Good People And The Courage To Speak Out

Photo posted on Facebook by with the caption "Israeli soldiers - you won't see this on BBC"

There is a war on Facebook going on right now about the moral right of Israel to respond to terrorist attacks.

Normally you would think that self-defense is a moral obligation, not just a right but in the case of Israel there appears to be an exception at work.

The reason people attack Israel's right to self-defense is that they don't think it has a right to exist.

Here is a comment that someone sent me. It is an example of a rhetorical question disguised as a genuine inquiry.

We know this because at the end of the paragraph the writer asserts that they have the answer - Israel's destruction:
thank you so much for your generosity. what about the siege on gaza? the occupation of the west bank and east Jerusalem? the demolishing of palestinian houses? what about the checkpoints? the administrative detention? the killing of civilians since 1948? what about all of the refuges who were expelled from 48 areas? I'm not replying to any other post because talking is not gonna bring justice. I just wanna you all to know that PALESTINE WILL BE FREE FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA VERY SOON. justice will take place and all of the refuges will return...

If you understand the nature of the problem correctly it becomes easier to respond to it effectively.

In the case of Israel, misunderstanding is rampant and it is fueled and fostered by anti-Semitism.

Israel exists as a Jewish state because Jewish people bought land there. The intention to survive. To return to the historic Jewish homeland. To establish it as a place of religious freedom - to practice, or not practice, without fear of retribution. As a democracy.

The United Nations endorsed the establishment of Israel as a legitimate state in 1947, side by side with an Arab (Palestinian) one. Israel officially declared its independence in 1948. Israel has continually attempted to make peace with the Palestinian nation and continually faced terrorist attacks in response - not by the Palestinian people as a whole but by the terrorists who claim to represent them.

The problem in the Middle East is not between nationalities nor between religions. Israeli Jews and Palestinians are very capable of working together. Jews and Muslims the same. In fact if there is one thing that holds Jewish people together throughout the ages, it is that intellectual curiosity that leads them to assimilate themselves into other cultures and adopt ways that were previously considered foreign.

No - the problem in the Middle East, and in the United States and around the world, for that matter, is terrorism. You do not need to be a rocket scientists to know what a terrorist looks like. Terrorists are people who have no conscience. Who use children as human shields. Who hide in churches. Who indoctrinate little children into hatred. Who encourage suicide bombing. Who turn horrible death into an occasion for celebration. Who torture the peacemakers. Who openly lie, without shame.

Terrorists are people who don't want peace. Even when you give them what they want, they are not satisfied - they terrorize more. Because they are evil and evil feeds on destruction and pain.

Terrorism is not limited to gangsters who kill in the name of national liberation. A terrorist is anyone who wants to torture and kill just for the fun of it - a sadist.

  • Terrorists are the type of people who eliminate women from public life, public view and the public square for reasons of "modesty," and then beat and rape them because they can.
  • Terrorists are the type of people who take a baseball bat and beat the hell out of someone because they think he or she is homosexual, and then claim they have a "moral obligation" to rid the world of evil.
  • Terrorists join hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, kill people of color quickly or slowly, and then claim to be good citizens just protecting their land.

Terrorists are evil. They are not afraid to speak out because they have the Devil's energy. They have non-souls. Like vampires they feed off the innocent, the weak, the vulnerable and they co-opt the pure intentions of those who don't know what to think.

You can tell a terrorist from a peacemaker by the way they act. You can tell the good people from the bad by whether they tell you the truth. Including the truth that yes, people in victimized groups sometimes act badly.

When you come right down to it, terrorism comes down to fear - that's obvious. In the beginning, before the terrorist way of life takes hold, too many good people stay silent. They think it has nothing to do with them. They're afraid of being targeted. They want to keep the good things they do have. They lack moral clarity.

At the end of the day I guess you have to ask yourself, what does it all mean in the end? You have to follow your conscience or else what do you really have. So -

  • Speaking out for women's rights does not make you a victim of rape or domestic violence, or wimpy if you are a man.
  • Speaking out for marriage equality (or against it, if that is your belief), does not make you either gay or homophobic.
  • Speaking out against racism does not make you a racist yourself (yes, some people actually think this).
  • Speaking out against terrorism does not make you a hater of the Muslim religion, nor a puppet of the "Zionist plot to control the world."

Terrorists can come from any religion, any country, any neighborhood, any background.

Speaking out makes you a person of courage, and of conscience. It makes your life matter. And you as a free person always have the right to do that.

May G-d bless us with common sense and courage. May good people stand up and roar against the terrorists, marginalize and shame them for the evil that they do.

Note: As always, all opinions are my own.