Author's note: The comments in the thread over there are worth reading, particularly as they substantially validate the criticisms contained in this piece
I respect Christians and their beliefs. They believe in Jesus. That's fine. That's their right and yes, the world would be a better place if they listened their teacher. Just don't tell me that he's my teacher also. That happened here last night.
My teachers are Hillel and Shammai and the Rambam and Rashi and the Baal Shem Tov and the Vilna Gaon and Solomon Schecter and all those, from all stripes of Judaism that have carried on our tradition and continue to do so. They are my rabbis. They are our rabbis.
I know yesterday I said I consciously do not write about Israel here, but now I realize that I must. There are apologia for a genocidal terrorist group. There are those that make claims that could come straight from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
From London to Madrid to Saint Petersburg to Damascus to Paris to Atlanta to Berlin to Paris' current pogrom to the anti-Semitic incidents that continue to occur, whether it is the call from some in Germany to send us back to the gas to the threats and violence that have occurred in this country, my people have learned all too well what happens when we leave our collective safety in the hands of others.
I am a proud Jew. I am a proud Zionist. I strongly believe in the State of Israel and the right of my people keep the state we have established in our ancestral homeland. Its existence and its strength are necessary for the survival of the Jewish People. I had been afraid to write those words here, but now I am not. It was an act of moral cowardice that I had not done so earlier.
There are those fighting and dying to protect my people as I write these words. There are those forced to scurry with 15 seconds or less to protect themselves from terrorist rockets targeted at civilians. Meanwhile, I sit here in the comfort of the United States without having to worry whether a rocket is going to be inbound for New York. I owe it to those who are in danger to speak truth and that is what I do now.
Israel is right to defend herself. That is the right of every sovereign state. To deny Israel that right is anti-Semitic. Given Israel's enemy, what is she to do? The genocidal terrorist organization she fights right now glorifies death and seeks maximal carnage on both sides. To them dead Jews are infidels that deserve their fate and dead Palestinians are martyrs. As Yishai Schwartz writes, "We are thus left with a paradox: Morality demands that Israel fight this war, but allows no way to fight it morally. In this conflict, reason itself seems to fail."
What is Israel to do? Is she supposed to just sit back and let the rockets strike? Is she supposed to allow terrorists to commit their evil deeds simply because those terrorists know Israel's morality shows concern for the civilians of both sides? Those terrorists know that Israel will risk the lives of her own sons and daughters to protect the lives of civilians on the other side. Israel gives warnings. Israel calls off strikes when the harm to civilians is too great.
Those who scream "Massacre!" and "Genocide!" do not know what massacres and genocide are. Israel could carpet bomb Gaza and kill tens of thousands and still be nowhere near the numbers killed by the brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad on her northeastern frontier. If it was the genocide that some claim, then why does Gaza's population continue to increase? Is not the hallmark of genocide the elimination of a people, not their increase? If it is the massacre that some people claim, then what are the 170,000 dead at the hands of Bashar al-Assad? Where are the screams about that when people so freely scream at Israel in much louder voices?
Here I have seen far too many deny Israel her sovereign right to protect her people from attack. Those that do so deny Israeli citizens the right to peace and quiet and security and freedom that all are entitled to. That is antithetical to liberal and progressive values and it is anti-Semitic. Rabbi Menachem Creditor has it right when he writes, "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else."
This war could have been avoided if Hamas chose not to fire rockets into Israel and once again terrorize Israeli civilians. It could have stopped if Hamas chose to accept the ceasefire that Israel accepted. It can stop if Hamas chooses to cease its fire of rockets into Israel. Until then, Israel will continue to exercise her inherent right of self-defense.
I seriously do ask those that condemn Israeli self-defense, what is she to do? What do you suggest she does? In what way can she exercise self-defense in a realistic manner without also earning your condemnation? You say that her actions are disproportionate, then what do you consider a proportionate defense that is also effective in bringing peace and quiet to Sderot and Be'er Sheva and Tel Aviv and Yerushalayim? Answer those questions for me. If you cannot, then your silence is truly deafening.
Like the majority of my fellow Americans, I am proud to stand with Israel.