(January 1, 2020 / JNS) It’s 2020, and anti-Semitic attacks are building up, not just in Europe but in the good old US of A. The responses are as to be expected. Outrage, fear, blame, calling on politicians/police/educators/religious leaders etc. to do something. More security in front of institutions. Comparisons to 1938. Calls from my fellow Israelis for Jews to make aliyah.
My simple take: This isn’t going to end. There’s no way to stop every racist or terrorist or unbalanced hater, and the evil genie is out of the bottle and growing stronger by the day as built-up resentments and ignorance multiply. But I’m not going to join the call for mass immigration to Israel. (That’s right, Mrs. Blue and White who lives and breathes Israel and feels physically ill when I’m away for longer than two weeks.)
Why? Well, Israel is a fabulous country. You don’t want to live here? Fine. Don’t. I’m definitely not begging anyone to come, and not only because the traffic is bad enough as it is. You all know which is the only country that will open doors to Jews in crisis. Those of you who say prayers and grace after meals and read the Torah are managing your dissonance and in some cases even hypocrisy quite well. Many Jews stop over occasionally, some never, some more than others. It’s not for everyone, and that’s cool. I get it.
So let’s leave the Jews out of this. The writing has been spray-painted on the wall; if you can’t see it I ain’t gonna be the one to take your rose-colored glasses off.
Instead, let’s focus on this as a global test. That’s right, call it a “Challenge for Humanity.”
The only way this will stop is if ordinary, everyday people stop it.
Sorry to take the attention off of us, dear coreligionists, but this is really not about Jews. What starts with us never ends with us. Cracks in the fabric of civilizations find us first because we stand out—but they quickly swallow everyone in sight.
So this is an opportunity for the Do Over. For every Never Againer, Tsk Tsker, average Joe who learned about the Holocaust, Inquisition, Crusades, pogroms and blood libels and said that they’d never have let that happen and where were all the good guys?
The good guys were averting their gaze, crossing the street, closing the shades, ignoring the screams, afraid to stand up, excusing the behavior. In short, collaborating by doing nothing, or not enough.
So here we go again.
We don’t need the Jewish Defense League. We need the Humanity Defense League.
Blacks, Hispanics, gays, Catholics, atheists, Protestants, Muslims, feminists and all members of the “victim of the month clubs” need to get out there and stop this. Physically.
Not for my sake. I’m home, where Jews know how to fight back. We may bleed, but we don’t lie down. We have a Jewish army. For your own sake. Because when the canary in the coal mine goes legs up it means the air is poisoned, not that the canary had the flu.
So does this round end the same way?
I’m waiting to find out.
Eve Harow is director of tourism at One Israel Fund. She served for more than a decade as a councilwoman in Efrat.
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