Last week, Seth Rogen set the Jewish and Israel social media world ablaze when he stated in an interview that “Israel doesn’t make sense” and that he “was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel [his] entire life”. The response from the North American Jewish and pro-Israel communities to Rogen’s comments was swift. Comments ranged from statements claiming that he was uneducated about Israel to being a self-hating Jew. Palpable outrage for someone whose parents met on a Kibbutz, who went to a Zionist youth camp growing up, has visited Israel multiple times, and has been outspoken against anti-Semitism.
It was ironic to read those statements against him from the pro-Israel community, considering it was their responsibility to properly educate him in the first place. Equally ironic was the level of outrage toward Rogen in light of the near silence from the mainstream North American Jewish community regarding Israel’s pending annexation of parts of the West Bank; a move that would essentially forfeit Israel’s standing as a full fledged democracy.
Since July 1st, Israel has been waiting for approval from the US government to annex parts of the West Bank, which for many would signal the end of a two-state solution. While Palestinian actions have also contributed to this situation, Israeli actions are once again at the forefront with this push toward a unilateral annexation. What is worse, the Israeli government has stated that they do not plan to offer citizenship to Palestinians living in the areas that will potentially be annexed by Israel.
Where is the outrage from the mainstream North American Jewish and pro-Israel communities? At best, there have been some tepid statements, but not nearly as intense as the ones demonstrated toward Seth Rogen. In no way is depriving citizenship of people in official Israeli territory democratic, and yet some are preparing to defend annexation. Any defense of Israel being a democratic state will officially come to an end if they annex parts of the West Bank and deprive Palestinians in those areas citizenship.
Unfortunately, the pro-Israel community in North America is already working on finding a way to defend Israel’s actions and will continue to call Israel a Jewish and Democratic state. These efforts will be a lie if Israel follows through with its plans and will be a lie that more people like Seth Rogen will continue to see through and call out. Additionally, it would be a direct slap in the face to the thousands of students, professionals, and lay people (myself included) who defend Israel everyday on the internet, college campuses, and beyond.
Let’s not waste our time focusing our outrage at Seth Rogen. We should instead focus it on the actions of the Israeli government that will do actual harm to Israel’s existence as a Jewish and Democratic state, as well as our ability to defend the Jewish State abroad.