Is It Safe For Us Anywhere?
The great Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning play Leopoldstadt depicts the life of a Jewish family in Vienna from the turn of the twentieth century through the different eras that lead up to the post-World War II period. This family went from a prosperous, assimilated set of high achievers to become the victims of Austrian and German anti-Semitism and eventually the death camps save for a few who escaped after Kristallnacht in 1938. It turns out that the play, as powerful as it was before October 7, it is even more so now.
What has become clear to any thinking Jew in the past month is that if the one place we assumed was safe for Jews (Israel) is no longer safe, where do we go when the other places that are safe now become unsafe as they are appearing to become, including here in the United States? What, you say? America? Unsafe for Jews? Check out your nearest college campus where anti-Semitism is on the rise and Jewish students are afraid to walk on campus.
I don’t know what has caused this latest rise in anti-Jewish hate on the college campuses besides it having been latent all along and erupting over the Israeli response to October 7. These uneducated students have little understanding of Jewish history or the history of the land “between the river and the sea.” Jews were there long before some of the nomadic Arabs settled there. Jews had to fight their way in after Moses died (remember Joshua fit the battle of Jericho) and have been ousted numerous times including two temples destroyed by invading non-Arab armies.
None of these historical issues are more potent than the long history of pogroms against the Jewish people all over Europe culminating in the Holocaust and finally some support from the larger world that the Jews needed a homeland. So, the former British territory that was called Palestine was partitioned and the Jews got a small sliver. The Jews expanded that sliver in 1967 when they were forced to attack the surrounding Arab armies that had amassed, yet again, to wipe them out.
Here we are again. The Jews of Israel are surrounded by hostile neighbors and one so hostile it killed 1400 innocent people and captured over 200 hostages. Now, Israel is saying we cannot have such a hostile neighbor if we are to survive and the world including the lefties on college campuses are criticizing Israel for trying to survive.
How about criticizing Hamas for murder, rape, and beheading? Where’s that outrage?
Serious Jewish people we know are wondering where they are going to go when the climate change in greater America reflects the nonsense on American college campuses.
I am appalled at the audacity of Hamas to horde food and fuel that is desperately needed by the very people Hamas is supposed to lead and care for. Yes, I am also appalled at the many innocent Palestinian dead, but Hamas could stop that today. Release the hostages and walk away, for if you do not, you and those you govern will die because Israel cannot let another pogrom go unanswered.
Israel fights for me to have a home when everywhere else is not safe. It is existential for them. It is existential for me.
This time the Jews will not go passively. This time the underground is who and where we are fighting, not the group we are joining. This time we will muster our influence on our non-Jewish friends and hope that they will be good friends to the end.
Israel and all Jews are fighting for survival—once again. It may be that it has come down to “them or us.” I had always hoped not. After my many trips to Israel and the many Palestinians we have met, I was convinced that living in peaceful co-existence was possible. Perhaps I was wrong.
Israel must eliminate Hamas as a threat to its security and then repopulate the evacuated areas of Israel near Gaza and Lebanon that have been vacated by terrified Israelis since October 7. Israel needs to take back its country and its pride.
All of us Jews are counting on it and all of us are supporting it and if there are Jews in the pro-Palestinian marches, they are poorly informed about history. They are in college to learn, not to demonstrate. Learn the history of “Palestine” before you chant any more about from the river to the sea. That is historically Jewish land and even if it wasn’t, the Jews have fought for it and won. The fighting isn’t done.