What I see 105 terrible days after October 7, among all the things I can’t control, is too many Jewish people still standing with groups that hate us, or otherwise doing nothing.
It’s time for Jews, especially those outside of Israel, to check-in with our historical trauma, individually, to see how over a hundred years of intense physical and psychological abuse as a Jewish people has impacted our ability to stand up for ourselves, our people, and our homeland. To explore how that damage has made us susceptible to manipulation and lower-grade intimidation, perhaps. Or, how that damage makes us afraid to have a change of heart post-October 7 about our cultural expression. To maybe walk away from groups that count on the ability to control and subvert our Jewish narrative for their own murderous gain, or simply stating something on social media.
When I drilled a bit into the research on Jews and historical trauma, I was shocked at some things I found. Like apparently, because of our trauma, Jews fail to see the suffering we cause Palestinians. What? How many mental back-flips did it take to get to that conclusion? I strongly disagree, and am sad to report that even the field of Psychology is not immune to the pressure of bias over time, which is why I’m thankful for groups such as Psychologists Against Antisemitism. Y’all keep me sane.
What I think is true instead, is Jews are trained, instinctively, to keep a low profile and not make people mad. To be proudly Jewish in a way that doesn’t make others uncomfortable or angry (bagels and dreidels, yes. Supportive commentary on our homeland, no). Or to accept all opinions, even those with a violently antisemitic foundation. We have wide-open emotional buttons of shame, insecurity, and eager openness that have been exploited since the birth of the Palestinian sovereignty dream in the 1970’s.
All our better lessons as a Jewish faith group–to be holy, to repair the world, to invite debate and discussion, have been used against us as weapons. Our haters have thrown manipulative words and ideas (when stopped from throwing bombs) designed to make us feel bad about ourselves for over 50 years. This is not hard to do! It happens millions of times a day in abusive relationships all over the world.
Can anti-Zionist or on-the-fence Jews please join the emotional fight against all this? 105 days is 104 days too many to be divided or ambivalent. The Jewish wake-up call here is to stop expressing the same ideas or solutions that give haters hundreds of openings to attack greater Jewry and Israel. We as a people have been horrifically abused, and that abuse comes with a lot of baggage that must not be ignored.
It’s a long and sometimes ugly trip to delve into your soul to find your tender, weaker spots, especially when in the center of a hate hurricane. But somewhere in there the Lion of Judah exists. Proud. Resilient. And you know what? That lion deserves to be there, and deserves to be heard.