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‘We have heard you loud and clear: Jews don’t count.’
And other heart-wrenching insights, perspectives, and reflections against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war.
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Today, we want to share with you some heart-wrenching insights, perspectives, and reflections from the world of Judaism, the Jewish People, and Israel — against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war.
‘We have heard you loud and clear: Jews don’t count.’
Your Jewish friends aren’t mad that you’re advocating for Palestinian freedom and safety. We are mad at your hypocrisy. We are mad that, after our deadliest day since the Holocaust, we have once again been excluded from your activism.
We have watched you call for the equal treatment and protection of every minority group, except when it comes to the Jews. We have listened to you say that only members of the impacted community can define what constitutes hate speech, except when it comes to Jews. We have seen you support land back movements, except when it comes to the Jews.
We have heard you loud and clear: Jews don’t count.
You have justified the rape of our women, the kidnapping of our elderly, and the murder of our babies. They were asking for it, right? You have rewritten our history, denied our connection to our homeland, and labeled us as “colonizers.” You have spoken over us and gaslit us when we call you out for what you are: antisemitic.
This playbook is not new, and anyone who knows our history has seen it unfold before. First, convince the world Jews are anything but humans. Second, blame them for the world’s problems. Finally, erase them and feel righteous for doing it.
So, no, we are not against anyone supporting Palestinian civilians. Their lives are extremely valuable too. We are simply grieving the loss of life, our sense of safety in this world, friendships with those who cheered this on, and our place in communities we thought we belonged to.
I keep thinking this must be how my grandmother felt as her German neighbors turned against her. How glad I am that she is not alive to see this.
— written by Amy Avishay, on Instagram
A Father, Son, and Toaster
Friendly Warning: Israeli Humor
A few days ago, a father sent a text message to his son, a famous Israeli comedian, asking how he is holding up. His son replied with a text message, saying: “I’m okay, Dad, broken and worrying like everyone else. Your grandchildren are doing pretty well, making a lot of toast that I end up eating. Do you still have the old toaster? The one that presses on the toast?”
His father wrote him back, saying: “My sweet Udi, I wanted to tell you that you shouldn’t worry too much. When I was six years old, the Sinai war broke out. When I was 17 years old, the Six-Day War broke out. When I was 23 years old, the Yom Kippur War broke out. And this is how it was until today, one war after another.”
“One thing I can assure you is that, between the wars and after them, there is always another part of life. Wartime, then quiet. In this dark time, it’s hard to remember that there’s always light at the end of every tunnel. Even as dark as it is right now.”
“Remember that what I’m saying, in a month or two months or two years from now, we will see the light, and it will heal us all and help us recover.”
To conclude, the famous Israeli comedian wrote back: “Wow, you touched me, Dad … So you don’t have the toaster?”
— posted by Udi Kagan, on Instagram
Deceiving Terrorists to Their Death
One of the young Bedouin Arab Israeli soldiers, a lieutenant colonel who is due to be released from the Israel Defense Forces in about a month and a half, and is known for his courage and professionalism, took off his uniform shirt, remained in a white shirt, and called out to the terrorists in Arabic, “Come... come to me...” during an exchange of fire.
The Israeli lieutenant colonel wanted the terrorists to think he was one of them.
The deception worked, and the terrorists approached him. Then, the lieutenant colonel shot at them at close range and killed them.
“This action saved many lives,” the Israeli officers conducting the investigation said as they praised him.
— posted by Uri Cohn, on Instagram
At War With an Ideology, Not a People
Disinformation — professional and coordinated disinformation funded with a lot of money by terrorism — is causing havoc, and no one knows who to believe. And yes, it is causing a rift between alliances and friendships and businesses right now.
This will continue.
We are on the front lines of this in Israel. And so are the Jewish People around the world.
We in Israel warned the Western world of radical Islam before 9/11. We called it. And it turned up on America’s doorstep. We were right then and are right now. It will arrive.
America (and other countries) must be very careful because radical Islam is alive and kicking there, and I truly don’t feel Americans (and other countries) realize it yet, based on silence we’re mostly feeling and the narrative in the media.
Radical Islam is in Europe — and Europe is lost in many ways. It will take a miracle for European leaders to weed out extremists in their communities who preach intolerance and hate at this stage.
Again, the issue is radical Islam — in the form of Hamas and other extremist savage groups like it. And open support for them. The issue is not Islam and peace-loving Muslims. The American people, and others around the world, must wake up.
Forget Israel and Palestine. It is a major issue — massive — but it is not the issue. It is a deflection. This is bigger.
Even though innocents on both sides will die in this war, do not allow yourself to be distracted from what this is really about at its core.
Not land. Not settlers. Not peace deals.
We — in Israel — are at war with an ideology, not a people.
We have a few extremists here in Israel, too. For sure. But hundreds of thousands of people during the last 40 weeks have taken to the streets in Israel to demonstrate against them. Israelis. We fight it. A lot of us. Consistently.
Radical Islam. It will come to your doorstep if you don’t put on pressure to fight radicalism.
People are chanting across streets around the world: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
That means from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea. Where approximately 7 million Jews live. Where I live. They mean it will be free of Jews. And free of Jews is exactly what you saw two weeks ago with the massacres.
Don’t be fooled.
That is what most Palestinians and supporters mean when they sing that. They do not want Jews in this land. Even if they don’t know what they are singing, even if their supporters don’t understand the complexity of the situation. And even if they tell you they support peace.
That song — that chant — is the bottom line. Look at a map of Israel. Understand what it means. Realize that it is being sung in everywhere, and that you are silent. And remember what silence leads to.
Don’t take my word for it. Remember the Holocaust. And remember October 7th, 2023.
— written by Eitan Chitayat, on LinkedIn
To Those Who Call for a Ceasefire
For ceasefire calls to work and be credible, those pushing them need to offer a plausible alternative for Israel that would prevent Hamas from doing what they did again. Otherwise, Hamas and other actors will see what they did as successful, and begin planning the next attempt.
— written by Yair Rosenberg, on Twitter
In Elie Wiesel’s Blessed Memory
I apologize in advance for this personal message. I write to you with a very heavy and broken heart. I write as a Jewish man, named after my great uncle who was murdered (along with many other family members) in the Holocaust.
Like many of you, I am devastated by the unthinkable atrocities we have witnessed. The unconscionable violence and terrorism by Hamas — the kidnapping and slaughter of families in their homes, burning people alive, raping young women and dragging their bloody bodies through the streets — is nothing less than evil.
I once met with Elie Wiesel (a Holocaust survivor who went on to become a world-renowned writer, professor, social activist, and Nobel laureate) who said:
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
In his blessed memory, I am writing this.
The history and politics of the Middle East is plainly complex. However, condemning acts of violence carried out by a terrorist organization should not be up for debate. As much as I have been angered by those seeking to use this moment of terror to advance a political agenda, I have been heartened by the much broader outpouring of support for the Israeli people in this most distressing moment.
On a personal note, I ask that you please reach out to your Jewish friends, because even if they seem okay, they are not. They feel especially vulnerable and scared right now, and I am certain that hearing from their friends brings great comfort.
As a Pittsburgh native, the threat of violence and fear for our safety here in America is very real. It was only five years ago that a Make America Great Aagain-inspired hater ruthlessly gunned down 11 innocent people — my neighbors who were praying in a synagogue. So many of my colleagues have friends or family members who were tortured, kidnapped, or killed in Israel.
Please keep in mind that this is a global conflict, initiated by the leaders of Iran, in furtherance of their ongoing support of terrorist organizations. All Palestinians are not collectively responsible for Hamas terrorism. Palestinians in Gaza will suffer terribly not because they deserve it — they don’t — but because Hamas started a war with Israel and deliberately operates from densely populated areas.
Hamas left Israel no choice but to proceed with operations in Gaza. No government would tolerate an organization worse than ISIS on its borders, and every government would put the safety and security of its citizens above the safety and security of people governed by its enemies. Israel faces horrible choices.
The short-term solution is for Egypt to open its border and allow the residents of Gaza a safe haven. Refugee camps, similar to those created in Turkey for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, can be built. Once Hamas has been defeated, the world can come together to create a viable long-term solution for a Palestinian state.
— written by Evan J. Segal, on LinkedIn
‘We just want to live. To be left alone. To celebrate life in peace and quiet.’
What a surreal experience this has been for the Jewish community lately.
To go from intense mourning and sorrow after the biggest massacre since the Holocaust … and then, while we’re still counting the dead and cleaning the blood, to simultaneously experience a wave of intense hatred and demonization around the world.
Imagine if after George Floyd was killed, there were mass KKK riots celebrating and calling for more police brutality. And your friends promoted it.
Imagine if during the Stop Asian Hate period, people held huge rallies to explain why Asians deserve to be attacked. And your favorite celebrities supported it.
Imagine if after a school shooting, people chanted to “Shoot more kids!” and loosen gun control. And The New York Times endorsed it.
This is what it feels like to be a Jew right now. Our suffering riles people up to call for more suffering, not sympathy.
They call for us to be killed, then it happens, then they celebrate it, while also denying it ever happened. Is nothing too low for them?
Our murder has been legitimized throughout the ages. Medieval Christians called us Christ killers, so that when the Crusaders slaughtered us, it was avenging God. The Nazis called us rats, because then it was only natural that we be exterminated.
For years, our modern-day haters have demonized us as baby killers, oppressors, occupiers, colonizers. This laid the groundwork so that when the Hamas massacre happened, it was just “evening the score,” “decolonizing,” or “resistance.”
It was none of those things — just cold-blooded murder for its own sake. But like in ages past, the propaganda worked and everyone had made excuses. “They must’ve had it coming…”
Antisemitism is such an evil scourge on this planet. Always has been, and apparently, always will be. We don’t want your sympathy or understanding anymore. The price is not worth it. We just want to live. To be left alone. To celebrate life in peace and quiet.
But there are only 16 million Jews in the world. It sure feels like we’re outnumbered by those who hate us. We can’t fight this fight on our own. I’d like to believe that a coalition of the righteous can win this battle, and vanquish this ancient hatred, at lease for our generation. What choice do we have but to try?
— written by Yoni Weinberg, on Instagram