Why don’t we respond like they mean it?

How should we respond to the most  offensive, odious attacks on our very humanity?

Things that we never dreamed of seeing in our lifetime are now almost commonplace, Jews are being murdered in synagogues, kosher groceries, day schools. Propagation of the Jewish blood libel amidst calls for Jewish blood are heard round the world from the plazas of Paris, the squares of London to the streets of Seattle.  Last week an undergrad at UCLA was initially denied a position on the Student Council because she is Jewish, a few weeks ago the Jewish fraternity at UC Davis was covered in Swastikas. Most frightening of all, a third rate nation seeks first world weapons for the stated goal of annihilating the Jewish state. The serpent of Jew hatred has raised its ugly head and the world rolls its eyes, yet again. 

Sadly, just as in days past, there are Jews who join the mob in a bizarre, yet familiar act of self immolation. J Street. a group that expresses its love of Israel and desire for peace by castigating the Jewish state, has stoked the fires of hate against Israel and her Prime Minister, acting as a human shield or perhaps cannon for the Obama administration.

Readers are well familiar with the fabricated controversy surrounding Netanyahu’s upcoming speech before congress. The Prime Minister’s message is a desperate, hail Mary attempt to warn of the dangers implicit in what will certainly be the Obama administration’s acquiescence to a nuclear Iran. In a new low for an organization that has plied the depths for some time, J Street distributed the following ad to their email list, in hopes of raising sufficient funds to have it published in the New York Times.

Actual J Street ad

Actual J Street ad

The ad features a buffet of the most vile anti-Semitic tropes, suggesting those who reject the campaign against Israel are of questionable loyalty, supporting a foreign nation against the interests of the United States and our “elected president”. The coup de grâce is a menacing black and white photo of Israel’s Prime Minister superimposed before the nation’s capitol. A graphic worthy of the most wretched annals of  propaganda.

Today Omar Barghouti, the founder of a movement whose goal is the economic and demographic annihilation of the Jewish state, was a sponsored guest of the University of Washington. Pro-Israel student leaders developed an understandable and fairly common strategy of response; be polite, ask the tough questions, but sit quietly through the bile. The presumption, possibly true,  that impolite outbursts will be counterproductive.

And yet, should somebody libel your mother with accusations of vile atrocities, your father of reveling in the death of children, your aunts, uncles and cousins of a perverse desire to commit genocide, would you sit quietly, hands folded on your lap? Would you counter by reminding your accuser that your uncle invented drip irrigation or your cousin developed the cell phone? 


Not sure “we invented cell phones” is an effective response to hate speech.

Sadly, we live in a world where the righteousness of a cause is directly correlated to the outrage level of its proponents. Those who despise Jewish sovereignty are outraged, hence, many presume, their cause to be just. The objects of their rage, pro-Israel Jews, are polite, calm, raising their hands to be called upon before asking their measured, restrained questions. 

There are people, right here, right now who sincerely, passionately wish for us, our families, our homes, our homeland to be gone, disappeared, and they are feverishly working to make that happen. Why are we responding with the emotional investment of two freshmen debating the benefits of organic vs. non-organic produce?

Seattle, WA. Aug. 2014 Photo Credit: The Mike Report

Seattle, WA. Aug. 2014 

I do not know if there is any single correct response to those who wish for us to disappear, and I have only the most profound respect for those in the pro-Israel camp, especially students, who are willing to sit through the putrid spewing of anti-semitic sewage. But if one party demonizes another such that their very humanity is  being questioned, and the accused responds as if the allegations are mere abstracts, not worthy of raising one’s voice or blood pressure, which of the two would the uninformed bystander believe?