They’re not bad people, just horribly misguided

Last week, Jewish News published seven opinion pieces and articles dealing with the disgraceful acts of 50 or so people from our community saying Kaddish for Hamas terrorists.

Most of the articles either defended the event or simply wrongly focused on the fact that some people had reacted to the repugnant scenes with personal attacks and hate speech.

I absolutely condemn attacks on individuals and vile language, but in nearly all of the comments I saw from a wide section of people there was anger, there was rage, there was disbelief – but most of it was absolutely called for and was not in any way hate speech.

I watched the recording of the Kaddish again last week and thought I had heard it all, but another snippet was released a few days ago. It began with the following:

“Reading the testimonies of my ancestors trapped in the ghettos of Europe looking at the sky with fear, seeing only walls and hostile soldiers on the horizon, dependant on their captors for food, water and medical supplies – I cannot help but also think of Gaza.”

Comparing six million Jews who were killed in the Shoah with the Palestinians in Gaza and equating the IDF with the Nazis is not anti-Zionism – it is anti-Semitism at its most vile.

Yet people are surprised we did not just smile and move on.

Following the event, the people who attended wrote blogs, not to apologise to the community but to stress how right they were.

One of those people, who is leading tour for one of the Zionist youth movements this summer, wrote: “Who these people were – or what group they were affiliated to – is an insignificant issue compared to the reality of their murder.”

Young Jews in London hold a Kaddish for Gaza

There is so much wrong and offensive about that statement, I do not know where to begin.

To her the fact that they are murderous terrorists with a genocidal mission against Jewish people is insignificant. I wonder what she would say about the Allied forces who defeated Nazi Germany – murderers all of them!

It’s true that our sages instructed us to not overly celebrate when our enemies die, but we also do not mourn their deaths. All humans are created B’tselem Elokim (in the image of God).

However, it is our obligation as Jews to retain moral clarity. As it says in the Midrash: “Those who are kind to the cruel will end up being cruel to the kind.”

We must be very clear that the attendants are not bad people.

They are horrendously misguided and have been poisoned against Israel by an incessant campaign of hate against it from the left, which has made its way in to some of the Zionist movements and is now being taught to our young people.

The issue is that the people at this event were not on the fringe of the community. They are the leaders of some of our Zionist youth movements and are the people responsible for teaching our children about Israel.

What hope do we have when this is the education they will receive this summer?

We must have our red lines.

People have to realise that unless there are dramatic changes in some of our Zionist education, we have to question the funding from within the community for these organisations.

We do not tolerate extremism such as Neturei Karta.

Why should we tolerate it here?

As the anti-Israel voices on the left grow ever louder, we need to make sure that we are educating our young people about the wonder that is the State of Israel.

That is something Mizrachi UK is attempting to achieve across the community.

Of course Israel is not perfect, but as one non-Jew on YouTube said: “Israel is “a light unto the nations; an oasis of civilisation in the midst of a desert of savagery; a powerful lighthouse in the darkest corner on earth.”

Now that’s a lesson worth teaching.

 

About the Author
Rabbi Andrew Shaw is CEO of Mizrachi UK
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