While the dead bodies of Jewish Israelis were still warm, while hundreds of Jewish Israelis were being carried as hostages back to Hamas tunnels under Gaza, Jewish Americans were alarmed to see some of our fellow citizens characterize a brutal terrorist attack as justified because of the actions of the Israeli government.
A vicious, bloodcurdling, premeditated massacre of innocent men, women, children, the elderly – justified!
Even worse, in some cases, people even celebrated what happened, describing it as the deserved fate of quote “colonizers” and calling for quote “glory to the martyrs” who carried out these heinous attacks.
Many of the people who have expressed these sentiments in America aren’t neo-Nazis, or card-carrying Klan members, or Islamist extremists. They are in many cases people that most liberal Jewish Americans felt previously were their ideological fellow travelers.
Not long ago, many of us marched together for Black and Brown lives, we stood against anti-Asian hatred, we protested bigotry against the LGBTQ community, we fought for reproductive justice out of the recognition that injustice against one oppressed group is injustice against all.
But apparently, in the eyes of some, that principle does not extend to the Jewish people.
The largely Ashkenazi survivors of decades of pogroms in Imperial Russia, the Holocaust under Nazi Germany, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; the Mizrahi, who were forcibly evicted from Arab countries, and their descendants; the many Sephardim who were scattered across the Mediterranean after they were expelled from Spain and Portugal in the late 1400s – do they not deserve the solidarity of those who advocate for the rights and dignity of the oppressed, given the long history of persecution of the Jewish people throughout the world?
Many of those protesting Israeli policy note the at least 700,000 Palestinians displaced or forced from their homes in 1948, but they never mention the 600,000 Mizrahi Jews across the Arab world who were also displaced, whose property was confiscated, whose lives were threatened, who were expelled from their communities.