Simon Hardy Butler
Simon Hardy Butler

What If Israel Did Nothing?

Do you remember the Gulf War, when Israel was asked not to retaliate against the Scud missiles lobbed at it by Saddam Hussein’s regime?

What if Israel continued to do nothing in response to all threats?

I wonder: Do you think it will minimize anti-Semitism around the world? Will it make bigots hate Jews less?

What if Israel stayed put in the face of rockets launched by Hamas toward civilians? Do you think it will make the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions crew less anti-Semitic?

What if Israel didn’t condemn the monstrous murders in Syria committed by Bashar al-Assad? Do you think that would make the intolerant more anti-Semitic?

What if Israel didn’t survive the nearly catastrophic Yom Kippur war and was overrun by its enemies? Do you think that would make those who hate Jews less anti-Semitic?

What if Israel hadn’t been born at all but remained a blur in the mind of Theodor Herzl, never to bear fruit? Do you think that would have made folks who despise me and all other adherents to my faith less anti-Semitic?

And what if the Holocaust never happened? Would there be no anti-Semites in the world today?

The answer to all of these questions is no. There will always be anti-Semites on Earth, just as there will always be threats to our existence. The way to counter them: action … the right kind of action.

I’m talking about conversation. Discussion. Meetings. Dialogue.

Violence doesn’t do crap. Israel has the right to defend itself, but it also has other options. It has speakers. It has educators.

All must group together and take their words to the next level.

We know that anti-Semitism is an amorphous blob. It’s certainly possible to monitor the number of anti-Semitic occurrences in areas where they can be reported, yet people can’t be made “more anti-Semitic” if they already are anti-Semitic. Once you’ve decided you’re gonna hate Jews, that’s it—you’re prejudiced. You can’t go any further. A person can’t hate my culture just a little bit. You’re already over the edge when you make that simple choice.

So Israel — and the Jewish people — can’t just do nothing. Something must be achieved, whether it’s taking in refugees or providing medical aid to wounded Syrians or establishing talks with the Palestinian leadership … talks that both sides need to engage in with the idea of making compromises. Because inaction is failure. Inaction is a dud. Taking steps to work things out is always a righteous move.

I believe Israel can do that. Will it make people less anti-Semitic?

Perhaps not. Though it might make us better humans. That should always be a goal — no matter what — of all we do.

I’m inclined to believe it’s possible … as long as we don’t just stand there.

And do nothing.

About the Author
Simon Hardy Butler is a writer and editor living in New York City. He has written for publications ranging from Zagat to Adweek and has interviewed innumerable people—including two Auschwitz survivors whose story may be heard at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website. His views and opinions are his own.
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