Harold Ohayon
A Wandering New Yorker

The Sages Weep

Upon reflecting on the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, our forefathers mused that such a catastrophe befell our people due to blind hatred from within the community. I have often thought about this opinion, and must admit that this reasoning never proved well sounded to my ears. That is until now.

We Jews are a curious bunch: We are combative, opinionated, passionate, argumentative and constantly self-reflecting. These traits are what have assured our survival throughout the millennia. Instead of being rigid and unbending, we constantly evolve and adapt to the times. But a recent development within the community is slowly destroying us from within. And much like a cancer, this malfunctioning mutation is deeply dangerous to the Jewish people as a whole.

For whatever reason, an extremely virulent anti-Jewish voice from within the Jewish community is gaining strength. Groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace is spreading bile and venom against their fellow Jews, all the while using its Jewish identity to shield themselves from accusations of anti-Semitism. But let us not fool ourselves. These groups share the same root and essence as the countless Neo Nazi and Jihadist groups that plague this planet.

These Jewish groups have a long track record of engaging in obscene and inappropriate activities: They held kaddish for Hamas members, they have sought to demonize groups such as B’nai Brit. Their most recent stunt had them host Representative Rashida Tlaib for Shabbat dinner. Yes, the very same Representative Tlaib that has accused Jews of dual loyalties and who planned to go to the Middle East on a tour funded and operated by a group that promotes anti-Semitism. This is who these Jews chose to host. And they greeted her with signs of solidarity with Palestine.

Disagreement with Israeli policy is normal and expected. I myself, a proud Zionist, have often criticized Israeli policy. I am also a fervent believer in the 2 State Solution. However, I would never rush to embrace those who hate my fellow Jews. This is an obscene development within our community.

Our history is vast and colourful. There are numerous examples from our past where individuals have stood up against the grain. Spinoza had his grievances with the Jewish establishment, Einstein and Freud had their own disagreements with the community. But they never reacted to their circumstances by siding with those that actively wanted to harm the Jewish people. Spinoza did not host Shabbat dinners for Christian anti-Semites, nor did Einstein hold up posters praising the Nazis. But this is what Jewish groups such as JVP are doing now. And it is dangerous and disgraceful.

I would advise the Jews within these groups to learn the lessons of our sages. Blind hatred for their fellow Jews will bring catastrophe upon all of us. We are a family. Just as you don’t always agree with your own family, so to it is perfectly natural to disagree with the wider Jewish community. But these instances should be met with dialogue and reconciliation, not aggression and malice. It is perfectly fine to debate and challenge Israeli policy, but it should be done with the hope of making Israel a better place. These groups, however, seek to punish and hurt Israel and the Jewish people. Notice how they never have pro-peace signs, nor do they wave Israeli and Palestinian flags side by side. No, they only hold signs and wave banners that demonize Israel. That is not how to make the family better. These groups and their actions will end up breaking the family apart.

Our sages are weeping from their graves.

About the Author
Expat New Yorker living in the Land of the Rising Sun: Trekking to random parts of the globe, debating countless things under the sun, and attempting to learn to cook Korean food.
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