Barak Raz
Barak Raz
Management Consultant, Former IDF Spokesperson, Jewish & Zionist Human

An Open Letter to My Friends

An open letter to my friends, of whom I am grateful to have many; I feel blessed that together we probably cover every corner and culture of this planet. This message includes especially those of us who call each other ‘cousins’ (you know who you are). As for my Jewish friends, I’d like to say you can excuse yourselves because I don’t claim to speak on your behalf, but maybe some of you should also read this for self-reflection.

I’d say I hope you aren’t insulted by what I’m about to spill, but then again, I’m growing insulted by you too, so here it goes. Before I do, I’ll note that I look forward to talking about this with any of you who want to open it up further, and I trust that we can find common ground, even if we don’t agree…

It’s sad, but it doesn’t surprise me that after a year of everyone rethinking and speaking out about ill-rooted norms and practices, many of my friends are sitting around silently (at best) or with misdirected rage (at worst) as the most vile, ancient, and violent form of prejudice is raging. The ever-present elephant is not only very large, the shop is in shambles. It’s as if through your silence and/or misdirected rage, you actually make every effort to forget exactly what this is all about.

It’s beyond insulting, enraging perhaps, that after all your rhetoric and self-reflection, especially over the past year, you would stand to allow for millennia-old obsessive contempt against the Jewish people to mask the situation and deny it for what it is. Don’t let anyone fool you – the violence Israel is facing from the outside and from within isn’t about some land dispute in Sheikh Jarrah; this entire conflict from day one, long before 1967 and 1948, is about the literally proclaimed goal of ‘wiping Jews off the map’ – in Israel and beyond.

Hamas, other Palestinian factions, and their counterparts and supporters are driven by the same genocidal rage that has always been prevalent against my people. To me and anyone who looks it up, it should be no wonder, since main figures in early Arab nationalist and Islamist movements were aligned with Hitler and the Nazis. This only amplifies my shock that people stand for the absurdity that Jews are compared to Nazis regularly, while at the same time, the atrocities Nazis committed against Jews are denied with impunity.

The fact that especially after this past year, everyone keeps their mouths shut while it’s being normalized that I and my people are being targeted, physically endangered, and attacked – in Israel and far outside of it – while we are also labeled with terms your people invented in vicious campaigns against us; this really is gaslighting at its finest.

Here’s a very simple example – how is it not understood as perverse manipulation when

Jews are being called colonizers? How are we the colonizers in our own ancestral lands in which we are indigenous and have always lived (even if at points in the smallest of communities)? Who exactly are we colonizers on behalf of? Please tell me.

Are the Jews in Israel colonizers on behalf of Europe and its offspring in Christendom? Where after 2000 years of everything ranging from slavery through rape to inquisition, almost every single last one of us was murdered in the Holocaust, an event more recent than most apparently remember. And after the Holocaust, as if it on its own weren’t enough, those of us who survived (barely!) and dared return to their homes throughout countries of Europe and North Africa, were met by murderous mobs of former neighbors who didn’t want to give up their new property; in response the Allied Powers stuck us in ‘Displaced Persons’ camps until we were shipped off the continent, largely to this very Israel that is being decried today. Is Europe and Christendom who we are colonizers on behalf of?

Or are the Jews in Israel colonizers on behalf of the Muslim lands of Arabia, Africa, and Asia? The same lands from where about half of Israelis hail, as they returned to Israel upon being forced out from them. The same lands where we were always the ‘pigs and apes’, dhimmi as second rate citizens who had to pay jizya protection money to stay alive, throughout 1500 years of the same blood libels and pogroms, the same murder and rape, culminating with near-total expulsion from every Muslim land to this very

Israel that can’t be stomached today.

In my own family, one grandfather from Poland and the other from Morocco, both being told in those countries nearly 100 years ago “go home, Jew,” only for me to be told today “go home, Jew”. This is not the experience I should be sharing with my grandparents.

My friends – your silence on such outrageous absurdities is absolutely deafening, and it’s crazy to me that some of you even partake in them. Excuse me for not being a victim enough, and not having enough dead on my side for an ounce of your concern, despite the blatant evidence of what we are up against and our enemy’s tactics of intentionally endangering us while intentionally endangering their own.

With your silence and/or participation, you allow Israel and Jews to be vilified and attacked; though based on the above, a reasonable conclusion is that the only ethnic cleansing happening is, as it always was, against the Jews – not only from every corner of this planet, but even in our own tiny sliver of it.

Your countries couldn’t stand us amongst you, and now your countries can’t stand us in our own home.

Time and again, the world leaves the Jews to fend for ourselves and defend ourselves from the same age-old murderous genocidal rage my people persistently faced throughout history; and by the way, we have mostly ourselves to thank for our success at doing so thus far. Moreover, we are denied the right to defend ourselves and challenged every time we do, even when we do so mostly better than your own countries when they are faced with less significant threats to your people and your homes.

If all this is too much at once, do you even stop to think about what’s happening today? About 4,000 rockets packed with explosives and shrapnel, aimed and fired intentionally at civilians, for over ten days, non-stop, after nearly two decades of the same, following decades more of Terrorism in the form of bombings, shootings,  kidnappings, and more – and yet we are the ones who need to apologize for defending ourselves, while at the very same time Jews around the world are physically defending themselves from targeted attacks in so-called ‘progressive’ centers like LA, NY, London, and Paris.

This is the purest form of hypocrisy. And it’s not furthering any cause or alleviating anyone’s suffering, either – frankly, it’s making the situation worse, as the genocidal mindset is only emboldened from this.

All the above is not to say I don’t have my own criticisms and demands of my own government. And in case it needs to be made clear, my heart aches immensely for the violence and the loss of life on both sides, while my heart also aches for the complicity in allowing this worldwide genocidal state-of-mind against the Jews to thrive as it drives this situation again, and again, and again…

Thanks for listening.

I’ll be listening, too.

-BR

About the Author
Barak Raz currently engages in consulting, utilizing his background in investment banking and international development with focus on sub-Saharan Africa, and his experiences prior to that, as an active-duty IDF officer and spokesperson, with his last post as spokesperson of the division commanding West Bank operations. Barak has an EMBA from Kellogg-Recanati, a joint program of Tel Aviv and Northwestern Universities (2018). Barak also earned a MA in Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University (2011) and a BA in Political Science, Judaic Studies, and International Studies from SUNY-Binghamton University (2005).
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