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OpinionIsrael at War

The folly of ceasefire

Soon after Israel began its counteroffensive, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. It declined to make any statement condemning Hamas.

Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protesters gather in front of the Colorado Convention Center, the site of the opening plenary of the Jewish National Fund-USA annual conference, Nov. 30, 2023. Photo by Carin M. Smilk.
Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protesters gather in front of the Colorado Convention Center, the site of the opening plenary of the Jewish National Fund-USA annual conference, Nov. 30, 2023. Photo by Carin M. Smilk.
Thane Rosenbaum. Photo by Bruce Gilbert
Thane Rosenbaum
Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro University, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. His most recent book is titled “Saving Free Speech ... From Itself.”

In the clamor for a ceasefire in Gaza, there sure is a lot of ceasing on demand. A multitude of ultimatums, public outcries and violent actions during protests that require arrest.

Nothing is too sacred to disrupt: “Gas the Jews!” abhorrently shouted at the Sydney Opera House; Armistice Day in the United Kingdom overrun with mobs of antisemites parading through Central London; the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center enflamed by un-peaceful protests reminiscent of the Dark Ages.

This worldwide onslaught, undertaken mostly by Muslims and their “progressive” acolytes (and useful idiots: See Susan Sarandon), carried signs and chanted slogans calling for the end of a variety of Israeli cruelties: “occupation,” “apartheid,” “genocide,” “blockade” and “open air prison.” That’s a lot of ceasing, but it can be distilled to a single objective, what’s truly motivating the protestors: “Cease Jews!”

There is madness and nihilism among us—infecting minds, poisoning hearts, revealing truths. We have given radical Muslims license to forcibly hijack our streets and call for the death of Jews—wherever they may be found. The irony, of course, is that with each of these grotesque hate-fests, Jew haters are making the case for a Jewish homeland, for why the existence of Israel has, aside from the Holocaust, never before been this essential.

Such a marked contrast from the somber assemblies that Jews undertake in support of Israel. No hoarse shouting; no “death” chants and flag burnings. A tale of two communities. Which do you prefer as neighbors and fellow citizens? So stark are the side-by-side comparisons that people choosing the pro-Hamas camp can only mean one thing: antisemitism is alive and well, with practitioners shamelessly availing themselves of this permissive moment of unabashed hatred.

How else to explain the mindboggling lack of outrage with beheadings of Israeli infants and gang rapes of Jewish teenage girls? The victims on Oct. 7 were not enemy combatants. Just like Hamas’s launching of indiscriminate rocket fire at Israel since 2007, Jews need not wear an IDF uniform to be targeted for death. The savagery of Oct. 7, and the refusal of so many to condemn the actions of Hamas, suggests that so long as it is directed against Jews, violence is excusable, crimes are comeuppance, terrorism will go unnamed and Hamas will be treated like heroes.

Soon after Israel began its counteroffensive, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. It declined to make any statement condemning Hamas.

The U.N. Women’s organization, with its specific mandate to protect women from sexual violence, demanded a ceasefire without mentioning Hamas or including a single word of disgust for the unspeakable violations against Jewish women that took place on Oct. 7. Those words only recently arrived, but tepidly stated and silent about who was to blame. The U.N. General Secretary also was inexcusably late in mentioning that Hamas broke a ceasefire on Oct. 7 by breaking every known rule of armed conflict.

It’s far worse than withholding outrage. There is also an obscene denial of the horrors that took place. Apparently, Israel fabricated the whole thing. The Jewish state staged its own massacre. The home movies taken by Hamas and treated like a Hollywood premier on social media must be fake, too. Gazans are so predisposed to being used as human shields, they actually believe that the rest of the world is as depraved as they are.

People are actually saying such things, and far too many are believing it. We are facing a pernicious strain of antisemitism never before seen. The evidence left behind is not DNA, but AI—a combination of pure ignorance and diseased malice. The alliances Jews once believed they could rely upon have disappeared into the fog of the culture wars. Jewish Lives Don’t Matter and Believe Survivors unless they’re Jews.

This is the reason why the Squad, progressives in Congress, university faculty and their mindless students have been so begrudging and dismissive when it comes to condemning Hamas. For them, this particular breed of terrorists are, in actuality, freedom fighters engaged in acceptable acts of resistance. In their twisted moral logic, the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization is what makes its trademark Jew-hatred so attractive.

This is why they can’t stoop to reproaching Hamas. In the vocabulary of the West, “terrorism” is a negative. But for Hamas apologists, being called a terrorist is not an insult, but an allure. After all, Hamas achieves what casual, cocktail party antisemitism can never accomplish: a demonstrated capacity to rid themselves of Jews, murdering them—even the infants.

We should tragically presume that those who remain silent must regard Hamas as antisemitic rock stars, deserving not of just deserts, but everlasting praise.

As for the rest of us—Jews and non-Jews alike—surrounded by such anti-American animus and agitprop, we should prepare ourselves to accept that our cherished liberal values are under attack, that civilization itself is in jeopardy. Criminality and mass rioting is being normalized—whether it is smash-and-grab at the Apple Store or the disruption of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the Big Apple.

Tolerate moral relativism too long, capitulate to the new order of woke-fueled protocols, and you end up with moral rot, confusion and mediocrity.

You don’t have to look very far. A high school in Queens turned into a lynch mob for a teacher who stood up for Israel. Firebombs were thrown at a Jewish Center in Montreal. As many as 15 synagogues in New York City received bomb threats this past Shabbat.

Much of this was taking place during Israel’s four-day ceasefire. So, is this really about the killing of Palestinian civilians? No protests erupted to denounce the 100,000 civilians killed in Ukraine. Are Palestinian lives more worthy than other civilians?

And where was the worldwide demand to return the Israeli and American hostages? Instead of blaming Israel for defending itself, Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Tony Blair and the U.N. secretary general should have traveled to Egypt, and standing at the border with Gaza, demanded through loudspeakers: “Let the Jewish people go!”

Latent antisemitism is a thing of the past. Jew-hatred has returned, openly, and it is raging. After thousands of years, emanating in fits and starts, what is finally long overdue is the ceasing not of fire, but antisemitism.

Originally published by The Jewish Journal.

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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