By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz
Jewish history is an ongoing cycle of high peaks and low valleys. We arrive in a new country, get acclimated until we feel we belong, and then the eternal hatred begins to manifest itself yet again. Just when we think that this destination is different than the previous places in which we lived, we are reminded that we are not yet home and are strangers in a foreign land. And there we are again.
We have become so accustomed to the great country that is the United States that we feel as if we belong here. When things don’t go our way, when some neighbors revert to their ancient hatred and begin attacking us and marching against us, we become surprised. How can this be happening to us in modern 2021? We have rights. They can’t just attack us in broad daylight and get away with it. Where are the police? Where are the elected leaders we supported, donated to, and voted for? We get lip-service and are calmed until the next outbreak, without having learned the lesson that our home is far away.
What caused the latest round is obvious. Once again, Palestinians attacked Israel, lobbing 4,500 rockets into population centers, unleashing terror, killing and terrorizing innocent civilians. Israel retaliated, as any country would, and promised to go after the bad guys until they have been severely weakened.
Palestinians and their Jew-hating supporters around the world rally to support the attackers. World-wide demonstrations, fake news media reports filled with half-truths and lies, and feckless politicians all do their max to besmirch Israel and amp up the pressure on it to step down and allow the Palestinians another moral and propaganda victory.
The media is filled with articles and pictures depicting poor Palestinians who were attacked by Israel. The true story is never told, explaining that Israel was acting in self-defense. Israel is always the aggressor and the poor Palestinians are the innocent victims. People who don’t know better begin believing the fictitious propaganda they see wherever they turn.
As usually happens in such situations, Israel promises that this time they will take the battle to the end and erase the threat once and for all. This time, as always, world pressure mounts and the government quits the war ahead of a pronounced victory. They buy some time for themselves as the enemy regroups and rebuilds for the next showdown, to be determined at the enemy’s discretion.
For all Israel’s bravado, it is heavily dependent on material, financial and moral support from the United States. Each administration treats Israel differently. Some appreciate the history and the importance of a dependable ally in a treacherous spot on the map. Others have less use for Jews and their state. The past administration was the friendliest and most supportive of Israel in its history. The current is not.
The Democrat Party is now demonstrably in the hands of so-called progressives, socialists in deed and thought. It seems like half of the Washington politicians are hostile to Israel and the other half is afraid of them. Several leading Democrats are working to block arms sales to Israel, while the usual so-called stalwart Democrat friends cower and offer no support for the beleaguered state. Others, such as Senator Bob Menendez, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined the brigade.
Majority Leader Schumer, who often prides himself on his support for Israel, was nowhere to be found on this one. He quickly signed onto a call for a ceasefire, equating Israel and Hamas, as if they are equals in the war and has been quiet on the increased anti-Semitism. He fears a primary challenge from the progressive firebrand AOC and is careful not step out of line. As he seeks to conform to the leftist orthodoxy, he dares not utter support for Israel or more than tepid condemnation of anti-Semitism.
In fact, Democrats lack the courage to state the obvious that there is no moral equivalency between Israel, Hamas, Iran, and the other Iran client states and terror groups. The left doesn’t care about Israel and has adopted the cause of the Palestinians as their own. The media is there along with them, highlighting the plight of Palestinians. To quote the New York Times, “Palestinians from all walks of life routinely experience exasperating impossibilities and petty humiliations, bureaucratic controls that force agonizing choices, and the fragility and cruelty of life under military rule.”
There is no mention ever of why Palestinians are subject to repeated security checks because of their history of terror. Everyone ignores that Israel’s many attempts to arrange peace were foiled by Palestinian machinations. Gaza is under Egyptian and Israeli blockades because it is a terror state that uses whatever is allowed into the area to arm itself to do battle, as was seen during the recent skirmish. But instead of focusing on the lies concerning the formation of the Palestinian people and the reason they are in their current situation, the blame is placed squarely on Israel.
It’s all about impressions and creating sympathetic impressions, facades, and narratives. This time, the Israelis lost the propaganda battle hands down, and that has serious repercussions there and around the world. Passions have been inflamed. The lies have taken hold and supporters of the people who are portrayed as suffering victims are seeking revenge. They are marching in capitols around the world and attacking Jews in cities in which they have felt safe, until now.
BLM, which seems to be charting the new path of the Democrat party, has stripped away the history and successfully reframed the conflict as a racial issue. When the group tweeted its support for the Palestinians, the BDS group responded, “Thank you for your solidarity. From Ferguson to Palestine, our struggles against racism, white supremacy and for a just world are united.” There you have the new perspective in a nutshell.
As the U.S. negotiates a nuclear pact with Iran, the mullahs sense weakness and unleashes its proxies on Israel. Hamas is funded and armed by Iran, as is Hezbollah to the north of Israel, yet the world’s largest sponsor of terror pays no price for pursuing their war. The administration’s greater goal is achieving an arrangement with them regarding nuclear weapons and is thus prepared to let everything else slip by as if it didn’t happen.
It has been previously shown that appeasement of terror and of Iran leads to further terror, while standing up to them, freezing their income, and coalescing mainstream Arab states to ally with Israel against Iran lead to hopes for peace. The worst approach is to be sitting with Iran as its client Hamas shoots rockets at America’s longtime ally. With justification, Iran now views itself as the victor in this go-around.
When the previous administration followed through on the old promise to bring the US embassy to Israel’s capital in Yerushalayim, Palestinians barely responded, they knew there would be serious repercussions. Strength led to peace. The current administration has awakened evil by demonstrating weakness.
Meanwhile, radical leftists who worship at the church of progressive secular orthodoxy have taken hold of the country’s schools, from the kindergarten level through graduate school. America’s young are fed a diet of anti-religious, anti-white, and increasingly anti-Israel lies. In the “woke” system being fostered, there is no absolute truth and no facts. All people are entitled to their own truth, and the way they view themselves and their position in society must be accepted by everyone, irrespective of its relation to fact.
When the current tense situation is calmed and then forgotten, Biden’s policies will begin kicking in, and we will find ourselves in a situation we have not yet faced in this country. We should do all we can to work for our people’s physical safety, but we must bear in mind that the country’s leftist slide does not bode well for us in the long-term. Governmental intrusion into our way of life can only be expected to increase, while sympathy for our people, land, and moral and religious beliefs will likely weaken.
What are we to do? How are we to react?
A return to Republican control would provide a respite, but it is very difficult to bring about change without a media helping to inform the people as to what is really going on. Without being able to educate people of the truth, it is very hard to change public opinion and turn around the floundering ship. Most people are never exposed to the real story. Mainstream media and social media are overwhelmingly dominated by the leftist crowd, and they are the main influencers of people’s thoughts and opinions. They block out anything that does not conform with their ideology. It is difficult to fight something with nothing, and as long as the media is able to cancel out right-wing leaders, ideas and opinions, it is folly to expect people, on their own, to spontaneously reject what they have been fed since grade school and is constantly reinforced.
But we are the eternal people. Many have tried to rid the world of us, yet we are still here. We take the long view and recognize that we are here for a higher purpose. Just last week, we celebrated Shavuos, the days upon which we received the Torah, which gave us our mandate and set us on a higher plane. Shavuos also marks when “sinah yordah l’olam,” the intense hatred the nations bear for us was manifested. They go together. Greatness has its price, and ours is levied in the form of jealousy and deeply felt animosity.
The Torah gives us the strength of purpose to be able to withstand the whiplash we suffer at the hands of our enemies. It provides us with chochmah and daas to recognize what is important and what is trivial, enabling us to excel at what is vital.
The Torah provides us with the ability to shine light on our situation and find our way through the darkness. Fidelity to Torah builds us into great people and enables us to separate fact from fiction, and good from bad, leading lives that are fulfilling and satisfying, regardless of what is going on around us and around the world.
We learn in this week’s parsha (8:11) how Aharon Hakohein lifted the levi’im and inducted them to perform their avodah in the Mishkon. He raised them literally and figuratively, placing them on a more exalted level, where their lives revolved around holiness and they weren’t encumbered by the worries, concerns and pressures that confound other people. They were enveloped by Hashem in His cocoon, studying and observing the Torah, and performing their obligations in the Bais Hamikdosh.
They led blissful lives and we can all do the same. I turn your attention to the famous statement of the Rambam (at the end of Hilchos Shmittah) that every person who separates himself and dedicates his life to serving Hashem, learning Torah, walking upright the way he was created to, and freeing himself from the many calculations people make is raised to be kodesh kodoshim. He will be rewarded in this world and the next, and will receive everything he needs to live on, just as kohanim and levi’im do.
We can achieve holiness in the here and now, regardless of the world’s situation and the rise of our enemies if we tune it all out and dedicate ourselves to properly observing the Torah and fulfilling our obligations we celebrated receiving on Shavuos and thank Hashem for daily.
May we all realize our abilities and achieve our destinies for which we were brought to this world. It starts with tuning out the static.
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