Defending Israel and Judaism is a Passover Must
On the eve of Passover this year, it’s worth noting that it hasn’t been an easy 12 months since the last seder for Israel and the Jewish community.
The Iran threat, “friends” like J Street and Peter Beinart, the continued United Nations condemnations, or the latest boycott of dance and theater companies like The Double Standard of Boycotting Batsheva or the European anti-Semitism of 2 time Oscar winner actress Emma Thompson calling this week for Israel’s national theater company Habima to be withdrawn from the upcoming Globe Shakespeare Festival are all examples of this. Thompson says Habima should be withdrawn due to “a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory”, and she signed a letter asking that the invitation be withdrawn “…so that the festival is not complicit with human rights violations and the illegal colonization of occupied land.” Thompson has “no problem” with Hebrew being showcased as one of the 37 languages being highlighted at the play.
Thompson and her colleagues that signed the letter are simply being anti-Semitic.
Who are they to question Israel as they are silent about the violations of governments from countries including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Russia and China, all places where human rights are less than stellar. Thompson and her ilk are still silent about the thousands of Syrians who have been killed in the streets by their government.
It’s the “anti-Semitism of Men” as the great Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky stated so clearly. In Europe recently, a gunman killed 4 Jews at a school in Toulouse, France, but it is people like Emma Thompson which provide an extra push to individuals like Mohammed Merah (the killer in France) by calling for Jewish boycotts.
As Jabotinsky said at the Shaw Commission in 1930, and it’s still true today, Europe is that “zone of incurable anti-Semitism.”
“A subjective revulsion against the Jew, powerful and permanent enough to become anything from a hobby to a religion,” Jabotinsky said.
On the eve of Passover, it’s so important for the Jewish people to realize the answer to anti-Semitism is to be proud, strong Jews in all that we do. As Passover celebrates the miraculous exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in ancient Egypt, millions of Jews worldwide will celebrate the holiday.
In 1905 in “What are we to do?” Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote of “… one permanent assignment that is entrusted to each of us, old and young, men and women, educated and ignorant, as a group and as individuals; this assignment is the defence of our people’s honor.”
The answer to the defense of our people’s honor comes in many ways in today’s world. The growth and strength of Chabad-Lubavitch, the world’s largest Jewish organization to ensure Jews have stronger observance and knowledge of our traditions, to the vast successes of programs like Birthright and B’nai B’rith.
Jews worldwide have Seders which end with “Next Year in Jerusalem” and thankfully, we know that Jerusalem is a Jewish city controlled by a Jewish Israeli government with the Israel Defense Forces standing by to defend our people’s honor.