Wisse Distorts Israel's Human Rights Record
Letter to the Editors
I was appalled to read Ruth R. Wisse’s neo-fascist rant (Opinion, “Standing Up for Israel,” Feb. 25). I shall not mention the incoherence of her arguments. I shall not mention her use of hate-mongering rhetoric to mask racism as ‘Jewish pride.’ No—for the real issue at stake is: to what standard should we hold Israel when it comes to human rights?
Wisse insists that Israel deserves praise for its relative (by Middle Eastern standards) democracy—but surely relative democracy divorced from ethical standards is not enough. Indeed, Wisse insists that the Jews are special because they ‘try to live up to the measure of God,’ not the measure of man. Perhaps God doesn’t believe in human rights; perhaps he smiles to see one-fifth of Israel’s population literally caged in the world’s largest concentration camp; perhaps he smiles with Wisse to see Israel engage in the overt racism that snatches jobs, homes, family, freedom, and life from Arabs. But somehow I doubt it. I think God avoids Wisse’s conflation of Israel and Judaism—indeed, I hope he does, lest the sins of Israel taint the vast majority of Jews who believe in freedom and human rights for all, no matter what the race or creed. As long as Israel flagrantly violates human rights, it deserves to be ‘bashed.’ Wisse claims that Jews feel ‘enormous pressure to live up to the measure of God’—it’s high time we all put this same pressure on Israel, so that someday, the Jews can have a state worthy of its people.
Andrew N. Sodroski ’04
Feb. 26, 2002