Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Modest Solution to Antisemitism, Crazed Hatred of Israel, and All Other World Problems

(Note to readers: This is satire but intelligently designed, its humble author hopes, to clarify unpleasant realities in a way that a resort to more earnest, reasoned speech may not attain so easily.)

By Barry Rubin

To illustrate the inhumanity of British policy toward Ireland, the Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift produced what he called, “A Modest Proposal” in 1729. The subtitle was: “For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being A burden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public.”

The content of Swift’s modest proposal could be expressed with commendable brevity: if the Irish ate their children and exported them to feed the British, this would simultaneously solve the problems of overpopulation and hunger. Poverty would also be remedied since parents could make a tidy profit by selling their children, while morality would prosper because there would be a great incentive for people to get married and have children.

Even today, it is a marvelous piece of satire on a smug inhumanity which twisted seemingly logical assertions in a pompously self-righteous and ignorant way until they became pure insanity.

In other words, Swift is perfectly suited for our current era.

And his essay is even more timely because Swift got in a dig at the anti-Americanism of his day—yes, it existed even before there was any United States—by suggesting that Americans could serve as technical consultants since they were such barbarians they ate children.

Not only that, but Swift took into account such future anti-Israel groups like J Street. He claimed cannibalism would so ease tensions in England that people there would no longer act “like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken" because some among them would sell their "country and consciences for nothing.”

As if that weren't enough, Swift incororated into his plan environmentalism (cannibalism would preserve deer populations) and health reform (eating children would reduce costly abortions and the number of people needing expensive medical services).

But before presenting my own Modest Proposal, I must lay out the situation that requires it and the alternative Modest Proposal which has gained so much favor recently.

Briefly, hatred of Jews and of Israel is rising sharply and slander even more swiftly. The more concessions Israel makes, the more it is reviled for being inflexible. The more humanitarian it tries to be, the more it is bashed for being unhumanitarian. The more its citizens and advocates speak with logic, reason, facts, and evidence, the more such things fall into disrepute.

Therefore a sharply different approach is needed.

There is, however, already a candidate for furnishing that alternative Modest Proposal. It is being offered by many people in the Arabic-speaking, Muslim majority, and European worlds, sometimes even in the American territories, who have their own version of Swift’s proposal they want to apply to Israel. This alternative is admittedly closer to that of Swift’s original satire, though they actually mean to do it.

This modest proposal is that the children of Israel should be butchered and consumed to assuage the moral appetites of Westerners and sate the baser appetites of the aggressive and the terrorist so they don’t feel the need to dine on the Europeans themselves.

I will reject this alternative in favor of a proven workable plan, that being advocated by and implemented toward Muslims. My Modest Proposal consists of two parts.

First, that from this moment on, the word antisemitism will be banished from the vocabulary. In its place will be a new word: Israelophobia, an irrational fear and hatred for Jews and their national state.

Instantly, all academics will compete in their praise of Jews and of Israel. Officials will be put into place in all institutions to ensure that no one ever utters a word of hate speech for Jews and Israel. It will become virtually a rule of society that no one dare says anything critical or they will be driven from polite society.

We will hear about outdated prejudices, severe misunderstandings, respect for the “other,” allowing people to set their own standards. Every citizen will be urged to fight Judeophobia and Israelophobia with all of their might.

But this cannot stand alone. It must be accompanied by a second proposition. Rather than apologize endlessly, rather than spawn organizations which attack Israel under the guise of defending it, rather than write long reports and produce boring evidence, rather than inviting those who hate us to speak at our synagogues and other institutions we will adopt a different tack.

We will threaten to murder, possibly by decapitation, anyone who says anything critical of Israel or o the Jewish religion.

A few examples should nicely serve to encourage compliance. Please note that this is a no-lose proposition. On one hand, people and institutions will cower in fear and change their tune entirely. On the other hand, however, few would criticize us for killing and threatening critics. After all, to do so would constitute…criticism.

Thus, while abandoning their campaigns to slander Israel and the Jewish people, they could not admit that they are doing so out of fear! They would have to base this behavior on their noble recognition that past imperialist antisemitism—I mean Judaophobia and Israelophobia—has disqualified them from judging us. The laws of multiculturalism and Political Correctness would thus be extended to cover the two groups—Jews and Israelis—as these are the only ones excluded from their blessings.

Like Swift, I hope that this modest proposal will somehow shock some people into seeing the absurdity of the situation, the baseness of the lies being told, the preservation of Jew-hatred as the only permissible bias allowed among the progressive sectors of Western societies.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition) and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to To see or subscribe to his blog,

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