Photo courtesy of Yad Vashem
Jews being led to their death (archives)
Photo courtesy of Yad Vashem

The Lieberman within me

Op-ed: Yaron London discusses his constant battle with 'chronic disease' most Jews have contracted

A little Lieberman lives inside my stomach, lurking like and ulcer – sometimes stings and sometimes itches. It attached itself to me when I learned as a young boy that my grandparents were murdered by their Lithuanian neighbors. I imagined parachuting with Hannah Senesh, fighting alongside the rebels in the ghettos and penetrating Hitler's bunker and slowly torturing him to death; I destroyed Berlin, poisoned Germany's wells and rescued all of the survivors and refugees; I invaded Europe and punished the enemies and all those who took part in the massacre or did not listen to the cries of my people. And who among the goyim did listen to the cries? None of them. They are all guilty and should all be mercilessly annihilated.


When I grew up I discovered that Lieberman is a chronic disease, which almost all Jews have contracted with varying degrees of severity. If it is not treated properly, the disease can turn its carriers into monsters. I learned that not all of the goyim massacred Jews; they did not all shut their ears and many of them helped the Jews. Nearly every survivor owes his or her life to someone, or to a number of people, who risked their lives for them. I learned that no one can entirely resist the tempting sound of boots on the pavement; that communities completely immune to the miserable comfort concealed in the hatred of the foreigner do not exist; and that all nations are selfish to some extent.


I learned that Nazi Germany was a unique case, and that the story of the Jews is unique as well, but also that before the Holocaust, and after it, there were holocausts that were similar in their cruelty level to our tragedy: The tragedy of the slaves in Africa; the tragedy of the Native Americans; the tragedy of the Cambodians under the rule of Pol Pot; the tragedy of the people of Rwanda, and so on.


Finally, I examined myself and found out that I do not know for certain how I would have acted had I been a young German during the Nazi regime. Would I have acted like the worst of them, or like the majority, who cooperated by following orders? Would I have left Germany in advance? Would I have secretly helped the Jews or join the few who conspired against the regime and paid with their lives or the lives of their loved ones? This soul-searching helps quell the Lieberman within me, but it requires constant treatment, because Lieberman is stubborn. He is like an ember waiting for the right circumstances and a "strong individual" to ignite it.


I feel the level of the Lieberman rising in my stomach when we are attacked and when it seems that the world does not comprehend our situation or is unwilling to provide us with all the assistance we ask for. I am frequently overcome by the sense of the Jew who is convinced that everyone is infected with incurable hatred toward Israel. So what do I do? I take a wisdom pill and remind myself that the world's nations have their own interests, and these interests do not coincide with our interests; I remind myself that we are also hostages of our own interests; this is why we assisted the racist regime in South Africa in exchange for its dubious aid and assisted the Kurds but later abandoned them when they became a burden; this is why we do not go out of our way to help all of the world's oppressed people and sell arms without being too fussy about the buyer's character or who his victims are. Because we are victims, eternal victims, and as victims we are clean, even when our hands our dirty.


This treatment keeps my Lieberman in check, but it does not calm Avigdor Lieberman's Lieberman, because unlike me, the foreign minister is in love with his Lieberman and nurtures him. He owes his political success to his Lieberman.


Now that Lieberman has resigned and is exempt from the duties of his post, I fear that he will release his inner Lieberman and ignite the Lieberman that lives within hundreds of thousands of voters.



פרסום ראשון: 12.18.12, 01:00
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