GIVAT SHMUEL, Israel, March 15, 2015 — As a history teacher and a political science major, I am an unrepentant fan of this new wave of alternative historical fiction that has swept across the literature scene.
I was engrossed by Stephen King’s JFK assassination redo “11-22-63” and am currently binge-watching the Hulu miniseries it has inspired. I just finished reading Phillip K. Dick’s landmark World War II rewrite, “The Man in the High Castle,” and the Amazon TV show it has inspired is at the very top of my “to watch” list.
Thus, faced with a choice of what to read next, I picked up Yehuda Avner’s alt-history fiction novel. Following his wildly successful memoir, “The Prime Ministers,” which detailed his years as a key adviser to a number of Israeli PMs, Avner wrote “The Ambassadors,” an evocative exploration of what might have been the fate of the Jews in Hitler’s Germany had the 1937 Peel Commission resulted in the creation of the Jewish State right then and there.
Although I am just a few chapters in, I already know that I will not enjoy this book as much as I do other fictional historical revisions. I find it hard to enjoy the thought exercise of alt-history when it comes to pondering the fate of Jews. This is partially due to the fact that the world’s reactions to the Jewish blood being spilled daily in the streets of Israel has been something more out of a fantasy novel than a non-fictitious account. Additionally, the actual rewriting of current events by the unabashedly anti-Israel media that is being peddled as non-fiction has been one of the most devastating tools used against the Jewish State. Moreover, many Jews and Israelis, including many in leadership roles, continue to live in a world of fiction that puts the entire Jewish nation in grave danger. Thus, I fear Israel’s saving is being left to the alternative history fiction authors alone and therefore, Jewish and/or Israeli alt-history feels both surreal and too real at the same time.
Tell me these things don’t sound like classic plot lines you would see promoted on the back of an alternative history fiction novel:
Every day the world’s most moral army on the planet, the Israeli Defense Force, works tirelessly to protect the civilians of Israel from daily attacks by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs out to murder as many Jews in the streets as possible armed with knives, axes, cars, guns and more. Despite their heroic actions, the world has turned against them and the people they protect. Even the alleged leader of the free world, President of the United States Barack Obama has decided to treat the Jewish State and its leaders with extreme petulance. Not only that, but Obama has just completed signing a treaty with Israel’s archenemy, Iran. The deal ultimately allows for Iran to develop nuclear weapons as well as gain immediate access to hundreds of millions of dollars that they have already began spending on terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. With its closest allies now turned against it, the Jewish State now realizes that it has no one to rely on but itself.
Or this potential timeless classic:
In a dystopian future, the world has decided to do away with common sense, instead relying solely on the information provided to it by the media in all its forms. This has been particularly devastating for the State of Israel. ABC’s hit TV show, “Quantico” features a prominent character who admits that he deserves to be hated because he, as a young American Jew, volunteered to fight in the Israeli Defense Forces where he was forced to do things “that haunt me every single day of my life” without providing any further context. In the realm of social media, mass information technology giants such as Facebook and Twitter claim that their hands are tied when it comes to curbing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate speech that has been proven to incite the murder of innocent Jewish civilians in Israel and abroad. All of this on top of the everyday reporting of the major news outlets which report on incidents of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs who are shot while in the act of attempting to or succeeding to stab, run over or shoot innocent Jewish civilians with headlines such as “Three Palestinians Shot Dead during Day of Violence in Israel,” or “Israeli Forces kill five “attackers” in Jerusalem and the West Bank.” The Jewish State must now fight to rewrite the narrative or be written out of history.
And couldn’t you just see this future best-seller coming to a Barnes & Noble near you:
As a tiny nation that serves as a bastion of equality and democracy in a region flooded with radical religious discrimination in its ugliest and most primal form, Israel had hoped it would be seen as a hero. Although it was disappointing to find out that the world saw Israel as more of a villain than savior, nothing could have prepared it for the hardest truth: a vast majority of the people driving the narrative that Israel is the cause of the world’s ills are Jews. Shocking stories come to light including, but far from limited to:
- A left-wing Israeli who turns in Palestinians who are cooperating with Israel to the Palestinian Authority, sentencing them to death.
- The head of an Israel “peace” NGO condemning a man for taking the knife that had just been plunged into his neck by a Palestinian terrorist and killing his attacker with it as an “extrajudicial execution.”
- An Israeli government that continues to allow Arab members of Parliament to remain in office despite visiting the homes of terrorists in shows of support.
- Liberal American Jews on college campuses who participate in Israel Apartheid Week and Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement protests against Israel.
Israel has always been able to defend itself from the enemy without, but will it finally be vanquished by the enemy within?
Then again, we don’t really need any of the above titles since the seminal alternative history fiction about the Jews has already been written by the man President Obama has proclaimed as “Israel’s best chance at peace,” Palestinian Authority “Chairman” (hard to give him that title officially as he is now in his ninth year of a four-year term) Mahmoud Abbas, whose doctoral dissertation was titled “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.”
So sadly, I know that no matter how great “The Ambassador” turns out to be I will never truly be comfortable with alternative history when it mixes with Israel and the Jews. And I realize now that it is because I am living it. Here’s hoping for a surprise twist ending.