On Tisha B’Av, 5773—July 15, 2013--Jews around the world recalled the destruction of both of our Temples. We fasted. We mourned. We remembered Jews murdered during the Middle Ages. We mourned for those murdered in the Holocaust.
But as Tisha B’Av arrived and passed, we were reminded that, as Rabbi David Orlovsky has said, we, too, live in times of destruction. Look at Syria and Egypt. They self-destruct before our eyes.
Look at Israel: during the first ten days of Av (July 7-16, 2013), Arabs attacked Jews in Jerusalem. Arabs in Jerusalem rioted near Damascus Gate. Jews were banned from the Temple Mount. Syrian militants aimed mortar shells and gunfire into Northern Israel. A report revealed that, during the first six months of 2013, 5,635 violent Islamic attacks took place against Jews in Israel.
Peace in the Middle East burns today as surely as our beloved Temples burned. Peace with Jews in Europe also begins to go up in flame. During these same first ten days of Av, Poland outlawed the practice of Jewish kosher slaughter of animals. The European Union passed new guidelines that created a financial boycott of all Jewish entities in Judea, Samaria, Eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Honestreporting.com posted an interview with the headline, ‘The untold truth: 150 million Europeans hate Israel’. The Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (antisemitism.org) posted ten new essays documenting anti-Semitic activity in Europe. In Dusseldorf, Germany, chants of, ‘down with Israel’ rose from a pro-Turkey rally.
In July, 2013, Jews prepared for their Tisha B’Av and Arab Muslims began their Holy month of Ramadan (July 10 – August 7). As Europe and the Middle East burned with hate, Jews mourned. Arabs, meanwhile, feasted on Jew-hate.
For example, Arab TV celebrates this year’s Ramadan with racist and demonizing images of Jews. For July, 2013, one program stands out. It’s called, ‘Khaybar’. It is a drama about a 7th century Arabian city once populated by Jews. These Jews were ethnically cleansed by early Muslims. This modern dramatization presents those Jews as treacherous, hateful towards others, scheming and corrupt (see, ‘The image of the Jew in the Ramadan TV show, ‘Khaybar’, Y.Y. Yehoshua, Memri.org, July 10, 2013). This is Arab Ramadan TV. It focuses on a racist description of the social, economic and religious lives of the Jew in order to show how Jews plot to control and kill Arabs (Memri, ibid).
To understand the impact of such images, recall how Muslims reacted with violence in 2006 to cartoons in Europe about Islam. Recall similar, image-driven Muslim violence in Pakistan in 2010 and in France, 2012.
For the Muslim, images have meaning. For religious reasons, Islam is always protected. For religious reasons, Jews are vilified.
Muslim anti-Jewish, racist images do not, like the Jewish focus on Tisha B’Av, foster religious introspection. They incite murderous assault.
These hateful TV images are consistent with what ethicists call the dehumanization of an enemy in order to reduce a population’s inhibitions against murdering those dehumanized. Ramadan TV presents dehumanization of Jews in the name of religion. Do you think it coincidence that, as Arab TV presents racist incitement against Jews, Jews are attacked?
The Arabs are at war. They have a singular goal: to erase from the world map the only Jewish sovereign Member of the United Nations. Ramadan TV supports this war.
Even Jews support this war. Jews accept an anti-Zionist interpretation of ‘International Law’ as gospel. They accept the Arab narrative as truth. They believe Arabs wish only for self-determination. They ignore Arab Jew-hate. They reject everything Jewish.
These Jews have made a choice. They stand up to support the killing of the world’s only Jewish state.
Perhaps the G-d of Israel is doing a head-count. Certainly, before this war ends, we will all see who stands with those who would destroy us and who stands with Him.
Where do you stand?
Before World War Two, many Americans were ambivalent about supporting Britain and Europe against Nazi attack. But as soon as America was attacked, that ambivalence ended. Why?
Americans understood the meaning of being attacked. They understood that when you are attacked, you must make smart choices if you are to survive. For World War Two, Americans made the right choices. They stood up. They chose to fight against those who attacked.
Today is no different. If you are Jewish, your nation is under attack. Jews die. As happened in 1941 America, you must now choose where you stand.
Arabs will not negotiate with the hated Jew. Even as US Secretary of State John Kerry visits Ramallah to restart peace negotiations, Arabs in Ramallah fill the streets to protest against any negotiation with Israel.
While Kerry talks peace, Jews are attacked. Israel is demonized.
Where do you stand in all of this--with Jew-hate or with the Jewish state?