It’s at times like these…writes Michael Kuttner

August 7, 2014 by Michael Kuttner
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There have been very few times in the last 66 years when Israel has enjoyed peace and quiet. Since independence and even before, Jews were targeted by terror groups of one sort or another. Prior to the fictitious green line the presence of Jews in pre 1967 Israel provoked terrorist attacks. The mere fact that we were building flourishing communities, turning the desert into fertile agricultural land and draining malarial infested swamps was enough excuse for the predecessors of Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and comrades to launch murderous raids and murder innocent Israeli citizens.


Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

At first we still had a residual amount of sympathy left over from the Holocaust years and the terrorists were seen as outcasts which meant that although the world did not exactly love us at least they had an understanding of sorts for our predicament. That soon evaporated as the big lies spread by Arab spokespersons became the accepted truths amongst an international community now weary of Jews actually fighting back and trying to live a normal life.

Likewise most Jews except for the very few religious extremists and assimilated crypto Jews supported Israel’s struggle and rallied in overwhelming numbers to her defense every time there was an emergency. At no time was there any doubt about the righteousness of Israel’s cause. During the six day war and then Yom Kippur War Jews from all continents volunteered their services and flocked to help.

So what has changed these days? Plenty it seems.

As far as the international community is concerned, the lessons of the Holocaust are fading fast. All the Jew haters are emerging out of the woodwork and feeling emboldened by collective hatred against Israel, they are able to articulate their poisonous pus as well as carry out physical acts against Jewish targets. In this they are assisted by large numbers of Moslems who convert their hatred of the Jewish State into hatred of Jews. Some areas of European cities are now almost no go areas for law enforcement authorities and as a result mob violence is becoming the norm. According to my French neighbours parts of Paris are today mini Hamas enclaves and the Jews of Malmo in Sweden are a virtually endangered species.

The media which once upon a time could be relied on to present balanced and accurate accounts have in large measure become unofficial agents of those who seek the destruction of Israel.

This combination of media bashing and political hypocrisy on the part of the international community has had an inevitable effect on many individuals. Jews, in particular outside Israel, feel vulnerable and literally battered. It is not surprising therefore to witness reactions ranging from outrage to fear being expressed. Fear in those countries where naked Judeophobia has resurfaced with a vengeance and outrage from those whose support of Israel is weak when the going gets tough. Unfortunately in many countries we face today a generation of some Jews whose identification with their Jewish heritage is shaky if it exists at all and who mistakenly believe that Israel has nothing to do with them and moreover if they divorce themselves from it and its people, they will be left in peace.

In addition there are those who are embarrassed to be associated with the Jewish State in case they are seen to be condoning massacres as defined by the media. Others are self loathing at the best of times and the current situation merely gives them a perfect opportunity to demonstrate their divorce from anything to do with Israel. With the rate of assimilation accelerating in some countries the number of nominal Jews these days who are totally detached from Israel is a phenomenon which never existed in past years. There are also underground Jews who fear being “outed” or identified and unfortunately we also see the spectacle of some who use the Holocaust as a weapon to vilify Israel.

Genuine concern and honest differences of opinion as to the situation are perfectly normal and should be part of any robust debate but once certain lines are crossed it becomes a dubious exercise.

Two emails I received from Jewish New Zealanders where the only threat to life and limb is likely to come from drunk and drug crazed yobbos or the occasional wooly headed sheep, illustrates how the current conflict has confused minds. The first person accused me of always taking the moral high ground and thus alienating lots of people. I plead guilty to the charge because when I look at the total lack of morality displayed by those who are trying to murder Israeli citizens and Jews elsewhere any moral high ground I take is certainly justified. In my mind there is no contest when it comes to comparing the barbarity of Islamic terror facing us today and the striving for the preservation of life as propounded in Judaism. When you are faced with people who use women and children as human shields the choice is self evident.

The second email stated “enough is enough – this is not Judaism”.

Ours is not a religion of turning the other cheek. We have tried going to the stake and the gas chambers. Never again is an empty slogan unless it is taken seriously. That means defeating those who rise up in every generation to murder us. If combating the Jew haters of our generation causes some to squirm in embarrassment then so be it.

If the burden of facing ill and misinformed delegitimisation of Israel is becoming too much to bear then I suggest that those people should do as many of the French Jews are doing at the moment and make their way back to their ancient homeland.

As I sat in the Synagogue on Tisha B’Av some of the verses from Lamentations and KInot which we recite took on a relevance of startling clarity especially at this time.

From Jeremiah the prophet: “all Your enemies have opened their mouths wide against us. Pursue them in anger and destroy them from under the heavens”.

From Kalonymous ben Yehudah, a Rabbi from the 11th century CE:

“the nations have gathered together to make a covenant against us, They have made crafty plans and have taken counsel against your people. They have declared, come, let us destroy them from becoming a nation and that the name of Israel may no longer be mentioned”.

Any resemblance to the United Nations and Amalek like terror groups is not coincidental.

It is precisely at times like these that we must stand firm and resolute.


Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.


2 Responses to “It’s at times like these…writes Michael Kuttner”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    ….and according to history in Moshe Dyan’s timeline you were forbidden to bear arms.

  2. Richard-Rafael says:

    I really like Michael’s common-sense (which is really uncommon) approach and how he gets to the nub of the ‘problem’ succinctly and without waffle. We Jews tend to be of flowery of word – yes I plead guilty, and we seek to defend and justify our selves too much so it seems to me. ‘Good on ya Mick!’

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