This weekend throughout Canada there are demonstrations going on that are billed as being against the Israeli action in the Gaza Strip. Some people are going so far as to call them anti-Israel. While I find it distressful that there are demonstrations across one of the countries where I am a citizen that are specifically and vehemently against the other country where I am a citizen, that is not what frightens me.
We have all sorts of expressions like ‘call a spade a spade’ and so on… so why is it that nobody is willing to stand up and call these demonstrations what they are? Simple… because it is not polite to call them anti-Semites. When slogans of Heil Hitler and Death to Jews are called out it has nothing to do with the State of Israel. You can call it what you want… I am calling it what it is.
In numerous North American cities (including Ottawa and Washington, D.C.) Jewish protesters were evacuated ‘for their own safety.’ I appreciate the police doing that if they felt the lives of the protesters were at risk… what I would like to know is why weren’t the people who would do them physical harm (and in a couple of cases did) arrested? Physical violence is a criminal offense. Why isn’t it treated as such?
As a Jew I am afraid to walk in the street. That must sound ridiculous to people who know me – I am a Second Degree Black Belt with a military background… not to mention that I am 6’3” tall and not small of stature by any measure. So what should I be afraid of? The answer is simple… it’s what I tell every student of mine: no matter how big and strong you are, there is always someone bigger and stronger. And an individual doesn’t have a chance against an angry mob. If I am to stay safe I have to either avoid the protests, but because there are attacks on institutions and on individuals now I would also have to hide the fact that I am Jewish when I walk in the street.
My children aren’t safe. My parents aren’t safe. Why not? Because there is no law being enforced in Canada that prevents or punishes an attack on Jews and Jewish institutions, as long as it is done under the guise of being anti Israel. My friends can only be safe as long as they hide the fact that they are Jewish.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article and published it on my blog, and then pulled it down an hour later. I was told that especially now, as I am looking for a job, that I should keep my political feelings quiet, lest someone not hire me based on them.
Guess what? I’m done hiding. I am Jewish and I am Israeli and I was Israeli Defense Forces, and I am proud of all of that. Those three factors combined make it very clear what my stance is… and guess what? I’m a centrist – not right wing, and certainly not a right wing fanatic. I am certainly not a left wing dove who would pay any price for peace… I want a reasonable solution.
I may be afraid to be a Jew living in Canada, but I am done living a life of fear. If someone won’t hire me because of who I am then I probably shouldn’t be working for them anyways.
Now here’s the thing… It’s not just Israelis and Jews who should be afraid… you should be too. A German pastor named Martin Niemoller wrote the following:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
It is all well and good to be on the side of Hamas now because they are fighting Israel and not you… whoever you might be. If everyone sides with them eventually there will be no more Israel and there will be no more Jews. Do you think they will be satisfied? If you do then you are fooling yourself. Do you think Hamas doesn’t like Jews because they are Jewish? They hate the Jews because we are not like them. Once they are done with the Jews they will fight someone else… and don’t think that because you agreed with them in their struggle against Israel that they will cut you any slack.
So you then say that you don’t actually agree with Hamas, but you are against Israel because they are killing innocent Palestinians. In the history of warfare no army has ever gone out of the way to prevent civilian casualties… but Hamas has done their best to thwart those efforts at every turn. They put their people in harm’s way at gunpoint. Someone I am getting close to said to me the other night ‘…the wrong people are dying.’ Yes, they are. That is because the people who should be dying (Hamas militants) are very well protected in bunkers (including ones beneath hospitals) while they leave the innocent in the line of fire – where Israel specifically announced they would be bombing.
I am against innocent civilian deaths… I hate it. I weep for every dead civilian on both sides. I weep for the dead Israeli soldiers too, because they are my brothers. However to blame Israel for these deaths is ignorant, and that is not propaganda. When an Israeli soldier kills an innocent civilian intentionally he is brought up on very serious charges and will spend the rest of his life in prison. There are some Israeli nut jobs who cheer when people die… but they are just that – fanatical nuts, and unfortunately it is those morons who get the attention of the media and are then shown as examples of why all Jews are monsters.
I am afraid because the majority of international media has a bias against Israel. Is it all ideological? No… simply put, anti-Israel headlines sells newspapers, and retractions don’t change the initial impression left. Really, if you want to destroy the credibility of every anti-Semitic argument, you don’t have to go any further than ‘The Jews control the media!’ If that were true I wouldn’t have to be afraid… but we don’t control the media anymore than we control the banks (if you want proof against that one please refer to the balance of my accounts).
They are coming for me now and a lot of you agree with them, or are staying silent because they are not coming for you. Maybe you agree with them because deep down you don’t like Jews but more likely because they have convinced you that Jews or maybe just Israel is evil. I challenge you then to visit Israel and then make up your mind… Israelis are the warmest people you will ever meet, once you get through their protective shells. Sit down and have a rational and reasonable conversation about the current war (or History) with a Jew or an Israeli and you will see sadness in their eyes. They are coming for us now but you should be afraid because you are next. I am afraid primarily for the simple fact that most of you don’t realize that I’m telling the truth.