It’s been a difficult week for Jews. The Jews in Israel, most of them, have been facing thousands of rockets fired indiscriminately by Hamas at residential neighborhoods in the hope of overwhelming the Iron Dome system and killing as many civilians as possible. This is an action that is completely unjustifiable. It is the very definition of a war crime, the attempt to murder civilians. But this week, we’ve seen too many do exactly that, justify it. As Israelis huddle in hallways and bomb shelters with their children, many have argued that because Israel’s supreme court made a decision that they don’t like, that it’s okay for Hamas to try to murder Israel’s children. There is nothing but evil in that sentiment, but it has been shared widely by politicians and by far too many people on social media, many of whom don’t know any better, but too many for sure who do know better and just don’t care. Many of us are angry and dismayed.
For many years now, it has been the case that when there are things going on involving Israel, our teens and college students get questions about it from their friends. Essentially, “You’re Jewish! Can you explain why Israel is doing this for me?” As if every Jewish 14 year old kid is with the Israeli Foreign Ministry. This time? Not that. More like, “You’re Jewish! What the @#$% do you think you people are doing murdering innocents! You’re evil and your people is evil! Hitler was right, you @#$#@!” Crying and angry students. Crying and angry parents. And for some students, this stuff, maybe only slightly less full of Jew-hatred than what I wrote above, is coming from their “friends,” or at least close acquaintances, at school.
Every Jew’s social media right now is full of Jew-hatred. Much of it is unleashed Jew hatred based anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism, but in a large percentage of the cases, it’s just flat out Jew hatred based talk of warmongers and conspiracy laden evil plot based stuff that the KGB could have written back in the day when it wanted to promote hatred of Israel, but gave up after it decided that getting people to want to kill all Jews is not a good thing even for Russian anti-American goals. And no little of it is based on comments coming from politicians and polticial commentators popular with Jewish progressives, often feeling like daggers in the back for many right now.
Too many activists on racial issues grossly misrepresent the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in ways that dramatically advance hatred of Jews generally and no one seems willing to call them out on it. Some of them are spreading virulent hate. The Nazis would have been proud of many of the comments coming from the social activist left right now, and I wish I could add “Far” as a descriptor of left, but I can’t. Much of the misguided hatred is being promoted by people who are not far left, but who feel emboldened to promote an overly simplistic narrative of race and to apply it wrongly to a conflict of which they only have a peripheral understanding and on behalf of activists whose goal is promote hatred of Israel in ways that promote hatred of every Jew everywhere.
Those attacking synagogues around the world. Those spewing hatred toward Jewish students around the world. They’re just like the crusaders during the first crusade, who though wanting to liberate the Holy Land, decided to attack their local Jewish communities because they hated them too and were more convenient targets.
Those remaining silent as their friends and political allies spew hatred of Jews show that the way the Nazis were able to go about their work without facing opposition from enough average people to stop them is still functioning in 2021.
What all of this proves beyond any doubt at all is that a safe and secure Israel is essential to the well-being of Jews everywhere, that a place of refuge for persecuted Jews is every bit as necessary in 2021, even to American Jews, as it ever has been, and that Israel, nor Jews generally, can rely on any nation’s politicians to have our back, when thousands of rockets are being fired at us trying to murder as many as possible.
They demand we stop defending ourselves. “Ceasefire!” They demand a fair fight. One only demands a fair fight, if you want the other side to be able to win.
What is a proportional response to more than 3,000 rockets being fired intentionally at residential areas? It would seem logically that firing 3,000 rockets intentionally at residential areas of the other side would be the answer, something that no moral army would do and is far from what Israel does. Certainly targeted attacks aimed at degrading this capability are well within proportionality. Yet, Israel is condemned for weakening the other side, because the other side doesn’t have the power to win.
What most really complain about when they demand proportionality is that not enough Jews are dying to justify defending any at all. It’s truly obscene, but somehow this evades the logic of those calling for it.
I have not been happy with some of the Israeli government’s policies over the past few years, but I’m not mentioning those here because they don’t matter at all here. This isn’t about court decisions or police actions to stop rioters. It’s about much more than that. If you have a different opinion about whether or not Israel should be allowed to defend its citizens against indiscriminate attacks now and into the future, I think we differ on what is good vs evil, not what is the best policy. Only if you would be willing to have someone trying to murder your own loved ones and choose not to prevent it, does that argument have any moral or ethical standing. There are pacifists who would make it. If you’re not one, you’re simply defending or even promoting evil against good.
There is a serious illness of Jew hatred spreading in America right now. It’s time to stand up against it. May our anger and dismay turn into commitment and the courage to speak up.