Michelle Rojas-Tal

My thoughts and prayers are with you

This morning, I woke up to a very upsetting email from a colleague in Chile. He wrote to me, reflecting upon what the current atmosphere is like there. Here is a portion of his note:

“But I feel all this pales in comparison to the leaflets left on houses in vast sectors of Santiago (of which I’ve attached a copy, and that could be roughly explained as a mock-summons that supposedly represents the lack of due process for Palestinians in Israel), and the regrettable act of violence felt by a local Jewish family from Ñuñoa that had its house stoned to the beat of anti-Semitic chants (“killer Jews”, “get out of the country”, etc.).The situation here is sad and dangerous for  Chilean Jewry, but in spite of this, we keep fighting the good battle here.”

I have been blessed to feel the support and empathy of friends and family across the globe; messages of hope, love and optimism.

And now, I would like to reciprocate those messages back to my friends and colleauges in the Jewish community and beyond.

Anti-Semitism is not dead. It has taken on very sophisticated new forms, often identifying itself as legitimate criticism or the criticism of an ideology or state. But indeed, it is not dead. It often sleeps; lurking…waiting for the right opportunity to rear its vicious head and now the opportunity is upon us.

I empathize with innocent Palestinians in Gaza. I empathize with those who empathize with innocent Palestinians in Gaza.  I have zero empathy with those who wish to go on an anti-Semitic tirade and neither should anyone else.

Images coming out of Paris, New York and London are frightening; Jews being attacked in the streets just for being Jewish.

Many argue that this is the reason why “Israel must show restraint and consider all of its actions beforehand.” Sadly, we do not have that luxury. The thousands of Israeli children running to bomb shelters do not have that luxury. We live in a reality where the moral litmus test we all grew up abiding by does not exist amongst those who seek our demise; it does not even exist for the very innocent people they claim to be protecting.

Where the moral litmus test should lie is with the modern, secular, educated elements within our societies, including the Arab world. But regrettably, some of the most disgusting displays of behavior are coming from there. Maybe it is a result of their own sense of pent-up frustration, maybe even envy. After all, when one Jewish youth disappears or is killed, look how much noise we make? Those Jews make such a big deal over every single person. Yes. We do.

I wish there were rallies in the center of London or Sydney as large as the ones chanting death to Israel for the 200,000 dead in Syria or for the thousands who are now being murdered at the hands of ISIS. The girls who were abducted in Nigeria have yet to #bebroughtback. But those voices are silent at worst, minimal at best. Finally, an opportunity. The chance to vent all of our rage; an opportunity to unite, rather than truly reflect on the horrific abuses, true “genocides” taking place right in front of our eyes.

So, to my friends and family around the world, I send you my thoughts and prayers. Please continue the good fight and do not allow yourselves to be silenced. I am here to support you and not just with words, but by action. This too shall pass and in the meanwhile, truth is on our side. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for speaking it.

About the Author
Michelle Rojas-Tal is a global speaker, trailblazer and advocate on Zionism, Jewish identity, and Israel engagement. Amongst her current projects, Michelle serves as the Zionist Scholar-in-Residence at Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America.