“Mom, why are they protesting against Israel? Why do they hate us?” My young children asked as we passed a group of protesters who gather regularly on a corner near their school. After the sad sting of their question subsided I realized I did not have a good answer to give them.
The illogical hatred for the Jew has existed for thousands of years. A tiny minority, Jews have been and are currently libeled for crimes they do not commit. Sadly, anti-Semitism is growing at an alarming rate. The “old” hatred for the Jew is now the “new” hatred against the State of Israel. Israel is under constant fire for being the “evil occupiers.” But in fact hatred of Israel pre-dates occupation.
Jewish Voice for Peace, Boycott Divestment Sanction groups and the like are libeling Israel. These organizations as well as various speakers come to college campuses to spread lies against Israel and the Jewish people. Often, leadership in our Jewish organizations, leaders whom we would expect to be rallying and encouraging people to speak out against the lies are actually giving the opposite advice; just ignore it, you will just draw attention to it, you will only make it worse or better yet, just tell them your feelings are hurt!
Yet, these same leaders will be the first to condemn a group spreading hate against African-Americans or women. These leaders will justly speak out against the injustice committed against these minorities and would certainly tell their students to speak up as well. Even in our elementary school system our children are taught not to be bystanders to hate. Instead, they are taught how to stand up for themselves and others when being bullied. Why then is it different when it comes to Israel? Why then are Jewish students on college campuses told to be silent and not defend their own people? Why when it comes to Israel does the moral imperative to confront the “bully” not apply?
JVP, BDS and all those that are in their libeling camp are intentionally spreading lies that seek to harm us. They are putting the Nation of Israel and all Jewish people in danger. Just recently in Israel we saw what happens when groups are allowed to spread their hateful lies. These lies become the accepted truth and then become the stepping stones to violence committed against Jews. A young innocent 19 year old boy, Eden, resting on a bus was butchered by a 16 year old Palestinian who was raised on the hateful lies against the Jews.
We have a moral obligation to help and protect all innocent people. In fact, the value that Jews place on human life is evident from their humanitarian efforts regardless of race, religion, and nationality. And as Jews we have a moral obligation to stand up to the “bullies” that seek to harm the Jewish people! As Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik states very clearly in his book Fate and Destiny, “The Jews of America are forbidden to be quiet or to relax as long as the danger confronting the State of Israel persists.”
The Jews are in danger and we cannot “be quiet and relax” as our enemies attempt to spread their infectious anti-Semitism. I may not be able to explain to my children why there is so much hatred directed at Israel but I can teach them what to do when confronted with such hatred. I can teach my children how not to be passive and about our obligation to protect our people. I can teach them how it is a moral imperative to go to their lectures, rallies, BDS training sessions, and tell these “bullies” we will not tolerate their lies. And when the “bullies” try to convince others to join their hateful mission we must be there to tell the truth about Israel and educate those that are ignorant. We must stand strong; we must all work together and not allow hatred and lies to strangle us ever again.