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Searching for Civility and Moral Clarity: Where Do We Go From Here?

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It’s been over month since the October 7th bloody massacre of innocent babies, children, women and men in southern Israel at the hands of barbaric killers and murderers. The images and stories of these horrific atrocities are seared in our minds and embedded in our memories forever.

“Moral clarity”, “the day after”, “military objectives”  “humanitarian crisis”, “occupation” “proportionality”  “kidnapped hostages”,  “hatred”,  “antisemitism”…..These are just several of the charged and explosive words and phrases now flooding our social media feeds, platforms, cable news networks and print media, They represent a new, evolving and emerging lexicon which typifies, exemplifies and characterizes the heart-wrenching current state of affairs in Israel and throughout the diaspora.  They are the hallmark indicators and bell-weather words and phrases of  a society in pain and turmoil; and, a society deeply steeped in vile hatred.

These are the words and phrases we continuously hear from reporters, arm-chair pundents, journalists and retired military generals, protesters and politicians…..all eager for face-time interviews in order  to opine regarding the war between Israel and Hamas.

All the while, countless Jewish families are in mourning for their loved ones as the IDF engages in an dangerous and treacherous  existential battle of epic proportion.

The other war now raging throughout the world is on the battlefields of indifference, ignorance and hatred….dangerously fueled by a resurgence of antisemitism and anti-Jewish vitriol, hatred and contempt.

How is it possible, conceivable or imaginable that  a  civilized society comprised of young and old alike can support and celebrate the ugly, inhumane atrocities viciously committed by Hamas?  To be sure, these atrocities were a true flagrant and unabashed war against humanity and civilization, decency and civility. It is against everything decent, pure and sacred. It defies every aspect of what a respectful and humane society stands for.

Supporting the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent babies, women, children and men is beyond unconscionable  and beyond human comprehension.

Witnessing, antisemitic groups  rallying, marching and demonstrating in city streets throughout the globe, suggests that we are now living during a period in history which historians in 100 years from now will refer to as The Great Uncivilized Indifference Towards Humanity. It is indeed a inflection point.

How our society reached such levels of uncivilized indifference will be a topic and debate for many generation….not unlike the manner in which we now learn, teach and remember the horrors of the  Holocaust. Where is the sanity? the humanity? the honor and self respect for the integrity of mankind?

There are those who blame this unimaginable societal condition on pure unadulterated, misguided and misinformed ignorance and the lack of enlightened education; there are others who point the finger at empty vessels with mob mentalities who are hungry and craving for purpose and  relevance through a collective rallying cry; and, of course,  there are those who absolutely support, enjoy and relish the sick celebration of antisemitism as a contagious  cancerous and savage rage, while dancing in  pools of  Jewish blood

Yes, we do need more enlightenment, education and push-back; and, we must all do a far better job calling out antisemitic hatred. We must do everything possible in order to admonish, repel and combat  antisemitic hatred.

In the final analysis, we have two choices. We can bury our heads in the sand and pray that this nightmare dissipates over time, not unlike many Jews thought would happen just prior to  the Holocaust. Or, we can stand up strong to our detractors and enemies and go toe-to-toe with them in the  arena of world public opinion.

The battle for this later approach will not be easy. But “easy” has never prevented our Jewish nation  from combating Jewish hatred and doing what is right! .

As we know, silence is acquiescence, silence is weakness, silence is complicity and silence suggests that we are derelict in  our duty and responsibility. We must respond to the acts of antisemitism through strength and resolve , NOT through weakness or fragility,

The lessons of the Holocaust forces all of us to take stock and ensure that we must fight this growing and  metastasizing cancer of antisemitism with every resource at our disposal; and with every once of  our strength.

We must never ever again be complacent or hope that others will help us fight this ugly mutation of hate.. This is OUR existential battle and war against evil, against hatred and against ignorance. We must own it, lest we lose this existential war.

We must be the light that illuminates  darkness and hatred.

As a Jewish people, we only have one Jewish State and one Jewish Homeland. We do not have the luxury or time to engage in intellectual or  philosophical dialogue. To be sure, that train left the station at the entrance of Auschwitz. Never again, must be our clarion call for never ever again

We must be bold and steadfast. And above all, we must possess the conviction that we will win the battle against the ugly face of evil.

We have no choice; we have no other option.

Am Yisrael Chai.

About the Author
Dr. Chaim Botwinick is a senior executive coach and an organizational consultant . He served as president and CEO of the central agency for Jewish education in Baltimore and in Miami; in addition to head of school and principal for several Jewish day schools and yeshivot. He has published and lectured extensively on topics relating to education, resource development, strategic planing and leadership development. Dr. Botwinick is Author of “Think Excellence: Harnessing Your Power to Succeed Beyond Greatness”, Brown Books, 2011