BY MOSHE HILL OPINION COLUMNS DECEMBER 20 2023
Author’s note: The following are the prepared remarks for the speech I gave at the West Hempstead Solidarity Rally on Sunday, December 17.
We are at war. Ours is a war against hate, a war against ignorance, and war against lies. Our weapons in this war are knowledge, education and truth. The news from a couple days ago about the hostages killed in friendly fire is tragic. Israel had every incentive to hide their involvement in that tragedy, but they didn’t. They know the truth – no matter how painful – is our ally. Meanwhile, Hamas is caught lying over and over again, and every word they say is treated as gospel. We need to educate.
They want you to believe that the war in Israel is a war over land. It is not.
They want you to believe this is a war that started in 1948. It did not.
They want to label the Jewish people as colonizers, and that Israel is merely a western imperialist outpost. They are not.
They want you to think that anti-Zionism is merely criticism of the Israeli government. It is not.
They claim that anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism. I’m here to say that if you are saying that there is no place in the world for the one Jewish state, you are an anti-Semite. There are Christian countries, Muslim countries, Buddhist countries, atheist countries. Only of one country in the world are there demands for a complete eradication – and that’s the one Jewish one.
The history of the Jewish people and the identity of the Jewish nation is inextricably linked with the Land of Israel. Every Jewish person for millennia, no matter where they were in the world, prayed three times a day towards Jerusalem. But I did not think it should be important to everyone in the community. I was wrong. If my neighbors are willing to stand with me against anti-Semites who seek our destruction, they need to know about this history, about this link.
It is impossible at this point to separate anti-Semitic attacks that are happening all over the country, from the streets of Los Angeles where a Jewish man was killed, to university campuses where Jewish students barricade themselves to avoid roving mobs, to our town where property is vandalized and people are harassed, with what is happening in Israel. Hatred for Israel and hatred for the Jews and Christians and everyone else who supports Israel is rooted in ignorance.
Israel is being painted by its detractors as a Nazi regime, as committers of war crimes and genocide. We teach our children to be compassionate and tolerant, but to call out evil when they see it. What happens when they don’t know what evil and good actually are? We need to teach the difference between good and evil, because if we don’t, someone else will. And it won’t be a long lecture about the nuances of a conflict. It will be a 1-minute video on TikTok, or an Instagram post with a few words, and people will think they are as educated as they need to be.
We live in an age where more information is available to more people than ever before, yet there has never been more ignorance. We can’t fix everything, but we can fix this. This rally is a good first step. We can show the world that we stand on the side of truth, on the side of good, and we are unashamed to be standing together against hate.
Am Yisroel Chai!