Not a Pogrom
Regarding your cover headline last week (“The Simchat Torah Pogrom, 5784”):
Pogrom? The word conjures up images of weak, helpless Jews cowering and begging some drunk Cossack to not kill them and to not rape their women. That’s not the reality. The reality is that we are a state, a proud and strong one. We take responsibility for our citizens. What happened on October 7 was an act of terror perpetrated against the state.
It happened because our state security apparatus failed to see what ought to have been obvious. It happened because our internal politics distracted us. It happened because our national policies were not properly tuned to the facts that were unfolding. It happened because we, as a state, made terrible mistakes. And we, as a state, will respond and do so forcefully. And we will win. And we will pay the heavy price, both for our errors and our victory. It’s what states do. It’s the opposite of what the helpless abandoned Jew did in a pogrom. Hamas may want the events of this past Shabbat to be seen as a pogrom. They like the idea of the weak and cowering Jew. Let’s not give them even that.
Grateful for Chizuk
Kol HaKavod to the editors at The Jewish Press for publishing first-hand accounts of Israelis living through this unimaginable horror. Even with all of the news reports, it’s hard to imagine what it’s actually like being there. The rabbis who were featured provided much-needed chizuk. All of the articles were uplifting and inspirational. I plan on saving this edition, as I have saved other periodicals and newspapers of historical significance. When the situation gets me down, I’ll reread those first few pages.
Keep up the good work, JP!
Permanent Scapegoat Among the Nations
The late, great Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, a”h, was famously quoted as saying, “Goyim kill goyim, and they come to hang the Jew.” Never was that observation more prescient than yesterday regarding the deadly explosion at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. Even before the dust had settled, virtually the entire Arab world, including our ostensible peace partners in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states, immediately blamed and condemned Israel for it.
Russia, which has committed innumerable war crimes in Ukraine, demanded to see evidence that Israel wasn’t responsible. And, of course, the Hamas and Fatah supporters around the world demonstrated, and a Berlin synagogue was firebombed ahead of the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Several hours later, after a thorough investigation, Israel showed clear visual and documentary evidence that the explosion was caused by the misfire of a Palestine Islamic Jihad rocket, and, to his credit, President Biden accepted that conclusion. Nevertheless, the UN Secretary-General made a speech castigating Israel without mentioning its exoneration, and the antisemitic demonstrations continue in the streets and on college campuses.
The bottom line? Israel should do what it needs to do to dismantle the Hamas terror machine and disregard criticism from her enemies – and from her friends.
Acceptable Antisemitism at Cornell?
I sent this to the chair of the Cornell University History Department:
If someone said that he or she found the kidnapping, rape and murder of African-Americans invigorating or exhilarating, your department would probably be outraged and issue a denunciation of the person who said such a thing. If the person who said that was a faculty member you might even take some disciplinary action against the person.
Now, one of the professors in your department has said he finds the Hamas attack on Jews in which he knew that Jews were raped, murdered and kidnapped “invigorating” or “exhilarating.” He tried to weasel out of his slimy antisemitic comments later on, as I understand it, by claiming that his comments were really just about how he was pleased that Hamas had defeated the Israeli military and busted a myth of Israeli military invincibility. The problem with your professor’s attempt at cleaning up his ugly comments is that one, kidnapping, raping and murdering civilians, which was the main thrust of Hamas’s attack, did not show an ability to defeat the Israeli military and two, there is not and was not a myth of Israeli military invincibility. That is just another antisemitic trope – like the one about Jewish bankers controlling world finance.
So, if some professor said the kinds of things that your professor said about Jews about any other group – about African-Americans, Arabs, Chinese or anyone, your department would probably take disciplinary action against such a person.
What are you going to do about this professor?