We as a people have abdicated our responsibility to protect ourselves, to educate our children, to live in reality and not in a fantasy. We failed to understand the difference between reality and naivety.
For the last 30 years we have believed that our position in the world was so secure that we have the ability to fight for other people’s causes and not worry about our own. We convinced ourselves that Israel was so strong that we didn’t have to defend it, advocate for it or worry about it. We threatened Israel that we would withdraw our support from it if the country didn’t “get in line with our values”. We believed that the Jewish people were so secure that we could teach our children to be highly critical of Israel. We deluded ourselves into believing that Israel didn’t need us and that the Jewish people didn’t need Israel. We convinced ourselves that certain social issues like abortion, immigration, gay rights, social justice or Islamophobia were more important to us than the future security of Israel and the Jewish community.
It has become glaringly true that what happens in Israel affects the rest of the Jewish world. We deluded ourselves into believing that advocating for Muslim immigration from countries that export terrorism would be no threat to us. But we failed to realize that most of the immigrants coming from these Muslim countries have been taught since they were babies that the Jews are the sons of apes and pigs.
We allowed ourselves to become fragmented. We told ourselves that Tikkun Olam is the most important thing above and beyond our own security. We told ourselves that supporting the Democratic Socialists of America and being Bernie Sanders supporters was okay despite their positions on Israel. We told ourselves it wasn’t a big deal that Linda Sarsour was one of the heads of the Women’s March.
Even though we are in fact among the most persecuted peoples in the world, we didn’t think it was a problem that we were included on the list of privileged oppressors instead of among the oppressed. We were told that we didn’t really have a position in the hierarchy of Identity politics because we were white. And we accepted it. We weren’t able to recognize the difference between an enemy and a friend.
We were so confident in our personal security, physically, emotionally, practically and professionally that we took on the causes of others and ignored our needs. The events of October 7 and the aftermath have demonstrated to many, but not to all, that we were wrong.
It is true that we must move forward, but we must also look back and understand the mistakes that we made, take responsibility, and be brave enough to realize where we went wrong. Because to properly move forward, we must understand how we got here. We must take back the narrative, educate our children, and teach our flock in the synagogues. The Jewish people currently have a tremendous amount of power, both personally and collectively, and we must choose to use it. We must not ignore the reality that we have enemies, real enemies, here in America and of course in Europe, and we must identify them. Yes we must build bridges, but effective bridges, strong bridges, bridges that we can come to rely on. Not bridges which will crumble the moment there’s any pressure applied. These are hard truths, but they’re not hard to understand, now. We are at an inflection point, This is the moment we choose to live and thrive or we choose to stagnate and die. We have a choice, it is still in our power, but if we do not recognize this reality and act now that window will fade. And we will be all left alone to deal with the fear and the unknown. Unless we all want to become conversos, then we must act…the time is NOW.