What is a “self hating Jew?”

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Just what is a “self hating Jew?” This has always been a difficult question, because often people accuse someone of self hate when they have a disagreement about some important question or issue. Self hate implies a kind of inner revulsion that is existential in nature. Self hate is not really about disagreement, however severe or profound.

The key in Dr. Marsha Levine’s case is to see how her response to the 13-year-old interrogator is disproportionate. Without question Dr. Levine’s response is out of proportion and ignores the actual situation of the questioner. She doesn’t see the questioner as a child asking for help and wanting to connect with the respected expert, but simply as an Israeli, a stereotype. Levine sees the young girl merely as a type who needs to be addressed as a representative of a evil, oppressive government.

Dr. Levine’s over the top response indicates the inner turmoil to which someone who is uncomfortable with her identity likely experiences. When the professor doubles down on her initial response by blaming the parents, saying that if they had only checked her out in Facebook, as responsible parents would have done, then the daughter would not have been hurt. “Stop me before I kill again!” cries Dr. Levine.

What may be most reprehensible is the implication of the professor’s comment to the parents. Dr. Levine essentially says that it would have been better if there had been no contact between the Israeli child and her. Until the teen agrees with her about Israel, she will not countenance any contact. Yes, and while we’re at it, let’s boycott Israeli academics and ban them from our conferences; and let’s demand that artists and performers boycott Israel until the State changes its policies with regard to the Palestinians; and let’s oppose Israel’s inclusion in UN committees and commissions such UNESCO.

Let’s blame the victim. Israel, you force us to end our attempts to have a dialogue because you persist in disagreeing with us. When you agree with us, Israel, we can then restore the possibility of dialogue. But as long as you stubbornly persist in being wrong, we have nothing to say to you. You are a collection of non-persons until you decide to rejoin the human community by coming into our camp.

—Rabbi Kerry Baker

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