By Debbie Hall
There are only 14.4 million Jews in the world. We were 17 million in 1939 and that fell to 11 million as of 1945 due to the genocide that was committed against us called the Holocaust. Because our numbers are small, and because we were genocided, we are a very small family, but make no mistake, we’re a family. We are all connected.
We are also highly aware of the hate that has been levied at us for millennia. The hate against us is the oldest hate on the planet. In every corner of the world, you can find Jewhaters. They can be found in Christian countries, Muslim countries, African countries, secular countries. Jewhaters can be found in Republican or Democratic homes. Jewhaters live among us in every country on this planet.
The only country in the entire world where Jewhatred is not tolerated is Israel. Israel is the only country whose government has a very primary goal of protecting the lives of Jews. When the beating of the antisemitic drum gets too loud, we have a place we can escape to-finally. This is why Israel is essential to the survival of the Jewish people. This is a good part of why Jews support Israel.
Another reason Jews support Israel is because it’s inherently part of the Jewish faith. Israel and Jerusalem are mentioned numerous throughout the liturgy of every Jewish service. Returning to Israel is part of Judaism. Jews who have already returned to Israel have a different set of rules to follow in Judaism because they’ve returned. Jews in the diaspora have two nights of Passover, whereas Jews in Israel only have one night. Every Passover, Jews recite “Next Year in Jerusalem.” It’s within us.
Most Jews have known that the antisemitism in the U.S. is a serious threat to Jews. As I watch Wolf Blitzer speak and say that his parents would’ve been shocked that this could happen here if they were alive, it’s sad to me that I knew this would happen here.
It’s happened here for centuries but in microdoses. This is the first macro, but I’m not surprised.
Israel isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s probably more perfect than the U.S. It didn’t invade a sovereign country to displace anyone (despite what you’ve been told), and it provides for its citizens, be they Arab or Jewish. When you demonize the only Jewish country on this planet, you’re engaging in antisemitism. Speak very carefully.
Debbie Hall is a writer and activist living in Florida.