You’re offended? Oy vey!

October 8, 2017 by Peter Arnold
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If your ancestors, dear reader, were Europeans of any sort, know that they threw us out of their countries, or stood aside while we were persecuted, evicted and murdered. So emulate us and get a life! As individuals we have not spent 3,500 years wallowing in self-pity. We get on with it and so should you…writes Peter Arnold.

Dr Peter Arnold

So you belong to a group of people who are feeling offended by other people’s attitudes towards you? Is that right?

Well, here is some advice from someone whose people have been offended by other peoples’ attitudes, hate speech, assaults, random and mob murders, mass evictions, and organised genocides on a scale not known before or since. The advice – “Get a life! Get on with living!”

My people have been insulted, humiliated, despised and rejected to such an extent that it is the Western tradition and the vituperation directed against us is the longest hatred. This venom goes back more than 3,000 years.

Since we first lived amongst the ancient Egyptians, we were despised by them and then by their conquerors, the ancient Greeks and Romans. We have been evicted from every European country, unless we were first killed or handed over to organised killers.

If your ancestors, dear reader, are European of any sort, they threw us of their countries, or stood aside while we were evicted, persecuted and murdered. If you’re a Muslim, your ancestors, in the days of the great Islamic Empires, relegated us to the inferior status of dhimmi.

Many of you are descended from ancestors who participated in the Crusades, which ‘incidentally’ killed my people while plundering through Europe en route to ‘liberating’ Jerusalem from the Muslims.

We were evicted from England in 1290, from Spain and Portugal in 1492, confined to the Pale of Settlement in Czarist Russia and forced into paying Russian “candle” and “box” taxes levied only on us.

We were not welcomed, despite being on the electoral roll, in the British Parliament, until 1885. Our numbers at Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities were limited. We were excluded from the Royal Sydney Golf Club and the Melbourne Club.

More recently, of course, the Final Solution, to which but a gallant and courageous few of your recent forebears objected. Your grandparents were citizens of countries, including Australia, which refused sanctuary to my people trying to flee Nazi terror.

And, after we finally managed to establish a sanctuary on a tiny piece of ancestral Mediterranean land, from which we had repeatedly been ejected over the past 2,500 years, 900,000 of us were thrown out of nearby Islamic countries. Having established that tiny sanctuary, my people have been repeatedly attacked, not only by invading armies, but by international organisations whose constituent nations are so dependent on Islamic oil that they care nothing for criticising or opposing those attacks.

And you are offended! Offended by something said about, or denied to, your people in the last few years or centuries. Sorry, but that does not compare with our multi-millennial entitlement to take genuine offence.

So emulate us and get a life! That is what we have done – and still do. As individuals. We have not spent 3,500 years wallowing in self-pity. We have got on with it.

Above all, we have valued education. Our Nobel Prize and Fields Medal recipients are totally disproportionate to our numbers. Imagine 0.2% of the world’s population winning more than 22% of Nobel prizes in medicine and the sciences! Our little strip of Mediterranean land provides the technology you use every day in you iPhone, your USB sticks and your computers.

Oh, you might still be wondering which group of people I belong to. The group of people still hated by tens of thousands – as expressed in their websites and blogs, and whose existence is threatened daily by Iranian mullahs. A clue… our motto is “To life!” Does that ring a bell? What about Fiddler on the Roof?

So, to my fellow citizens who feel offended, who feel insulted, by the way some bigot refers to them, who feel that “the others” owe you something , to you I say get over it! Get a life! By all means possible, draw attention to your critics’ and tormenters’ stupidity, but don’t let hurt feelings dominate your life. Get on with making the most of what you can, with your own talents.

We Jews have done it for 3,500 years. You can too.

Peter Arnold migrated in protest from apartheid South Africa in 1962. BSc, MB,BCh., BA (Politics, Philosophy, Economics)
Author: A Unique Migration: South African Doctors Fleeing to 2011
Co-author: Colin Tatz, Peter Arnold and Gillian Heller: Worlds Apart: The Re-Migration of South African Jews 2007
This article was first published in The Quadrant



16 Responses to “You’re offended? Oy vey!”
  1. Michael Hamilton says:

    Ok I’m an Ashkenazi, research reveals our origins are in Central Europe and Yiddish is pretty close to a Slavic tongue. So where does Egypt, Moses and the Promised Land come into our history? Regards Michael.

  2. Peter Arnold says:

    I have been alerted via Peter Benjamin to an error in my ‘offence’ piece, which should, I feel, be corrected. Thank you, Peter.

    I have long been aware of the comment made at the July 1938 Evian Conference in France, by the Australian Government’s representative, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas W. White, DFC, VD, MP, Minister for Trade and Customs. This comment is still on display at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.
    “It will no doubt be appreciated also that as we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one by encouraging any scheme of large-scale foreign migration …”

    What I did not know was that the policy was reviewed after Kristalnacht (9 November 1938), after which Australia agreed to admit – over three years – 15,000 refugees, as Benjamin points out. The previous annual quota had been 1,800. Of course, the war intervened, shortening the planned three years to one. The Australian government’s response was clearly ‘too little, too late’.

    For anyone who wants to follow up on the question raised by some commentators as to why Jews have been hated for millennia by Christians and Muslims, the original article cited Nirenberg’s ‘AntiJudaism: The Western Tradition” and Wistrich’s “Antisemitism: the Longest Hatred.” Nirenberg makes it clear that the Eastern religions and cultures have no ‘Freudian’ need to reject Judaism – they are not derived from it.

  3. peter j benjamin says:

    “Your grandparents were citizens of countries, including Australia, which refused sanctuary to my people trying to flee Nazi terror.” WRONG!
    Peter Arnold is incorrect with this assertion and has inadvertently downplayed Australia’s humanitarian actions. As a result of the July 1938 Evian Conference held at Evian-les Bains, France, convened by President Roosevelt and attended by the representatives of 31 countries, Australia agreed to accept 15,000 Jewish refugees, 5,000 in each of 1938, 1939 & 1940. Due to the outbreak of WW 2, quotas for the last two years could not be fully filled. To their eternal shame, none of the other 30 countries attending agreed to accept any Jewish refugees, including the US, which had convened the conference! Luckily, my parents and I, as barely a one-year-old, arrived in Sydney on 16th December 1938. For that I am eternally grateful, and laud the Australian Government’s subsequent rebuttal of Australian Govt attendee Lieutenant-Colonel White’s appalling declaration that “we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one by encouraging any scheme of large-scale foreign migration…” Interestingly, Jules Black, who has provided a post above, may not be aware that he and his parents were beneficiaries of the Government’s Jewish refugee visa grants. The Blacks were our neighbours in Flood Street, Bondi in about 1940-41.

  4. Michael Baume says:

    Dr Arnold’s is a powerful case against the absurdity of 18C which encourages the “being offended” industry that has made a farce of this authoritarian law. The real enemy, as the above history of persecution shows, is the authoritarian state that inevitably emerges in the absence of freedom of speech.

  5. Jules Black says:

    Nice to read what Peter Arnold had to say. Nice that he is still in circulation. As regards then Royal Sydney Gold Club in Ros, was their highly-esteemed headwaiter in the restaurant in the 1960’s. Funny that.

  6. Brendon O'Connell says:

    By being hated for so long, might one be led to ponder why that was?

    Could it be because you yourself exhibit a hatred and contempt of “the other”.

    Shall we quote Talmud? Shulkan Aruk? Zohar?

    Do u think u might be collectively delusional and in denial?

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      Brendon, why are you being so coy?
      Why don’t you tell us what’s really on your mind?
      Why shelter behind mere questions? Why not give us your opinion?

    • david singer says:

      The classic response of a Jew-hater.

      Do you have the same hatred for all Moslems and all Christians?

      At least you apparently have identified yourself – unlike most Jew-haters who spew their hatred out under the cover of anonymity.

      Perhaps you might like to try and justify your outrageous claim with some specific examples of what brings you to make your generalised and unsubstantiated allegations.

      BTW – Are you identical with Brendan Lee O’Connell who was sentenced in the District Court in Perth to a three year prison term in 2011 after being found guilty of six racial hatred charges?

  7. Martin Bloom says:

    I have had an enormous respect for Peter Arnold ever since, too long ago to think about, we both served on the Wits SRC. This article just confirms my opinion. I couldn’t agree more with Peter – and every one of the craven members of the Jewish Board of Deputies who argued against the repeal of the dreaded Section 18c should be requested to read his article and understand what he is saying.

  8. Sheila Goodman says:

    An excellent article . Hope it’s read by many of our many many critics

  9. Leon Poddebsky says:

    The Jewish People have well and truly “got on with it.”
    They have reconstituted out of meagre resources a model nation-state which knows how to defend itself.
    The Holocaust could have destroyed all hope, all energy, all desire to survive, but it did not: the Jewish People, the survivors, “got on with it.”
    They married, had families, established businesses, performed splendidly in the professions, won Nobel Prizes, continued to be trailblazers in a myriad fields of human endeavour.
    One could go on and on.
    No self-pity or whingeing in all of that.

    • matt mcLaughlin says:

      3000 years of trouble but by 1917 Zionism still not the will of world’s Jews, 1917.

      • Leon Poddebsky says:

        Millennia of exilic existence cannot be reversed speedily.

        Even the ancient Israelites who were liberated from Egypt had to wander in the wilderness until a new generation arose that would be permitted to enter the Land of Israel, and their Egyptian exile had been of much shorter duration than the post-Roman conquest one has been.

    • Lynne Newington says:

      My views exactly, better coming from you not me…..

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