Steve Wenick

Do Jews suffer from short attention syndrome?

Israel’s enemies are adept at generating soundbites and optics which are at best misleading and at worst outright lies. As a society we have become accustomed to one-liners, witticisms, and quips in lieu of serious dialogue and debate. The anti-Zionists and anti-Semites spoon-feed their poisonous propaganda to the public in a succession of small doses. For example, well-funded organized mobs march to the chants of “Israel is an Apartheid State,” “Israel is a Genocidal State,” Israel is a “Colonizing State.” When the public repeatedly hears those mendacious mantras, the assumption is their allegations may hold at least a modicum of truth.

The Jewish community’s response to those libels is at best a measured whisper. Our rejoinders are long drawn-out justifications of Israel’s actions. It gives the impression we are defensive and making excuses for Israel’s defensive actions against an enemy whose charter calls for the elimination of Israel and all its Jews. Unfortunately, the media habitually buries our written and spoken replies in a forsaken and forlorn middle paragraph or at the bottom of the page of an article.

During conversations with Jewish friends active in synagogue life and involved in Jewish community affairs, I find their lack of knowledge of essential facts both disheartening and dispiriting. I believe their unfamiliarity with issues of import is due in part to their having a case of Short Attention Span Syndrome (SASS). Friends have told me they do not have the patience to read long articles about the Hamas-Israel war or the precipitous rise in antisemitism, which explains why they do not have the knowledge to effectively respond to malicious accusations and bogus charges.

The media is not our friend. No longer does it report events, as it did decades ago. Today, the media gathers clicks by brandishing sensationalized headlines, misleading captions, and deceptive banners. Blatant opinions of unabashed partisanship are the norm.

We must educate our families, friends, and associates, as well as the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. But before we can educate others, we must do our homework and educate ourselves. Our lack of knowledge about Middle East history and its contemporary issues is our nemesis, for it makes us vulnerable, thus coercing us to hide the shame of our ignorance behind a veil of silence. There is a plethora of books with which we can educate ourselves about antisemitism, anti-Israel, and anti-Zionism; matters which beleaguered the Jewish community for millennia up to the present.

Also, there is a triad of self-afflicted flaws we must overcome, they are impatience, distraction, and diversion. We can overcome those defects by arming ourselves with facts, for without the facts, we cannot refute the lies. We must take the time to educate ourselves, it is the least we can do in our battle to protect and preserve the body and soul of Israel and the Jewish people.

Recommended Books:

  1. ISRAEL by Noa Tishby: Tishbi chronicles the history and evolution of Israel while debunking today’s misconceptions, myths, and tropes about Israel with facts.
  2. UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A JEW by Noa Tishby and Emmanuel Acho: This book features conversations between two friends, one a White Jew and the other a Black Christian. In their dialogues they explore the origins of the recent current wave of anti-anything-Jewish in America today and how to stem the tide of antisemitism.
About the Author
Since retiring from IBM Steve Wenick has served as a freelance book reviewer for HarperCollins Publishing and Simon & Schuster. His reviews and articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Algemeiner, Jerusalem Online, Philadelphia Inquirer, Attitudes Magazine, and The Jewish Voice of Southern New Jersey. Steve and his wife are residents of Voorhees, New Jersey.
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