Rabbi Leo Dee of Efrat just lost his wife and two of his daughters, May Hashem avenge their blood. They were gunned down on Chol Hamoed, driving on the highway, on the way to enjoy a family Pesach tiyul, just one week ago. Yet in the face of such a horrific tragedy, Rabbi Dee and his surviving children have shown amazing strength and bravery. In his hesped (eulogy) for his daughters Maia and Rina z”l, and then again for his wife Lucy z”l, Rabbi Dee, a British ex-pat who spoke in English at both funerals, asked for Jews across the world to come together and show unity in support of Israel in the face of this evil, by sharing a picture of the Israeli flag to honor the memory of Lucy, Maia and Rina.
I think it took less than a minute for this task to pick up steam. Suddenly, everyone (including myself) changed their profile pictures on social media platforms and Whatsapp to various versions of an Israeli flag, some with pictures of the victims superimposed. And it wasn’t just on social media. As I took a walk through my town and the neighboring moshavim, I was proud to see literally dozens of Israeli flags (that aren’t usually there) lining the streets and the roundabouts, hanging outside individual houses and from buildings. It warmed my heart, and made me feel so proud to be a Jew, an Israeli Jew.
Thursday morning, however, my feelings changed to pure disgust- no other word can describe it- when I read an article in the Jerusalem Post by Gershon Baskin. Mr. Baskin is a columnist and pro-Palestinian Jew living in Israel who seems to enjoy blaming the country he calls home, including current and past governments, and virtually all Israelis and Jews worldwide for the sad and sorry state of the “poor Palestinians” living in our land. Nearly every article he writes for the newspaper reprimands Israel for the so-called “occupation” of “Palestine”. All he talks about is the defunct “Peace Process”, the apparent lack of progress and willingness of Israel to come to an agreement and keep our side of the current agreements. His headline in the Comments and Features section from Thursday read as follows: “It is wrong and it has to end”. When I saw this, I must admit I was intrigued to keep reading. Most of the time I avoid reading Gershon Baskin’s columns, as they usually boil my blood. But this one caught my eye. I thought that possibly, hopefully, he would be addressing the very recent terror attacks by his “peace-loving” Palestinian brothers, as he calls them, asking for the murders and attacks to cease immediately. IT IS WRONG AND IT MUST END. I was sure that this time, that is what he meant. The terror and murder of innocent Israelis must stop.
Sigh. Wishful thinking. Not this time! Or any time, probably. What Gershon Baskin was writing about was….you guessed it! THE OCCUPATION. “The Occupation” is what “has to end”! In a lengthy, half-page article, he chides Israel for her “shameful immorality, oppression, and unrestrained brutality against the Palestinians” (his words, paraphrased). Huh? Is he talking about us? Two days after Rabbi Dee buried three of the seven members of his family? After an Italian tourist- who wasn’t even an Israeli- was run down and murdered near the beach in Tel Aviv? After three sets of siblings were killed by Arab terrorists in premeditated, targeted attacks?
What chutzpah he has! Gershon Baskin should be ashamed and embarrassed to be preaching non-existent Palestinian “morality” to us after what we have experienced these past few months. Nowhere in his entire article does he talk about the victims of these attacks or their families, or the solidarity that Israelis and Jews worldwide are feeling right now. Not even a mention. Not a word. This is disgusting and abhorrent. There is no other way to describe this. It is as if he is an actual spokesman for Hamas and the other terrorist groups living near us and among us. (IMHO he is a self-hating Jew too, but that’s his business and his choice, and I don’t really care about that.)
What I do care about is when people outside of Israel read Baskin’s columns. His shameful words about Israel and his fellow Jews living here just add fuel to the fire of antisemitism that is already growing. He claims to be an empathic voice for his “Palestinian friends”, but what he is really doing is justifying the terrorists’ actions. Not only does he not condemn the killings, but he can’t even find it in his “empathetic” heart to even give an honorable mention to the sickening murders that took place this past week, to send condolences to his fellow Jews on the loss of their family members. Instead he chooses not to say anything at all, and basically just pretends that it didn’t happen, that it doesn’t keep happening, that it won’t happen again (we pray to G-d that it won’t!).
This is what is shameful, not our efforts to protect our country and our people. It is your words, Mr. Baskin, which are immoral and hateful and are causing harm to your own people! We are surrounded by enemies on all sides and within our towns and cities. We can never let down our guard for even a moment, and you have the audacity to blame Israel and her people. Shame on you, and all others who follow in your footsteps. Shame on all the left-wing journalists and phony “peace” activists like you who have forgotten their roots and their heritage. Where is your pride in being a Jew in your homeland? Sadly, it doesn’t exist and in its place is self-hatred and pompous victim-blaming.
THIS is what is wrong and HAS to end. That’s how the headline should be interpreted. Am Yisrael Chai.