Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When The World Has Gone Mad

              I've had several conversations with friends in the past few weeks (since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge) about just how confused they are. Was it just June, when their Facebook walls were filled with pictures of weekends in the Hamptons and Buzzfeed quizzes ("What color is your aura?" "I am such a purple!")? Suddenly, their feeds have become a battleground, filled with anti-Zionist diatribes and calls for all Jews (themselves included) to immediately denounce Israel and take up the Palestinian cause. Their friends will engage them aggressively, pepper them with questions, throw back-handed insults at them, and generally make them uneasy with the fact that as Jews, they are right to support the Jewish Homeland from attacks, both physical and ideological. Now, my experience has been blessedly different. I would guess 90% of my Facebook friends are pro-Israel, 5% are indifferent and the last 5% are those well-meaning "equivocators" who just want both sides to be right and both sides to be wrong. Mmmmkay. So with absolutely no authority other than my own experience, I've created a list to calm you down and build you up, so you can tackle the hatred coming your way with confidence and strength. Hope it helps:

Be calm: I put this one first, because it's the one I too have to work hardest to put into practice. We, the Jewish/Israeli side, wants this war over. I have yet to speak to a person who wants it to drag on, endangering the lives of more of our precious soldiers. We also want Hamas disabled, the rockets to stop, and the tunnels destroyed. That is why we are still fighting. The objective on the other side is more complex. Simply put,  Hamas (and those who support them) wants Jews gone. From the West Bank, Israel, Europe, America, what have you. It is in their charter. Their reason for existing, as a terrorist organization, is to eradicate the Jews. This may panic you. Keep a clear head. Never be the person screaming "Death to ----!" The (rational) world will see the signs that say "Hitler was right!" and "Death to Jews!" and they will hopefully understand the mental instability of the other side. Were they to see Jews/Zionists doing the same, it would give them all the permission they need to blame both sides equally. This is not an equal fight. This advice applies to rallies as well as Facebook and social media. We can not curse and we can not WRITE IN ALL CAPS. We are better than that and we are smarter than that.

Be real: Get rid of the noise. If you haven't defriended or been defriended by those anti-Zionist friends of yours, I highly suggest doing so, or unfollowing them. While I don't know how deep your friendships run, I do know that a major aspect of anti-Israel sentiment is a latent anti-Semitic feelings, and I, personally, have little in common with people who, I dunno, hate my nation and Homeland. If you don't want to cut the cord, maybe unfollow their postings. That way, you'll have a few less pieces of propaganda clogging up your feed.

Be realistic: If you have people who virulently hate Israel, enough to repeatedly post negatively about it and argue the Palestinian side regularly, you will not change their mind. They are not "on the fence" or "apathetic" to the situation. There is absolutely nothing you can say to bring them around. You can't link them an article, a video, or a graphic perfectly explaining Israel's just position and have them say "Wow- I never thought of it that way! You are so right! Thank you for shining the light of truth into my eyes!" This is a fantasy. That brings us to...

Be informative, but not a one-person PR firm: I can appreciate you all wanting to share a cool video or article or infographic with your friends and family on Facebook and social media. That said, if you share every single one of those you see, you will do more harm than good. There is nothing that will annoy a real-life acquaintance/Facebook friend more than 25 JewsNews articles a day. "What is with this chick? Enough with the op-eds! Unfollow!" While it's great to share interesting information, it's greater to sift through that information and share that one knock-your-socks-off piece so that people actually take it seriously. This leads me to those of you who are maybe not so in-the-know:

Be informed: Many of you know Israel is in the right, support Israel, but can't articulate yourself. Get to know that facts and figures. Watch a video (maybe ones titled "Israel's position in under 5 minutes!" or something like that), do the research, ask a friend who seems like they may know the answer or where to find it. I would obviously prefer you check resources less biased against Israel (I'm lookin' at you CNN, the Guardian, NYTimes, MSNBC, Haaretz, Politico, etc, etc) but even biased media has been reporting the truth about the tunnels and human shields. So get in the trenches with us, so that when your friends come at you with fake facts and figures ("The death toll! The civilians!") you can respond with actual facts to refute their claims. Take the death toll, for example- dazzle your friends with these factoids: One of the most unbalanced death tolls in history was the German vs. Allies during WW2- weren't the Nazis in the wrong then? And where are the death toll numbers coming from? Hamas itself! And why is the reported civilian casualty rate exactly the same as was reported in Operation Cast Lead (82%)? Come prepared, if not to change anyone else's mind, then to sharpen your own.

Be aware: Anti- semitism is real and it's back. Or did it ever really leave? We are living in an era where Jews are being assaulted, shops are being burned, swastikas are being spray-painted, and holy sites are being desecrated. It may not be pre-war Europe, but Europe is inching eerily closer to their usual ways- consistently present throughout history during the Inquisition and the Crusades, the pogroms and the blood libels. And you need only to listen to the chants "Death to the Jews, Back to the Ovens!" to realize that this is also a Jew thing, and not just an Israel thing. Is this to say that the whole world hates Jews? NO! It is to say that we need to be aware, and we need to stand together, against the hatred. This brings me to the most important tip:

BE PROUD: Your detractors want you to be scared. They want you to not answer back, they want you to turn against your homeland. They delight in every single Jew who publishes an article slamming the state of Israel or other Jews. They publish photos of those crazy Hasidic looking men who rally with the jihadists. I know many of you don't feel very Jewish. You may not have done anything Jewish at home, you may have no Jewish friends and you may not care at all about the Jews as a people. But I care about you. And I want you to have pride in the fact that you are Jewish- whether you learn Torah every day or just eat lox and bagels. I want you to realize that we are part of a special people, a kind people, an accomplished people. We are a people who values knowledge and compassion and life, not a people who values death and destruction and annihilation. Be proud like our ancestors before us were proud. And let that carry you through these hard times we're seeing. I will leave you with this quote I love from Menachem Begin:

"We did not return to our historic homeland through the right of might, we returned here through the might of right."
May G-d bless and protect you, the IDF and the State of Israel.


4 comments:

  1. Great one Jordana! keep supporting Israel [well..you didn't come here for hating on it ;) ] and stay safe (:

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    1. Always! You too and shabbat shalom!

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  2. Glad to find your blog! My daughter just made Alya...you guys should meet!
    xo
    Sharon

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    1. Thank you for reading! Would love to and always praying for your son and the whole IDF! Shabbat shalom!

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