So two things happened recently: one of them is amazing and other utterly abhorrent. The amazing thing was the kick off of a new season of the popular TV show “The Walking Dead”. The horrific thing is the slew of gruesome terror attacks that have been occurring multiple times daily for the last few weeks in Israel. These two events have quite a lot in common actually. But more on that later….
Let’s talk about The Walking Dead… I didn’t like it at first. It wasn’t really my genre. I thought the concept of a disease that causes people to become flesh-eating zombies if they are infected or post-mortem was absurd. And why is our culture so obsessed with this idea by the way? The idea that the downfall of civilization and mankind one day could be that we all turn in to stumbling monsters who’s sole objective is to consume one another…there must be something to this. Then I got a little further into the show and realized that its’ genius is how it focuses on the humans living inside this zombie world and how its motifs of survival are always reinventing themselves. After a while, the bloody gore of it all, the silly zombie costumes and how far-fetched it was just wore off. I became numb to it. I turned my attention instead to how the protagonists of the show, the survivors interacted with each other and persevered. They were so committed to not becoming extinct even in a world as dangerous and twisted as this. They were constantly trying to hold on to their humanity (and at times failing) while attempting to make the world a better place.
I think Jews are a lot like Rick Grimes and his team of survivors in the TWD. As a people we have been persecuted since the beginning of time. We have been chased out of our homeland, put to slavery and slaughtered simply because of our religious beliefs and yet we have always somehow come out stronger, smarter, more productive and impossibly more compassionate. I think the State of Israel is the truest testament to that. Jewish people and Israel have not only survived; we continue to thrive. This is even more remarkable given the fact that we are still constantly being terrorized.
Let’s just cut to the chase here: what is happening now in Israel is sick. It’s repulsive. It is an evil so dark it’s incomprehensible. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinians has always been ugly and violent. But I think what makes recent events feel like the zombie apocalypse is the depth of moral depravity to which the Palestinians have reached. THEY, not the Israelis, have de-humanized themselves once and for all through these vicious attacks. And what is a zombie if nothing more than a walking dead shell of a human being who’s sole function is feeding off the flesh and blood of man? The sheer magnitude of this recent wave of attacks is what is so appalling. I mean we’re talking about a group of people who have been strapping suicide bombs to little kids for years and they are STILL managing to one-up themselves. Each attack seems to get more horrific (like the guy hacking people up with a meat cleaver after running them down with a car) or more unfathomable (13 year old kid stabbing someone in the neck). They are making a real life horror show. There’s even more to it than that though. Like the herd of bloodthirsty monsters roaming around in TWD, the Palestinian terrorists are coming out in droves almost as if they are multiplying. Their indiscriminate randomness is their most zombie-like trait. There is never a specific target….anyone and everyone is a victim. And one victim is not enough. The Palestinians have made it clear, more now than ever that their ultimate objective is the extinction of Israel and quite possibly all Jews as well.
One of the things I find so fascinating about TWD is it always begs the question of “Who’s fault is this?” We still do not know who or what caused the cannibalistic outbreak in the show, all we see are its effects and the aftermath. Civilization collapsed and people turned into mindless blood-thirsty creatures. There really can be no blame to throw around. The disease consumes people and they no longer have control. I feel like Israel has reached that point right now with the Palestinians. What is the point anymore of all this blame tossing, “negotiating” (although it is clear the only ones negotiating anything are the Israelis), victimization, etc? The root of the conflict will never be black and white, but the two sides’ true colors are abundantly clear to see. We have a side choosing death and a side choosing life. That simple. There are always going to be those that say “what about the occupation, the Temple Mount, bombing civilians in Gaza, the blockade, it is their land, etc.” As human beings we tend to do that don’t we? We look for reason, for validation in order to cope with the current brand of evil. We try to make it more palatable, to live with it by providing an explanation so that we can still believe that everyone is inherently good. Unfortunately we Jews have learned this is not always the case. A genocide less than a century ago taught us that. And so we are more vigilant. We can not let the rest of the world continue to accept justification for what Palestinians are now doing in Israel. Is this what they call “resisting the occupation”, being a human butcherer?? This is a “freedom fighter”, someone who shoots two parents in front of their young children? Where is the freedom in that? This is religious expression, killing in God’s name? What kind of God would ever want that? It isn’t about land or money or religion anymore (if it ever was). The writing is on the wall: Palestinians haven’t chosen to CREATE their own state, they’ve committed themselves to trying to DESTROY ours. They haven’t tried to give their children hope for a better future, they have destroyed their future by indoctrinating them to hate. They haven’t chosen to fight and survive for humanity despite all of their hardships, they’ve chosen to let the disease of terror take over and are now just a bunch of zombified murderers. They are quite literally The Walking Dead.
If it sounds like I am being a bigot with this analogy because I am generalizing please bear with me. A lot of people will say “only the extremists are committing those acts” or they will call them “radicals.” They will say that the corrupt Palestinian Authority has been inciting violence when really most Palestinians want peace. Oh how I wish I could continue to buy this narrative but I simply can’t anymore. It is true that the PA and other leaders are inciting violence and encouraging terrorism. There is plenty of evidence of that. But everyday people wanting peace? Blaming the “extremists?” Come on!! What does that stupid word even mean anyway? What an insult to humanity! If in the last two hours that I’ve been writing this blog there have been four more terror attacks, that no longer qualifies as “just the extremists”. That is becoming a regular occurrence. Ordinary, average people in the region (who decided to call themselves Palestinians a few decades ago) ARE the extremists, each and every one of them. No one is special, no one is “radical”, no one deserves to be painted with any other brush. Not anymore. We get it. We know who they are now. The rest of world might need a few more decades to figure it out.
In the mean time I know Israel and the Jewish people, my people, will continue to survive, invent things, cure diseases, build sculptures and win Nobel prizes just like we always have. We will come of out of this wave of terror scarred but healing while our enemies continue to devise more sick ways to torture us. But I wonder if maybe, just maybe we shouldn’t be a little bit more like Rick Grimes with his trademark slogan this season: “I don’t take chances anymore”.