My family and I recently returned to Memphis from a three-week stay in Israel (unexpectedly extended courtesy of Hamas and our feckless FAA). Unfortunately, the marvelous, unprecedented unity we saw in Israel is matched by opposition from outside the country to Israeli actions in Gaza and allegations of atrocities. Perhaps a mnemonic combining the words “pray” and “Gaza” would help us guide those committed to fighting for Israel and the preservation of Judeo-Christian values across the board and the traditional American way of life.
Powerful images of civilians injured and killed – despite Israel’s unprecedented attempts to avoid noncombatant casualties – drive the Palestinian narrative. These images will remain seared in good people’s minds and hearts long after the fighting has come to an end because most people are not in a position to judge, or simply choose to ignore the evidence regarding the context in which these tragic losses occurred. Helping people understand the Israeli side of the controversy will require a sustained effort from all of us.
Recognizing the forces and mortal threat facing us should prompt us to reconsider our customary response.
If our case is as open and shut as we like to believe, why are more people not supporting us? How can we get people to care enough to appreciate the truth? American values are under attack by Hamas and their fellow travellers. The policy of trusting cries of anti-Semitism to sway the public against hatred is losing effectiveness and may now be counter productive. People generally care more about their Facebook status than they do about the plight of Jews.
We are likely to do something when perceived self interest is at stake. Convincing Americans to understand that the war of Hamas against Judeo-Christian and American values is crucial. Hamas and their radical Islamic brothers are slaughtering Christians across the Middle East. Their anti-democratic, anti-gay, misogynistic and callous treatment of civilians must be effectively exposed. They are now firing at Israel but their ultimate aim is to conquer Washington and the Vatican. We must shape our message to get people to care enough about the issues to take appropriate action.
Young people are particularly insensitive to the issues. Support for Israel drops off dramatically below thirty years of age. We must reach out and educate the younger generation, starting with our children and their friends.
Gentiles are another group we must reach and work with. In America, unlike in Europe, the Jews received a gift without precedent in our history.
American Gentiles are gentle. We must make a point of showing them appreciation and working together on the many issues we have in common rather than focusing on the few areas where we see things differently. We must not take America and Israel for granted. We can and should work to defeat common enemies. We must protect what we acquired by the hard work and sacrifice of those who preceded us. Unless we do so, we will not be able pass these treasures on. It is imperative to show our children’s generation that freedom is not free.
Arguing rarely achieves anything of significance. Let us work to develop the facility of articulating the case for Israel succinctly and persuasively and expose the falsehoods and libels of Israel’s detractors. That would require sustained effort. A list of impressive websites includes standwithus.. org, honestreporting.com, Whatifgaza.com, Jpost.com and AIPAC.com. Calling and emailing congressional representatives is something we can do frequently.
In Memphis there is a group called Memphis Friends of Israel comprised of Christians and Jews. We work together to educate the public and demonstrate our support for Israel.
There were approximately 10,000 people at the recent annual rally.
This year we were joined by Earl Cox, Israel’s Good Will Ambassador to the Christian World, and Benny Kasriel, mayor of Ma’aleh Adumin. We also work to fight the Boycott Divest and Sell movement (BDS), and recently organized another rally to support Israel by opposing this attack on the country. We want to work with other to help them start chapters of our organization. in different cities In the meantime let us consider ourselves Ambassadors for Israel and act accordingly to broaden our influence with all with whom we cross paths.
Zionism is a noble idea, and I would like us to be active, effective advocates for its causes – not just individuals who rise up to defend the country when it is under attack. We have to realize the extent of the incessant, nefarious war against the Jewish nation.
Michael Oren wrote an excellent article in the August 2 edition of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that we should all be familiar with. Google WSJ and Z- Street to find a disturbing article outlining the activities of IRS bureaucrats, supported by US tax dollars, who while assessing organizations applying for tax exempt status, routinely asking questions such as “describe your organization’s religious belief system towards the state of Israel.”
This is one example of a persistent battle against Israel by the American governmental bureaucracy, the media and the liberal elite, and their behavior should be highly disturbing to fair-minded Americans, whatever their political persuasion.
We say “amen” in response to other’s prayer as a reminder of the need to work together. Prayers are answered – although not necessarily in the way we imagined. When we prayed for the three boys, Naftali, Gil-Ad and Eyal, murdered by Hamas, some thought their prayers were ignored in view of the outcome.
However, their deaths enabled Israel to detect the tunnels and counteract the plan by Hamas to slaughter and kidnap hundreds of Israelis on Rosh Hashana.
We are inundated by marketers and others who attempt to influence us. Generally, the messages that get through are either overwhelming or persuading us that we stand to benefit in some fashion. Hamas and their cohorts traffic in powerful images that evoke sympathy in most Americans, who are ignorant of their full significance. We need to use such images to show the true evil of the parties engaging in action leading to these destructive results. Done properly, this communication can convince the audience that the enemies of Israel are willing to callously sacrifice civilians in a global jihad.
Our job is to have others understand this threat.
The same materials used as propaganda against us could instead motivate others to support Israel.
It would be a powerful example of Jew-Jitsu. As in Jiu Jitsu, the strategy is to leverage an attacker’s perceived strength against it. If people understood the true nature of Hamas and the threat they pose to our families and way of life, they would surely be more realistic about the challenges Israel faces in Gaza, and more disposed to act in our common self interest.
We have been spoiled in America, and unlike previous generations of freedom-loving people, we have not had to fight for our liberty. It is our turn to step up to the plate to protect and preserve shared values. The fate of America and Israel are bound together in principle and actuality.
We must do our part to educate and motivate our fellow citizens. The future of both countries may hang in the balance.
Seth Kaufman, MD, is a VP of Memphis Friends Of Israel and the son of Leah Kaufman. Ms, Kaufman, a Holocaust survivor, was saved by Christians who risked their lives for her. He has worked with Christians in defense of Judeo-Christian values for years.