May 21, 2018

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No hope for slanderers

…ולמלשינים אל תהי תקווה וכל הרשעה כרגע יאבדו

“Let there be no hope for slanderers (מלשינים, transliterated “malshinim”) and may all wickedness perish in an instant…” [tr. Artscroll with minor changes]

That is the beginning of the twelfth blessing of the shemoneh esreh (the eighteen blessings), the central prayer said three times daily by Orthodox Jews.

This blessing (yes, it’s a strange thing to call it) was added to the daily prayers in the synagogues of the first century CE. The Romans who ruled Judea at the time were suspicious and sometimes repressive. After the Bar Kochba revolt (134 CE), the emperor Hadrian even forbade the reading of the Torah. In any event, the problems posed by “slanderers” led the rabbis in the last part of the 1st century to add it.

The word malshin comes from the word for tongue, and refers to a specific kind of slander: when a Jew goes to the authorities (e.g., the Romans) and either tells damaging lies about the Jews, or informs them that the Jews are breaking the rules, like studying Torah when it was forbidden. In modern Hebrew, it has a broader meaning: a malshin is a stool pigeon, a rat, an informer.

Wherever Jews lived in the Diaspora there were always malshinim. Some thought that the establishment of the state of Israel would end Jew-hatred forever, because Jews would no longer be forced to live among non-Jews and be ruled by non-Jewish regimes. How could there be a pogrom in a Jewish state? Malshinim would not exist. Who would listen to anti-Jewish slanders? Who would have the power to act on them?

As we know, it didn’t turn out that way. Jew-hatred didn’t go away where Jews lived together with non-Jews, and it even remained in places where there were no Jews at all, both where they had been murdered or driven out or even where there had never been Jews. And – more importantly in this context – Jew-hatred among more educated populations raised itself to a higher level of abstraction: while hating individual Jews conflicted with taboos against “bigotry,” no such taboo limited hatred of the Jewish state itself, which soared and continues to soar to new heights.

The new kind of Jew-hatred includes many of the memes and themes that characterized the old kind, but instead of the Romans and the Czars, we have Europe, the US State Department, and the UN and its myriad organizations; instead of drunken mobs incited to loot, burn, murder and rape while the Czar’s police stand idly by, we have terrorist militias that fire barrages of rockets at us while the great powers and the UN stand by and even pass resolutions blaming Israel for provoking the violence.

But in one area, absolutely nothing has changed since the year 100, and that is the prevalence and behavior of the Jewish malshinim, the Jews that betray their own people by bearing tales to the non-Jewish authorities.

Could there be a better example of malshinim than the organization that calls itself “Breaking the Silence,” which collects unverifiable, exaggerated or false stories of misconduct by IDF soldiers and travels the world telling them to credulous audiences, already primed to believe the worst about the Jewish state?

It provides material for lawsuits against the IDF, the state and individual soldiers; and it makes it necessary for the IDF to take greater and greater precautions against such lawfare – to a degree that no other nation at war has ever done. As a result, targets are not hit and objectives not obtained.

It paints Israel and the IDF as deliberately brutal, oppressive and evil. It chips away at international sympathy for Israel, so that when it is attacked (as it is, over and over again), there will be reasons to take the side of its enemies.

Breaking the Silence is just one of many such groups. They all receive millions of Euros each year from European countries which are enemies of Israel (they are less violent than the militias that fire rockets at our children, but they enable the violence and war that their proxies execute). Breaking the Silence and the others take money to help the militias and terrorists kill their neighbors. They are worse than whores, worse than kapos. They are Jews, paid to slander the Jewish state. Traitors. Malshinim.

Recently I watched an interview with Tuvia Tenenbom (video, 57 min), who traveled through 28 states talking to random Americans, including about how they feel about Jews and Israel. Tenenbom said,

In state after state, temple after temple, what I saw and what I witnessed was a nightmare. You see rabbis, or so-called rabbis, leaders, supposed leaders, standing at a podium and all they can tell to their listeners is that Israel is an apartheid state and that Judaism is racism. That’s what they preach. …

When you see some anti-Jewish thing, if you dig deep and put a magnifying lens to see who’s behind it, over and over and over you find a Jew, and that’s frightening.

These, too, are the malshinim of today.

At the beginning of the post, I only quoted part of the blessing. It continues:

… and may all Your enemies be cut off (יכרתו) speedily. May You speedily uproot, smash, cast down, and humble the wanton sinners – speedily and in our days. Blessed are You, Hashem, who breaks enemies and humbles wanton sinners.


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