This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on December 2nd, 2023, written by Adam Milstein
On October 7, Hamas attacked Israel, massacring 1,200 Israeli civilians in cold blood, and wounding thousands, including women, children, and the elderly. 240 people – including infants and Holocaust survivors – were kidnapped and taken to Gaza.
What was the response from the world?
Jewish institutions have been vandalized. Jews have been murdered on the street and attacked in their homes. Crowds have called for the annihilation of the Jewish state and to clean the world of Jews on college campuses. Celebrities and influencers have openly supported Hamas. The horrific list of unimaginable reactions goes on and on.
Is this just about the Jews?
Jews are history’s “canary in the coal mine.” Where Jews have faced persecution and expulsion, it is usually a sign that darker forces are taking hold that will degrade, diminish, and often, destroy the broader society.
While classical antisemitism drove the persecution and murder of Jews for centuries, the largest force behind the recent wave of hatred stems from the “red-green alliance” – an unholy coalition between Islamists and radical leftists.
Although Jews are a major target of these Islamo-Leftist groups, their ultimate target has always been America and Western civilization. The wave of antisemitism flooding America since October 7 is a stark reminder that Antisemitism is first and utmost an American problem, it’s a danger to America – and the core values that have been the bedrock of this country’s rise.
It’s not a coincidence that every “pro-Hamas” march and rally – disguised as “Pro-Palestinian” – is drenched not only in antisemitic imagery and rhetoric, but also in anti-American vitriol. American flags are burnt alongside Israeli flags. Calls for the destruction of Israel are followed by Anti-American chants. When Israel and the Jewish community are assaulted, American civil liberties and values like freedom of speech and freedom of religion are also being attacked.
For the first time in a long time, the Jewish community is waking up to recognize what I’ve long warned. Our community is not safe even in America. My experience in the Yom Kippur War, fighting for Israel’s existence, cemented my belief that for the Jewish people to survive, we’d have to take our fate into our own hands. The world will not ensure it for us.
But we must also recognize that we can’t do it alone.
While Israel is waging a war to eliminate Islamist terror groups, we as Americans must stand beside her. Because all of us have a big stake in the outcome of this war between radicalism and the humanistic values that underly the best of our society.
We must do several things.
First, we must inform the American people about the nature of this threats and empower all of us to act.We must expose the Islamo-Leftist radical movements that fuel the spread of this hatred against Jews and America. This means supporting research and organizations that identify these networks and uncover the money trails exposing their ideology, agendas, and Modus operandi.
This research will wake up Americans to the danger of these radical movements and encourage them to stand up and fight back.
Second, we must stop the indoctrination of our next generation.
College campuses in America, once bastions of intellectualism, education, tolerance, and Jewish upward-mobility, are sadly now ground zero for American and Jewish hatred. Hiding behind concepts, often funded by foreign nations, like “CRT,” “Intersectionality,” “DEI,” and other progressive doctrines, K-12 schools and universities have been co-opted, infected, and poisoned by radical activists that paint Israel and America as “colonialists” and “racist” and the Jewish and American people as “oppressors.”
In response, parents must inform and prepare their children for the propaganda they’ll face. They need to learn the true history of America and the Jewish people, the importance of the Israel-US alliance. And they need to do so in an unbiased environment.
In addition, fostering a strong sense of Jewish identity in Jewish children is an investment in their connection to their roots, a commitment to the principles of justice, and a dedication to securing the Jewish people and States future.
Third, we must get serious about the information war.
There is a well-funded, organized campaign being waged on digital platforms across the globe. Bot armies, cyber-attacks, and fake avatars are driven by one mission – to obfuscate the truth, bend public opinion against America and Israel and stir animosity against Christians and Jews. In addition, TikTok and other social media platforms where teens spend hours every day are infested with hate and anti-Jewish propaganda.
It’s imperative that philanthropists’, foundations’, and individuals’ work not only focuses on exposing these tactics, but on combatting them on the digital battlefield. We must use social networks the same way our enemies do. And we must invest in organizations that hold the media accountable to the standards of a fair and free press.
Our numbers are small, and our enemies are many. To be successful, the organizations on the front lines must work together and create synergies to create a force multiplier effect of their efforts.
Fourth, we must support policymakers to take action and pass legislation that curbs the influence of hate movements in our institutions – from K-12 institutions to colleges to workplaces to the government. Finally, we must stop apologizing.
Immediately after October 7, much of the world demonstrated their support for Israel. We knew this sentiment wouldn’t last, and it hasn’t. As the war continues, and by all accounts, it will continue for a long time, Jews must remain steadfast, resilient, and collectively embody the mindset of stubborn sabras.
Regardless of the measures Israel takes to make peace, independent of their herculean efforts to avoid civilian casualties, and to abide by international law (even though its enemies never do), it will never be enough. We must accept the fact that the world will never tolerate a Jewish state that defends itself. We must stop equivocating. Stop justifying. And stop explaining. To ensure the future of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora, and that of all Americans who care about our core values, all of us need to stand strong and united.
The road ahead for the people Israel will not be smooth, but it never has been. Since October 7, behind the horror, the tears, the fear, and the anger, there’s a clarity of conscience. Our enemies have never been more exposed, their intentions for our destruction have never been more obvious, and our collective determination for survival has never been more resolute. If we remain steadfast and strategic, we will win.
This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world.