Sunday, 13 March 2011

It's Time to Stand and Be Counted

I wept tonight, when I heard and saw what Palestinian terrorists did to a young family in a small community in the Shomron last night, murdering them in their home, in their beds. I wept for their three other, now orphaned children. I wept for their parents and grandparents. I wept for their neighbours and playmates. I wept because all of the feelings I had hoped were a receding memory, seeing and hearing of yet another atrocity perpetrated by Palestinians against Israelis, tore at my gut once again. 

I have to disagree with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many of my friends who have reacted to the brutal slaughter of the Fogel family in Itamar last night. Many of them, including the PM, called the terrorists who did this “animals”. Aside from this being an insult to animals, it evidences a fundamental error in considering, countering, and utterly destroying those who would do such things, those who sent them, and those who support them. 

Why is this in error? After all, the evidence seems clear enough. I recently saw the photographs of the victims, and I wept. What human could slit the throat of a four month old, and stab a three year old several times in the heart? The answer is, unfortunately, that many humans can. Many have done this, and worse. All too often to us, and to others. We must recognize that by thinking of our adversaries as animals, or in other ways inhuman, we do two very dangerous things. 

First, when we think of these people as less than human, we underestimate them. We underestimate their motivation, we underestimate their intelligence, and we underestimate their capabilities. Military pilots across the world are familiar with the tactical dictum “Honour the threat.” Never dismiss or diminish an adversary’s capacity to do you harm. This attack was planned, carried out, and the perpetrators have so far escaped. That is not the work of an animal. A terrorist infrastructure still exists in Judea and Samaria (I have rarely used the term West Bank in the past, but  I intend never to refer to the ancestral aboriginal homeland of the Jewish people by the eliminationist term West Bank again) and it must be rooted out, either with the PA’s cooperation or without it. Another fact must be recognized. Hamas has limited capacity to plan and execute attacks like this in this area. It is possible, even likely, that this was done by Al Aksa Brigade terrorists, who owe their allegiance to Fatah. As long as any vestige of that group exists there should be no more negotiations with Palestinians, even ones as enlightened as Salam Fayyad.  

Second, if we use the term “animal” we fall in to the trap set for us by the hypocritical eliminationist radicals who call themselves pro-Palestinian peace activists. Why do I use the word eliminationist? Well, because it describes them perfectly. They see Jewish religious expression as anachronistic. They see Jewish nationalism in its own homeland as colonialist. They see the very steps taken to safeguard Israeli families – Arab and Jewish alike – as racist. And their answer, their agenda, their life’s work, is to eliminate the Jewish state and replace it with one of their conception bereft of a Jewish majority. If we use the term animals, we look and sound like the racists they accuse us of being. The fact is the majority of the broader public are not engaged or convinced on our side or theirs. Let’s not provide fodder for their agenda. 

The IDF will find those who did this horrible deed. Of that I have no doubt. It took them years, but they found those who lynched two Israeli reservists in October of 2000. They will find these murderers as well. And it is my fervent hope that due process is swift and final. 

But what of the rest of us? What of us in the diaspora, advocates for Israel, friends of Israel, Jews and non Jews who care and love and are heartbroken at the images we saw this weekend? It is time, my friends. It is time we got up from behind the safety of our obscurity or anonymity. It is time we came out from our shells and our defensive postures. It is time we put THEM, the apologists for the slaughter of families, the excusers of incitement, the facilitators of boycotts, its time to put them on the defensive. The brave students of Queens University in Kingston Ontario have risen and forced a referendum to remove their rector who abused his position by accusing Israel of genocide. All across Canada, the US, and Europe, on campuses, in media, in government, and around water coolers, it is no longer enough to promote a vision of Israel beyond the conflict. That is a good start, but it isn’t enough. We are at war. In Israel it remains, sadly, a war of deeds. For us it is a war of words, of ideas, and of conscience. 

It is time to get to work. It is time to find those who work against our beloved homeland. It is time to expose their hypocrisy and shame them publicly. It is time to call them what they are – apologists for murder. It is time to expose their agenda relentlessly. It is time to use every form of media and every scrap of talent we have to put them back on their heels. It is time to use every connection, every friend, every ally we can muster to damn, condemn, and isolate them. No more Apartheid slanders. No more Pride parades with their participation. No more student governments with anti-Zionist agendas. No more politicians marching under Hezbollah flags, and no more columnists spewing hateful rhetoric. It’s no longer a matter of reaction or response. Identify the threat, and neutralize it with every legal, rhetorical and technological resource we have. They should be cringing in shame every time they walk out the door, not leading rallies. We have powerful tools, powerful friends, and we, ourselves, are more capable than we imagine ourselves to be.

 It’s time to get to work.

1 comment:

Denise Rootenberg, Canada said...

Very well written and true. I have spoken to non-Jewish friends of mine who fall over backwards to say how much they love us but I see when I mention Israel they are silent - and Israeli "apartheid week".

The worst part of "IAW" is that so many of the events are led by misguided Jews - I can't say stupid because that would be the same as calling Arab murderers animals. And university professors aren't stupid.