Fascinating and Traumatizing

Fascinating and traumatizing. That’s the world Jews live in today. It is fascinating that although on October 6, 2023, there was a ceasefire with Hamas, Israel is being blamed for the tragedy that ensued on October 7, 2023. It is fascinating that regardless of the fact that Hamas invaded a sovereign nation with the intent to murder, rape and mutilate as many people as possible, the world accuses Israel of war crimes. It is fascinating that even though President Biden stood by Israel at the beginning of this war, he and his administration are backpedaling and putting Israel on notice that Israel should be mindful of how they attack their enemy to prevent civilian deaths, seemingly ignoring the fact that Hamas specifically targeted and targets civilians. Simply fascinating…

It is also traumatic for the Jewish community around the world to watch the global rise in antisemitism. It is traumatic for Jewish students to be attacked on campuses and in elementary and high schools around the world. It is traumatic for Jews to try to rally and protest peacefully but be threatened and physically attacked for standing up for Israel. It is traumatic that in the fight for freedom of speech, hate speech is allowed against Jews and only Jews. Then when Jews say that they are threatened by the speech of the pro-Palestinian crowd, Jews are accused of curtailing the right of free speech of people proclaiming “From the River to the Sea” a call for the destruction of Israel. It is traumatic to comprehend how in less than a century, the world has forgotten the trauma of the Holocaust, and the fact that Israel was founded after the United Nations partitioned the land into a Jewish and Arab country. The Jews accepted the plan, but the Arabs did not. Israel was then attacked by multiple Arab nations and only survived by the sheer strength of their commitment and connection to the Land and the fact that Jews had nowhere else to go.

Why is it that whenever we hear about pro-Palestinian protests, violence ensues? Why is it that the progressive left seems to think that the attack by Hamas on the people of Israel was a rational and acceptable means of resistance? They were resisting a 9-month-old baby, so they had to take him hostage? They were resisting an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, so they had to take him hostage? They were resisting young people in the midst of an all-night music concert who were dancing in the desert, so they had to murder, rape and kidnap them?

It’s fascinating that the media is so focused on Israel and the supposed crimes of the IDF that they don’t report on Hamas stealing the humanitarian aid? Its fascinating that the media can only report with certainty when they accuse Israel of wrongs, yet when the dead bodies of the women raped and murdered provided proof of heinous acts of sexual violence, they needed more proof to be sure it had happened. The hospital bombing was the result of a PIJ misfire, but the reports immediately claimed it was Israeli fire and immediately claimed 500 dead. When the record was corrected, few outlets prominently reflected the facts. Fascinating… The same holds for the tragedy of the humanitarian aid trucks and the deaths of so many this past week. When Israel investigated the situation, they reported that most of the deaths were the result of trampling or being driven over by the truck drivers. The Israeli soldiers did not directly fire on the mobs of people desperate for aid, they fired warning shots to disperse the crowd, and they only fired directly when a group of Gazans began to target them. Shots were fired at the crowd by those guarding the convoy, most likely Hamas members. Yet the media clamored to the Hamas version. Fascinating that they believe a recognized terror organization over the United States’ greatest ally in the Middle East.

I believe it is time to remember that facts matter. It is time to remember that freedom of speech is a right and a privilege, but hate speech is not acceptable. It is time to remember that if this had happened on American soil, like 9/11, the actions would be considered appropriate if not too little. It’s time to remember that hate doesn’t solve problems. We need to talk, negotiate, and push not only the Israelis, but also Hamas and the Arab nations supporting Hamas to a cessation of hostilities. When the hostages are freed, then we can have peace.

Remember, it was quiet on October 6…

About the Author
Stephanie Z. Bonder is a proud Jew and lifelong Zionist. Stephanie studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for her junior year abroad and is currently pursuing her masters in Jewish Education at the Hebrew University Melton School of Education. In her volunteer hours, she is on the National Board of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America where she currently serves as Chair of the Speakers Bureau and team member of the Education and Advocacy division. Stephanie teaches teens and adults on Jewish Peoplehood, Zionism and current events in Israel through her involvement with the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest and her synagogue, Congregation Agudath Israel. All of her blogs are her own personal opinions and do not represent the organizations with which she is affiliated.
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