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Just Like Clockwork

You’ve probably heard the saying, “The Jews are tired.” Well, I’m here to tell you the Jews are exhausted. The Jews are angry. And the Jews are fed up with the antisemitism – blatant and subtle – of the Diaspora.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of last May’s Israel-Gaza war, it’s hard not to feel as though something vital has shifted in the world. Every time there is a conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors, antisemitism in the Diaspora skyrockets as a result. We know this as a fact because we have seen it happen repeatedly over the decades. But something feels different this time around.

Perhaps it’s always been this way and I’ve just become more aware of it in these last few years. Or perhaps something has become irrevocably broken in the Diaspora because the alarming spike of antisemitism following May 2021 is not dying down. In fact, it’s getting worse. It’s getting a lot worse.

Let me break this down a little: if you lean on the political left (as I always have), you’ve never had a problem calling out antisemitism on the political right. If you lean on the political right, you’ve never had a problem calling out antisemitism on the political left. But suddenly Jews on both sides of the political aisle – or at least the ones who have been paying attention to what’s going on – find themselves being pushed toward the center. We find we are no longer welcome in the spaces we have been part of our entire lives.

Something is changing. It has been for a while now and when you realize what it is, your eyes open so wide that it becomes impossible to ignore the blatant and most obvious fact in front of you: neither side of the political aisle cares about Jews unless they can use us as a political football. Moreso, the antisemitism and Jew-hate of the political left is far more insidious than the right. Believe me when I tell you it hurts me to say this. I would love to keep believing the left are beacons of justice, fighting for equality and social change while the right is just regressive cavemen who hate everyone who doesn’t identify as rich and white.

Unfortunately, the left has proven to be far from that beacon. The horseshoe theory – which states the far left and far right are actually more similar than different – is seen in full affect when it comes to Jews and antisemitism. And while the right doesn’t shy away from calling a spade a spade (or antisemitism antisemitism), the left covers up its Jew-hatred by calling it “anti-Zionism”. And it is precisely this “anti-Zionism” under the guise of “social justice” which has broken the proverbial camel’s back when it comes to Jews in leftist circles.

During what became known as “Operation Guardian of the Walls” Hamas shot almost 4400 rockets into Israel in a span of eleven days. ELEVEN days. Nearly 700 of those rockets misfired, landing within Gaza and causing Palestinian casualties.  Thanks to the Iron Dome, 90% of the rockets were intercepted, limiting the number of Israeli casualties. The IDF struck down over 1500 terrorist targets, including weapons storage and launch sites, and Hamas tunnel systems which enabled weaponry storage, military training, and helped terrorists kidnap Israelis. The IDF also neutralized hundreds of terrorists.  (Statistics taken from https://www.idf.il/en/minisites/wars-and-operations/operation-guardian-of-the-walls/operation-guardian-of-the-walls-1/)

While Israelis and people visiting Israel were running for their lives to bomb shelters, the Diaspora became a cesspool of Jew-hate. People took to the streets across major cities all over the world not to protest the war but to protest Israel. Wherever you looked you couldn’t escape the marches calling to ‘globalize the Intifada’, genocidal chants of ‘From the river to the sea…’, Jews being singled out and beaten up by passersby on the streets or while eating in restaurants, horn blasts of people calling to ‘f*ck the Jews, k*ll their mothers, and r*pe their daughters’, cars with Palestinian flags blaring through Jewish neighborhoods, etc. These acts of hate were not committed by white supremacists on the right – they were committed by “social justice activists” on the left and Islamic extremists.

Antisemitic hate crimes rose by nearly 300% in NYC alone. And those are just the ones considered “religious hate crimes” and the ones that are reported. Imagine the actual number. I’m afraid to.

And now here were are almost a year later. As Ramadan approaches – just like clockwork – Palestinians have escalated their terror attacks. Eleven Israelis have been murdered in one week (at the time of this being written). As usual, Palestinians are cheering in the streets of Gaza and handing out sweets in celebration. During a time meant for holiness, fasting, prayer, and reflection, Palestinians are becoming increasingly violent in the hope of Israeli retaliation. Why? So they could cry about Israel “attacking” them during their holy month. Because we all know the non-Jewish world won’t care about what is happening in Israel until Israel fires back and can be framed as the aggressor.

Look, I’m not a right-winger in my everyday life. But when it comes to Israel’s security and the safety of Israelis and Jews all over the world, I fully support more drastic measures. More checkpoints, more guards and security personnel, more identification checks, etc. The world thinks Jewish blood is cheap. It is up to us to prove it isn’t. It is up to us to prove there are consequences for coming after our people in our homeland and in the Diaspora.

The Jews are tired. I don’t know a single Jew (who actually supports their Jewish family and Israel) who hasn’t lost friends over this conflict, especially in the last year. Heck, I’ve lost friends I went on BIRTHRIGHT with! That is how ingrained Jew-hate is: that Jews could go to Israel and see what life there is really like and still fall for and repeat antisemitic, anti-Israel propaganda. When I started writing this piece, the terrorist attacks of the last week hadn’t yet occurred. This was only meant to be a lookback on the last year. And yet, here we are once again in this vicious cycle. Palestinians murder Israelis. The world is silent. Eventually, Israel will retaliate. The world will scream and yell as ignorant, over-privileged people in the west march through the streets chanting the same murderous and inciting slogans they have been while patting themselves on the back.

I do want to point out, however, that in the last year, Israel has finally normalized relations with several Arab neighboring countries. In fact, Israel just hosted a peace summit a few days ago in the Negev. We know that countries who want true peace with Israel, get peace with Israel. We also know Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA have absolutely no desire for peace.  The Arab world is becoming increasingly tired of Palestinians crying about being eternal victims while continuously being the aggressors.

Perhaps the worst part – or one of the worst parts – of all this, is the fact Jews and Israelis are struggling not just physically and emotionally but also spiritually. What I mean to say is some, or maybe even many of us, are having a crisis with our humanity. I used to feel sorry for the Palestinians. I don’t anymore. I haven’t in a while. I feel sorry for their children who are being taught the same hate in order to continue the cycle of vicious violence but I don’t feel sorry for these people anymore. And I feel bad about not feeling bad. I feel bad that when I hear a Palestinian has been neutralized, I don’t mourn the death of human life no matter how terrible that life behaved. I can no longer say I believe ALL human life is precious because I do not believe the life of a terrorist is precious. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Peace cannot be normalized when the other side is coming to the table with only one demand: the return of all Palestinians to the land of Israel and the eradication of all Jews. When one side repeatedly and officially calls for the genocide of the other, peace cannot be made. You can’t scream about not being invited to peace summits while offering nothing except war. Peace has to be worked for. Every country that wants peace with Israel has peace. It’s really that simple.

In the words of Golda Meir: “When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

How many more lives will be lost to this senseless violence? How many more lives will be lost to Palestinian delusions? How many more lives will be lost to – as Einat Wilf and Adi Schwartz put it – the “western indulgence of the Palestinian dreams [which obstructs] the path to peace?” I am afraid to fathom that number.

By the time this is published, it will (hopefully) be March 30th – the 27th day of Adar II and as the twenty-seventh day of the month, we read Tehillim 120, the first of fifteen “Songs of Ascents” which ask for G-d’s help from those who wage war against us. The English roughly translates to, “Long has my soul dwelt with those who hate peace. I am peace, but when I speak, they are for war.” Israel does not start wars; Israel fights for peace. Israel fights for its citizens and for Jews all over the world. Israel sends aid to the other side of the world because it is a “light unto the Nations.”

In times such as this – and when Israel eventually retaliates and antisemitic violence will once again spill over into the Diaspora – I remind myself of a few lines from Alliel and The Living Wells (although the whole song is quote-worthy): “Am Yisrael Chai don’t worry about a thing…I know we’ll be alright.”

Am Yisrael freaking Chai!

About the Author
Klarina Usach was born in Odessa, Ukraine. Her family fled as Jewish refugees to the USA in 1992. She has grown up in New York but Israel is in her heart. She is currently working on her first book.
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