Our blogger friend from Chicago, Gidon D. Remba, has written this article in his periodic column in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Feb. 22: “Are We the New Jews of Silence?”
“We were the Jews of Silence, the Jews enjoying security, the Jews of the Western world…. What torments me most is . . . the silence of the Jews I live among today,” wrote Elie Wiesel a generation ago in a “Letter to a Young Jew in the U.S.S.R.” Today, there is another silence among the Jews of America: the silence that a few would impose on the rest. It brooks no criticism of Israel, always the righteous victim of Arab enmity. Enforcing quiet—supporting Israel right or wrong—is essential to preserving Israel’s status quo, a condition which, as we all know, is truly the best of all possible worlds.
And what if the status quo is, in fact, toxic to Israel? What if it is a poison eating away at the foundations of the state, fouling its Jewish and democratic values and corrupting the young who are its future, some of whom must venture into the West Bank to suppress and control the Palestinian population? Counter-insurgency and the occupation of villages and cities is ugly, but they are necessary evils in the face of a barbarous and genocidal war against the Jews and the Jewish state.
But what if it is not all for the sake of Israel’s security? What if our brave Jewish fighters sometimes serve the interests of Jewish settlers who encroach on Palestinian land, steal their olive trees, build wildcat Jewish outposts in violation of Israeli law and then bar the Palestinians by force from their property? To make matters worse, what if they manage to co-opt sympathetic government agencies, and the Jewish state itself now becomes complicit in their piracy? And what if, in the course of duty, our soldiers do many things to ordinary Palestinians which they themselves cannot justify as necessary to protect the lives of Israel’s citizens?