OpinionIsrael at War

Liberal and progressive Jews, take a stand

This is your moment to be brave in the face of hatred.

A pro-Israel rally outside the Qatari embassy in London on Oct. 29, 2023. Credit: JNS.
A pro-Israel rally outside the Qatari embassy in London on Oct. 29, 2023. Credit: JNS.
Clifford Sobin
Clifford Sobin is the author of Israel’s Struggle with Hezbollah: A War Without End.

Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah can conquer Israel. However, their propaganda and use of well-meaning but divisive voices might destroy Israel if all Jews don’t take a stand.

In this information war, liberal and progressive Jews in America are on the frontlines. They often receive vitriolic messages criticizing Israel from those they associate with. Some find this exhausting, difficult to navigate and too risky to confront.

Even so, most of these Jews understand that Hamas is evil. They know that butchering mothers, decapitating babies, kidnapping, slaughter, rape and torture are monstrous and inexcusable. Nonetheless, too many remain silent.

This must change. Israel’s survival and that of Jews worldwide requires all of us—right, left and center—to speak in one voice without reservation.

Excusing and ignoring Hamas, or denying its depravity, encourages more antisemitism everywhere. If that antisemitism isn’t vigorously confronted, it will overwhelm us; even in America, where Jews have lived until now in comparative safety.

That is why this is your moment, liberal and progressive Jews. You can make a difference on behalf of Israel, which is encircled by powerful forces that are empowered by our division. You can also make a difference on behalf of Jews everywhere. You must stand with all other Jews and our supporters and assert that those engaging in antisemitism in any form—whether on college campuses, in the streets, on social media or in person—will not be tolerated. Instead, they will be shamed and scorned.

Do you doubt that Jews in America are in danger?

If so, ask yourself why some leftists express greater outrage at Israel’s response to Hamas’s butchery than at the butchery itself. Why are Hamas supporters on college campuses emboldened and Jewish students fearful? Why does the left castigate Israel while it ignores Hamas’ systemic violation of women’s rights, persecution of the LGBTQ community and violent denial of democracy?

There is only one answer: antisemitism.

Why do many on the left deny these unassailable facts: Hamas never has nor ever will support a two-state solution. Hamas has routinely fired rockets at Israel’s civilian population, tunneled into Israel to kidnap and kill, and diverted resources from Gaza’s inhabitants to its terrorist efforts. Hamas implemented an educational system that perpetuates hatred for Israel and all Jews. Hamas has only agreed to ceasefires so that it could increase its deadly capabilities.

There can be no reconciliation with such murderous fanatics. There can be no deal with an entity that, like ISIS, care nothing for its people and everything for sharia law—whatever the cost to non-Muslims.

There is no middle ground.

Once this war for survival is over, feel free to criticize Israel’s political leaders and their plans regarding a two-state solution, judicial reform and the status of religion, if you wish.

But not now. Not when Israel’s survival and Jewish survival worldwide is at stake. Not when that criticism creates division.

Instead, let Israel do its job. Give it the time and space it needs to rid the region of Hamas. If Hamas is not eviscerated, it will again metastasize in Gaza and massacre Israelis. It will galvanize the efforts of Iran and its proxies to destroy Israel.

Unfortunately, one of the consequences of Israel’s war to survive is that civilians in Gaza, despite the IDF’s best efforts, will die. But they will not die because of Israel. They will die because of Hamas’s cowardly tactic of hiding behind and under its own people in order to use their tragic deaths as weapons in the information war. 

Don’t be fooled: Hamas is the sole violator of the laws of war. Those laws do not require Israel to leave military targets alone. They do require Hamas not to use noncombatants as shields. Destroying military targets is permitted even if civilian casualties are foreseeable, so long as the target’s military value justifies it. Because there are no other options, especially not a ceasefire that would only aid Hamas, the IDF has no choice. It must destroy these targets or lose the war. Unless, of course, Hamas were to surrender.

So, liberals and progressives, take a stand. This noble and necessary cause is your defining moment. We need you. Evil unchecked only becomes more deadly. If appeased, it only gets hungrier. Waiting is not an option, lest we be powerless when they come for us. You must be soldiers in the ongoing information war.

This is your defining moment.

If ever you wanted to make a difference to ensure the survival of your people, so that in decades to come you will look back with pride rather than regret, then overcome your emotional fatigue, fears and valid concerns that some of your trusted relationships may be imperiled. Be courageous amid the growing storm. You have communicative strengths. This is your moment to use them.

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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