The Avalanche of Jewish Hate Makes it Impossible to Grieve
Last night, my synagogue hosted a Moment of Community and Connection.
A group of us sat in a circle with our clergy, and our senior rabbi picked up his acoustic guitar and played the first chords of a song he wrote. The only emotions I’d felt since Saturday morning were savage rage and indignation over the genocidal attack on my people in Israel. That first note of music was enough to let the sadness in, and it was a relief to have the capability to vacillate toward another emotion, even though it was one of grief.
That’s almost 13 Israelis murdered per hour with the death toll rising, which will undoubtedly include hostages being dehumanized in Gazan tunnels.
But it’s worse than it sounds. Can you imagine?
When you are the most persecuted people in the history of hate, you have no choice but to compartmentalize the scope and scale of it so that you can lead your next work meeting, be present enough to help your child with their homework, or pay attention to the red light as you drive.
So, when I woke up on Saturday morning and learned that 5,000 missiles were fired from Gaza into Israel, my first thought was, Okay, the Iron Dome will stop many of them, and for those that get through, well, there will be some casualties. It won’t be a lot, because that’s how these skirmishes with Hamas usually go.
How wrong I was.
Iron Dome couldn’t keep up with the airstrikes. The terrorists walked and drove over the southern border into people’s homes. They dropped out of the sky on parachutes over a music festival.
Okay, maybe they intimidated some people, shot others from a distance, and drove others from their homes.
They broke down doors, kicked open bedrooms and playrooms, and shot Jewish innocents point blank.
My bargaining continued. Oh boy, uh, hopefully it was only (only!) a few houses.
It was hundreds, including kibbutzim, collective communities of souls committed to agriculture and peace.
Jesus Christ. Only adults, right? They allowed children to escape, right?
They murdered them.
Please tell me that was the extent of their brutality.
They raped women. They burned people alive. They executed parents in front of their children and children in front of their parents. They decapitated babies.
And they filmed it for the world to see with utter glee.
We will be introduced in the coming weeks to a new word for evil, one that doesn’t exist yet in our lexicon that can only be applied to Hamas.
For the time being, let’s call them who they are: terrorists, demons, boogeymen, and a composite of the most terrifying mythological creatures brought to life from the Japanese Gashadokuro and Mesopotamian Lamashtu to the Greek Typhon and Norse Draugr.
The three terms that the media needs to stop using are freedom fighters, militants, and Nazis. Hamas does not believe in the freedom of its Gazan, Palestinian civilians, as it has violently shut down any attempt at democracy, a story that gets swept under the rug. They are not militants because their reign of terror is not supporting a social cause. They are worse than Nazis, because they’ve had decades of history since World War II to choose to be better, and they decided not to learn a Goddamn thing.
It's too much for us to absorb.
I want to tell you why the stages of grief don’t apply to Jews the way we deserve them to.
We wake up to the news that our Motherland, our birthright, has been attacked more severely than it’s ever been. That it’s the first time more Jews have died in a single day since the Holocaust. That it’s Israel’s 9/11, though today it stands at 10 times worse. That the distant distant specter of the destruction of the State of Israel is suddenly so palpable that we can feel its breath on our necks. That, though in America, we are thousands of miles from Israel, we are inextricably linked and that this could signal the end of world Jewry for good.
All of this is unfolding at lightning speed, and at best, we can only feel one stage of grief, maybe two. For the first three days, I could only emote anger, and finally yesterday sadness. But there is something so much more sinister, horrifying, and deadly at play that is disrupting our grief: the reality that we are dying, and people don’t give a flying fuck, because we are Jews.
This is what brings me to my knees, pulverizes my stomach, heart, and soul, and in my darkest moments makes me not want to live anymore.
Hamas are terrorists; therefore it makes sense that they want every Jew to die. But institutional leaders and American lawmakers? I can't. I can't.
How could Rashida Tlaib, a fellow Democrat, for whom I phonebanked and celebrated her election as the first Palestinian-American US Representative, say, "As long as our country provides billions in unconditional funding to support the apartheid government, this heartbreaking cycle of violence will continue.”
Translated in Antisemitic-ese: “You had murder, rape, and kidnapping coming to you, Israel. This is what you get.”
How could universities across America and the rest of the globe side with and foster the hate speech of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), who brazenly harass Jewish students and Hillels? As the number of the Jewish dead continued to rise, Harvard University endorsed the following SJP statement: “We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”
How could the Jewish President of Northwestern University, right in my backyard, make the executive decision to not put out a statement in support of its Jewish student population? My friend, a college professor, said his university chose not to speak up for Jews because it would alienate others. Meanwhile, today, it is sanctioning an SJP rally on campus.
How could the pro-Palestinian, antisemetic Democratic Socialists of America—to whom six members of the US House of Representatives belong—organize “protests” nationwide, encouraging its people to rip up Israeli flags, brandish Swastikas, chant “Gas the Jews”, and shout, “We're going to liberate Palestine. We already liberated parts of it already. So get ready to get barbecued." (I attended a Jewish United Fund rally yesterday in support of Israel, and there was not a single hostile sign, not even condemning Hamas.)
These are the responses to civilians who were brutally murdered, raped, and kidnapped in plain sight, broadcast on social media and TV. These are the responses to images of women’s blood-stained crotches, who were violated in the worst way. These are the responses to baby cribs soaked in blood and littered with bullets, and footage of tiny body bags, the kind you can never unsee.
This is not an act of war by Hamas. That’s a lie that gives them too much grace. This is an attempted genocide in violation of all the rules of engagement and the standards set forth by the Geneva Convention.
To the people and entities above, to the United Nations, to companies who tout Diversity Equity and Inclusion but exclude Jews, to so-called social justice movements like Black Lives Matter who have championed antisemitism when we’ve had your back, you are perpetrating hypocrisy to the highest order, and you are unspeakable monsters.
To those of you who are somehow conflicted, there is no middle ground. This is a moral, seminal moment to determine where you stand, and you need to make up your mind right now.
I just stepped away to look at my news feed, and I read an article by Bari Weiss that answers all of my “How Could You?” questions from above:
“Now we know who would have looked at Jews shoved onto cattle cars and said, ‘Well, they did undermine the German economy.’ Those are the people today saying: ‘This is a justified response to the provocation of Israel existing. ’Now we know whose politics are rooted not in conservatism or liberalism or anything else other than simply hating Jews. Now we can see exactly how people manage to always come up with a reason for why the Jews deserved it.”
But here’s something else that we know: Jews are the most resilient people in the world, Israel is going to destroy Hamas, and She will always defend Her right to exist.
May all of the memories of those lost be for a blessing, and Am Yisrael Chai.
About the Author, David Telisman
I am a Writer and Content Creator, and I work with businesses to inspire their customers to buy from them. I believe that my clients deserve to feel proud of how their content marketing looks and what it says, and I deliver by providing expert copywriting and marketing solutions.
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