Life under coronavirus is like life under fire. That means that Israelis are one up on everyone else in coping with this global pandemic. Life under fire is, after all, our normal state of being.
That made it almost anticlimactic when on Friday night, there was a missile attack on Southern Israel. Living through a global pandemic AND a terror attack? It’s like one big Jewish joke.
Now throw in ISOLATION when the entire purpose of the BDS Movement is to isolate Israel. Which means we have actual experience at this thing: in being isolated from the rest of the world. We’ve been isolated by everyone everywhere. At the UN, by politicians like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, by the BBC, in social media, on college campuses and in the ivory towers of academia.
Director of Human Rights Watch Middle East and North African Division and Quincy Institute scholar Sarah Leah Whitson, responds to Jew-hating Jewish Israeli journalist and BDS supporter Mairav Zonszein.
If anyone knows isolation, by God, it’s ISRAEL. You might even say we’re the champs of isolation. Quarantine? Pshaw. Quarantine in a bomb shelter? We’re cool. (Not really. But little tip: that’s the front we put up, and the front actually helps us deal, you know?)
Whelp. What can I say? From my Israeli and (possibly nauseating) perspective, the one thing this global pandemic has going for it is that we are all in this together (cue the orchestra). This is a good feeling because, for a change, we are not the ones! I say this with joy as both a Jew and an Israeli.
But the reverie is broken when we read of the evil ones who blame corona on the Jews, though Jewish communities have taken a huge hit, with many Yidden dying. The feeling of community evaporates when we hear of evangelicals targeting Israeli children with Christian television programming at a time when kids are under lockdown with unlimited screen time.
Israel has only two anti-missionary laws. 1. It is illegal to offer compensation in the form of money or goods in exchange for conversion. 2. It is illegal to convert a minor without the presence or consent of their parent. Missionaries have targeted Israeli children with Shabbat programming for years. With the coronavirus, Israeli children are a captive audience under lockdown 24/7, with unlimited screen time.
And we are forced to observe and acknowledge that some politicians, terrorists, and even plain old garden-variety Jew-haters will always exploit a tragedy to smear Israel and to spread antisemitic conspiracy theories.
I stumbled on this antisemitic, anti-Israel meme while looking for funny memes to cheer up my friends. I reported the post to Facebook, but they say it doesn’t violate their Community Standards.
With the immoral things they say and do, these liars and evildoers take themselves out of normal human society. They too, are in isolation, but it is a kind of self-isolation: a choice born of hate to separate themselves from all that is good. The message these people give brings ugliness to our world. This, at a time when it seems like that world might be ending, like we might soon be judged for how we behaved on God’s earth.
I am glad I am not one of them, the people who choose to be bad. If there is happiness to be found in this calamity of epic proportions, it lies in the possibility to ally myself with the others—the good people, Jewish and otherwise—who shop for an elderly neighbor, or reach out with a phone call to those who are alone.
Right now, the good ones are the only ones I care about.
And I’m hoping they’re most of the humans in world.
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