Here’s the deal. If you oppose the policies of the State of Israel, if, for example, you oppose Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories, or the “disproportionate force” Israel uses when its citizens are subjected to terrorist attacks, there are many things you can do to protest these policies. You can march in the streets, you can organize rallies, you can hold conferences, you can write op-eds to the press. You can even boycott Israeli products. But there is one thing you can no longer do:
You can’t kill Jews.
The days when Palestinians (and their apologists and accomplices) could randomly kill Israelis and Jews because they hate Israelis and Jews are over. It stops here.
Perpetrators of violence against Jews always have a perceived grievance — no matter how irrational it might be. In the past several thousand years, it has varied with the times. Jews poisoned the well. Jews killed Christian children to obtain their blood for Passover matzot. Jews killed Christ. Jews are capitalists. Jews are communists. Jews are Nazis. Jews are inferior beings. The current rationale is that Jews are occupying the land of the Palestinians and separating the Palestinians from their olive trees. After all, desperate people do desperate things…
Now, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that all the arguments against Israel and the Jews with regard to the Palestinians are true. The Israelis are colonialist occupiers, their security checkpoints make life miserable for the Palestinians, their “filthy feet” (in the words of Palestinian President Abbas) defile Muslim holy sites, etc. If any of this troubles the Palestinians, they are free to seek redress. They may go to the International Criminal Court to condemn Israel, they may seek statehood in the United Nations, they can even try to squeeze Israel into non-existence with an economic boycott.
But there is one thing they can no longer do: indiscriminately kill Jews.
That time is over. That day is done. Starting now.
The State of Israel was founded for many reasons — religious, nationalistic, historical, and idealistic. But, after the Holocaust, its chief reason for existence must be preserving Jewish life. It must be the one place in the world where Jews are safe. That must be its guiding principle. All else, its democratic foundation, its progressive ideals, its religious values, are secondary. What is the point of a Jewish state, even one with an impeccable human rights record, if Jews cannot walk the streets without fear of being torn apart by a suicide bomb, incinerated by a missile or stabbed to death by a stranger?
The Israeli government must take any and all steps necessary to insure the sanctity of Jewish life. Any country, including the United States, would do the same if its citizens were subjected to daily deadly assault. And, of course, if this were happening in your neighborhood, to your own precious children, you would be screaming for the government to do whatever it takes to protect you and your loved ones.
I need not spell those steps out here and Israel is in the best position to know what these measures must be. These actions may not be politically correct. They may be condemned by the international community. They may cause Israel to lose support among Diaspora Jews. But that is the price Israel must pay for insuring the safety of its people. It is the price any country would be willing to pay to protect its people from indiscriminate slaughter.
After all, Israel is criticized no matter what it does. It has reached the surrealistic point where today Israelis are criticized for shooting terrorists who are attempting to stab them to death. If Israel is to be condemned in any event, it might as well be condemned in the course of carrying out its sole sacred responsibility, preserving the lives of its people.
After two millennia of pogroms, inquisitions, a Holocaust, sixty-seven years of wars and deadly attacks in Israel, resulting in the deaths of millions of Jews and with Israel soon to face a nuclear-armed Iran whose people daily shout “Death to the Jews,” it is time to demand an end to open season on Jews.
As Rabbi Hillel said: “if not now, when?”