As we will see next week (in the Torah portion) with Balaam, one of the ironies of the critics of Israel is that when they try to criticize us, they end up praising us. Case in point is long time provocateur, Richard Silverstein, who seems to take much glee in pointing out that a couple of Israel footballers perpetrated a despicable act. (Note: I will not point to the despicable blog post of his, which also breaks a gag order).
Unfortunately, corruption rape, substance abuse, sexual harassment, bullying, prostitution and the like happen in Israel just like they do in every country. People do horrible things and it pains us that it can.
Rightfully so, we are held to a higher standard because we should be better than that. We should take care of others, especially those weaker than us.
People who misuse positions of powers to get what they want will hopefully get what they deserve. We just had a former President of the Country go to prison for this.
As Silverstein writes, “there is a long history of male privilege and acceptance of predatory behavior among powerful Israeli men in the fields of sports, academia, entertainment, the military, and politics.”
He is 100% correct. For male privilege has been allowed to run rampant around the world for too long.
Those who should have used their positions and influence to be a role model, instead committed criminal acts and ruined peoples’ lives.
But as long as the history of male privilege has been in Israel (Silverstein omits the patriarchy of religion) the history of white male privilege is even longer and thus Silverstein may want to be wary of throwing stones when commenting on Israel from the vantage point of a glass house. Given that his moral standards are so high, we expect Silverstein never to be squeakier than clean – always checking the facts, not running fake news and the like.
Not only this, we expect Silverstein to apply the high standards he has for Israel on everyone. Or is their behavior justified because they’re anti-Israel?
While we’re happy to take the brickbats from Silverstein, he should just as be willing to dish out bouquets when we do something right. When we do something that deserves highlighting and should be told, be as enthusiastic as sharing that as you are when we do something wrong.
For if all you are going to do is dish out criticism, what’s the point of saying anything – we’ve heard it all before. Israel did this wrong, Israel did that wrong.
We can admit that we can be better.
We can admit that we did something wrong, but you’re incapable of admitting that we did something right.
Anybody familiar with the story of Balaam knows what happens after he stopped cursing. He realized that the best way to punish Israel would be via sexual impropriety. He was correct, but then he got his just desserts.