Israel stopped apologizing on October 7 – opinion

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The Jerusalem Post 27.12.2023


Israel stopped apologizing on October 7 – opinion


For years, too many Diaspora Jews  have treated Israel just a tad condescendingly. They cast Israel as the problem child of the Jewish People, too wild, primitive, militaristic, fundamentalist, forever embarrassing their more enlightened, sophisticated liberal Jewish selves. Many of us in the pro-Israel space unconsciously fed the dynamic. “We’re really OK,” we insisted. “We’re Start-up Nation! We save lives with Pillcams! We’re the 4th happiest country!”


It got worse during the Trump years. Israel, not America, was somehow responsible for Trump because we thanked him for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and facilitating the Abraham Accords. Yet, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-Right government emerged, even those of us who hadn’t voted for him, were blamed for him.


Since Hamas’s savagery, with young Israelis dying every day, the accusations, anguish, and apologetics must end. This relationship needs resetting.


Let’s be clear. Israelis feel the love in every solidarity trip, every dollar raised, every tear shed, every meme posted, every prayer uttered, every vigil attended, and every demand made on American leaders to stand up for Israel, for American values, for the West’s future. And the global surge in Jew-hatred appalls us and infuriates us.


We are grateful and know it’s been tough.


But many Israelis keep cringing, too. We wince when a synagogue relocates its Saturday afternoon services, fearing protesters across the street. We squirm when Jewish students avoid Hillel or their kosher dining hall because of some online threat. We blush when Jews – especially young, healthy students – cower at home because some cowards hiding behind their masks launched yet another “Thugs for Palestine” rally.


Grow a spine! You cannot equate the danger Israelis confront in Gaza or on the border facing Hezbollah, when patrolling hostile Palestinian towns, with threats on leafy campuses or at La Cienega Park.


Israelis are tired of American-Jewish handwringing

ISRAELIS SIGH when Jews blame college Jew-hatred on Israel’s actions rather than universities’ inaction  – and the pro-Palestinian movement’s instinctive hooliganism. We groan when liberal Jews ignore the way Illiberal Liberals, feminists, and gay activists keep betraying them. We moan as they still parrot the silly yet noxious language of “inclusivity” and “diversity” – when it excludes Jewish suffering and anyone who dares defend Israel.


We fume when liberal Jews worry that because most conservatives support Israel, there must be something wrong with Israel – rather than wondering where these decolonizing liberals went wrong. As Democratic Sen. John Fetterman insists, progressive anti-Zionism reflects poorly on progressives, not conservatives.


And we just don’t have patience, during this hard, painful war, for all the American Jewish anguish about Israel’s military tactics. Yes, the IDF prefers keeping our kids alive and Israel safe from Hamas, to looking good on CNN.


There are serious moral and strategic dilemmas regarding how to fight back against Hamas’s unspeakable crimes and its vows to repeat them. It’s challenging with Hamas so embedded in Gaza – so popular there, so ubiquitous there, so willing to hide behind Hamospitals, Hamosques, even women and children. Israelis who know how painful it is to bury our young, take no delight in non-combatant casualties.


We all wish the war could be fought like a video game, with no blood, and constant resets. But we just don’t have the bandwidth for self-pitying concerns and remote-control nitpicking from afar, when we need empathy – and action: especially political, financial, and moral support.


Time for some accountability. Anyone who yelled “ceasefire” every other time Israel fought Hamas, should shut up this time. And those who shut up when American bombs killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan – or when Yemen’s Civil War killed 377,000 and Syria’s civil war killed 600,000 – should question why they’re so focused on preventing Israel from defending itself effectively now.


Which side are you on, Diaspora Jews?

ULTIMATELY, Hamas – and the entire Palestinian movement that started cheering the terrorists and jeering us on October 7 – has drawn a clear line in the sand. Every Jew, every Westerner, must decide: which side are you on?


We withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip – they kept screaming it was “occupied,” to keep delegitimizing us. We keep building our liberal-democracy – they hijacked billions sent to help their own people, instead building their totalitarian infrastructure of evil against us. We were attacked – they attacked, breaking the latest cease-fire and the one before that and the one before that.


We were partying, praying, sleeping, eating, just living – and they swooped down on us, killing, beheading, maiming, raping, pillaging, and kidnapping. We don’t target civilians but, like other democracies, sometimes must kill to protect ourselves while keeping the kill-ratio remarkably low, even in this bloody conflict – they target civilians and celebrate their deaths. We provide the enemy with humanitarian aid – they shoot Palestinian kids trying to get some of it.


We lovingly, heartbrokenly, put up posters honoring kidnapped men, women, children, babies, Jews and non-Jews alike, because we value life – they rip those posters down, denying their crimes when they aren’t boasting about them.


We protest peacefully – they bully, harass and vandalize the White House and Lincoln Memorial Plaza , merging anti-Zionism with anti-Americanism, even if The New York Times and The Washington Post didn’t cover it. We protest openly, proudly – they cower behind masks, trying to intimidate while dodging any consequences for behaving so undemocratically. And we call Joe Biden “Mr. President” – they call him “Genocide Joe.”


No, we’re not perfect. But the moral choice is clear. We in Israel, Left and Right, fight proudly together, without kowtowing or breast-beating; affirming life, even in these days haunted with death.


Join us.


A Distinguished Scholar in North American History at McGill University currently living in Jerusalem, Gil Troy is an award-winning American presidential historian and a leading Zionist activist. He is, most recently, the editor of the new three-volume set, “Theodor Herzl: Zionist Writings,” the inaugural publication of The Library of the Jewish People ( www.theljp.org )  . Two years ago he co-authored with Natan Sharansky Never Alone: Prison, Politics and  My People,  was published by PublicAffairs of Hachette. Recently designated one of Algemeiner’s J-100, one of the top 100 people “positively influencing Jewish life,” Gil Troy is the author of  The Zionist Ideas , an update and expansion of Arthur Hertzberg’s classic anthology The Zionist Idea, published by the Jewish Publication Society and a 2019 National Jewish Book Award Finalist. 




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