The last time Jews were hidden in basements by ‘good’ people in order to save their lives, Israel didn’t exist. No country waited with open arms to take them in… In fact, almost all borders were closed to Jews.
Today is a very different story.
You — wherever you are — have options.
You have a place to run if ever you are targeted because you are a Jew. And that option, that safety net, enables you to stay where you are.
Many people I love, love Israel from afar, and everything I say here is said with affection.
So, let us be honest with one another for a moment.
It is because Israel exists and opens her borders to her people that you can be armchair Zionists. And that is ok, we are (mostly) cool with that, we love you anyway. Just as long as you know that:
There would be no true security for any Diaspora Jew without the State of Israel.
On an individual level, every Jew has a place run to when being a Jew in the place s/he calls home is no longer comfortable or safe.
On a national level, every world leader knows, like it or not, that if their country’s Jews are in danger, Israel will not tolerate their persecution and will do all they can to save them.
You can say what you want about Israel and her internal policies and I am the first to admit that we are still toddling along in many areas, but one thing we can agree upon is that we take care of our own.
The Jews of Yemen, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Poland, FSU, and many other countries all found an open home here – no questions asked. Hundreds of thousands of Jews who could no longer live in the lands of their birth due to threat of persecution or death, came here with the clothes on their backs. They were welcomed and their basic needs provided. When the USSR finally broke down, over a million people of Jewish descent came here for a better life. When the Jews of Ethiopia and Yemen had no way out they were airlifted home, by Israel.
When the founders of this country said, “Never Again,” they meant it.
(Imagine for a moment if after waging and losing war against the Jews of Palestine in 1948, those same Arab countries had taken in their own and absorbed the Arabs of Palestine. Imagine how many would be living prosperous lives, happy and belonging instead of being forced into refugee camps and fed hatred).
Moving to a new country, with a new language, culture, rules, and problems is not an easy thing, but being given a new life because you are a Jew beats being killed because you are a Jew.
But you are not in danger, you may say, and who is to blame you when the overly politically correct press is an absolute joke, calling the Malian-French terrorist “African American’, and downplaying terror by calling Jihadis ‘activists’:
On this day, these activists found their targets, and their targets were journalists. — CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour
And even going so far as to excuse and justify murdering Jews (as this reporter says to a terrified Jewish woman) since “Palestinians suffered hugely at Jewish hands.”
So, if the murderers are ‘activists’, not Islamic terrorists and their Jewish targets are legitimate, (and the Jews are targets – the Islamist killer Amedy Coulibaly had a list of addresses of Jewish schools in his car along with a large number of weapons), and if so many worry more about anti-Islam backlash than the very real threat to their rights, liberties and frankly, the lives of Jews. And when newspapers across the world, including the New York Times, pixelate out the cartoons that were the excuses for murders, refusing to show them — censoring themselves for fear of offending terrorists — then, my friends, the danger is very real.
I grew up in America, the granddaughter of survivors. My grandmother never spoke about it, but she cried daily. I know her brother had a wagon packed when he saw what was going on around them — the hatred, the restrictions — he told her they must go. I know that she said, “We’re not leaving, all will be fine. We survived the pogroms, we will survive this.” And he unpacked the wagon.
She lost her brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, her husband and all but one of her children.
Am I comparing today’s France to the Holocaust?
Only in this:
“When someone tells you they want to kill you, believe them,” (Yonatan Netanyahu). And, I would add, don’t unpack your wagon.