Friday, July 4, 2014
Reflecting now, just a few days after the tragic events of the murder of three young Jewish teenage boys in Israel, I am moved to write about how proud I am to be a Jew. I watched and heard, actually I felt, the heartbreak, the raw mourning and compassion of the boys' parents, families, friends, communities, all of Israel and Jews worldwide. The anguish and grief were palpable among this Holy Nation. This was over three innocent boys. I am sure it would have been the same reaction had it been only one innocent soul. We should pause to reflect on why this is the case. Why was a whole people moved by these senseless, savage acts? A simple explanation is because we honor, value, cherish and respect life, ours and others. Especially the lives of our beloved children. We are raised that way, educated that way and, even more fundamentally, it is in our blood. And that makes me proud to be a Jew.
Contrast that respect for life with what is going on in the world, particularly in the Middle East and radical Islam. Some will try, but how can anyone rationally claim the same respect for life holds true for them--radical Islam? Radical Muslims are not only killing Jews and Christians in the name of their religion, they are also killing other Muslims. And they are killing in great numbers. Many more than one or three lives, the murders are not in scores, hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands, but rather in hundreds of thousands. They are reporting over 160,000 in Syria alone, which means it is likely much more than that (I also have not seen that amount increase recently, even though I keep reading about fighting and death there). Which brings me to a question. Where is the Muslim mourning, anguish or outcry for the victims? Even for other Muslims? Or even for the innocent kids in Syria? For anyone? Where is the Muslim voice calling for the end to the violence against the Coptic Christians in Egypt? What about the beheadings of fellow Muslims as ISIS rolls through Iraq. The kidnappings of innocent young girls in Nigeria (more than only the 200 reported in one case)? Bombings here. Explosions there. Killings and more killings. To be clear, deliberately targeting innocent civilians wherever the latest terrorist attack happens to occur. And yes, I use the word "terrorist" knowing full well its definition. One only has to turn on the news or read newspapers to get a grasp of the broad scope of the carnage and devastation.
But I have another question. Where is the world? Where is the world outcry? What about the world fear of what is happening or the trepidation of what is to come? Where is the outrage? I am sorry, but the world seems upside down to me right now. While the Muslims are killing with impunity, Jews in Israel are condemned for building houses in their country. They don't cause violence, there are no killings, no beheadings, just building houses for Jews on their land. I think the world should start concerning themselves more with the former issue than the latter. While they are at it, may I be so bold as to suggest that they devote more attention to combatting antisemitism in their own countries. Antisemitism which is rapidly rising in Europe and has seen an escalation of violent attacks and murder. And a message to Germany. The next time you think about criticizing Israel consider that your history to the extent it overlaps with ours results in an unmistakable conclusion that there is an absolute need for the State of Israel. So perhaps if you have nothing good to say, have enough decency to say nothing at all.
Which brings me to "No Gray Hats Here". What I mean by that, in simple and clear terms, for everyone to understand, is there are no gray hats in this context, despite what the various countries, most of the media and many Muslims will have you believe. Jews have always worn, today wear, and will always wear the white hats. (I mean this in the context of the Old West of the U.S.; religious Jews who wear black hats are obviously included in this white hat category for these purposes.) Radical or fundamental Islam wears the black hats. The white hats are good, the black hats are bad. There is no blending the two colors to get various shades of gray (if you will). Good and evil, pure and simple. Rarely in this world are things so black and white (if you will). I am not suggesting that this us true for all Muslims, but it is true of all radical Muslims. It is time the world woke up and recognized this for what it is. No amount of media spin will turn pure black and white hats into gray hats. People need to start paying attention to what matters and recognize the threat.
At the very least, if countries and people are going to sleep through the threat of radical Islam and antisemitism, they should stay asleep and allow Israel to fight for its survival. Case in point, I did not hear much from the international community with regard to the kidnap and murder by the terrorist group Hamas, now part of the Palestinian government, of the three young, innocent Jewish boys. What I did see were the standard typical empty words. Now that a young arab has been killed, however, the international community, including the pathetic entity known as the U.N., has shown signs of life. May I boldly predict that they will go back to sleep if it turns out that the boy was killed by other arabs for whatever the sinister reason may have been. Yes, go back to sleep just like you do when rockets are aimed and fired deliberately at innocent Israeli civilians, only to arise when Israel responds. They rise the same way, like one does from a good night sleep, yawning, arms stretched in the air, when the story is that Israel is building houses or defending itself, or responding to other forms of terrorist attacks. Yes, somehow they sleep when rockets are fired from Gaza, Syria and Lebanon. Or when weapons smuggling tunnels are discovered in Gaza. Or rocks thrown at civilian vehicles and Jews on a daily basis, sometimes with fatal consequences, but always with that intent. The list could go on and on.
This leads me to my plea, my call to my fellow Jews. We too often emphasize our differences. I beg you, instead, we need to focus on what we have in common. Let's continue to build on the unity that has brought us together in the time of the recent tragic events. Belz, Lubavich, Orthodox, Reform, all types of religious Jews, all types of secular Jews, from Satmar to liberal. Just all Jews. Unite. Look upon each other with love and respect, honor your fellow Jew. Find a reason to agree and bond with them instead of arguing and bickering. Positive not negative. Recognize and know who the enemy is. Whatever it is that others mistakenly see in us and make them act with hate, we should see those same qualities and embrace each other for it. Let's not focus and get caught up in the differences, unite based on the common good. The white hat. We know there are no gray hats, let's act like that.
If this impacts just one Jew, I will be happy.
Am Yisrael Chai.
Posted by Yoel Benyamin at 8:21 AM