Time to do or die

This is a time for serious people who will choose a side and take stands, and for Jews who are fully committed and won’t flinch.

From left: James Wilson, Leonard Blavatnik and Jonathan Glazer accept the Oscar for Best International Feature Film “The Zone of Interest” during the live “ABC” telecast of the 96th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on March 10, 2024. Credit: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
From left: James Wilson, Leonard Blavatnik and Jonathan Glazer accept the Oscar for Best International Feature Film “The Zone of Interest” during the live “ABC” telecast of the 96th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on March 10, 2024. Credit: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Thane Rosenbaum. Credit: Courtesy.
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 “Saving Free Speech ... From Itself.”

Five months ago, Hamas deliberately broke a ceasefire with Israel, resuming a war that began nearly the moment Israel abandoned the enclave back in 2005. A familiar reprise took shape over five wars: Hamas instigated hostilities; Israel retaliated, resulting in many Palestinian casualties; Hamas claimed victory in the battle for public opinion.

This latest war is different, however. The savagery of Oct. 7 was not merely an instigation. The stakes were raised by a troika of Hamas terrorists, UNRWA employees who, apparently, have always been in the raping and pillaging business, and “ordinary Gazans,” who have little claim to innocent civilian status. Together they laid siege to southern Israel in ways that demanded a resolution that will foreclose any repeat performance.

The co-conspirators of Oct. 7 demonstrated once more for the world to see (because they chose to film it!) that they obey no laws of war, and boast how little value they place on life—whether it be Israeli or their own. 

When will fair-minded people finally start believing them? Excusing barbarism has done neither the world, nor the Palestinian people, any good.

Much has happened, and not happened, since Oct. 7. Lots of blood, ink and digital bandwidth has been spilled on land that few can even find on a map. Vastly larger losses of life went wholly unnoticed in the Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, China and Syria—not to mention those valiant Kurds who never once hijacked a plane or sent a suicide bomber into a pizza shop. The world seemingly had no interest in those headlines, and not just because the press kept those stories off the front page.

What separates those hotspots of genuine mass murder from Israel’s existential wars of self-defense? Well, obviously, you can’t blame any of those other killings on Jews. If Jews were killing Kurds, even in self-defense, the Kurds would be treated like Palestinians. And, unlike the Palestinians, the Kurds actually deserve preferential treatment. 

This tells you everything you need to know about why, whether at the United Nations, the mainstream press, think tanks or academic institutions, the entire world appears to be against Israel—especially now. 

That’s precisely why we have already reached a do-or-die moment. Almost every day, in major cities across Europe and Canada, violent protests break out where the police are outnumbered, the Arab street is one neighborhood closer to taking the West hostage, and Jews, many of whom have never been to Israel, are deemed legitimate targets if found walking the streets. 

America has not yet quite graduated to a European “no-go-zone” lifestyle, but give it time. Any day now the neighborhoods around Detroit will resemble Stockholm, and the people who live in them will suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. We all know that universities, nearly everywhere, have become infested with rabid antisemitism. The marketplace of ideas has been consumed by scavengers of hate. 

Meanwhile, American Jews have some serious decisions to make about their political and professional affiliations. 

Just over the past several weeks, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has called for the halting of aid to Israel, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called upon the Israeli people to oust their premier. A noted economist at Columbia University charged the United States with complicity in genocide for arming Israel. A film director receiving an Academy Award denounced Israel. Vice-President Kamala Harris’ stepdaughter raised money for UNWRA on Instagram. (Her father, the Second Gentleman, sits on a White House task force to quell antisemitism. How’s that working out?) 

What do they all have in common? You guessed it: They’re all Jews—although two of them—the film director and the Second Daughter—have publicly renounced their religion. 

In the case of Schumer, he’s undoubtedly haunted by the specter of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a likely challenger to his left. He just so happens to possess the worst combination of credentials to remain in office: An elderly Jewish white male who supports Israel. Schumer can’t do anything about his age, gender and skin color, but chucking Israel to placate the progressives is apparently a small price to pay if it results in the cameras still being pointed at his face.

For all of them, the sources of their Jewish betrayal, their lack of remorse, are of no consequence. Returning them to the tribe is a hopeless endeavor. Many reasons might explain their abandonment. Cynical gamesmanship. Career enhancement. Moral narcissism. A bad Hebrew school experience. Dropped on their heads during their bris is always a possibility. 

None of it matters. They comprise the weakest link in the Jewish chain, the fatal flaw in our flank. Better to be rid of them.

We are at war, and not just in southern Gaza and northern Israel. At wartime, you depend on those you can count on. Those with whom you can make common cause, who recognize the moral imperative of a democratic state surrounded by Islamist theocracies that hate the West. That Jewish canary in the oil field, hemmed in by terror. 

Embrace the people who can read a map, know their Old Testament and Middle East history, aren’t easily taken in by lies and couldn’t care less if A-listers and social media influencers like them or not.

Robert Downey Jr. is not Jewish, but openly wears a chai. Paul McCartney, Jon Voight, James Woods and Bill Maher have long stood beside the State of Israel. Cindy Crawford, Amy Smart and other non-Jewish celebrities have recently taken to Instagram to proclaim their support for Jews and rejection of antisemitism. 

Rocker John Mellencamp presented an award several years ago at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony by stating emphatically, “F— antisemitism!” Chris Rock honored his old pal, Adam Sandler, when he received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, by acknowledging, “Jews…nice people.”

Evangelical Christians live in red states, but support Israel in ways that far surpass Jews in blue states. Why? For one thing, they’re not impressed with Hollywood glamour or coastal literary elites. Such shallow calling cards are, regretfully, crack cocaine for American Jews. 

But they also understand what happens to Christians under Sharia law. When Jordan occupied the Old City of Jerusalem from 1949-1967, the Christian Quarter, where Jesus walked along the Via Dolorosa and where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher still stands, was treated like a garbage dump. 

When Israel reclaimed the Old City after the Six-Day War, each of the Quarters were restored and respected. 

This is a time for serious people who will choose a side and take stands, and for Jews who are fully committed and won’t flinch. The calculating operators, opportunists and apologists can go stand somewhere else. It’s time to take names, and perhaps even more importantly—to dispose of some.

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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