As I write this, I am sitting in my quiet corner of Jerusalem, admiring the blooms in my little garden, the bees and butterflies they are attracting. It’s hard to believe that barely a mile or so away, in the Old City, violent riots have been waged over this last week, injuring dozens.
A few miles on, people have been killed by falling rockets and the violence in the streets. One man in Lod was dragged from his car and beaten to death. A few miles on from that, at the country’s borders with Lebanon and Jordan, there are mutterings of people amassing, waiting for another chance to wipe Israel from the map. Rockets have just been fired from Lebanon at Haifa.
It’s hard to believe that a world which contains flowers and butterflies also contains all that other, uglier stuff. But this afternoon I watched a video, and after I watched it, all I could think was: “Why do they hate us so much?”
Here’s the video:
This week, the number of dead Palestinian children has been paraded across the world’s screens; a modern iteration of the oldest, shrillest accusation of all time: “Jews Kill Babies!”
Never mind that Israeli children have also been killed. Never mind that some of the Palestinian children have been killed by Hamas’ rockets falling short. Never mind all the petty bickerings about whose fault and who started it, and who lived here first. Never mind all that.
At the bottom of the conflict is this: they hate us so much that they’d rather see their children dead just so they can see ours dead also, than live in peace.
My novel, The Book of Niv, deals with this question a little as the main character is an IDF soldier who killed a Palestinian child. About half way through the book he ponders the blood libel:
The children, he thought. It always comes back to the children… Why does it always come back to the children, he wondered? And then he thought: because children are the most innocent among us.
For a moment he stood transfixed as he suddenly saw the interconnectedness of everything: how the fallout from the sins we commit land disproportionately on the most innocent among us precisely because they are the ones least able to protect themselves.
And then he thought: that’s why the Jews are always accused of being baby killers. It’s merely a clandestine way of saying that the Jews are at the root of all the world’s evils.
The video above reveals something else crucial about the blood libel: that, as well as being the ultimate in accusations, it’s also a direct inversion of the truth.
I’m not making a claim that Jews are a uniquely moral people, you get good and bad in every population. Rather, that the evil within the accusation lies in slandering the least deserving.
No other country in the world goes so far out of its way to protect the lives of civilians that it gives prior warning of airstrikes. You can hear the horror in the Israeli’s voice when told starkly that the Palestinian doesn’t care if children are killed, when he responds with: “God forbid! God forbid! What, do you want to die?!” The idea that Israeli is cruelly and wantonly killing Palestinian children is a direct inversion of the truth, nothing more, nothing less.
There are other non-Jewish examples of this – the one that springs to mind is the British being steeped in the sin of slavery, when of all the populations on earth, the British were the only peoples ever to end the practice, to the extent of investing their own blood and gold in ensuring the practice was stamped out.
These moral inversions give us a clue about the times we are living in. It’s not merely that we live in a society adrift in a sea of post-modern subjectivism; on the contrary, far from being chaotic and dislocated, our society has a very strict and stringent moral hierarchy. It’s just that it happens to be the direct inversion of a true moral hierarchy.
I do believe that we are living in an end times, and i realise that, to a rational, thinking person, that sounds superstitious and plain wacky. But I keep coming back to this belief precisely because – as this video demonstrates – the permeation of this inversion is so almost perfectly complete.
We have reached an ultimate: the edge of the world. Everything is become so directly inverted that the only way to go from here is back toward uprightness. And so, the world must flip. So flip it will.