I finished reading Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin this past Shabbat. It gives a brief outline of topics ranging from the Torah to the prayers we say during services. The section on antisemitism had a quote by Sigmund Freud. In it, he surmised that antisemitism exists because Jews are the moral conscience of the world. It is for this reason many hate us.
It caught my attention because I had been thinking about antisemitism for months and had come to the conclusion it was because we do serve as a moral compass. From the way we eat to the way we bury our dead and everything in between helps us to remember to love our neighbors. If we are to show compassion to the animals that are slaughtered for our food, how much more compassion should be shown to our selves and others?
Acts of loving-kindness are supposed to be at the center of our lives. We see this in action even as Israel once again finds it necessary to defend itself. While seeking out targets of the Hamas military infrastructure, leaflets are dropped to the civilian population letting them know to get out of the way. While tanks were being lined up before the start of the ground-offensive, trucks at other parts were loaded up with food, water, and medicine to be dispersed to the civilians in Gaza.
While Israel tries to warn the civilians in Gaza, the murdering terrorists in Gaza aim their Qassams, GRADs, and other missiles at Israeli schools, businesses, hospitals, and shopping malls. The terrorists don't care who they hit.
While we are commanded to acts of loving-kindness, we are also commanded to not stand by while another's blood is being spilled, to kill those who would kill you, and to seek justice.
Lebanon killed far more Palestinians couple of years ago and was very brutal in its actions against the Palestinian terrorists in refugee camps. They cut off water and electricity to the refugee camps, and yet there was no wide-spread condemnation of Lebanon.
And yet, Israel after finally doing something about the rockets aimed at its citizens for over ten years, is condemned by the UN and so many others. Israel is a sovereign nation and has the right to protect its citizens from cut-throat murderers. Hamas is a murderous band who takes joy in the slaughter of children. To try to defend them, as some newspaper columnists have done, because they may provide some social services should be morally repugnant to any decent mensch.
The only reason I can come up with the vitriolic hate against Israel is antisemitism. Hitler called Jews a cancer and now many say Israel is a cancer, some even stoop so low as to say Israel is as atrocious as Hitler. Iran has openly stated it will wipe Israel off the face of the earth. The Palestinian Authority says it wants peace with Israel and yet its maps do not show Israel, only Palestine from the River to the Sea. The United Nations uses the same flag when it holds its Palestinian Solidarity day, the same day when Israel accepted the UN terms and the Arab world swore to drive all the Jews into the sea.
Israel has made mistakes. Most Palestinians, like Israelis, want to live in peace. Peace will never be achieved as long as there are those who defend or try to justify the tactics of terrorists like Hamas. It is surprising and a hopeful sign that many countries such as Egypt place the blame on Hamas for the fighting now going on. This needs to be done on a consistent basis and then peace can be reached.