Our sickness: Falling for propaganda before waiting for facts on Gaza

There is a sickness in our Jewish community.

On Wednesday, two activists, Yochy Davis and Joseph Cohen, filmed a group of Jews standing in Parliament Square saying Kaddish, the Jewish memorial prayer, for a group of Hamas terrorists.

To fully appreciate how sickening this was, it is important to know three things.

Firstly, Hamas itself says that of the 62 who died on the Gazan border on Monday and Tuesday, at least 50 were its own terrorist operatives. Some of the others are believed to be from Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Secondly, the Hamas charter openly calls for the genocide of all Jews, not ‘merely’ a Holocaust of Israeli Jews, but of all Jews everywhere, including you and me.

Thirdly, any Jew hearing the Kaddish will immediately be transported to times that they have heard it recited by heartbroken relatives at gravesides. It is a prayer steeped in sadness.

It brings the background chatter in synagogues to a reverential halt the moment it begins. It is a prayer often uttered by voices cracking with pain and sobs.

Any decent human respects that prayer.

Those who desecrated the Kaddish by reciting it for dead terrorists sicken me. They knowingly read out the names of the dead terrorists and then said Kaddish for them.

Those terrorists wanted all Jews dead, and they were attempting to break through the border fence into Israel to achieve that solitary goal: the killing of Jews.

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I cannot fathom the twisted loathing that might motivate a Jew to stand in a public square and smugly revel in saying Kaddish for those who died seeking to kill other Jews for being Jews. I imagine it might be a similar type of loathing to the loathing that motivates some of the news coverage of the lethal charade playing out on the Gazan border. I wonder whether we are seeing a variety of Stockholm Syndrome, which leads some on the fringes of British Jewry to use their Judaism to please the baying mob, wounding fellow Jews, for example by saying Kaddish for genocidal antisemitic terrorists.

That is not the worst of it though.

The sickness seems to be seeping from the fringes into the mainstream of our community, convincing some to succumb to the temptation to sigh sympathetically and roll their eyes knowingly at the hateful mob, rather than standing firm against it and resisting the pressure.

Many of us will remember the debacle of the “Jenin massacre” in which Israeli soldiers were condemned for massacring “400-500” Palestinians. Eventually the truth came out: the Israelis had told the truth all along, and no more than 55 people had been killed in fierce urban combat, almost all of them believed to be combatants. One would have thought that the lessons of the “Jenin massacre” might have been remembered this week as Israel was accused of a new massacre, but some in the Jewish community felt compelled to react to the propaganda and not wait for the facts.

Though the Jews saying Kaddish for terrorists sicken me, it is mainstream Jews who exhibit symptoms of the same sick Stockholm Syndrome who worry me the most.

A normally proud Jew who errs in a feeble moment does far more damage than a hundred Jews from the discredited fringes, and the feeble moments seem to be becoming more frequent and widespread.

  • This article was written in a personal capacity 
About the Author
Gideon Falter is chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism
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