One of the more important lessons from my interpersonal relationships is to avoid J.A.D.E.: Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain. Nothing good comes from it. If something deserves an apology, then apologize and move on. But if there is nothing to apologize about, then additional chatter only makes things worse. Justification, argument, defense or explanation will undermine and actually stoke the fire of an accusation, embroiling the argument and hurting the relationship.
A few weeks ago, we all watched in horror as a missile hit a hospital in Southern Gaza. Hamas, the Arab world, and the world at large instantly blamed Israel. For those of us from the Israel camp, we mostly knew that the chance Israel did this was remote – nevertheless, we had tragic doubts that perhaps in a moment of war, mistakes were made and it was Israel. It’s unlikely, but could it have happened? We held our breath.
But, nobody outside of the Israel camp held their breath. In fact, the media and the world at large immediately jumped to the conclusion that Israel was guilty of targeting a civilian hospital. When Hamas broke through with murder, rape and rampage the world responded with: “we need to look into this.” But when a hospital in Gaza was bombed, there was no hesitation, no consideration, only blame and vitriol against the state of Israel.
Four painful days later, independent sources indeed confirmed what we expected.
CNN Investigates: Forensic analysis of images and videos suggests rocket caused Gaza hospital blast, not Israeli airstrike. After reviewing dozens of images and videos, CNN’s analysis suggests that a rocket launched from within Gaza broke up midair, and that the blast at the hospital was the result of part of the rocket landing at the hospital complex.
Of course, I breathed a sigh of relief. CNN is not known for their rampant support of Israel, and even they concluded that the strike was not from an Israeli air raid. Having a news service like CNN give that report is nothing less than full vindication.
So, where is the apology? Where is the admission that the world was wrong and jumped to conclusions? Where is the contrition? It isn’t there and it isn’t coming. In fact, one day later, that same CNN article was deep in the archives and not easy to find.
The day after Israel was exonerated, pro-Palestinians marched just a few blocks away from my flat in Warsaw. They held signs calling Israel trash that should be cleaned up. They called out Israel as monsters who bombed a helpless hospital. The desire to blame Israel was so strong that nobody even considered another possible narrative. Israel and Jews were blamed regardless of whether they did the act. But days later, when it was proven that Islamic Jihad bombed their own people, where was the response? Where was the outrage? If it wasn’t clear before, this should make it crystal clear. This isn’t about concern for Palestinians, this is about hatred for Isarel and Jews. Pure and simple.
So what do we do in the face of rabid antisemitism? How should Israel respond? What do we say to the accusers we come across in our daily lives? There is no clear or simple answer, but one thing is clear: NO MORE J.A.D.E. Nothing good will come from Israel justifying and defending their military actions. Nothing good will come from arguing and explaining about what really happened. These are haters, looking for any place to vent their venom. J.A.D.E. gives a platform for contempt. J.A.D.E. gives a spotlight to people desperate for attention. J.A.D.E. makes us look contrite and sound weak.
Back on October 9, an previous “Pro-Palestinian March” was planned for Warsaw. Immediately, the Chief Rabbi and the local community planned a counter march. I begged the Chief Rabbi not to go. If we show up to counter the protest, we give credence to their argument. If the Chief Rabbi shows up, the protest becomes a newsworthy event. If we don’t take them too seriously, they become viewed as crazy people parading around in support of a terrorist act where 1,400 civilians were butchered and another 200 abducted.
- Question: If one argues with a crazy person, who is crazy?
- Answer: Both of them.
Thankfully, the Chief Rabbi did not go to the pro-Palestinian protest and it fizzled with almost no news coverage and very few people. Had they taken them more seriously, the press would have done the same.
Israel will do what it needs to do to secure their borders and survive in an antisemitic world. This is about survival. That is the story. But when we pander and J.A.D.E., we create doubt in the world’s collective mind and give platform to hatred. It’s time that we learn this lesson.