Hamas cannot conquer Israel. Nor can Hezbollah. But they can destroy Israel. Not with rockets and soldiers that alone would do grievous harm—but with words, images, and video designed to weaken our support in Israel’s time of need—if together we fail to take a stand. We are six million Jews strong in the United States blessed with countless supporters willing to lend a hand. Let’s not allow Israel’s enemies to use their messaging to divide us nor permit well-meaning voices to distract us.
In this information war, liberal and progressive Jews in America are on the frontlines. Any who count yourselves among them I am sure have been assailed by friends, colleagues, and groups they associate with—through social media posts, direct interaction, and other encounters—to question or oppose Israel’s actions post-October 7. Some of that messaging is vitriolic, some emotional, and some intellectual. And many of those communications contain similar themes—such as Israel bringing this slaughter of its civilians on itself because of its treatment of Palestinians, comparisons to those now suffering in Gaza, purported Israeli war crimes, etc. It is all difficult to navigate and both exhausting and feeling risky to counter. That creates a desire to avoid rather than confront. I get it.
But deep down most Jewish-Americans, Jewish liberals, and progressives too, understand that what Hamas planned and accomplished is not reconcilable and not excusable and must not be ignored. Butchering mothers and decapitating babies were the undertakings of unvarnished evil. Premeditated kidnap and slaughter, along with rape and torture, were the ultimate heinous acts. Nor do we all know that it is not the first time Jews have suffered such. Nor will it be the last unless together we take a stand.
That stand requires that we speak as one. All of us—right, left, and center—progressives and conservatives alike. Together we must unconditionally and without reservation condemn Hamas and all others that hunt Jews for their faith and heritage. For if together we do not, not only will Israel’s survival be imperiled, but also the survival of Jews in America and worldwide.
Because to ignore or deny the depravity of Hamas on October 7, to twist ourselves to find explanations or excuses for Hamas’s written plan which in the long term is the destruction of Jewry worldwide and in the short term not a two-state solution but instead an Islamic State that would supplant Israel, is a recipe for our destruction. Hamas’ plan, as it would play out, will enhance the growth of antisemitism here and abroad. And if the antisemitism that is now on the march because of that plan’s progress is not vigorously confronted, it will overwhelm us in America. Unchecked hatred of Jews always has and always will endanger us unless we together take a stand on behalf of Jews in the diaspora and the State of Israel.
I know this is where it gets hard. We have had the privilege to live in the United States of America, the most tolerant society for Jews since ancient Israel two millennia ago and Israel today. But now, an old scourge that once seemed so far away from our safe home in America is edging closer. And an Israel that many once felt safe to criticize for its policies without imperiling its existence now lays fragile, once again encircled from all directions by powerful forces motivated by hatred empowered by our division.
That is why this is your moment. This is the moment, no matter how hard it will be, that you have an opportunity to make a difference and are desperately needed to do so: to come to Israel in its time of need; to save our people; the future for our children; and to preserve this moment in time in this cherished land where Judaism can thrive rather than suffer at the hands of our haters. It is the moment for liberal and progressive Jews to take a stand with all other Jews and all likeminded of other faiths that antisemitism in whatever form—whether on college campuses, on the streets of our cities, on social media, in the groups and with the people we associate with, and all else—will not be tolerated by us. Nor can we sit idly by in an environment where haters feel free to scrawl antisemitic slogans on schools and other public places. Nor should imposters who espouse concern for suffering be left free of scorn when they hypocritically tear down posters with pictures of those Jews that Hamas kidnapped. We must brand them what they are—haters of Jews—no different than the antisemites that have assailed us through the ages.
This is also our moment to take a clear unequivocal stand against the chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” shouted by leftists who supposedly value human life. Those devotees that voice those words know what they are chanting. They know that October 7 was but a precursor for what would come should the river to the sea adherents fulfill their dreams—one-by-one intimate murders: one-by-one snuffing of life and dignity. Not even in mass, but one by one at the hands of not just a depraved few but, as on October 7, thousands driven by their bloodthirst.
Why do we need to take a stand? Why do all those on the left, Jews and non-Jews alike, urgently need to do so?
Because together, speaking in one voice, we are strong, but divided and nuanced we are weak. Our internal divisions in this time of war, justified as they may be, are used by our enemies to magnify Israel’s hatred which morphs into Jew hatred, which endangers all Jews in America. Endangers us at the hands of enemies on both the left and the right.
Don’t believe me?
Then why is it that parts of the left have greater outrage for Israel’s response to Hamas’ butchery than to the deaths of 1,400 Jews felled by fire, knife, and bullet? Why is it that supporters of Hamas on college campuses feel no fear but Jewish students fear for their safety? Why is it that the left focuses on castigating Israel, the state most concerned with preserving individual liberties in the Middle East despite all of Israel’s conundrums and threats to its wellbeing, while at the same time, the left ignores the status of women who face widespread discrimination and restrictions at the hands of Hamas in Gaza, stays silent about Hamas’ persecution of the LGBTQ+ community, and does not speak out Hamas’ violent persecution of dissent let alone denial of democracy? For this willful double standard of monumental proportions, there is only one answer—antisemitism. For so many on the left to articulate justification for Hamas’ acts or to blame Israel for them there is only one answer—antisemitism.
All these failures of the left are in the face of facts that are clear. Hamas never has and never will support a two-state solution. It calls all of Israel “occupied.” After the Oslo peace process accords, Hamas tried to snuff out that harbinger of hope with a deadly suicide bombing campaign that killed and wounded many in Israel. Those bombings were intended to derail the peace process, not enhance it. After becoming the sole governing body in Gaza, two years after Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 to allow Palestinians to govern themselves there, Hamas indiscriminately routinely fired rockets at Israel’s civilian population. It also tunneled into Israeli territory to kidnap and kill. Hamas diverted supplies, food, and building materials from the people of Gaza to support its terrorist efforts against Israel—and still does so to this day. Meanwhile, it created an educational system designed to perpetuate hatred for Israel. Never, I repeat never, has Hamas ever professed a desire for lasting peace. Rather, it only embraced ceasefires following its wanton attacks so that it could grow stronger. This has been the pattern for almost two decades.
But now no more.
There can be no reconciliation with such murderous intent. No deal with an entity that cares so little for its own people but so much for its Sharia ideology. No negotiation can start with one side bargaining for its survival and the other insisting on extermination. There is no middle ground with a depraved entity that for all practical purposes is no different than ISIS or Al-Qaeda. That is something we in the Western world have a hard time understanding. But there is no wishing or hoping or incentivizing that basic ideological fact away. Ever.
And there is not a middle ground here in the United States.
There will be a time if you want to question the motives of the present Israeli government’s political leaders and their path forward regarding a two-state solution but even then, question equally whether there is a partner to negotiate with. There will be a time to raise your voice should you be opposed to judicial reform, but there also is a need to inform yourself of all the issues both pro and con. There will be a time to question religious restrictions within Israel should you wish to do so, but then be sensitive to all views and sensitivities not just your own. There will be a time for all of us to weigh in on a myriad of issues that might concern us, including the failures that permitted the October 7 nightmare to happen. And I encourage you to do so, if you desire, in a reasoned and informed manner.
But not now. Not when Israel’s survival is at stake. Not when our safety in America is at risk.
Today, there is no reconciliation with Hamas’ apologists that does not imperil Jews. Imperil us from the far left and let’s not forget the far right, who are waiting in the winds to strike—enjoying the growth of their Nazi-like power that is unchecked not only due to the turmoil in our politics in America but also due to our collective failure together to take a vigorous stand against antisemitism wherever it may be.
So, I ask all American Jews, especially the young, the third-generation Holocaust survivors, along with those of all faiths, no matter your age, to together take a stand. This is the defining moment for your generation. It is a noble cause and a necessary one. And it is a fight that is even more yours than mine because you have a longer life to live.
But if you refrain from engaging, if you are silent now, when will you not be? They that fail to unequivocally castigate Hamas today and fail to rail loud and hard against any “on the other hand” sentiment, when so many died at the hands of Hamas’ minions, may find it one day soon too late and themselves too powerless and hesitant to lean against Jew-hatred and to weigh in to ensure a haven in our country for generations to come. That is the lesson of history. Evil unchecked grows. Evil not eviscerated spreads. And the more evil is appeased, the more it faces equivocation rather than resolve, the hungrier it gets.
Israel will try to do its part. A part that will benefit all of humanity by freeing the world of the homicidal intolerance of Hamas and thereby weakening other purveyors of hatred. But we must give Israel the time and space to do so. Like cancer, if Hamas is not rooted out in its entirety it will metastasize in Gaza and its continued existence will galvanize the efforts of Iran and its proxies to further their stated goal of destroying Israel, and in that process, they collectively will take a giant step towards fulfilling one of Hamas’ core tenants, killing and vilifying Jews everywhere.
Unfortunately, however, one of the consequences of a war no matter how justified, is death. Civilians in Gaza, despite Israel’s best efforts, will die. Not in the numbers Hamas’ medical and other institutions will claim, but certainly in numbers that all wishes would not be. But they will not die because of Israeli intent. They will die because of Hamas’ strategy and cowardice. Strategy because Hamas wants those deaths in high numbers and in as tragic a manner as possible to influence world opinion. Cowardice, because unlike armies that try to protect civilians, Hamas hides behind and under its people. That is why Hamas has impeded the movement of the civilian population south.
So don’t be tricked by pompous, biased statements castigating Israel for violating the laws of war. The violator was and remains Hamas who intentionally targets the innocent. Those that do not say that should be isolated and vilified.
Israel’s goal to wipe out the threat of Hamas forever does not violate the laws of war. It is justifiable self-defense after suffering a heinous attack that could be repeated. Nor do those laws require ignoring a military target. They only refer to the military value of the target versus the threat to civilians. Destroying those targets does not require forbearance even if civilian casualties are foreseeable if their military value justifies their destruction. In the case of Gaza, wherever Hamas places its defenses, its command structures, its missile launchers, and the like—it is an important military target. Important for the defense of Israel’s citizenry and important to save the lives of Israel’s soldiers who will have to root around the rubble and hide holes and rabbit warren of tunnels to seek out the enemy—those IDF soldiers are children of mothers and fathers worried sick that their sons or daughter will meet their maker in defense of their nation. Isn’t their blood important too? Isn’t it the responsibility of the IDF to reduce the number of casualties it incurs? Especially, because there are no other options—not a ceasefire that will only allow Hamas to rest and reform, not a negotiation that will never bear fruit with depraved murderers intent on creating an Islamic State in all of Israel, and not a miracle—except perhaps for one—Hamas could surrender. But it will not. Because it does not care about the people it governs.
But we too must be soldiers in this war. Not by engaging in the violence that young IDF soldiers will endure. But in the information war that now envelops us.
This is your defining moment. I understand your emotional fatigue. I recognize your fears. I am cognizant of your treasured relationships that may be imperiled. To a lesser or greater degree, I too have been assailed by those same concerns.
But if ever you wanted to make a difference to ensure the survival of your people. If ever you wanted to be a shining light of courage amid a growing storm. If ever you wanted to preserve your ability to look back in decades to come with pride rather than regret, now is your moment. Use your strengths, whether on social media or in quiet moments of earnest discussion, whether by participating in demonstrations or by providing monetary support, whether by passing my plea to others through social media or by speaking out when confronted. Or by whatever means you choose. Stay informed, stay impactful, stay united.
Together, take a stand on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.
This is your moment.
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