As demonstrations against Israel take place around the world, I am asking those in my Facebook world who might be attending one to please consider the following questions in advance:
When demonstrators chant “Free Palestine from the River to the Sea”, meaning from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, do you realize they are calling for the ethnic cleansing of 6.5 million Jews from their indigenous ancestral homeland? If so, where do you suggest these Jews go, who will take them and how do you plan to guarantee their safety? What should they do? What will keep them from the fate of the Kurds?
If Jews are not indigenous to Israel, where are they indigenous to? From where did they come? And why does Israel host so many Jewish religious artifacts and archaeological sites featuring Hebrew inscriptions? Were those planted underground as some sort of grand ruse? Would you consider an Irish person choosing to reside in Ireland as a form of colonialism?
If Israel’s citizens are guilty of genocide, as the demonstrators regularly declare, why are they so bad at it? After all, the population growth in Gaza and the West Bank far outstrips that of Israel proper. And why is Israel giving advance warning to Gaza’s inhabitants so they can flee before Israel fires upon Hamas installations, such as the media tower today? Is Israel that inept at genocide? And if not, how do you think it feels for a people who actually suffered genocide to have the accusation so lazily slapped upon them?
Have the protesters around you shown equal concern for the genocide of Uighurs in China or the Rohingya in Myanmar? Have they recently protested at either country’s embassy? If not, why is the situation in Israel so unique for them? What makes the Jewish State so particularly villainous in their eyes?
When people such as Bernie Sanders say “Palestinian Lives Matter”, do you honestly believe that Israelis feel otherwise? I don’t know any Jews or Israelis who are not distraught over the death of civilians in Gaza, and wish desperately that a peaceful resolution could be found that would allow all of Israel’s inhabitants to live safely and securely in the land. Do you really conceive of Israel as an entire country of genocidal maniacs?
What will you say (not if but) when the protesters’ chants mutate from Anti-Zionism to Anti-Semitism with calls to harm Jews wherever they may be found? Late last week, one such demonstrator bloodied a Jewish man with a metal chair. Does this sit well with you? Does your protest include Anti-Semitic images of Jews as vermin or blood thirsty animals? Accusations of Jews controlling the world’s media and finance? Libels of Jews as demonic or parasitic? Do you realize this is why all synagogue preschools need to hire full time security guards?
If Israel is truly an apartheid state, how is there such diverse representation of various communities within private industry and government office? In America, can you openly advocate for the country’s destruction and yet serve in congress? You can in Israel! How did Israeli Arabs come to make up 9% of Israel’s Knesset members? And how did Arab Israeli George Karra get a seat on Israel’s Supreme Court? Why do the majority of Israeli Arabs regularly poll that they would rather remain citizens of Israel than one of her neighboring states or even a newly formed Palestinian state?
Did you know that the majority of Israeli Jews are from the Middle East or North Africa? Or did you assume they all present as white? And if Palestine is truly “freed” from the Jews, will you tell the hundreds of thousands of Jews who fled to Israel when they were expelled from Arab countries to “go back to Europe”?
If you are upset about the wide discrepancy of civilian casualties between Israelis and Palestinians, would you feel better if more Israelis were killed? Should Israel be blamed for building bomb shelters and Iron Dome missile defense systems while Hamas shoots rockets from schools and hospitals? Would more dead Jews satisfy your rage?
If Hamas has so little money for infrastructure and services for its citizens, how do they afford 2,000+ rockets, tunnels, drones, etc? Where did those come from? Did they suddenly win the lottery?
Do you think that if Israel returned to its 1967 borders and offered a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, that all would be forgiven? If so, why was an offer of nearly this magnitude turned down without even a counteroffer? Why does Hamas’ charter distinctly call for the destruction of Israel and attacks upon Jews? And why did the Arab states seek to wipe Israel off the map both in 1948 and 1967 when not a single settlement existed?
Did you know that Gaza shares a border with Egypt, which could be opened at any time? Have you protested against Egypt for not doing so? Jordan occupied the West Bank between 1948 and 1967. Why was a Palestinian State not declared during this time? Why is Israel uniquely to blame for the Palestinians’ awful predicament?
Did you know that Israel allows for a free press while all pictures and stories out of Gaza must be approved by Hamas? Did you ever wonder why there aren’t more pictures of Hamas terrorists in action? And if an Israeli soldier shoots a Palestinian teenager who lunges at her with a knife, is she guilty of killing a child?
If Israel is a warmonger for attacking Hamas missile positions, what would be the more appropriate response as its citizens are fired upon? Sit tight and wait until the attacks end? Offer thoughts and prayers? What would the US do if Mexico launched 2,000 rockets from Tijuana into San Diego?
If your protest is co-organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, do you actually know any Jews who affiliate with this group? Do you realize that they serve as a cover for Anti-Zionist rhetoric and openly advocate for the destruction of the State of Israel? Do you also think that the Westboro Baptist Church speaks for all Christians? Because I would bet that the ratio is pretty similar.
And perhaps most importantly – where are you and your fellow protesters receiving your information? Do you think Twitter, TikTok and Instagram offer the depth of analysis that such a complex situation requires? Can the conflict really be summarized in a tidy meme? Have you spoken with anyone who has spent considerable time in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza? Does your favorite celebrity or influencer research Middle Eastern history in their free time? Would you take a Middle Eastern Studies class taught by Dua Lipa?
I fully understand your sense of empathy for the plight of civilians under fire and the awful images of maimed children and dead civilians. And I understand your desire to point towards a culprit and define a terrible situation in terms of good and evil. And I similarly understand the propensity to equate powerlessness with nobility and power with corruption. But I ask you to consider these questions and decide for yourself if these protests truly share your values.
Thank you so much for considering,