I am certain that I am not the only person who left Sunday’s Solidarity Rally for Israel with a profound sense of unease. While I was not greeted with boos and jeers, like Peace Now’s David Pine (my speech elicited more confusion: “Wait, she’s a rabbi. Isn’t she on our side? What does she mean, ‘We can do better’?”), I was devastated by what I can only understand to be a tragic narrowing of the American Jewish heart and mind.
…Wouldn’t it have been heartening if the Jewish community’s message to the world after the flotilla had been: “What a painful and tragic event. We know that we will never have peace until we can mourn one another’s losses. We affirm Israel’s right to defend itself, but we also realize that the status quo is untenable and pray that the world, rather than delegitimize us, will join hands with us and work to achieve a lasting peace.”
Instead, we only proved that we could match their heartlessness and their narrow-mindedness with our own.
I write almost nothing about my own thoughts on politics and Israel. I leave that to people who know more than me. But this essay by Rabbi Sharon Brous arouses me to write.
Here’s an analogy that comes to mind. A group of terrorists say you Jews have no right to live in this neighborhood. To prove it, they’re going to walk all over your property next Tuesday night. You have good reason to believe that they will bring weapons as their peers have tried to kill you before. When they arrive on Tuesday night, you are armed. You warn them that you will stop them by any means necessary from trespassing on your property. They trespass anyway and begin to lynch your family. In response, you kill nine of them.
Rabbi Brous writes about “a tragic narrowing of the American Jewish heart and mind.”
I can’t think of any Jewish leader who’s announced pride in the killing of the nine Turkey-backed activists. What Jews and Christians who care about Israel have united on is their stand against the worldwide condemnation of Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself.
I didn’t hear anyone at the parade on Sunday say they thought the killings of the nine Muslim activists were great. What I picked up from the crowd and the speakers was that Israel has a right to defend itself, even when it sometimes acts in a clumsy way.
Rabbi Sharon Brous can name no examples of placards or speakers on Sunday glorifying in the killing of the nine Muslims.
I don’t know why anyone should mourn the deaths of nine supporters of terrorism who were lynching Israeli soldiers. I don’t see their deaths as tragic. They were lynching. The only way to stop such people is by killing them.
This prayer that the world will join hands with Jews to create peace is naive and silly. I sometimes pray that hot young chicks will join hands with me and help me achieve lasting peace but it ain’t ever gonna happen.
Rabbi Sharon Brous’s showy compassion — oh look at how exquisite my feelings are compared to my fellow rabbis, I feel so bad about the deaths of nine terrorists and I’m going to bewail that other Jews aren’t as delicate as I am about this, look at how brave I’m being, I’m criticizing my own and empathizing with the mothers of the dead terrorists — reminds me of the director of Waltz With Bashir, Ari Folman.
I liked the movie as a movie but it was morally obtuse. It gave no context for Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It only focused on Israelis not doing enough to stop the goyim killing goyim. It mostly wanted to show off the sensibilities of the leftists producing the movie.
If Sharon Brous and Ari Folman had been alive two millenia ago, they probably would’ve decried a lack of Jewish sensitivity to the crucifixion of Jesus. They would probably have said something like this: “…Wouldn’t it have been heartening if the Jewish community’s message to the world after the Crucifixion had been: ‘What a painful and tragic event. We know that we will never have peace until we can mourn one another’s losses. We affirm Israel’s right to defend itself, but we also realize that the status quo is untenable and pray that the world, rather than delegitimize us, will join hands with us and work to achieve a lasting peace.'”