Folks, we’re coming up to the station. We know this route well. We know the stops and we know where the tracks diverge. What we don’t know is which direction the train will go, as it concerns the Jewish people.
Clearly, something has changed. If there is one thing our fractured world can agree on concerning the coming rule of US President-elect Donald Trump, it’s that we’ve arrived at a new turning point in civilization. Whether it’s for better or for worse is where the agreement ends, but if there’s one thing history has taught us it’s that the Jews will play a starring role, all the more assured by the cast of characters about to take center stage.
How is one to make sense of an American administration which is shaping up to be the most pro-Israel in history, while at the same time generating a domestic atmosphere that has the potential to be the most dangerous for Jews since they first set foot on American soil over four hundred years ago? As former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said so wisely, “We’ll fight terror like there’s no peace, and make peace like there’s no terror.”
Where the Trump administration is willing to support the Israeli people, Jews must support their efforts unequivocally, if Israel means anything to them at all. Where the Trump administration allows anti-Semitism, racism or discrimination of any kind to fester in American society, Jews must fight it unequivocally, if being Jewish means anything to them at all.
However, what’s important to note in this sequel is that the Jews are approaching it with a status as never before. Although this may feel like 1933 for many, it is not 1933 for the Jews.
In 1933, there was no Israel. In 1933, there was no Israeli Defense Force, no Mossad and no way to predict what was coming. We are prepared now, much more than any other people. We’ve won this battle many times, and with the odds stacked far greater against us.
The Israeli populace has unmatched faith in the IDF’s ability to protect them because they’ve lived through its track record and have first-hand knowledge of its capabilities. Modern warfare is built on technology, and Israel is the world’s leading provider of technological solutions. There’s a reason why Google, Apple, Facebook, Cisco, Microsoft, Dell, Intel, Amazon, Samsung, Yahoo and any other technology company worth its salt does their R&D in Israel. Yes, Silicon Valley builds amazing architecture, but Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Haifa built the foundation on which it stands. And if Israel is capable of inventing such revolutionary items as the cell phone, the microchip, USB drives, voicemail, digital printing and instant messenger – all of which have ubiquitously become the foundation of our daily lives – just try to imagine the things you don’t know it’s invented in order to defend itself.
There is only one way we lose this time, and that’s if we continue to be a house divided against itself.
Since 1948, Jews around the world have feared for the destruction of Israel. They’ve supported, donated and actively worked for Israel’s survival and development, not just because they wanted to, but because they needed to as insurance.
And now the tables have turned, as it’s Israelis who fear for you. Israelis have seen what’s been brewing in Europe for years, and what is starting to boil in the US. That is why it is so incredulous to see well-meaning, and distraughtly naïve, Jews who live there working against the state of Israel through organizations such as J Street, BDS and Jews for Justice in Palestine.
No matter what you think about the Israeli settlement enterprise or the need for a Palestinian state, Jews in the diaspora have a stark choice to make, and if they have any hopes of surviving, must choose sanity over suicide and cease all their anti-Israel activity immediately.
The world has changed and so have the rules. You simply cannot play for both sides anymore. You cannot fight both Israel and anti-Semitism at the same time, and have any hope of winning either battle. Our enemies make no discernment between the Jewish and Israeli people (ignorant as it may be considering over twenty percent of Israelis are Arab), and are very adept at using Jewish anti-Israel activists as tools for their own purpose. Maybe this doesn’t bother you in times of peace, but we are no longer living in peacetime. Those in power, or those about to be in power, who claim to be pro-Israel while supporting or allowing anti-Semitism are intellectually challenged at best, or more cynically, are hoping to rid their homeland of Jews through emigration to the Jewish state. Hitler tried this at first, and when he didn’t succeed, he tried again until he did.
And those Jews who foolishly believe they can fight anti-Semitism while continuing to work against the only place on earth where they are fully accepted as Jews? As is commonly said about the Holocaust, “The pessimists went to America. The optimists went to Auschwitz.”
This is not to say that there will be another Auschwitz. The Jews are not going to let that happen again and neither will our enemies. We’ve learned our lessons and so have they. Whatever is coming next will for sure be unrecognizably different, as much as some of its effects will be familiarly the same.
If you believe in your heart that you must continue to actively work against whatever injustices you perceive are occurring in a land in which you do not live, that is your right. But right now you need Israel at least as much as Israel needs you, if not more.
Let Israelis deal with the problems of the Palestinians and the occupation themselves. Let those who will actually be sending their kids to fight, work against that which they believe is not worth fighting for. We have a vocal and vociferous citizenry who knows how to speak out, and they make no hesitation in doing so when the situation calls for it.
However, considering what’s at stake, this is not your fight, and certainly not at the moment. Make no mistake, the implication of this message is for both Israel’s benefit and for yours. Jews around the world need to concentrate on the battles at home if they have any hope of continuing to call it that. And if and when the day comes that “home” is no longer an option, you will have a homeland that is strong and decisive in every which way, waiting for you with open arms.
As for the “alt-right”, the wannabe Nazis and anyone else who dreams of challenging the Jewish people again, do not fear them. Today we have one of the most lethal militaries in history, armed with weapons of every kind, and an intelligence service whose arm can reach every corner of the world and beyond. This is not 1933. You don’t get to f*ck with the Jews anymore and get away with it. If they were alive, you could ask the Palestinian terrorists who tried that at the Munich Olympics. But a 70-year old grandmother got to every single one of them and you better believe we will show our enemies of today far less mercy.
Never again means never again.
But only if you work for it, not against it.