Never Again?

On Monday, Israel paused to remember the six million Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Eighty years later, we find ourselves reliving the same historical mistakes. Now, more than any other year since the Holocaust, we are reminded of why Krav Maga had to be invented.

It Starts With Education
As of 2023, most states in the U.S. still do not require Holocaust education as part of their secondary school curricula. Expectedly, young people today know shockingly little about the Holocaust: 63% of U.S. millennials and Gen Z do not know that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust and 48% cannot name a single concentration camp. A recent survey found that 20% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 think the Holocaust is a “myth,” and almost 25% believe the Holocaust has been “exaggerated.”

Higher Education In American Campuses
While enough people are disputing these historical facts, the anti-Semitic outbursts on American campuses serve as a wake-up call for the Jewish community in the country. Representative Elise Stefanik repeatedly asked the presidents of M.I.T., Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania if calling for the genocide of Jews violated the code of conduct at their schools. Calls to eliminate Jews are allowed and “don’t violate the university policy,” as Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, testified, “It depends on the context.”

But We Have a Constitution!
The United States Constitution created a framework that protects individual rights, promotes democratic values, ensures community safety, and encourages civic responsibility. These principles align with addressing issues like anti-Semitic attacks, demonstrating that this is not just a “Jewish problem” but a societal concern that the Constitution was designed to address.

Various leaders in the nation have used the First Amendment of the Constitution to preserve the freedom of speech, but free speech isn’t a license to incite violence and lawlessness. In this reality, the importance of firm leadership at American universities to say ‘enough’ is evident. Unfortunately, this leadership is missing these days. We need leadership focused on leading the good, not maintaining the bad.

The Constitution isn’t a sword but a shield of freedom. Free speech isn’t always comfortable for everyone, but it’s a price we must pay so that we can speak for ourselves if the tables are turned and we switch roles.

To preserve democracy, we must not only defend democratic values and the Constitution but also understand what we are defending and what will happen if we keep hiding behind the Constitution instead of defending it. Instead of showing empathy and support for Israeli and Jewish students regarding the terrible disaster that befell the Jewish people in their homeland, campuses are in turmoil with protests calling for the destruction of the state of Israel, for terrorist activity against Israeli citizens, and for hatred of Jews and Israelis wherever they are. Jews and Israelis fear walking on their campuses in the U.S., speaking Hebrew, or being identified in any way based on their religion or origin.

The Constitution protects us, and we must protect it. If the young protesters (many of whom are receiving rally funds from Iran and Qatar) get what they are calling for, then with the help of the Constitution, and with the help of the majority, we will have no democracy to defend. There will be no free world.

So, what are Jews left to do? Who will protect them? In Hebrew, we say – if I am not for myself, who will be for me?

Let’s identify the idealistic protesters: most of them are young. They are young enough so they still “know everything.” Scientifically speaking, the brain doesn’t finish developing before the age of 25. Are we allowing the world to change because we are afraid to stand up to people who haven’t finished their mental growth yet?

Explaining The Facts:
There are those who are shouting for a “global intifada” without understanding what it means. As someone who experienced two intifadas, let me shed light on what intifada means so if you hear this word, you’ll understand its meaning.

Intifada (Arabic: انتفاضة) is an Arabic word that means “rebellion.” In other words, it is “armed resistance.

1. **The First Intifada** (1987-1993): This was a wave of violent protests and terrorist actions by Palestinians against Israelis. It included stone-throwing, attacks on civilians and soldiers, and the use of improvised means to harm anyone in sight.

2. **The Second Intifada** (2000-2005): Also known as “Al-Aqsa Intifada,” this was a more violent uprising that included suicide bombings, mass attacks, and other terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.

The word “intifada” is often used to describe a violent rebellion or tough terror acts against civilians. The shouts and chants of many students in the USA for intifada will eventually harm the very people who are chanting for it, as they become the victims of what they encouraged to happen. While the students believe they are in the form of “Woodstock ” and freeing the world from evil, they contribute to World War III formation.

In an intifada, the civilian experience is one of living in fear and constant dread of buses exploding with all their passengers, restaurants with all their diners, innocent people of all ages, races, religions, or genders losing their lives, and if they are lucky, they may remain alive but with physical and mental scars that are hard to heal. The suicide bomber doesn’t check IDs; he kills whoever he can. According to his belief, the more people he kills, the greater his reward in heaven. This belief is grounded in extreme interpretations of Islam, according to which death in a suicide bombing grants the perpetrator the title “martyr” (in Arabic: شهيد, meaning “witness”) and promises them an eternal reward, including entry to heaven, where 72 virgins await them, along with other rewards.

If we understand the meaning of our actions, we’ll be more cautious. A lot more cautious. In Hebrew, we also say – “The end of an action begins with a thought.” To that, I will add – “Be careful what you wish for.” How will the world look if violent protestors get the intifada they wish for? New York will turn into Tehran. Many people will lose their basic constitutional rights.

Change doesn’t happen quickly. It’s slow and consistent. Changes happen slowly enough that we don’t notice and accept the change passively because there’s too much craziness. “All it takes for evil to thrive is for good people to do nothing.”

We must fight to preserve democracy. If we do nothing, hatred will take over. This bad wave of hatred and lies might lead to the loss of our freedom, including those who believe in anti-establishment and alternative theories to the democratic system. Democracy has many problems, but it’s still the only system that allows freedom for all.

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” means that we must recognize that our freedom and rights aren’t guaranteed, and we must act to protect them.

The universities that were once centers of learning and free thought have become arenas of hatred. We must demand our leaders take this seriously, protect Jewish students, and work towards restoring campuses to safe places where reason prevails over hate.

We must oppose hatred wherever it arises, and this is no easy or short task. A positive change is a process, it doesn’t happen with a revolution, but an evolution. It begins with each of us deciding to stand against evil, fight for the good, and ensure that we can all continue living in a free and safe democracy.

1 comment

  1. Antisemitism existed before Israel even came to be . Now they are just using it as an excuse. this is exactly why a Jewish state must exist, a refuge from all the hostility and atrocities. Never again.

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