Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A Ray of Light on Jews who are “ashamed” of Israel

In his delicious prize-winning novel The Finkler Question the Anglo-Jewish novelist Howard Jacobson has an anti-Zionist group called ASHamed Jews:
 “The logic that made it impossible for those who had never been Zionists to call themselves ASHamed Zionists did not extend to Jews who had never been Jews. To be an ASHamed Jew did not require that you had been knowingly Jewish all your life. Indeed, one among them only found out he was Jewish at all in the course of making a television programme in which he was confronted on camera with who he really was. In the final frame of the film he was disclosed weeping before a memorial in Auschwitz to dead ancestors who until that moment he had never known he’d had. ‘It could explain where I get my comic genius from,’ he told an interviewer for a newspaper, though by then he had renegotiated his new allegiance. Born a Jew on Monday, he had signed up to be an ASHamed Jew by Wednesday and was seen chanting ‘We are all Hezbollah’ outside the Israeli Embassy on the following Saturday.”
The group is fictional, but it’s got its real-life counterparts, and not only, alas, in Britain. Such Jews – who of course make demonising Israel a central part of their agenda if not their raison d’être  –  are often dubbed “self-hating Jews”. But as Adam Levick observed not so long ago in an essay on the phenomenon:
 ‘To be fair, I always found the term “self-hating Jew” to be at best misleading, at worst a complete misnomer. First, because we typically have no way of knowing these writers‘ inner-thoughts. But, more importantly, I never thought that it was an apt description of the anti-Zionist Jews I’ve met over the years. If anything, most seem to possess a belief that they are indeed “better Jews” for being hyper-critical of Israel, opposing their own community, and rejecting the very idea of a Jewish nation-state.
Many seem singularly focused on being seen as a “progressive”. And, as the progressive movement has moved further and further away from identification with Israel – and, to some degree, further away from identification with Jews as such – the need to be seen as progressive (“righteous”) in the eyes of others, has taken precedence over the seemingly parochial desire to identify with, and defend, their own community.’ (
As well as being models of lucidity and literary merit, British blogger Ray Cook’s posts are always thoughtful and measured. Not for him launching personal attacks, or making extravagant claims or wild accusations. All of which lends his opinions a quiet authority. His latest post is a masterpiece. I’d like to share some of it with you:

Why I’m an ashamed Jew

Yep, you read right.

I’ve had to admit it.

I can’t live a lie any longer.

I’m deeply, deeply ashamed.

Ashamed of being Jewish? No way. I’m very proud to be Jewish and a member of the Jewish people.

Ashamed of Israel? Wrong again. I’m proud of Israel’s achievements. I worry about its policies, sometimes; I’m concerned, sometimes about some of its actions and those of some of its citizens, but I could say the same for Britain and I’m still proud to be British.

So why am I ashamed?

I’ll tell you. I’m ashamed of Jews who say they are ashamed to be Jews or Jewish.

I don’t hear Palestinians coming out to declare they are ashamed to be Palestinian and denounce suicide bombs or missiles.

I don’t hear Arabs writing they are ashamed to be Arabs because of Al Qaeda or Sudan or Yemen.

I don’t hear Muslims forming groups of shame because of what Sunni does to Shia, or 9/11, or 7/7, or Madrid, or Mumbai.

I don’t know of any Ashamed Catholic groups forming because of the paedophilia apparently rife in Catholic clergy.

In fact I know of no other group of people who so often announce their ashamedness to be who they are as Jews do.

And you know what? It makes me ashamed. I’m an ashamed Jew who is ashamed of ashamed Jews. If that’s a paradox, so be it.

And I’m not ashamed to declare my shame.

Shame on me!

I don’t see why Arabs or Muslims or Palestinians or Brits or Americans or Chinese or anyone else should be ashamed of what they are because of the actions of a few.

If I’m ashamed to be a Jew because I don’t like what Israel does that is a form of self-hating, it’s bigotry – by golly, it’s anti-Semitic. If I hate all of a group because of the actions of some, then I am a bigot. And if I am the target of my own bigotry then I’m a pretty sick bigot.

Read the rest


  1. Daph, thanks for the plug and your kind words.

  2. You're welcome, Ray!
    It was not the first blogpost by you that made me think "I wish I'd written that!"
    If I had the url to that terrific satirical piece you did in the summer I'd post it here - if you read this, please add a comment giving the url

  3. it's here:

  4. Great! Many thanks. I highly recommend it!