If not now, when?
I just blew my one chance to tell the BBC and YNET what I really think. I was unprepared. A microphone was thrust at me, the reporter offering me the chance to explain why I was demonstrating alongside other faculty and students of the Hebrew University … and I stammered something fairly inane. If I ever get the chance again, this is what I plan to say.
I am solidly centrist, not an activist and certainly no anarchist. I believe that there is more that unites us than divides us. I have always kept my views to myself, even during the past two months when I have been a silent participant in all the demonstrations. But you want to know why I’m protesting? So, let me tell you.
I am protesting a cynical power grab by a corrupt and extremist government whose first objective has been to neuter the judiciary. Once that is done, they will have effectively silenced the opposition to the next wave of legislation which is aimed to empower convicted criminals in our government and to repress minorities in our society.
I am protesting as a religious Jew and a proud Zionist, as a physician and an academic, as a father and a grandfather.
As a religious person – I believe we were all created in God’s image – black and white, Jew and Arab, man and woman, gay and straight. We are all brothers and sisters.
As a Jew – I remember our obligation to protect foreigners, orphans, and widows, because we were once slaves in Egypt – and that we are commanded to be a light unto the nations.
As a Zionist – I share the dreams of our founders, to be a free people in our own land, to build it and to be built by it, to stretch out our hand in peace to our neighbors, yet to be willing to die defending it.
As an immigrant – I know that our history in the diaspora has taught us to cherish both our contributions and our rights as minorities and to be fearful of the tyranny of the majority, and not to imagine that “it could never happen again, or that it could never happen here”.
As a physician – I know that the courts have been a powerful force to correct the inequities in healthcare. As physicians we all have a solemn duty to care for the weak and the marginalized in society; it is always safer and easier for us to choose to be silent, but we should know better than anyone the direction in which the path of indifference can lead us.
As an academic – I know there can be no study without truth and no truth without freedom.
As a father and grandfather – I fear for the future of our children without a society based on law and justice for all, and for that we need a free and independent judiciary.
So now you know why I protest.
For if not me, then who will do it? And if not this week, then will it be too late?
And, if not now, when?