OpinionIsrael at War

Apology to the dead

The world’s failures led to the carnage of Oct. 7.

Family and friends attend the funeral of Gabriel Barel, who was murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Nova music festival on Oct. 7, in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat, on Oct. 16, 2023. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.
Family and friends attend the funeral of Gabriel Barel, who was murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Nova music festival on Oct. 7, in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat, on Oct. 16, 2023. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.
Alan Newman
Alan Newman is the author of the novel Good Heart and a pro-Israel advocate who holds leadership positions at AIPAC, StandWithUs and other organizations.

An Israeli mental-health professional shared with a small group of visiting Americans how the remains of those who were savagely murdered on Oct. 7 were lovingly handled. Breathing slowly, she described how ZAKA, the volunteer organization that handles victim identification after disasters and terrorist attacks, diligently goes about collecting body parts, and then arranges refrigerated transportation and ritual observances for the dead. She humbly said that when a deceased person was inappropriately handled, maybe bumped, the worker would “apologize to the dead.”

We must face the truth about who bears the guilt for all this carnage and pain. When Hamas terrorists launch thousands of rockets, engineer hundreds of miles of high-tech tunnels and fire bullets from an automatic weapon, know their patron is Iran. Back in 2015, after much debate, the Obama administration had its way in signing the Iran nuclear deal. Besides giving Iran a pathway to a nuclear weapon, the deal also handed the terrorist regime over $150 billion. That paid for a lot of firepower and a lot of it went to Hamas.

More recently, the Biden administration lifted the oil-export sanctions put into place by the Trump administration, and more billions flowed into Iran. The $10 billion ransom paid by U.S. President Joe Biden for nine hostages held in Iran, despite flimsy Iranian assurances of using the money for peaceful purposes, was a nice payday for the Iranians and their terror proxies Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis. To gauge the enormity of the monies involved, consider that since Oct. 7, the entire Jewish Federation system has raised $750 million for its emergency fund. It’s wonderful, but only a fraction of the blood money that Iran received.

Who should apologize for enabling Iran to fund its murderous agents? Which congresspeople voted for the Iran deal? Who voted for the politicians who didn’t see the obvious danger? Which Jewish organizations equivocated on condemning the deal for fear of offending donors and board members? What issues were considered more important than safeguarding Israel and keeping Americans out of harm’s way?

Ponder also how Israel’s enemies were emboldened by woke/intersectional agendas that demonized Israel as one of the progressives’ “oppressors.” The wildly hypocritical pro-Hamas, pro-terrorism, antisemitic demonstrations accusing Israel of genocide must have signaled to Teheran that support for Israel in the West is becoming controversial. Who were the individuals and organizations sucked into this virtue-signaling pact with the devil? Was the need to be politically correct too tempting? Was there no will to resist the progressive promotion of “safe spaces” barred to Jews? Let’s hope they all apologize for the aid and comfort they provided our enemies.

Academia sits upon the throne of anti-Israel, antisemitic doctrine and the media grovels at its feet. Jewish applicants and donors hypnotized by the Ivy League’s promise of success have sadly helped the left and terror-supporting states like Qatar to advance radical antisemitic bias, eroding support for Israel and elevating the Palestinian narrative. Apologies are due from the parents and philanthropists who chose so poorly.

Did Jewish organizations forget the Jews’ own history of oppression? Did they fail to arm Jewish children with the facts about Israel? Did they fail to instill in Jewish youth the confidence to defend themselves in the face of the haters? Did a “cult of assimilation” cause Jewish organizations to fruitlessly curry acceptance from other groups instead of firmly standing by Israel and the principles of Judaism? Did politics become a replacement for religion? Unwise leaders should apologize for their shortsightedness.

After an honest reexamination of our past actions and their ramifications, we should appoint only thoughtful, committed people to be our leaders, and contribute only to righteous causes.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” Instead of an excuse, let’s hope a fearless moral inventory will turn error into wise investments.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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