Batya Brownstein

Stop Politicizing Jewish Deaths

It’s been a while since I’ve felt strongly enough about an event to write about it, partly due to the fact that sanity, inspiration and unity have been sent to the land where the obsolete goes to die.

And really, why shouldn’t they have been, how could they not have been, in this world where picking sides is all that is left of rational thought? Where dissenting voices must be demonized out of a twisted moral necessity? Where we all run to answer the holy call of attribution of motives, instead of asking questions for the sake of dialogue and not crucifixion?

This weekend, an unspeakable act of violence and hatred took the lives of too many children of God, while at their worship, and it seems that grief and mourning are no longer sufficient responses. They are no longer an appropriate measure of the scope of an event such as this.

Instead, to prove that one cares, one must rush to politicization. To finger pointing and the false platitudes that have become so proper. One’s first response is the dash to win the blame game, because the last one standing can live to be another day’s devil.

The Jewish people are so tired. This hatred of us precedes gun laws, Twitter, security guards and modern political campaigns by a few millennia. Yet these symptoms of an ever- changing global landscape, these temporary human landmarks, have become what matters!

Why? What’s wrong with just being horrified first? Being sad, before asking the tough questions? Don’t we know better than anyone that Amalek doesn’t need a reason? Why must we aid him in his quest to divide and destroy?

And once the time comes for the tough questions, when the dead have been buried and mourned honorably, how can it be that we expect all the answers to match our own? Questions like these tend not to have one answer, questions of gun control and national unity have several legitimate conclusions, even if they are not all the ones that we ourselves have reached. The need to be in the moral right and ostracize those who have reached different conclusions have replaced our desire for effectiveness and dialogue.

And so, while today I mourn the unspeakable loss of these lives, I also mourn the reality that the aftermath illustrates. We deserve better for ourselves.

About the Author
Born to a French mother and American father, Batya came to Israel at a young age. Upon graduating high school in Israel, she spent her military service in the IDF's Foreign Press Branch. She now studies International Relations and Political Science (B.A.) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and lives in Jerusalem with her beautiful daughter.
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