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April 5, 2016 6:43 am

‘Use Your Words’ — Unless Your Enemy Isn’t Reasonable

avatar by Avram Davis

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A 2009 demonstration in London calling for a boycott of Israel. Photo: Claudia Gabriela Marques Vieira via Wikimedia Commons.

I believe Jews invented the phrase, “Use your words.” This expression, which we typically use when our kids are bashing each other, is really a very fine sentiment. It reflects a belief that has served the Jews well….usually.

But not always.

In essence, it is a plea (and belief) in reasonable discourse. Reasoned conversation. Thoughtful give and take. You put forward your belief; I put forward mine; and through respectful, logical debate, we come to a conclusion. Yes, a noble quest.

But sometimes it is a false one. On occasion, it becomes a self-deluding lie that leads to Jewish destruction.

And such a time is now upon us. The true believers who follow ISIS, Hamas, BDS, JVP, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and all the rest share a common trait: They are fanatics. I understand that BDS and JVP do not directly pull the trigger on Jews (or gays, strong women, Christians, etc). No, but I believe nonetheless that they are facilitators and enablers for those who do pull the trigger.

As such, they are complicit in lethal actions.

The nature of the fanatic is not reasonable. That is the very definition of a fanatic. Fanatics’ discourse is the discourse of the shout, the knife and the bullet.

America in general and the Jews in particular have a hard time recognizing that we are in a war. This is because it does not affect us in a daily manner – yet. But the war continues to widen and increasingly it is touching us.

It is an asymmetrical war. It is sometimes fought between large companies of fighters; sometimes in the shadows, with a knife in the back, and sometimes it is the dissemination of lies and half-truths in social media.

There are two main arenas in which this war is being fought: One is the battlefield; the other is propaganda. Both are crucial. This is a war that will continue for the foreseeable future. There is no stepping away from it. There is no hiding. Especially not for Jews. ISIS, BDS, all of them – are pledged to your destruction and the death of your children. It is that stark. It is the choice between the one who pulls the trigger or the enabler; between the fanatic who tells you straight out, or the fanatic who hides his intentions behind the comforting rhetoric of “human rights.”

How does one combat this? Every generation, we are told, must fight this battle. It means that we must stand up every time that a BDS antisemite tries to shun an Israeli product, or demonize Jews. Every time. It means that we must be on the offensive, and not simply play defense through posters and flyers or reaching out to Christian clergy, labor unions, people of color and others to explain the beauty of Zionism. It means lawsuits and targeting those individuals who break the law by ethnic hatred. It means a concentrated effort to change the tenor of the universities and what is being taught as “truth.”

This is a long fight, a long war. Patience is key and a determination to never give up. The enemy is highly funded, organized, fanatical and brutal. But in this life, while it is not necessary to stand tall, it is necessary to stand up.

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  • Tamar Davis

    I love the “use your words” example, because usually when I am resorting to that particular phrase it is actually totally useless; I am in a state of desperate hope that my words will make a difference and I don’t have to physically intervene with all that entails.

  • Joshua Laskin

    By “shunning” an Israeli product, I’m killing someone’s child? So, when American Jews, in 1933, organized a boycott of German products, they were engaged in killing German children? No doubt, in the depths of the Great Depression, that’s how the Germans saw it–judging by their reaction. So, is a boycott only wrong if used against Jews, but OK if used by Jews? Seems to be a double-standard, here.

  • Wendy Kenin

    I agree with your grouping of BDS and JVP with the other terrorist organizations because that is what they represent to so many people. BDS and JVP condemn any person who sees a different path to peace, especially if it involves cooperation between Jews and Arabs – cooperation which they consider to be normalizing oppression. They turn public spaces which could be opportunities for peaceful dialogue into hostile territory across the US and the world, making space for and even endorsing chants like ‘Intifada We Support the Intifada’ and ‘Zionist Scum Your Time Has Come’ and ‘From the River To the Sea’. Your framing is correct.