Politics & Media
Jan 22, 2024, 06:24AM

The Persecution of Israel

Would you defend yourself? Would you defend your family?

Ap23138348252203 1684406874.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Israel is not an abstraction to me. Though some find it easy to dehumanize Israelis by calling them “settler colonists” and recycling old images of Jew-hate, most Israelis have recent ancestors who fled violence against Jews or were pushed out of the country where they were, including Morocco, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran.

Israel is a place with people who’ve worked hard to build a successful democracy, with equal rights for women, a diversity of religions (not all Israelis are Jews) and the ability to be gay or trans without being murdered for it. I have friends in Israel, people with children and pets and trees growing outside their window. People who’ve been kind to me, with no reason other than being human.

When I hear people calling for the destruction of the state of Israel, or saying that “Palestine will be free from river to sea,” they’re calling for the death of my friends, people I talk to and worry about.

When I hear people of good conscience in the US take positions about how Israel should have a ceasefire now, while Hamas is still in power and there are still well over 100 hostages in Hamas captivity, I think, “That’s easy for you to say when no one is attacking you.”

Americans don’t go to bed worried that they’ll be woken by sirens and have to hide in their bomb shelters. They don’t wonder if their houses will be broken into at dawn by people who want to murder and torture them, and film it. Israeli women will never be able to forget that their sisters were raped and tortured in ways that are almost impossible to write down, though the New York Times and others have had investigated and reported for the world to see.

There are many things that are easy to say when you’re not under attack, when you don’t fear for your own safety or the safety of your children. There hasn’t been a war on American soil since the Civil War. Even 9/11, shocking and horrific as it was, seems to have faded from most American’s memories, and we haven’t taught the generation that wasn’t yet alive what it was like to be attacked. 

Whatever American fears may be, early-morning attacks from just over the border isn’t one of them. I asked the perspective of my friend who lives in Jerusalem, Arnie Draiman. Arnie grew up in the US and moved to Israel 40 years ago, in his 20s.  

“Until you’re here, you can’t really understand. If there were to be a ceasefire now? I think Israel would just be fooling itself. Without destroying Hamas, from the southern border up to and including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem aren’t safe. Technology has advanced so that it’s not just throwing stones or rockets, it’s drone attacks and all kinds of other sophisticated terrorism. Who can live under that?

“Neither Hamas in the south nor Hezbollah in the north are interested in any kind of peace, just war. Until we defeat them, everyone in the country is not safe.

“You also have to understand that the Middle East has a different concept of time than the West. Nobody here is rushed for anything. If it takes another generation or two generations or three generations, so be it. That’s a very Arab Middle Eastern view. Israel tends to be a more Western country where we’re not going to wait. The West says, ‘Just make peace right now.’ The East replies, ‘It doesn’t work like that.’ Which is why western leader after western leader has failed here.

“That’s why I hope they make the decision to fight it now and not wait another five, 10, or 50 years. If they’re able to, Hamas and other terrorist organizations will fight this war indefinitely, saying ‘It’s not for me, it’s for my great, great, great grandchildren.’”

A large part of the tragedy is that the West is prolonging the suffering of people in Gaza because they refuse to call on Hamas to surrender and release the hostages. Instead, they’re knowingly sending aid that is supposed to go to civilians straight to Hamas. In what other war is a nation that is attacked obliged to send fuel and food to its enemy, which is caught on film diverting it from people in need?

Take a moment to think about the people of Israel, and what you’re asking of them if you call for a ceasefire while the terrorists who murdered, raped and kidnapped their friends and family are still in power, while hostages are still in the tunnels. Hamas has promised to repeat the massacre of October 7 again and again.

Imagine yourself in their position. Then ask if you’d defend yourself. Ask if you’d defend your family.


Register or Login to leave a comment