Two days ago, I spent some time talking with one of my wife's friends. Her father's family had moved to Israel from Iraq, and on arrival, were 'gassed' because of the diseases they may have had. What would follow for her family, and far too many of the approximately one million immigrants from the Arab world, was disgraceful - and it would continue the established precedent of how us Israelis would treat our own, be it Mizrachim or Russians or Haredim (Ultra Orthodox Jews) or 'Settlers'.
Now why am I bothering with this introduction? This morning while eating breakfast, I read Yossi Sarid's latest hateful article in Ha'aretz, "I have no brother." What infuriated me about the article was not that Sarid listed some disgraceful instances (though there are two that need further information for the reader, but that information is not giving for obvious reasons) of Settler behavior, but that he proceeded to generalize them all in his wrap up, "If settlers are our brothers, I have no brother. " All settlers Yossi? All of them commit these acts that you rightly abhor and believe that it's ok? Surely a man of your intelligence is better than that ... Who am I kidding, right?
It's Yossi's kind of attitude that has ripped our country apart time after time, from before the country's birth to the present. The sad and ironic thing is it's been hateful, elitist hypocrites like Sarid from day one who have caused these unnecessary 'brotherly confrontations'. It started essentially with the Season, where Jewish fighters were betrayed to the British by their 'brothers', the Haganah. It would continue during the 1948 Independence Day War, where Ben Gurion ordered the Altalena to be destroyed as she was on Tel Aviv's shoreline. 25 Jews died that day, and as some Holocaust survivors swam to the shore from the burning ship, grenades were thrown on them under one Yitzchak Rabin's watch, "If the Irgun are our brothers, I have no brother." It continued in the 1950s with the disgraceful treatment of Mizrachi Jewry. From gas showers to the ma'abarot to non-stop discrimination, their struggle to become a vital part of Israeli society was a long and arduous one. But I guess, "If the Mizrachim are our brothers, I have no brother," right Yossi? I mean all these crimes were committed by people who thought along your lines. The examples sadly go on and on.
Sarid raises some disturbing points in his article - but the fact is they highlight the acts of the minority. That he can generalize the whole settler community, much like that Shalom Achshav motto - "A Settler is not my Brother," is disgraceful. Would he be ok if all Jews were generalized, like he has just done with the Settlers, based on the actions of a few? Nope, he would probably call it Anti-Semitism ... The sad thing is that we are a fractured society, one where statements like Sarid's, are far too common. "All Haredim ..." (because of the minority which burns trash cans, or throws stones on Shabbat, or bothers the non-religious because they want to park their cars in Mamila), or "All left wingers ..." (because of comments such as Yossi's, or the growing rates of them who refuse to serve in combat units, or those that go abroad to slam Israel), or "All right wingers ..." (because of classless posters showing Obama as a Nazi, or because some shout slogans like 'Death to Arabs', or because of physical abuse of Arabs) are hateful, stupid and do nothing but harm the fragile 'internal peace' of Israel. Reading Sarid's hate filled rhetoric reminds me of what Anwar Sadat said after signing the peace treaty with Israel, "How do you destroy Israel? Leave them in peace for 25 years and they'll take care of it themselves" ...