Are your kids or grandkids reporting hate, harassment, and violent rallies on their campuses? Justifications for Hamas’ butchery, murder, rape and torture? Don’t be shocked. Academics have been trafficking in these tropes for decades on American and European campuses. Franz Fanon advocated for savagery in the overthrow of the ‘settler colonial’ enterprise, The Algerian liberation movement legitimized his approach and used it in the 50’s and 60’s, the Palestinians and their Soviet handlers amplified it in the 70’s, and it has been a hallmark of the dark theology of radicalism ever since.
The false application of this ideology to the Jewish people, in their own indigenous homeland, with every cultural, ritual, archaeological, genetic and sourced historical proof available, was always a malicious lie. Now it is also a direct justification for everything you saw that happened on October 7th. Don't be shocked.
To be clear: Those young people pulling down posters of kidnapped children - see rape, desecration of corpses, and torture as justified. Those professors and ‘civil society’ leaders who see October 7th as ‘exhilarating’ see grisly murder in all its ugly variations as justified. And those who make a habit of vilifying Jews see a sad and wounded Jewish community as just another opportunity.
And those who we stood up for, who we broke bread with, who we spoke out beside - some of them can’t bring themselves to articulate solidarity. Don’t be shocked.
Now is a time for effective action, not bewilderment. We can grieve, but we can’t become overwhelmed by grief. We can be angry, but we must channel that negative energy into resolve and motivation. We can be concerned for our safety and the safety of our children, but we MUST NOT FEAR.
Decades ago, I read an incredible book by Frank Herbert. You may know it, it's been made into a contemporary movie. Dune. In it, a character recites a Litany Against Fear. Here it is, paraphrased for our circumstances.
I must not fear. Fear is what the butchers want.
Fear is the objective of the apologists that we reject utterly.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me, with the terrible images seared in my mind.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. I will see those who manifested it. And I will remember, never to forget. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only we will remain.
The Torah tells us about those who threaten us: Zachor Al Tishkach! Remember, Do Not Forget! Why is the command to remember duplicated? Because there is action we must take.
Action: to remember the murdered, the wounded, the hostages.
Action: to secure our families and our communities.
Action: to stand together, united despite our differences, together as one people.
Action: to contribute as much as we can to help our sisters and brothers in immense need.
Action: to gain and hold the commitment of our government to stand with Israel and work to free those abducted by Hamas.
Action: to thank those who stand with us.
Action: to ensure that no one - not a single one - in a position of responsibility in elected office, in our schools and colleges, in our civil society, in any place where the safety, security, and care of Jews, young and old is at stake - no one who is an apologist for October 7th should continue in their position without consequential action.
Action: to leverage the relationships we have to accomplish these goals.
Face your fear. Channel your anger. Let your sadness wash through and away. Use it all.
Am Hanetzach Lo Mefached! The Eternal People Does Not Fear!