I’m usually a pretty optimistic guy, but for the past several weeks events in Israel and for Jews in the rest of the world have been disheartening and frustrating, to say the least. As Israel pursued its legitimate right and moral responsibility to defend itself against the continuous barrage of Hamas rocket attacks with Operation Protective Edge, the world seems to have gone mad. Here’s my take on the situation, which removes all semblance of sanity and common sense.
World opinion of Israel, fueled in large part by inaccurate and biased media reporting, is that Israel is the aggressor and tramples the human rights of the poor Palestinians. Hamas’ tactics of placing rocket launchers in populated areas and at supposedly-neutral UN sites, launching thousands of rockets indiscriminately across Israel, and instilling in their citizens the desire to die and let their children die in order to exterminate Israel, are all overlooked or ignored. The world faults Israel for causing “disproportionate” civilian deaths, despite Israel’s efforts to warn Palestinian civilians to leave when attacks are coming and despite Hamas’ efforts to force their civilians to stay in the line of fire. And perhaps most bizarre is the UN’s criticism of Israel for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas!
The American administration follows a strategy that places obstacles in the way of Israel’s success, works with Hamas’ allies in trying to force Israel to accept cease-fire conditions that are clearly detrimental to Israel’s security, and delays delivery of needed weaponry to make Israel comply with US demands. All the while, Jews are attacked across Europe as anti-Semitism resurfaces, big time.
After a month of a completely justified war where Israel destroyed all the major tunnels from Gaza, eliminated most of the rocket launchers, and killed hundreds of Hamas’ military leaders, Hamas claimed victory and Israel is accused by the UN of being a war criminal. As discussion of cease-fire conditions and of terms for an eventual peace are now underway, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority openly gloat that their objective for the current lull in combat is to allow them to re-arm and resume terrorist attacks in the future.
As worrisome as these are, I haven’t addressed the other terrorist acts occurring throughout the rest of the Middle East, and the potential threat of Islamic jihad in Europe and North America. Let’s limit this discussion to Israel, where there is more than enough tsouris to discuss for now!
With Israel in such turmoil, what can we do to help, either as individuals or as members of our men’s clubs? Of course there is the obvious action of donating money to any of the several organizations that are providing funds to Israel, the families of the fallen soldiers, and other humanitarian causes. We can also write to our senators and representatives to encourage them to continue to support Israel publicly and to support necessary weapons appropriations bills that are critical for Israel to maintain military strength.
Perhaps most importantly, we can speak up for Israel to counter the negative Palestinian propaganda and the inaccurate information coming from the media. Too often we talk about the issues among ourselves, and so are “preaching to the choir.” We think that others who perceive Israel in a negative light will not be receptive to understanding the truth, but if we don’t try we’ll never really know. We may also think that we don’t fully understand all the background, history, and facts ourselves so will not be able to present a fair case for Israel.
One way to improve your knowledge is to attend an Israel Advocacy workshop conducted by Mercaz, the Conservative Movement’s Zionist organization. FJMC has played a significant role in helping Mercaz develop these workshops, which have been offered at several locations in the U.S. over the past couple of years. In some cases, an FJMC region has hosted a Mercaz Israel Advocacy workshop in collaboration with a local Women’s League region. To learn more about these workshops and when one may be held in your area, please contact Mike Perloff, FJMC’s Israel Affairs Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What else can we do to support Israel at this critical time? Please offer your suggestions by commenting to this Blog. And if you have any thoughts on my observations above, feel free to share them as well.