In a season in which there is very little "peace on Earth" and even less "good will towards men," it is a particularly tough time for Jews, who may be finding it more and more difficult to tell who their real friends are.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta fired an unusually harsh salvo across the Israelis bow. In a speech at a Brookings Institution forum, he urged Israel to get to the "d--n table" for peace talks. It must have escaped Panetta's notice that the Palestinians are the ones refusing to come to the "d--n table" unless their unacceptable demands are met. These include, depending on the day, the cessation of construction projects, even on pre-1967 Israeli land, the so-called "right of return" of "Palestinian refugees," a concession by Israel to re-draw its borders to 1967 lines -- though such borders would be completely indefensible against an inevitable attack -- and the re-division of Jerusalem, which Israel rightly sees as its capital. Meanwhile, the Palestinian side concedes almost nothing and fulfills none of its promises. Neither is it held accountable for its behavior.
Next, we heard from Howard Gutman, the U.S. ambassador to Belgium. In the ultimate case of blaming the victim, Gutman seemed to blame Israel for anti-Semitism when he spoke recently at an event hosted by the European Jewish Union. According to The Weekly Standard, Gutman said, "A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians."
If Gutman had studied history, he would know that Muslim hatred of Jews predates by many centuries Israel's 1948 rebirth as a Jewish state.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took her own jabs at Israel. She was quoted in the English edition of the Arab publication, Al-Arabiya, as saying she fears for the future of democracy in Israel and the rights of women. Why? Because of a newspaper story that told of patterns in certain small Orthodox Israeli neighborhoods where women are required to be separate from men in certain situations, such as when taking public transportation.
In case Secretary Clinton hasn't noticed, gender segregation has long been practiced in religiously conservative Muslim societies. Events surrounding the so-called "Arab Spring" do not encourage confidence that women will have more rights and freedom under emerging regimes than they have had under previous dictatorships.
But it is not only Jews who are being singled out for verbal abuse and physical attacks.
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