Missiles are falling on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The residents of Lod are frightened by physical attacks by the Arabs. But lo and behold the pariah countries are still slinging diatribes against Israel. There is no ambiguity in their vocal opposition; they enunciate clearly that the ‘terrorist apartheid State of Israel’ is victimizing the innocent Palestinians. In their myopic worldview the murder of a Jew is a ‘mitzvah.’ Thus, there will be no condemnation of Hamas or sympathy for the loss of life of innocent Israelis. On the contrary, Israelis are deserving of all they receive; infants, children and pregnant women are all collectively guilty.
And sadly, even in the hallways of the United States Congress, rumblings of discontent against the United States’ support of Israel can be heard. Our so-called ‘friends’ are vacillating, unwilling to take a strong stand against terror. The pacifists are misguided into an illusion of calm while the peaceniks erroneously imagine that peace will reign, if only Israel stops its attack. I long ago gave up on the likes of Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Bernie Sanders, but their views are gaining momentum. That their views are biased, fictitious, and agenda driven does little to stem the tide. Anti-Semitism is spread by multiple people hearing libelous claims over and over again. It doesn’t take long until the negativity poisons the hearts of the average American.
So what should we do? How do we rebalance the mindset of the gullible public? Staying silent and hoping that this too shall pass is inexcusable. You can sign the letters AIPAC is asking us to forward to the leaders of the Congress and Senate. You can spread the truth over Facebook and Instagram. You can attend a rally in support of Israel.
But more importantly, now is not the time to believe the negativity as presented in the global press. Israel is not the aggressor; it doesn’t crave war with any of its neighbors. Israel has the moral justification to protect its citizens and retaliate against missiles from Gaza. Sadly, if there is collateral damage and innocent Palestinians get killed, it’s the sole responsibility of Hamas. Regardless how the international media tries to portray Israel, it is incumbent upon us to know fact from fiction.
Nothing happens in a vacuum. The fomenting of anger around the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the throwing of rocks on the Temple Mount is a well orchestrated attack financed by Iran. The missiles reigning in from Gaza and the bombs exploding in residential areas are a direct consequence of Hamas’s desire to be relevant. They can’t win a war against Israel but they can win the hearts and minds of the local Arab population. It’s less about Israel and more about Mahmoud Abbas’ unwillingness to hold elections that he may lose. Hamas needs to remind the Palestinians that only they are willing and able to stand up against the Israelis.
Finally, Israel has no shortage of enemies who will find fault with whatever they do. The International Criminal Court is salivating in its desire to bring to justice the Israeli leadership and military. Collateral damage will be their justification to condemn Israel, albeit cognizant that Israel has the legal and moral right to defend its citizens. The UN will show their stripes by siding with the Palestinian terrorists who in their eyes can do no wrong. The European Union will pledge to be open-minded and neutral but typically will bend over backwards to placate the Palestinians.
Now is not the time to be neutral and open-minded. Now is a time to stand firmly with Israel and to advocate on their behalf. It’s a time to dispel the myriad of false accusations and innuendo. It’s a time to stand together as one people and one mindset. It’s a time that all Jews, regardless of their politics or religious beliefs, stand together in one clear voice and shout out “Am Yisrael Chai,” the people of Israel will live.
Rabbi Jack Engel