The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
The young Jewish “activists” I run into are champions of the Palestinian cause to a point where they violently confront other Jews trying to protect their own. Their views are essentially standard European-leftist ideology. Many even reject a two-state solution because they do not support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. They minimize our Jewish roots in the Land of Israel that date back at least 3,000 years, and they are incapable of even contemplating the fact that most Palestinians are in fact recent immigrants to this land.
I am often asked why I left America to live in Israel. One of my main reasons for making the move was that, at the time, I thought Jews living in Israel were free of this Holocaust mentality; that Israel was a place where I could hold my head up high as a Jew, proudly proclaim my Judaism and shout “If you don’t like it, just try to come and get me!” After all, our cause is just, our morality is unquestioned by any rational human being, and we have an army to protect ourselves.
Unfortunately, however, even Israel suffers from a Holocaust mentality. I reluctantly came to this realization during last summer’s war in Lebanon.
We did not start that war, just as we did not initiate the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. Missiles – think about it, missiles – were falling (as they continue to fall in Sderot) on Israel on a daily basis for more than a month. Our international border was crossed, soldiers were killed and others kidnapped.
When we responded to this act of war with strikes against military targets, our enemies rained more missiles down on civilians in our cities. No one disputes that the missile fire came from civilian areas and that the terrorists used (and continue to use) their own civilians as shields. But as Israeli civilians were being intentionally murdered, Israel carried on the war against bridges, buildings and infrastructure, taking pains not to hit the very areas where the terrorists were hiding in order to spare the lives of Lebanese civilians.
We were somewhat successful at shooting around civilians until the inevitable happened and many were killed in a retaliatory attack aimed at terrorists. So what did we do? We stopped. We sacrificed the lives of our own children so that Shiite children could live. We tiptoed around Lebanon like we were on eggshells as our own civilians absorbed the brunt of the attack. In short, we did hardly anything.
Israel’s government suffers from a Holocaust mentality. Any other government whose people suffered a barrage of thousands of missile aimed at their families would have launched an all-out defensive war, but because our government cares about what the other nations think of us, we held back. Each and every one of us who went into Lebanon expected to fight for his right to live as a Jew in a Jewish nation, but instead we sat on our rears.
Now Hizbullah is being rearmed by Iran through Syria under the watchful eyes of the Lebanese army and the French-led UN forces. France seems to be content that the terrorists are wearing civilian clothes and not waving their flags. Iran is building up its nuclear capabilities and everyone knows it. Just last month the Iranian president, for the umpteenth time, announced his intention to “wipe out” Israel at a conference aimed at studying the “validity of the Holocaust.” What are Israel and the Jewish people doing about it? Absolutely nothing.
I hope our collective Holocaust mentality will disappear before these barbarians get weapons of mass destruction, because if we don’t take their own words seriously – just as too many of us did not take Hitler’s words seriously – we are headed toward disaster.
Ariel Sharon once said that Israel would not be the 21st century’s Czechoslovakia, a reference to England’s sacrifice of that nation in an attempt to appease Hitler. I hope Sharon was right, but the only way to keep that from happening is to again stand tall with our backs to the wall and march forward without looking back. There simply is no other way.
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