If the west understood the meaning of the Muslim terrorism against Israel and of contemporary Muslim anti-Semitism, it would be far better prepared to fight the sort of terrorism that struck London last week.
However, as almost always happens, too many dismiss anti-Semitism as the Jews’ problem or even the Jews’ fault, when in fact it is the most accurate predictor of an evil that humanity will have to fight.
That, to the world’s benefit and the Jews’ unhappy fate, is the role Jews play. That is the way it is because the Jews are the chosen people.
Now, believe me, I am well aware of the hazards of making such a claim.
First, it sounds racist.
Second, it sounds chauvinistic, as if it were a claim of inherent Jewish superiority.
Third, it sounds irrational, if not bizarre.
But the claim of Jewish chosenness could not be racist because a) The Jews are not a race. There are Jews of every race. And b) Any person of any race, ethnicity or nationality can become a member of the Jewish people and thereby be as chosen as Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah or the current chief rabbi of Israel.
As for chauvinism, there is not a hint of inherent superiority in the claim of Jewish chosenness. In fact, the Jewish Bible, the book that states the Jews are chosen, constantly berates the Jews for their flawed behavior. No holy work of any other religion is so critical of the religious group affiliated with that holy work.
As for the claim of chosenness being irrational or even bizarre, it is so only to an atheist. But anyone, even the atheist, must look at the evidence and conclude that the Jews play a role in history that defies reason.
Without the Jews, there would be no Christianity (a fact acknowledged by the great majority of Christians), no Islam (a fact acknowledged by few Muslims) and nothing that developed in those cultures that was based on belief in the God the Jews introduced to the world -- such as science and the abolition of slavery.
Other nations have perceived themselves as chosen or divinely special. China means “Middle Kingdom” in Chinese -- meaning that China is at the center of the world. Japan considers itself the land where the sun originates (“Land of the Rising Sun”).
What’s different about the Jews is that vast numbers of people outside the religion have believed the Jews’ claim or hated the Jews for it.
But the greatest evidence for chosenness is the evil that has targeted Jews since the mid-20th century:
* Nazi Germany was more concerned with exterminating the Jews than with winning World War II. Whenever there was competition for resources between the war and the “final solution,” Hitler chose the murder of Europe’s Jews.
* Throughout its 70-year history, the Soviet Union persecuted its Jews and tried to extinguish Judaism. At the time of Stalin’s death, he was planning a massive killing of Soviet Jews.
* The United Nations has spent more time discussing and condemning the Jewish state than any other country. That is why the U.N. General Assembly has passed an unparalleled 322 resolutions against Israel. Yet this state is smaller than every Central American country. Imagine if the amount of attention paid to Israel were paid to Belize -- who would not think there was something extraordinary about that country?
* The Muslim world is obsessed with the Jews and with annihilating the one Jewish state, an obsession analogous to that of the Nazis.
In the words of Catholic scholar Father Edward Flannery, “the Jews carry the burden of God in history.” Most Jews do not believe this (or almost any Jewish religious doctrine, for that matter). And many Jews dislike talk of chosenness because they fear it will increase anti-Semitism. They may be right.
But it doesn’t alter the fact that the worldwide obsession with one of the smallest countries and smallest peoples on Earth, and the unique hatred of the Jews and the Jewish state by the world’s most vicious ideologies, can be best explained only in transcendent terms. God, for whatever reason, chose the Jews.