In the late 1920s, my grandfather was studying pathology in Austria after finishing his medical training at Cornell University in the United States (US). The Brownshirts had already claimed prominence in German society, and Hitler’s rise to power was in motion. Seeing the direction of Europe, my grandfather pleaded with his professors and colleagues to leave Austria before it was too late. Much to his dismay, he was told these things shall pass - sure things are bad, but it is only a fringe movement. My grandfather would later spend the next two decades of his life checking ship manifests in New York papers for the names of his professors and colleagues - he would never hear from them again.
This story is not unique and has been played out in Jewish history many times before. Unfortunately, no matter how many times this happens, we continue to hear this too shall pass.
People often attribute the creation of Israel to the Holocaust, which is a mistake; Israel does not exist because of the Holocaust. It exists so a Holocaust can never happen again. Antisemitic attacks are escalating globally and world leaders seem blind to the situation.
Unquestionably, the hostage-taking at the Colleyville, Texas synagogue was an attack on all Jews, yet the FBI acts as if it was a random establishment that fell victim to an act of passion. I am unapologetic about my support of Israel and my Zionist beliefs. As well, there is too much evidence that being a good Jew simply means you get rounded up last. We need a generation of Zionists and Jewish organizations that refuse to go quietly, who will aggressively speak out when our existence is toyed with as a matter of debate. On the world stage and domestically, the US must be more vocal that they stand with Israel and the Jewish struggle against those who wish to annihilate us.
The mere hesitation of standing with Israel and the Jewish community in our current situation is a signal to the world that the US support of Jews is conditional on the political climate.
Take a look at the events of the past spring: Hamas rained down thousands of rockets and missiles at Israel while much of the global community fell silent. A common message is that Israel’s response is not proportional. Let us be clear: That is code for not enough Jews have died in this conflict. There is no moral equivalency between a terrorist organization and Israel, for example, Hamas uses human shields and is willing to murder the residents of Gaza just for the opportunity to kill Israelis.
Never in my life could I have imagined a world in which the United Arab Emirates puts out stronger language in support of Israel than the US, but that is exactly what happened in May, 2021. As Israel is under attack from rockets, Jews globally are being harassed, beaten, and killed for having the nerve to exist. Anti-Zionism is antisemitism, the two are fundamentally intertwined and this is why we continue to see pro-Hamas rhetoric outside Jewish establishments. When someone says, “From the river to the sea,” they are referring to the extermination of the State of Israel. Attacks on the Jewish state and the Jewish people are not separate events; it is an ongoing saga from those who wish to see a world without Jews.
To my fellow Jews who are afraid to speak up, history is on our side. When we were kicked out of nations we have known, we survived. When we were sent to the ovens and the world turned its back on us, we survived. We have seen this movie before and let me tell you, we will survive. The question is and has always been: Will we fight or lie to ourselves once more that this too shall pass? It is time to say to the world that “never again” means never again.
The writer is pursuing a master’s degree in public policy (environmental policy) at Arizona State University.