Don’t put Israel behind the wall

Today, at rallies for “racial/gender equality” held throughout the United States, incitement occurs to such an extent that true democrats and people who seek justice and equality can no longer take part in them.

Since the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential elections, there are many demonstrations throughout the United States in general and especially in New York, calling for justice and equality of rights of refugees and of minorities. Among the organizers and participants are many Jewish organizations and liberal Jews. As a Jew who supports equality, I find it difficult to deal with some of the content and speakers at these demonstrations because for some reason these demonstrations bring other agenda to the discussion – or, to be exact, anti-Semitic agenda using Israel and Zionism as a cover.

There has been a radicalization of positions until the game has become one of black and white with no room for shades between. This discourse is exploited and led with great sophistication by the supporters of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) movement such as Linda Sarsour, who seems to have become the face of the anti-Trump protest since the women’s march on DC. Linda Sarsour, who is a good speakerand has a strong presence, pretends to represent the oppressed of the United States but links them with struggles outside the United States – or, to be precise, one national struggle taking place in the Middle East.

A strong message from Mrs. Sarsour’s speech in the women’s March on DC has been waved on many signs in demonstrations since then – “From Palestine to Mexico all the walls have got to go.” For a layman who is unfamiliar with international issues, the signs sound like a talk about equality and brotherhood; i.e., there shouldn’t be walls between people. Those familiar with the history of the Middle East know, however, that the wall between Israel and the Palestinians has saved and saves lives. The wall between Israel and the West Bank was established to prevent Palestinian terrorists from harming Jews living in Israel. Between the years 2003 -2006 73 Palestinian suicide bombings were carried out from the West Bank killing 293 Israelis and injuring nearly 2,000, while after completing the 1st segment of the wall number of attacks dropped significantly. I do not ignore the fact that the Israeli government is taking harsh measures against the Palestinians and is not doing enough to reach a solution to the conflict, but at the same time this wall marks a de facto and will probably remain a de jure border between Israel and Palestine in the future.

As a supporter of the two-state solution (Israel and Palestine), it is hard for me to accept the warm embrace that Mrs. Sarsour receives presenting anti-Israel views while aligning them with Internal US issues. Intersectional “faux feminism” supporters are making a correlation between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict & what happens in the US and under these circumstances, Jews and Jewish symbols are excluded from public discourse and supporters of Israel automatically tagged as Zionists and even as supporters of occupation. The situation was absurd in the Chicago Dyke March Chicago on June 24th, where a Jewish woman carrying a rainbow flag with a Star of David was forced out by the organizers who claimed that it represented a Zionist symbol that offended the feelings of some of the participants. It is important to emphasize that the Star of David was a symbol of Judaism well before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. If every Jew carrying a Jewish symbol becomes an occupier and colonialist then almost every American and every religious person and their symbols represent colonialists because the Christians imposed their religion on the natives, raped them, murdered them, and expelled them from US lands. Why don’t we just go ahead and cancel Columbus Day as the Native Americans were here before?! Or even better – all people who are not Native Americans (Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Asians etc.,) should pack their goods and go back to their ancestor’s homeland?!

Sad to say but walls have existed in the past and will continue to exist in the future in some places. Walls exist nowadays in Europe blocking refugees & immigrants from Syria (the fence between Slovenia and Hungary, between Greece and Turkey and the British border in Calais, which is intended to prevent refugees from crossing the canal to Britain). These are far more immoral walls than the existing security wall between Israel and the Palestinians.

Jews who truly support peace and equality must stand out against these anti-Semitic messages presented as conciliatory messages in the name of global justice.

About the Author
Yaakov (Kobi) Cohen is an Israeli-American, born in Jerusalem and now reside to New York City where he works in a Jewish Non-for-Profit. As a political activist, Cohen is most interested in the Israeli-American Jewish relationship and its impact on the future of the Jewish world and seeking to build bridges between Israelis & Jewish Americans, or at least establish a different dialogue. Kobi is a co-founder of Israel Shelanu and Host of BALAGAN - Explaining Israeli Politics Podcast
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