Hate begets hate

Absolutely I concur with Jeremy Leibler that “this vicious hatred (by a couple of Palestinian writers) of Israel quite clearly crashes over the line into anti-Semitism because it fuels hatred of not just Israel, but of Jews” (“Writers’ ‘truth’ is anti-Semitic hate”, Commentary, 20/2).

Tragically, however, hate in this world does not just target Jews, and one saddest truth is that a Palestinian doctor who trained and worked in Tel Aviv, Izzeldin Abuleish, wrote a book, I Shall Not Hate, in 2011, after losing three children during the 2009 Intifada.

At least he used the words “not hate” in the title, as if to highlight perhaps how easy it can be to hate others, seemingly aware of the hatred pervading Israel, including against the Jewish medical specialists who trained and employed him.

Further, the vitriolic hate and abuse on social media against so many different groups of people illustrates that hate now seems to be so all-encompassing.

What’s really difficult, if not impossible to know, is how to stop the transmission of hate as “aone-sided diet of lies” masquerading as truth.

It was only 11 years ago I was inexplicably, at least to me then, physically assaulted and called “a Jewish c…” on a sunny autumn day in a busy inner-suburban Melbourne street because I wore a Star of David necklace in open view. My attacker, who quickly ran away, was female, apparently of Anglo-heritage.

I did not report the assault but for nearly a year did not wear my necklace, frightened of seeing her again and maybe incurring a far more serious injury than an ugly bruise wherer she had slapped me hard. Fortunately, she disappeared and I started wearing it again, preferring to live in relative peace and freedom rather than fear.

That is the one truth I have always endeavoured to live by, and always will, but at the same time I understand my truth is not unequivocally shared by many others.