To me, October 7th and the bloody Saturday terrorist attack by Hamas, was a turning point in the conflict. First of all, the Netanyahu promoted judicial overhaul passed in the Knesset, Israeli society was at a crossroads at various levels, as ten months of protests did nothing to squash Netanyahu’s corruption. Because of the growing authoritarianism in Israel, much has said about Israel being unprepared for an attack of this magnitude. There are reports that Netanyahu was warned by Egyptian officials that something big was happening in Gaza. An inquiry into the intelligence failure will happen as soon as this war is over, and it may be the end of Netanyahu’s political career.
That’s just what’s happening in Israel. As a result of this terrorist attack by Hamas, there has been silence, especially for those of us on the left who see anti-Semitism as an important part of the social justice movement. The silence on the left has been deafening and the promotion of anti-Semitism by the left just as it exists on the right has been troubling. I have a few thoughts. One, during the Holocaust, there was no Jewish army to save Jews from pogroms and concentration camps. Now, the Jewish people have an Israeli Defense Forces, who can stand up for Jews in Israel. Second, during the Holocaust, Yad Vashem designated righteous among the nations or the moniker, “righteous gentile,” for those individuals who were not Jewish who risked their lives to save Jews. Where are the voices standing up for Jews worldwide and deriding the attacks on Jews worldwide? I am again met by silence.
The Washington Post ran an opinion piece on how lonely it is to be a Jew on the left now. I’m starting to believe that the forces that walk the line of being pro-Jewish and anti-Zionist still seek to dismantle the state of Israel, a Jewish homeland. If you can safely walk this nuanced line, more power to you, but I still see anti-Zionism these days as anti-Semitism. At the heart of Zionism, which began in the 19th century with Theodor Herzl’s book, the Jewish State, which marked the beginning of the Zionist movement, Zionism and Judaism have been eternally linked. To many Jews, as Biden aptly put it, we cannot see a world in which it is safe to be a Jew, if there is no Israel.
There is this point in time where we finally see how a holocaust could have occurred, when we see the silence of our friends as the terrorist organization Hamas records and uploads our murders to tik tok, youtube, and Instagram. My Dad said that he had heard stories about anti-Semitism in Europe from my grandfather, who escaped the pogroms in the 1930’s and then moved to Palestine, but he had never thought it would happen in 2023. Now that we’re confronted by global anti-Semitism and a terrorist organization outlining the destruction of our ethno-religious group, we need voices to stand up for us. We need voices to say that these attacks against Jews across the world are disgraceful. We need you to stop being silent and start being righteous.