Growing up in LA, where I attended pluralistic Jewish schools, I was never really confronted with anti-Semitism. It was only felt when reading history books, seeing Holocaust movies, and on a family trip to Spain where a swastika was plastered on a storefront window. Anti-Semitism seemed like a mindset of the past; it was a mentality that came about because of disgusting people who lived for propaganda and scapegoating. My mother, a staunch news follower, has badgered me time and again about how anti-Semitism is alive and growing today, as well. I didn’t want to believe her, but just as she’s been correct regarding boy and outfit advice, she is sadly right in her assertions about anti-Semitism.
After almost a month of being glued to the Internet, stalking left and right wing news sites, seeing countless photographs of protesters burning and peeing on Israeli flags, watching videos of them shouting “gas all the Jews” with such hate in their eyes, and finding out that what’s trending on social media is #HitlerDidNothingWrong and #HitlerWasRight, I can confidently say that anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments are the exact same thing and both definitely exist. In response to such trends, I’d like to point out that at one moment, the people who started these horrific hashtags criticize Jews for exaggerating when describing the magnitude of the Holocaust, or they flat out deny that it ever happened. The next, they’re glorifying Hitler for killing over 6 million people, but condemning the IDF for being like him. By definition, Jews cannot be Nazis, but this also doesn’t seem to phase them. Clearly, the amount of hypocrisy that is circulating the web is immense, and it is becoming dangerous. I suddenly understand how many people still despise Jews and how they will tell the most atrocious lies in order to spread their unjustified abhorrence. Because of this, I hate the Internet. The following meme speaks for itself.
I hate the Internet for distributing an enormous amount of fabrications. I hate Instagram and Twitter for allowing celebrities, who don’t know the first thing about history, to get thousands of likes on their ignorant posts. I hate Google Images for granting access to pictures from gory Hollywood scenes that are then publicized with captions blaming Israel. I dread receiving messages informing me that Arab cab drivers in Jerusalem are attempting to kidnap Israelis, thereby concluding that I will never have the comfort of hailing a cab. Articles with headlines like, “Muslims in America Chant: Jews Back in the Ovens, Nuke Israel” or “Pro-Palestinian Protesters Raid Jewish Neighborhood Outside Paris” make me fear for my life and for the lives of just about everyone I know. Ultimately, I hate the Internet because it doesn’t let us escape our unfortunate reality. Each time I log into my Facebook or Twitter accounts, I am reminded that there are people who actually believe that the only way to reach peace is if Israel is annihilated. I scroll down my newsfeed and am confronted with lists of our soldiers, who are sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, fiancé’s, boyfriends, and best friends, still being killed and hospitalized so that all of world Jewry will have a sliver of land to call theirs. Every time I’m online and I read of the demise of another soldier, my heart breaks. I see photographs of him glowing with pride and determination, and mourn the young life that doesn’t get to flourish anymore. I ache for his family members who will never have the same happy light in their smiles. I cry for his wife, fiancé, or girlfriend who has had her heart ripped out of her chest, and knows she’ll never experience the same love she feels for the boy who’s about to be buried.
Either you feel it first hand, or the Internet forces you to come face to face with the saddest of truths, which is that some of the world’s inhabitants have a twisted, inhumane set of values that promotes severely harming others. This despairing truth is also realized when hearing of the lost lives of Palestinian civilians. Hamas is the one to blame for their deaths though, not Israel. The current war between the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas is a war between western values and Islamic extremism, between love of life and love of destruction, between good and evil. If Hamas stopped using human shields, storing ammunition in hospitals, houses, and UN schools, building tunnels in order to infiltrate into Israel, and making rocket-launching sites in areas where children play, then there would be a tremendous decrease in the number of Palestinians dying. The Israel Defense Forces is not committing genocide, as demented media sources have stated. Before making such declarations, please read the following blog post by Corey Feldman, http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-israeli-genocide-in-gaza/, and then kindly shut up. The soldiers of Israel are completing a job that the rest of the western world should be doing, which is getting rid of terrorists who believe it’s a holy mission to murder innocent people because of their apparent infidel status. Unlike the war between the IDF and Hamas, the online war between Israel supporters and Israel denouncers is not physically life threatening. Though based on the endless revolting comments I’ve read, the latter side really seems to wish it were. Up until now, I’ve never been confronted with so much animosity, and such genuine longing for my death simply because I responded to a post and combatted what I know to be falsehood. I started despising the Internet because I learned that there is nothing I can do through it to change their skewed beliefs. There is no social media tactic that will stop them from detesting me for the Jewish blood that runs through my veins.
While the Internet has left me feeling both helpless and hated in recent weeks, there have also been moments of great empowerment and support. The Internet becomes a wondrous tool when over a million dollars can be raised for our brave soldiers by simply sharing a link. Reading feature stories of American firefighters coming to Israel to offer a helping hand has been heartwarming. Following Benji Lovitt online has provided much needed comedic relief because despite the madness, he still finds the ridiculous humor.
Watching interviews with Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Marco Rubio, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has reestablished some of my faith in politicians and their ability to spread truth. Seeing videos on YouTube of soldiers dancing around, and singing about how they’re not afraid because they put their trust in G-d has shed light on the uniqueness of the Israeli army. Clicking on an article with the headline “Haredi Leaders Call on Public to Pray for Wellbeing of IDF Soldiers,” has confirmed that the separations pulling apart Israeli society are finally beginning to disappear. Witnessing post after post, status after status, from Jews of all walks of life supporting the IDF and condemning Hamas, has proven that when there are two Jews in a room there doesn’t always need to be three opinions. Seeing the massive number of people attending events to read psalms and pray for those fighting in Gaza has assured me that I’m not the only one begging G-d to keep them safe and to come home without a scratch. Learning of all the initiatives to write letters, send packages, visit injured soldiers, or pay shiva calls to the families of fallen soldiers has revealed how deep our care and love for one another is. Although highlighting the anguish, the Internet has allowed me to look through pictures of fallen soldiers, read about who they were, and properly honor the incredible heroes who died fighting against the terrorizing savages who prevent us from being able to live peacefully at home. Photos like the one below show that even on the Internet, truth can prevail.
Lastly, I love the Internet because it has given me the freedom to rant and get my crazy Zionist voice out to the world, which is very much appreciated. So although it’s a place filled with anti-Semitism and despicable lies, the Internet also serves as a place where Jews and pro-Israel individuals can unite in backing up the blessed IDF and provide necessary comfort to each other. And that is just one of the many miracles to come out of this operation.