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Don’t say ‘peace process’ today

A refusal to countenance any and all politics or platitudes on the day after a 13-year-old was stabbed to death as she slept

Please do not use the words “peace process” today.

Not on the day after Hallel Yaffa Ariel was laid in her freshly dug grave.

Please do not use the words “root cause” or “grievance” or “occupation.”

These words are obscenities on the day after a barbarian plunged a knife over and over into a sleeping child.

Please do not utter any sentence that empathizes with this family’s nightmare if the sentence also includes the word “but.”

Not when a girl’s bedroom is soaked with her own blood.

Please do not utter any sentence that contains the words “both sides.”

While Hallel lies forever still and silent, while Israelis scream and sob, the murderer has been proclaimed a hero by Palestinian leaders.

In that context, the words “both sides” are grotesque.

If you are an EU parliamentarian who gave Mahmoud Abbas a standing ovation last week, after he incited violence against Israelis by peddling the baseless accusation that Jews poison the Palestinian water supply, there are a few words you ought to say. They are: “I am morally unfit to lead and therefore I resign.”

If you cannot bring yourself to say these words, then please be silent.

If you are someone who relentlessly demonizes Israel and works toward her elimination, but feel that stabbing a sleeping child crosses a moral line and you feel compelled to say so, please don’t. When you dedicate yourself toward Israel’s destruction you are not worthy of uttering Hallel’s name.

Please do not say that you are sending “thoughts and prayers.” When each week brings fresh horror to some part of the world, the meaning has long since drained out of these words.

Instead, please watch the video of Hallel’s mother’s agonizing grief at her daughter’s funeral, the child’s lifeless body at her side.

These are the words that matter. You will understand them even if you speak no Hebrew whatsoever.

If you put yourself in this mother’s shoes for three minutes, you will be prepared to utter the only thing that matters — the long, low wail of a human being witnessing the unspeakable.

And no words at all will be needed.

About the Author
Sally Abrams co-directs the Speakers Bureau of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. She has presented the program “Israel and the Middle East: the Challenge of Peace” at hundreds of churches, schools and civic groups throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. A resident of suburban Minneapolis, Sally speaks fluent Hebrew, is wild about the recipes of Yotam Ottolenghi, the music of Idan Raichel, and is always planning her next trip to Israel. Visit: sallygabrams.com
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