Last Sunday morning, after a sleepless night following the rocket fire from our southern border at Gaza, we woke up to read the following message on Twitter: “Israel must stop murdering Palestinians in Gaza. We are standing with Gaza now and always.”
While it would be logical to assume the message came from someone in Iran or in some other Arab country, the depressing reality is that it was written by Jews who belong to If Not Now, an organization of “progressive” Jews which enjoys tens of thousands of followers in social media.
“Israel will rise and continue to exist until Islam destroys it (the martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).”
This quotation by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood opens the Hamas charter. This is the ideology that Israel is facing, and it is Hamas’s goal. Simply stated, the State of Israel is being attacked by a terrorist organization in Gaza, Hamas, committed to its destruction.
One cannot blur this painful truth that we have a bitter and cruel enemy which seeks to destroy the existence of the State of Israel in a religious holy war. This is not a border dispute, and certainly not a dispute over the expansion of fishing areas.
Israelis recognize that this is an existential confrontation. Furthermore, as Jews living in the State of Israel and serving in our army, we have the expectation that American Jewry will always stand by Israel. We are after all brethren, one people, no matter where we live.
This does not mean that one can not disagree or criticize. This does not mean that it is impossible to conduct arguments and disputes. Jews in Israel do so all the time among ourselves, often with great acrimony. None of that, however, prevents us from standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the time of the command.
So we must ask with disbelief: What kind of Jew stands with Gaza when Gaza is led, controlled and being strangled by a radical Islamic terrorist organization that indiscriminately but deliberately shoots at a civilian population and murders innocent civilians?
The State of Israel, the Jewish state, which is obligated to absorb any Jew who desires it – even members of If Not Now. Meanwhile, the Jewish state is attacked by an organization whose founding charter calls for the murder of Jews because they are Jews – even Jews who are members of If Not Now.
We recently marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. Anyone who has studied history will not be surprised to discover the connection between the Palestinian national movement and the Nazis. During World War II, the mufti of Jerusalem recruited 25,000 Muslims for the SS.
ANY JEWS who thinks our conflict is Gaza is a product of Israeli desire to oppress the people of Gaza is either ignorant, or just has malice in his heart for his fellow Jews.
The American Jewish community must wake up, and see clearly the great damage that these haters are doing. Jewish leaders and opinion-shapers must call out, even better, vomit out from the Jewish tent any organizations that cynically use their religious identity to join forces with the enemies of Israel.
The young people of If Not Now do not live here. They never experienced the chilling feeling when you have 15 seconds to run to a shelter when Hamas decides to fire missiles at kindergartens and schools. These young people do not serve in the IDF and have not lost friends during the fighting against Hamas.
The bottom line is that If Not Now and its reflexive supporters do not share the heavy responsibility for the Jewish state. They have no skin in the game, they have nothing at stake other than the purity of their progressive ideology.
We, the Jews in the State of Israel, do not mourn the lack of support for us from If Not Now and those groups like it. However, we greatly worry about and condemn the serious international damage they are causing us.
So we say again to our American Jewish brethren that you, Jews who love and support the State of Israel, you too must speak out and condemn If Not Now with all your power, might and influence.
As a reminder, a few months ago If Not Now demonstrated against Birthright, one of the most important and consensual projects in the Jewish world. Similarly, they planted provocateurs as part of Birthright Israel trips, provocateurs who cooperated with Israeli extremist organizations such as Breaking the Silence.
Why? To cut the ties between us, and to inject doubt as to our mission to unite young American Jews with their Israeli brethren. Attacking Birthright was a deliberate attack by this organization on the connection between Israel and American Jewry, designed to disintegrate and to dissolve what should be the eternal bond between the Jewish state and Diaspora Jewry.
Anyone who “always stands for Gaza” declares himself to be an enemy of Israel. Anyone who claims that Israel is a “murderer of Palestinians” spreads blood libels and lies and actually feeds the propaganda of those lies and hatred against Israel in the world.
If Not Now has no place in the Jewish community. They must be shunned and condemned before they are able to do more damage.
The writers are both company commanders in the reserves who served in Gaza over the years.
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