Andy Blumenthal
Leadership With Heart

Nobody Wanted War

AI generated image via Craiyon

Recently, I heard about someone who was in an abusive situation, and they were unsure how to handle it.

At first, they said that they were shocked but also confused at what was going on, asking themselves why this person was targeting them. Initially, they said that they sort of just let it go, thinking that their abusive situation was just “normal,” that the other person “didn’t really mean it,” or even that they “somehow deserved it!”

They said that the situation gnawed at them for a long time, while the abuse just got worse and worse.

Finally, they said that their brain just told them, “Enough is enough.”

They decided to talk to some other people, let them know about the abusive situation, and seek answers and help. But no sooner than they started to open up about the abuse, the abuser took this as an opportunity not to stop or reduce the abusive behavior, but on the contrary, they increased the abuse.

At this point, the person had no choice but to confront the abuser for what they were doing and demand that they get help and that the abuse stop once and for all.

How did the abuser respond?

First, they just denied it. Then they turned it around and attacked the victim, saying it was “all their fault” (i.e., that if they wouldn’t do this or that, then they wouldn’t hurt them), and then just seemed to ignore all the protests from the victim as they carried on.

This upsetting situation got me thinking about the victim’s dilemma. What should they do?

  • “Turn the other cheek,” knowing that the harassment probably won’t stop.
  • Confront the other person directly, knowing that this is unlikely to make a difference and that they may even try to turn it around and blame you.
  • Seek out others for an intervention to stop the bad actor, knowing that this may also enrage them and make things worse.

In general, it’s always better to avoid a conflict, if at all possible. As they say, the best way to come out ahead is to not get “into it” to begin with, even if that means that you are the one withdrawing from a bad situation.

The problem, though, with an abuser or bully is that they often have the tendency to repeat the cycle of violence and even escalate once they fixate on a target, and it’s not always possible to withdraw safely from the situation immediately.

Not to compare with what happened on October 7, but obviously this topic is on all of our minds right now as innocent Israeli civilians were so brutally targeted.

On top of it, we saw the world doubling down on the abuse and Jew hatred. Even in the context of an unprecedented terrorist attack that left 1,200 dead and 250 taken hostage, many still called for Israeli “restraint,” reversing the abuser and victim roles. Moreover, no sooner did Israel respond to defend herself, then there were loud and incessant calls for “ceasefire now!”

We know that Israel wants more than anything to live in peace and that they have tried virtually everything to make peace with their neighbors, including multiple offerings of a state for the Palestinians (and even giving in to practically their every demand, often to the Israelis own detriment), only to meet with one repeated rejection after another reiterating the Arab League’s Khartoum Resolution: “no peace with Israel, no negotiation with Israel, and no recognition of Israel.”

After October 7, the deadly abuse absolutely could not continue any longer.

There is a time to walk away and a time for necessary action.

May G-d grant us the peace and quiet that we so earnestly seek.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a dynamic, award-winning leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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