With one exception, nothing about Oct. 7 surprised me.
The one exception was Israel’s unpreparedness. That also surprised nearly every Israeli. My guess is that a combination of Iranian technology and Israeli complacency and incompetence led to the greatest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.
Nothing else surprised me. Not the butchery; not the sadism; not the Jew-hatred; not the theology that made the slaughter possible; not the support, even glee, in Gaza and among an untold number of Muslims around the world; not the reactions in our universities; and not the support of the Left (not of liberals).
THE MIDDLE EAST DISPUTE
Since the 1970s, when I was a graduate student at the Middle East Institute of Columbia’s School of International Affairs, I knew what the Middle East conflict was about: Muslim rejection of a Jewish state in the middle of the Muslim world. To the best of my recollection, my professors — most of them fluent in Arabic and all experts on the Middle East — had it wrong. Being secular themselves and usually having a sympathetic view of the Arab world, they believed and taught that the issue was about land.
They were wrong. It was always about Muslim rejection of a Jewish state in their midst and a religious desire to destroy it.
In 2014, I presented a video for PragerU titled “The Middle East Problem.” It explains the Middle East problem in five minutes.
This is how It begins:
“When I did my graduate studies at the Middle East Institute at Columbia University… semester after semester, we studied the Middle East conflict as if it was the most complex conflict in the world when, in fact, it is probably the easiest conflict in the world to explain. It may be the hardest to solve, but it is the easiest to explain.
“In a nutshell, it’s this: One side wants the other side dead.”
Fifty years ago, I knew it. Muslims know it. Israel’s Jews know it. And now, unless you are a leftist, you know it.
“Finally, think about these two questions: If, tomorrow, Israel laid down its arms and announced, ‘We will fight no more,’ what would happen? And if the Arab countries around Israel laid down their arms and announced, ‘We will fight no more,’ what would happen?
“In the first case, there would be an immediate destruction of the state of Israel and the mass murder of its Jewish population. In the second case, there would be peace the next day.”
As of Oct. 7, you know that too.
WHY JEWS ARE HATED
There is no hatred like Jew-hatred. It is the longest ongoing hatred in history. It is the most universal. And it is the one exterminationist hatred: Those who hate the Jews want them destroyed. There is a Hebrew statement that is probably two thousand years old, and which is recited during the Passover Seder service: “In every generation, they arise to annihilate us.”
Note that the sentence does not say “to persecute us” or “to enslave us,” but “to annihilate us.”
The question is why?
I wrote an entire book — “Why the Jews?” — 40 years ago explaining antisemitism. But I can sum it up in a few sentences: Jew-hatred is largely a result of the Jews being The Chosen People. You can laugh at the idea if you are secular and inclined to do so. But those who hate the Jews have not laughed at the idea; they have hated the Jews because of it — because they believed it and/or because it is true.
The Jews introduced to humanity the God in which most of the world believes; brought into existence the Bible that is the basis of the New Testament and the Quran; gave the Christian world its Messiah; and gave much of the world its morality through the Torah, the Prophets, and the Ten Commandments. Those who hate that moral code hate the Jews. The two groups who have tried to exterminate the Jews in the last hundred years, the Nazis and the Islamists (not all Muslims), hate that moral code. And they hate the Jews for embodying it — compared to the Nazis and compared to Islamic regime of Iran, Hezbollah, ISIS and Hamas, Israel is composed of saints.
So, when I read about the horrors inflicted by Hamas on young Jews, old Jews and Jewish babies, I was horrified, but not at all surprised. That is what the most evil of any generation do to Jews. And that is why non-Jews who dismiss Iran, Hamas, or Hezbollah as the Jews’ problem are fools. Tens of millions of non-Jews were killed because most people dismissed Hitler and the Nazis as the Jews’ problem.
In fact, aside from increased loathing of Hamas and their Muslim and left-wing supporters, the only effect the events of Oct. 7 had on me was to reinforce my faith in the chosenness of the Jews.
This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.
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