Herzl believed that anti-Semitism would disappear once the state of Israel was established and the Jews would then become ‘normal.’ In many cases Israel is treated as the Jew among the nations.
Where Secular Zionism placed no emphasis on any religious concept of the Jews being a ‘chosen people’ or a ‘light unto the nations,’ but wanted to return the Jews to the family of nations as an equal member.
The United Nations has repeatedly held one standard expected from every nation in the world and another one exclusively for Israel. Its faults are over-emphasised, singled out for condemnation for crimes it may or may not have committed in violation of international law. Has been ranked the top violator of the UN Convention of Human Rights, when not attributing equal condemnation to nations guilty of the same crime or even worse. It is forbidden from sitting on the UN security council when Syria has been its head, whilst at the same time President Assad has funded terrorism through supporting the Hizbullah which has been recognised as a threat to achieving peace, he has been responsible for violating the human rights of his own population and occupied Lebanon for many years which was not covered nearly as much by the media as the attention given to the coverage of Israel’s occupation of the west bank and Gaza.
By a European survey Israel was the country voted to be considered the biggest threat to world peace, above Iran and North Korea to name a few.
The UN passed resolution 3379 in 1975 defining “Zionism as a form of Racism.” It was later by Israel the only UN resolution to be revoked with resolution 46/86 in 1991. But the attempt to undermine Israel continued in the international arena, in 2001 the UN held a World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa. The conference took place to look at combating Racism, Racial discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance. The conference became a platform for direct Israel bashing led by the Arab states. Many western countries were outraged at the hypocrisy of the conference that in what was meant to be on anti-racism was in itself racist, aiming to de-legitimize the state of Israel, without coming up with any constructive outcome that would develop the prospect of peace in the region.
In spite of the outrage over the Israel bashing at the conference, in 2009 the second Durban conference against Racism took place which again turned out to be yet another episode of vilifying Israel, led by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, causing approximately half the delegates to walk out in disgust and the rest to stay and condone his words of hate.
A more recent example of the singling of Israel out for special criticism has been the various attempts of boycotting Israeli products, institutions or anything that may come from Israel, in the same spirit of boycotting South Africa over Apartheid. But what has stood out, as being the most contradictory phenomena has been the British universities passing of a motion calling for an Academic boycott of Israeli universities, because of their objection to the current policies of the Israeli government.
The irony of this very idea is that it punishes all Israeli academics for the actions of their government. Who is to say that the Israeli academics support the Israeli government’s policies? In fact many of them do not, a lot of the Israeli left are found within the academic community. If anything, British universities opposing Israel’s policies should strengthen their ties with Israeli universities for they will most likely find common ground and actually be able to work together to progress in bringing both sides together and closer to peace. Whereas isolating the Israeli left inevitably will only strengthen the Israeli right, such action does not achieve anything productive towards the peace process.
In any case, it is completely illogical, if this is how British academia is conducting itself now days, surely they should boycott themselves for Britain going to war with Iraq. What if all the universities from the countries that didn’t go to war with Iraq decided to Boycott British Universities? We see examples again and again where Israel is singled out for punishment when it does something wrong like no other nation receives which is equally guilty of the same crime.
Israel does not even need to do anything wrong to receive criticism, it can receive condemnation for defending itself or taking measures to defend its citizens from terror attacks. This has led many to believe that it does not really matter what Israel does, it will always be considered to be wrong, and when it does do something good, it goes unnoticed or is not considered good enough.
Herzl’s theory was wrong, anti Semitism still exists in the Diaspora, and what appears to be anti-Semitism hiding behind the name of anti-Zionism has been born. The state of Israel is hardly regarded as a normal state. Even if all the Jews lived in Israel, the Jews in the past as Herzl would believe were hated because they didn’t have a state; a new movement has emerged where now they are hated because they do. In Poland Jews read graffiti that read, “Jews go back to Palestine” today they read graffiti that reads “Jews get out of Palestine.”
Turning the Jews from being a weak, religious, exiled people into a strong, secular nation has not changed the worlds view of the Jews, if they were hated for being weak they are now hated for being strong, in other words they are hated for being Jews.
The very establishment of the state of Israel is in itself a miracle, it is the only case in history where a people had lost its homeland, been dispersed to all four corners of the earth and returned 2000 years later to the same land, speaking the same language with the same religion to regain its political independence.
Such a people could hardly be considered normal, they must be at the very least extraordinary, and whether the excessive attention that is given towards Israel is related to anti-Semitism, or a fascination with the Jews in light of their history and culture, or because they and others may consider them to be the “chosen people” or a “light unto the nations” and that the world expects more from them because of it.
Israel is not a normal nation; it is a unique case and is the only Jewish state in the world. Because it is a unique case we cannot always use other cases to draw comparisons because they do not exist. It is perceived in many ways both good and bad from many different people. But whether good or bad it is still regarded and treated as the Jew among the nations.