By Judith Buchman-Ziv
As we reflect on the New Year and hope for good things to come, we, as Jews are in a precarious situation. Are we caught in the middle of two contentious agendas? Do we need to confront the Neo-Nazis, head on, show up at their demonstrations and be more vocal? Can we support the left’s agenda as they supposedly support equality, while so many of the different movements are turning against Israel?
Israel must improve its public relations. There are so many people who enjoy a good and modern life there, including many Arab women doctors, teachers and lawyers. Israel needs to show that there is a fair judiciary system. The country is not perfect, but it is not the monster depicted in the media, nor is it an apartheid state.
We must be aware that the anti-Israel sentiments coming from the left are dangerous in the U.S., as many are trying to equate the oppression of African Americans, Native Americans up to the Dakota pipeline to Palestinian issues. The fact is, many Israelis, particularly the Israeli-left, long for a more egalitarian society, with less orthodox influence, and call for Bibi Netanyahu to step down. Although I agree with most of that, I am finding myself on occasion wishing to hush them about vocalizing their anger in a destructive manner in the media.
So the big question we reflect on today is, “can we, as Jews, afford to criticize Israel?” How can we do this without making her “look bad” in the eyes of the world?” I often wish to ask the Haaretz readers to tone down their rhetoric when criticizing this small country with 6.5 million Jews and 1.5 million Arabs. (6,419,000 Jews and 1,786,000 Arabs to be more precise. See Wikipedia for a total breakdown of Israel’s population).
As the left in Israeli society works toward getting more progressive candidates into leadership positions, can we, as Jews, treat Israel like any other country? Because the Jews really do have a lot of enemies and haters out there, as we have learned more so in recent months.
And to anyone who supports BDS, aka the desire to cripple Israel’s economy and thus endanger the livelihood of Israelis, Arabs, Druze and the other ethnicities living and prospering in Israel, I call on them to educate themselves and take on a much more serious cause; maybe women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, maybe the oppression of the Yazidis, the Kurds, the Christians in Syria, the suffering in Yemen or the Congo. I say to them, educate yourselves, please.
It’s time to wake up. We’re caught in the middle: the alt-right and Neo- Nazis are trying to spread, and the left is being brainwashed to be an anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish homeland. I am being vocal about this today, on the New Year, not to be political, but to express my support of my fellow Jews and Israel. I am proud to be leftist, liberal and a lover of Israel. We all need to be strong and proactive against the anti-Semitic AND anti-Zionist banter!
Many think they can hijack the seekers of social and racial justice and turn them all against Israel. Tomorrow does not belong to the haters.
I am proud to wear a T-shirt or carry a sign anywhere, anytime, stating that I am liberal, support equality and justice for all — and support a homeland for the Jews. We need to be more vocal. Shana Tovah and praying for a Shnat Shalom – a year of peace and tolerance for all.