As newly minted Israeli/Americans, we are doing our best on this side of the Atlantic to speak “our truth” to whoever wants to learn, get encouragement or clarity.
What is going on...
The late twentieth century saw a seismic shift away from anti Semitic rhetoric, which for centuries had sprung from the Vatican. The Pope instructed clergy not to speak ill of Jewish people. Friendships began to blossom between Jewish and non Jewish communities. It was a miracle!
Most of my life I was shielded from hate speech, until recently.
It’s one thing for some in the world to harbor anti Semitic thoughts, it’s another for them to spew them out like vomit. Bullying all who will listen, instigating mass rage. Age old hatred/ignorance spanning thousands of years, is hard to extinguish. It’s an old song unfortunately we are used to…crusades, inquisitions, Holocaust. It used to be “others” that were filled with hate speech against us.
I’m struggling to come to grips with the division within the global Jewish community regarding Israel. We bought a second home in Israel and started proudly telling people we live in Chicago and Jerusalem. It was a great ice breaker, a way to begin the conversation about Israel. My first inkling of trouble was ten years ago, while attending a Jewish wedding of a dear friend in Chicago. Over cocktails I mentioned our two homes and one guest viciously spit out “are you a Zionist?” I immediate asked “Are you a Jew?” which he was. I spun on my heal and never spoke to that person again. It seems some members of our tribe are no longer our friend.
How did this happen? Jews accustomed to being victimized, are sensitive to the plight of others and have always been on the forefront of social justice. We have a collective commandment to heal the broken world and are usually among the first to ride the wave of hip new causes.
A house divided will surely fall…or so “they” think.
The Pro Palestinian movement outwardly proclaimed they wanted their own state but in reality wanted Israel banished from the region. The founders of the movement created BDS (boycott, divestment, sanction), portraying Israel as aggressors, called them apartheid. Failing to bring down Israel with that initiative, they decided to go after our Jewish leadership and youth.
Pro Palestinians targeted universities (with the greatest concentration of Jewish students), Jewish camps, even Rabbinical schools. Clubs formed encouraging Jewish kids who are passionate about social justice to join. Who is not in favor of social justice? The problem was these bad dudes were smarter/calculating than our naive young students. They trojan horse style filled the clubs with convincing rhetoric rewriting our history, and young Jewish leaders began to turn their backs on Israel. Some of our “progressive” Jewish communities decided to buy into the notion that it was not “cool” to support Israel. Pro Palestinian sympathizers used the language of the West to turn us on each other. You can’t make this stuff up!
Somewhere along the way the Jewish haters; (who happen to be anti American, anti Western, anti Israeli, anti white, anti male, anti money, anti successful, anti gender, basically most good ideas/concepts in the world), took our most Jewish and vulnerable sentiments and turned them on their heads. Zionism became a dirty word, we became occupiers, and Nazi genocidal killers. That kind of thinking began to creep into our community and Western world.
The sticky part…the Gazan Palestinian people are suffering. Shortly after Israel withdrew from Gaza nearly twenty years ago, Hamas was elected into power. Hamas seduced many Palestinians to become freedom fighters/terrorists, (while terrorizing them in the name of the cause), convincing them that eventually Israel would vanish. Some of the Gazans wanted coexistence and did try to root out Hamas but failed.
Hamas shrouded its mission as a “liberation movement” for Palestinians. They managed to highjack the Zionist, Palestinian and BLM movements….Now that they have a momentum of hate towards Jews and Israel built their true selves and mission is emerging. They are Jihadists. A Middle Eastern Jihadist/Hamas/Hezbola is on a mission, to eradicate all non believers. Jews are number one on their hate list. The West is next or so they say. I tend to believe them.
Every Crisis has a silver Lining
My husband and I attended “The Rally” mid November. After hearing about the October 7 massacre then seeing anti Jewish rallies spring up practically overnight, it was a relief to stand among 300,000 pro Israeli supporters! It was incredibly healing and spiritual to hear speech after speech; elected officials from both sides of the aisle, multi faith clergy, celebrities, Israeli bands, students on campus, mothers of hostages…We prayed, sang and swayed together. We screamed “bring our hostages back.” We sang the Hatikvah (The Israeli anthem), The US anthem. A miracle.
In all “movements” there are often sea changes or in this case a tidal wave. “Our Progressives” who for years turned their backs on Israel, trying to appear hip with the cool anti Israel crowd are now disoriented and confused. Our once open hearted “Progressive Jewish Folk” are being pushed out and betrayed by the very groups they supported. Even for Jewish Progressives its difficult to stand among people who say “gas the Jews.” Jews have this notion, by disparaging “other Jews” maybe the rest of the world will like and accept them. The Eastern European Progressives were thrown on trucks in Nazi Germany saying “I’m not a practicing Jew.” They were killed anyway.
Anyone who has survived high school knows when you align yourself with the bully sometimes the bully turns on you. We will welcome all our lost souls back into the fold as we always do. Hoping now that many who are “waking up” will read, listen and try to understand the real story. Instead of their common cry of don’t confuse me with the facts. This is a spoof on hip Hamas sympathizers, click on the link. https://youtu.be/rbfccVBo9tE
We are getting back some of our lost souls, Israel has never been as united as it is currently, the US is staying resolute in its friendship with Israel, and the peace accord countries are still standing by Israels side. Don’t give up hope, Tikvah. The thing about miracles, you need to recognize them when they occur!