11 September 2015

We Must Speak Out against ALL Terrorism (Even When It Hurts)

Natalie Darwin brought this article from yesterday's New York Times (Israeli Terrorists, Born the USA) to my attention. Just like many stories we see in the headlines, she hoped it wasn't true.

Sadly, regarding some American Jews living in Israel, I believe it is.

I lived in Israel and was there the Purim that Baruch Goldstein opened fire on innocent Arabs.  That year, I had a large beard and looked American.  Every time I went into the Mashbir (the big department store in downtown Jerusalem) and other stores, the security guards would look at me and ask if I was carrying a gun - as many of the settlers did and still do.

Don't get me wrong, there are many American (and other nationality) Jews living beyond the green line, in territory captured by Israel in 1967, who are good people - and would never dream of carrying out a "price tag" attack.  Yet, even in those communities, even twenty years ago, I heard the demonization of the Arab population; the children taught to think of their neighbors as "other", not quite the same, dangerous.

There are those who move to this Israeli frontier with the goal of making the land a permanent part of Israel, and to whom the current inhabitants are an infestation, and who need to be encouraged (however strongly) to leave.

We cannot stand silent when such violent acts are perpetrated by others in our name.  We cannot allow Judaism - the religion and culture that we hold dear - to be used as an excuse to attack others, to terrorize, to burn families out of their homes.

This is not Judaism.  I stand with the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin.  These are crimes, and those who carry out these actions are terrorists - and should be treated in the same way that the state of Israel treats all terrorists (and if that leads to a re-examination of those policies, so much the better).

The path to peace and safety for all is not through violence and escalation.  We should be ashamed of this New York Times Op-Ed - because it had to be said, and we should be loud in our denunciation of such acts as well.

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