From the Diaspora to the Diaspora

From the Diaspora to the Diaspora, I have to be honest — some of your statements regarding Israel’s morality breaks my heart. While I understand your desire to make Israel “the best she can be,” I’m not sure if you’re truly grasping the entire picture here.

Leading up to last week’s “day of rage”, Hamas made it perfectly clear that they were behind what the media has called “peaceful protests”, but what by American definition would be obviously considered hateful riots. Hamas leadership stated their intent to “rip out the hearts” of the Israelis, and Gazans who were interviewed shouted their desire to murder as many Israelis as possible. While attempts were made at cutting or blowing up the border fence, firebombs were attached to kites, and Palestinians chanted “remember Khaybar”. By all historical measures, this was an angry mob organized by a terror organization bent on anarchy. Let that image sink in.

While Hamas has failed at accomplishing their goal of freeing Palestine “from the river to the sea” by using physical means thanks to Israel’s superior air defense systems and terror tunnel recognition, they have set their immediate mission as destroying Israel’s public image. Accusation after accusation has been dispelled thanks to those keeping a watchful eye, yet the damage is done across the world as people jump at the opportunity to slander Israel. For the last few weeks we have seen the infants brought to the border. We have seen the Gazans sneaking closer to the fence on crutches only to run away on two perfectly good legs moments later. We have seen the Palestinians “practice” carrying a stretcher to safety complete with a screaming victim and worried onlookers, only to see that same video surface on the news to further the notion of chaos. We have seen the swastika kites flying in the air with their owners explaining why it gives them enjoyment to scare Jews with the fear of burning. We have watched them set thousands of tires ablaze and destroy their own humanitarian aid crossing at Kerem Shalom – because it makes Israel look bad. No one should have been surprised a day later when Hamas took pride in announcing that 50 of the 62 victims were their operatives.

After weeks of threats, when the “day of rage” is complete, many in the diaspora ask Israel, “where is your morality”. My question to you is this – where is yours? Perhaps this is what Theodor Herzl meant when he said “the credibility of strangers is always greater than that of one’s own people. This is one reason for the success of imposters.” Maybe the weight of the masses and their derision is too much for you to bear. Maybe you just need to show the world that your liberal values are greater than your own sense of morality. The world may be excused for not understanding the heart of Israel but I need to tell you diaspora, you are not.

When I watch tens of thousands of people congregate with the stated intent to murder my brothers and sisters where they live, I close my eyes. Not to ignore the problem, but to put myself in the shoes of the 18 year old boys and girls tasked with defending our people. They didn’t ask for this responsibility. Theirs is not a volunteer army. They were born with this responsibility. When they wake up in the morning and say the shema, their families are back home praying that today will be a peaceful day – and their homes are not far away. Their parents are at most several dozen miles behind them. When they look ahead of them and know that they face 35,000 people who have been incited to violence, enticed by glory and money, under screams of “remember the Farhud!”, the people whom they are tasked with protecting are within reach.

The IDF does not tremble at these threats. They do not tremble at the number of people facing them with hate in their eyes. They do not celebrate at the task at hand. They understand that what they are defending is not a physical fence but the towns and cities behind their back filled with Israeli citizens just trying to live their lives. When one individual succeeds in breaching that fence, 35,000 rioters gain access. 35,000 people enter Israel from one single entry point. Imagine that for a minute and try to picture the thought process that would occur in an Israeli soldier’s head. Instead of protecting the fence, eliminating individuals who are trying to blow up the border, you must now stop a mob from carrying out their stated goal of massacring innocent Israelis. What is your plan for solving this disaster? How many more Palestinians would die in this scenario? How many Israelis would die in this scenario? The question is rhetorical. The next is not. Would this scenario help assuage your Jewish Guilt? Faced with such a difficult task, the answer can be put most simply by Golda Meir. “I prefer to stay alive and be criticized than to be sympathized.”

Understand me, diaspora, when I say, not only are these our brothers and sisters, but they easily could have been us. We know these teens. When you question the morality of the IDF, you question the morality of the individuals in Israel. You question the morality of your friends who serve, will serve, and have served in the IDF. You question the basic morality of the Israeli and how they are raised from birth to adulthood. You do not get to question their intentions behind their backs, from the comfort of your homes around the world, and get away with not facing that truth. If you want to say that things “could have been handled differently”, then you must provide the alternative. Empty statements help to blur the lines and place an even harsher burden on the Israeli community, but they do no good outside of relieving you of the stress you feel from your less engaged friends. Trust me diaspora, compared with the weight on the shoulders of the IDF boys and girls whose morality you question, we have it easy.

To those who are upset with Donald Trump’s timing — not only are you reaching but you are completely ignoring reality. The embassy was not moved to coincide with the “nakba”. It was chosen because it is the anniversary of the first Israeli day of celebration — Independence Day. On May 14th, 1948, the Jews realized one of our greatest dreams when we once again became masters of our own destiny, no longer at the mercy of the world. The term “nakba” was originally used to refer to the the catastrophe of the Arab nations forcing the Arabs of Palestine out of their homes. Nakba Day was not commemorated until years later when it was conveniently changed to transfer Arab guilt to the Jews. The Arab nations understood the value of drawing the focus away from the internal enemy and placing it on an external enemy. The day of despair was purposely chosen to follow Israeli Independence Day. By attaching their “days of despair” to Israeli days of celebration, this parasitic relationship ensures that for as long as Israel exists, her joy will be lessened by those who call her a monster for daring to be joyous. This condemnation of the dichotomy between the embassy celebration and the riots at the Gazan border is just another chapter in this story. By experiencing more Jewish Guilt for this week’s celebration, you are continuing to enable this parasitic relationship to define who we are as a people. Question the “timing” of these events all that you want, but make sure you are aiming your curiosity at the right people.

When you question Israeli morality and their desire for peace, you miss the heart of Israel. Israel’s willingness to make concessions increases when she feels safe. When she is threatened, Israeli support for a two state solution drops. These – our – people want the same as any American – to live in peace and to not have to worry about security. No Israeli parent wants to see war. No Israeli child wants to go to war. But as Natan Sharansky has said, “I am ready to give them all the rights in the world except the right and opportunity to destroy me”. When you are facing 35,000 people who  intend to murder your family, your options become limited. So I ask you, from the diaspora to the diaspora, whose morality is really in question here?

About the Author
As a Jewish New Yorker trying to do his part to support Israel from the Diaspora, Jared is an advisor/ member for the B'nai Brith Youth Organization, Legion Self-Defense Program, and Fuel For Truth Advocacy Boot Camp, as well as a Birthright Madrich.