suggestion, Mr. Silow-Carroll is ignoring the real issue: anti-Semitism. Whenever anti-Semitism is examined, there is invariably some veiled attempt to rationalize or explain it. How often have we heard explanations like “the Nazis felt that Jews were to blame for the poor economic conditions,” or “those people are angry with the Jews because (insert rationale here)”? When Prince al-Faisal accuses Israel of “moving into a more religiously oriented culture and…politics,” how can we not see that it is merely more of the same anti-Semitic rationalization and rhetoric? “We could have peace if only those Jews would behave differently.”
The bottom line is that, just as there is no rational, worldly explanation for the survival of the Jewish people through 4,000 years of history, there is also no rational, worldly explanation for anti-Semitism — the force that has sought to annihilate the Jewish people. In the last analysis, it is clear that hatred for Israel is a hatred for the God of Israel, whose prerogative it is to choose. Those who would combat anti-Semitism, whether by expressing their personal offense and “outrage” or by engaging in civil debate and refutation of such a spirit, would do well to recognize that the forces they battle cannot be defeated by mere intellect and education. It is instead a battle of the heart and of the spirit. Indeed, the issue of Israel is the very issue of the living God.