Solly Kaplinski

Even a visually impaired person can see the light

(Image courtesy of author)

“Silence like a cancer grows,” Paul Simon

There are very few absolutes in life – the clichéd death and taxes being the obvious ones. But there comes a moment when everything seems to fall in place, where the situation is absolutely clear cut, black and white with no shades of gray, where there are no ambiguities nor hesitations – and there is a moral clarity which stares you squarely in the face. Hitler’s hatred of the Jews for example, and his publication of Mein Kampf, where he explicitly set out what he intended to do, morally and ethically absolutely falls on the wrong side of history.

Similarly, Hamas for the last two years, posting videos on Telegram, telegraphing with no subtlety or nuance, what was uppermost in their minds. And a variation on the theme of absolutes: the total failure and criminal negligence of our government, our military and our intelligence services who ignored all the signals. And getting caught up in narishkeit and shtuyot – the judicial reform fracas and refusal to serve balagan, took their eye off the ball, failing in their most basic and primary responsibility: making sure we are safe and feel secure. Heads will surely roll – from the top downwards.

And how about the absolute of those so-called presidents of so-called elite universities displaying their disdain and total lack of empathy for fearful, angst-ridden Jewish students and faculty on their campuses, who could not bring themselves to admit something so cerebrally simple viz. That the calling for the genocide of Jews was against the universities’ code of conduct policy – and in the process, parading their anti-Jew feelings and sentiments – with two of them deservedly paying the price.

But an absolute in terms of moral clarity that I am more specifically referring to is the response around the world to the war we are fighting in Gaza, a war that has been thrust upon Israel. After the brutal massacre on October 7th and the terrifying abduction of our citizens,  Israel had no choice but to go deep into Gaza and once and for all, root out and destroy Hamas, its infrastructure, and its leadership.

Of course, this was all part of the Hamas masterplan, knowing a severe Israeli reaction would ensue – and exhilarated by the knowledge that Palestinians would be casualties by the thousands – and in a vicious cycle, flood the world’s opprobrium upon Israel. They couldn’t have been more thrilled consequently, that the Arab streets have not only been set aflame but that they have been imported into the heart of cities and campuses all over the world. “Useful idiots” worldwide have been co-opted to the Hamas cause and to its bear hug embrace – and  international Jew hatred reigns supreme. Who needs a country called Palestine when the Palestinian Empire has now gone global – talk about globalizing the intifada!

One would think that all that anger and rage, and the marches and the flags and the banners and the dripping hatred, and the cries and the sighs and the lies and the rolling of the eyes, and the crocodile tears and the heartless posters destruction and the vandalism and violence would be directed at Hamas for this human tragedy. And that people around the world would be engaged in a collective howl of mass protests, demanding that the Hamas murderers, torturers, rapists and mutilators, operating from schools, mosques and children’s bedrooms, surrender immediately and unconditionally, thereby stopping the painful suffering and killing of their human shield fellow citizens, that the UN would be condemning Hamas, that governments the world over would be standing together in unison, declaring collectively that Hamas is an evil that must be disappeared permanently from the earth. But no, there’s a deafening silence. And it’s we, Israel, who are in the dog box, it’s we who are judged and declared guilty. And so, it’s Hamas who takes succor and encouragement from its unbridled support all over the world, and with the wind in its sails, the killing continues, unabated, and the fault is ours – for the next 100 years.

To me, it’s crystal clear, it’s glaringly obvious, it’s an absolute moral clarity with no ifs or buts, or Israel “allegedly” or Israel “claims” or whataboutism or comparisons. Hamas, a ruthless killing machine, totally devoid of the DNA rachmones gene, is absolutely responsible for this on-going tragedy and suffering, which it could halt in a New York minute. And Israel has no option, no choice but to continue the war till its ultimate conclusion: eradicating the absolute evil of Hamas.

I am reminded of the proud mother who is watching her conscripted soldier son marching with his peers. She turns to her husband and declares, “I am so happy: everyone is out of step except our son!”

Yes, there are times when everybody is wrong, and we are right. This war is one of these times – even if we have to “dwell alone.” We need to be brave and have courage in the righteousness of our mission against evil personified  – and against a world in deliberate and antisemitic denial – and we need to warmly hug and embrace our soldiers who are so bravely and willingly fighting to protect us and our beloved homeland, especially when so many others around the world are trying to bring us down.

About the Author
Solly Kaplinski, a former Headmaster of Herzlia High School in Cape Town, also headed up Jewish Day Schools in Toronto and Vancouver. His Aliyah professionally has been bookended by working at Yad Vashem in the International Relations Department and at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) where he served for 17 years as the Executive Director of Overseas Joint Ventures. He is also the author of a novella, A world of Pains: A Redemptive Parable?
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