By Sam GREEN, Israel commentator
Like many frustrated young Jews on campus in the late 1990s, I got into ‘Israel advocacy’ because of the incessant hypocrisy displayed by the media and academic world towards Israel.
Now that I’m a little older I still applaud those that work, but I’ve become increasingly convinced our focus is wrong. And I’ll explain why. The argument for advocacy is that even if we can’t shake those anti-Semites on the fringes, we can at least sway the majority of people in the middle who are receptive to, but largely ignorant of, the truth. And while this approach makes common sense, it has largely failed to make a significant dent in the rising tide of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment we see today.
If there was only one law of anti-Semitism, it is that it doesn’t follow natural laws. While other groups are hated for a specific reason, the Jews have been blamed at different times for pretty much everything. But if there’s another thing that our 3000 years of history has taught us, it’s that the Jews were never persecuted when they were feared.
The book of Samuel provides a stark example of this reality when contrasting the reign of King David with that of his predecessor, King Saul. Saul’s approach to the Philistines was defensive from the start. We are told that as soon as he became king, he ‘went home’. He responded militarily only when provoked.
Sound familiar? It’s precisely the policy of the Israel ‘Defence’ Forces today.
So he won a few and lost a few. But after 42 years of Saul being on the throne, the strategic situation remained precarious and the king was forced to take his own life on the slopes of Mount Gilboa in his final battle. David played by a different set of rules. We read that instead of going home, he went straight to war. In Psalm 18:37-47, he gives us a glimpse into his strategic thinking: “I will pursue my enemies, and overtake them. Neither will I turn again until they are consumed. I will strike them through, so that they will not be able to rise.”
And his strategy of offence worked. It brought Israel the most peaceful and prosperous period in our history – days that we still look back on with longing. On the whole, modern Israel’s leaders have resembled King Saul more than King David. And while we could never apply the letter of David’s principle today, we are paying a heavy price by ignoring the spirit of it. That price has been paid in the continual spilling of Jewish blood in a never-ending conflict. The only small respite we’ve ever had was in 1967 – when Israel took the war decisively to the Arab states and won a crushing victory.
As a result, Israel also became the darling of international relations for a brief time, wooed by African states and the United States alike. Yet despite the short-lived victory of ‘67, Israel today remains paralysed between terrorist atrocities and missile attacks on the one hand, and the tenuous acceptance of our ‘friends’ on the other.
And the result is that we have neither lasting peace nor true friends. Those we call friends expect us to sacrifice the lives of our children by sitting on our hands where they would respond ferociously. Just recently, a nine-year-old girl playing in her yard in Psagot, northern Jerusalem, was shot and injured by an Arab terrorist.
Yet, for all their brainwashing, even terrorists make some rational calculations: ‘If I’m killed I’m a hero. If I’m caught I’m still a hero. If I evade capture, I’m a smart hero. Either way, victory’. What’s demanded is a response that radically alters our enemies’ calculation. Only if the would-be terrorist was forced to weigh not just his fate, but the fate of his entire family and village, only then would he think twice before pulling the trigger on a Jewish child.
I call this philosophy: ‘Not One Single Jewish Child’. To us, the Jewish people, there is nothing more important than our children. Look up on Google the phrase ‘Jewish children’. The overwhelming majority of images staring back at us from the screen are from the Holocaust.
One million Jewish children murdered. That’s the equivalent of all the Jewish children in Israel today. And we talk about Never Again.
So let’s really mean it. Let’s make Never Again not just a slogan but a policy. No mercy and no quarter for those that want our children dead. Regardless of what a morally-bankrupt world says or thinks. Let’s stop trying to be understood. Let the world respect us for a change instead.
Let’s do away with the pseudo-ethics of turn-the-other-cheek that the West preaches but never practises. And let us demand from our leaders that there should be no compromise when it comes to the lives of our most precious possessions – our children.
We should advocate for no more early release of terrorists; no more negotiating with Holocaust deniers and inciters; no more apologies to thuggish dictators, no more uprooting families and communities; no more placing our civilians in danger to spare theirs; yes to implementing the death sentence for barbarians like the Fogel family killers; yes to building deterrence rather than fences.
Yes to standing up to Iran – with or without American support. And let us build, build, build to break our enemies’ morale once and for all. Only this will earn us respect – and perhaps even peace… Not One Single Jewish Child. Never Again.
And if we have the courage to do this, I promise you we’ll also suddenly discover an army of vocal international supporters. We could then close the shop on our thankless Israel advocacy efforts and spend the extra time with our families. And that’s not a bad bargain, all in all.