A few days after the terrible events in Paris, it becomes more and more apparent to me that the difficulties we face are far more complicated and muddled than I originally thought. I was hoping that the bright side of an otherwise tragic and overwhelmingly sad day would be an unparalleled unity. While there does seem to be a tremendous support for the French people throughout the western world, I have unfortunately seen somewhat of a schism forming from within my very own Jewish people. Not only do I not feel that anyone needs to change their profile picture on Facebook to show the silhouette of the French flag, I'm not so arrogant that I feel someone who chooses not to do so cares any less than someone who does. I certainly do not think I am a better person that anyone else for doing so. What concerns me is the inability some are having in distinguishing between supporting a civilized nation in shock and mourning and supporting Israel and its perpetual battle against similar murderous terrorists. My website Holland's Heroes began as an online forum in support of my book detailing the experiences of my parents during the most devastating time in Jewish history. My activism took a greater role in my life after the murder of 3 innocent boys in Israel. I know for a fact that not everyone agrees with me, but my passion and love for the Jewish people should not be in question, even if my Facebook profile does silhouette with the French flag. I've often said that the first step in defeating the enemy is identifying the enemy. This is where I usually encounter my most significant disagreements. While some put strong emphasis on what I see as the misguided and frightened, I see the enemy we need to focus on as the one that wants to wipe us off the planet or destroy our way of life. The word traitor is thrown about with regularity. There may be, or may not be an entire segment of Jewish society making the wrong choices, but unless they are doing so with the intent of hurting Israel and or the Jewish people, they are not traitors. Even if their viewpoints and even actions are damaging, something too many people feel they can determine in advance, they are not the enemy. German Jews who believed it could never happen in their country were tragically mistaken, but did that make them bad? Did it cause the Nazi party to rise? It did not. Would it have been better had they accepted the awful reality? Maybe, maybe not. We will never know. What we do know is that the majority paid a terrible price. I often say the phrase Never Again and know how important it is to be aware of one's enemy. This is indeed why I personally chose to change my profile. Just as in the days of Hitler, the world faces an enemy with global ambitions. Our survival rests far more on battling that enemy than it does on separating ourselves from those facing the same enemy, even if those very same people have not always been on our side. The French people and government may not be the best friend of Israel and the Jewish people, but it is a civilized western society that doesn't want to see us killed. And I think it's safe to say that the majority of the people killed and murdered in these terror attacks were people not that much different than we are. I go back and forth between a feeling of anger and sadness every time a Jew gets murdered by a terrorist. Sadly for us Jews it's old hat. That doesn't mean there's no room in my heart to feel the same today for people who suffered the same fate and just like our fellow Jews, didn't deserve that fate. As Jews and as human beings it is my belief that we show a special side of our character if we focus on compassion over criticism and in the process we help preserve our collective souls.
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