I am not Jewish. My family is not Jewish.
My father’s first wife, however, was Jewish. His son from that first marriage, born decades before I was born, is Jewish and married a Jewish woman. My mother’s grandparents, though not Jewish, worked for a Jewish family at the turn of the last century, and lived in their household.
That might explain how it came to be that I grew up using expressions like “gott sei dank” or “na zag schon”, much to the amusement of some of my Jewish friends who know less Yiddish than I. Or why I have friends who had parents, siblings, aunts, nieces, spouses murdered in Auschwitz or shot into the Danube by the Hungarian Arrow Cross during the Holocaust.
No, that does not mean that suddenly I have a favorable opinion of Mr. Netanyahu (I don’t) or that I turn a blind eye when I see innocents suffer. I have criticized and will again criticize the government of Israel. In fact, for what it’s worth, I think Netanyahu is a crook, his pact with the far right is a poison pill for Israeli democracy, and that the outsize influence of the ultraorthodox is corrupting Israeli politics. Unfortunately I also do not see a long-term solution, an achievable goal: None of the foreseeable alternatives provide an acceptable outcome: The two-state solution undermines Israeli security, annexation would create an Arab-majority state, more drastic “solutions” like wholesale expulsion or genocide (of either Palestinians or Jews) are obviously unacceptable. So the status quo remains by default, even though it’s not exactly a solution either.
But “never again” must mean something. Failure to respond to the attack on October 6 would amount to the Israeli state abandoning its most basic responsibility to its citizens. It is the sad nature of war that when one party hides behind its civilians, civilians suffer. Notably, however, hiding behind civilians only works against a civilized opponent that abhors “collateral damage”: if Israel was as savage, as hell-bent on genocide as its enemies suggest, hiding behind civilians would not work as a Hamas tactic.
Earlier, I came across a meme that depicted a female Arab member of Israel’s Knesset, enumerating the rights she enjoys as a full citizen of Israel. I changed my mind about reusing that meme since I suspect that it was created without her approval. Even though she is a public figure, so using her image in this manner is arguably legitimate, it felt a bit tasteless.
Instead, let me just repost a propaganda meme straight from Israel’s defense forces.
It’s not even new; it dates back to 2014. And yes, it’s a propaganda piece. But like all good propaganda, it is based on the sad truth.