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Monday, January 30, 2017

It isn't only in America that criticism of leadership gets unhinged.

I occasionally look at the "divrei Torah" from Rabbis for Human Rights, and the one from Parashat Shemot (Exodus 1) was a doozy:

In these days of rock bottom in leadership in Israeli society (and perhaps not only here…) – it appears that there is no avoiding being suspicious and skeptical of leaders, and thinking of them in negative terms — for instance their pursuit of power, corruption and hatred of “the other”. 
And so, the first leader we meet in the parasha of Exodus, the new king of Egypt,  also strengthens this feeling. This is a cruel and unscrupulous leader who is willing to use all and any means to achieve his goals. He uses tactics well-known to us, unfortunately, until this very day: instilling fear, creating a collective sense of threat, labeling one group as “enemies of the people”, and the systematic repression of that group as a solution. It might be the case that the king thinks he represents the true interest of the Egyptian people, but in the end he brings great suffering also upon his own people.
If comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is antisemitic - and it is - then so is comparing Israeli leaders to Pharaoh.

Rabbis for Human Rights is using the tradition of modern antisemites to paint Jews with the brush of those who tried to kill the Jews.  Pharaoh, after all, also planned and attempted genocide against the Jewish people, and like Hitler he prioritized enslaving and murdering Jews over all else.

There is no moral difference between this sick parody of a Torah lesson and the modern Jew-haters who take great pleasure in saying that Jews have learned from their would-be exterminators.

People who call themselves rabbis have a moral obligation. This is immoral. It proves that "Rabbis for Human Rights" have far more in common with the antisemites than their targets do.




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