We are not OK

“How are you?”

It’s a simple question that we get asked daily by friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.

How are we? How could we be? How could any Jewish person paying attention to what is happening be?

(And if you haven’t been paying attention, here is a small sample of events that took place in the past couple weeks:

In Amsterdam, they had to cover Anne Frank’s statue to protect it from vandalism. In Copenhagen, a monument commemorating the rescue of Danish Jews was vandalized. In Auschwitz, where 1.1 million Jews had been murdered by the Nazis, there was a pro-Palestinian protest on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

At universities across the West, encampments barred Jews from parts of campus, as pro-Hamas protesters shouted: “Globalize the Intifada”, “Rape is resistance”, “[Jews] go back to Poland”, “Tell these Zionist pigs: we don’t need ‘em, need ‘em”. At Columbia University, one student called for Zionists to be killed, and despite being temporarily banned from campus, he has yet to be expelled for this violent rhetoric. And to anyone paying attention, it is clear that by “Zionists”, most of these protesters mean “Jews”: for instance, at Florida International University, a student questioned why there isn’t more protection for “anti-Jewish” students, and Students for Justice in Palestine called for a boycott of Hillel and other Jewish student organizations.

In Egypt, a Jewish businessman was murdered, not for anything he did, but just for being Jewish. A pro-Hamas mob tried to forcefully enter an Israeli-owned hotel in Greece; thankfully, police arrived in time and there were no casualties. In Sweden, thousands of protesters, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, demonstrated against Israel’s participation in Eurovision – a song contest where Israel is represented by 20 year old Eden Golan. In Canada, a school board declared that the Star of David is too offensive to represent Judaism because it’s also a symbol of Israel, although they changed their decision after a public outcry.

And the worst part, of course, was the fact that several Israeli soldiers have been killed in the past week, and that 132 hostages still remain in the hands of Hamas.

So how could any of us be?

Angry. Devastated. Exhausted. Betrayed. Disgusted. In disbelief. Unable to sleep or function normally.

We are not ok.

About the Author
Eugene Brusilovskiy is a researcher and data scientist based in Philadelphia, PA, with a passion for Israel and Jewish life.
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