“And still I see no changes, can’t a brother get a little peace?
There’s war in the streets and war in the Middle East.”
In 1998, 2pac summed it up best with that ingenious line.
As we sit here now, almost 25 years later, immediately in the aftermath of the latest round of violence perpetuated by the Hamas thugs, indiscriminately launching deadly rockets at civilian centers in Israel, his timeless words deeply resonate.
Some things never change.
I wish I could say that I am surprised by it all. I wish I was surprised by the fact that Hamas once again launched rockets at my family and friends in Israel. I wish I was surprised by the insane reaction of the mainstream media, celebrities, and politicians. I wish I was surprised by the fact that Jews are getting harassed across the world. I wish I was surprised by the self-evident fact that that anti-Zionism is simply a politically correct form of anti-Semitism.
What surprises me the most, frankly, is how surprised my students and friends are by it all. It’s as if they are shocked to see the absurd accusations of Israel committing war crimes, targeting women and children, and ethnic cleansing.
I am not that old, but for me, I’ve been down this road before. I have seen this over, and over again.
I remember as a child in my early teens in the ’90s getting excited about the Oslo Accords. I remember thinking how logical it was to give the Palestinians land in exchange for peace. I remember thinking that if we gave them land for peace, and they did not actually give us the peace that we so crave, that we would be justified to respond forcefully, and the world would absolutely understand why we needed to respond as such.
I remember the Camp David Summit in 2000, when Israel, led by Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians 94 percent of the West Bank, and all of Gaza. I recall thinking, of course the Palestinians would accept this offer, because after all, they just want the land. We are giving it to them, so this should finally solve the challenging conflict. And I recall my sadness and shock as the offer was turned down, and instead, resulted in the Second Intifada in which cowardly terrorists blew up buses and cafeterias exclusively filled with innocent civilians. I recall hoping that Israel would respond forcefully, but constantly being asked by Bill Clinton to “show restraint.” Because, of course, America, and every other country would obviously show restraint when terrorists murder their civilians.
I remember idiotically and naively supporting the Disengagement of 2005, when Israel forcibly removed its own citizens from Gaza. I figured that this made sense, because if Gaza would opt to become a terrorist training ground who would launch rockets at Israel instead of become the Barcelona of the Middle East that it could have become, that no one in their right mind would blame Israel for attacking Gaza with immense force. If Mexico launched rockets at civilian centers in San Diego, or Canada launched rockets at Buffalo, there would be, justifiably, all out war. I couldn’t see how anyone on the planet would blame Israel for defending itself forcefully.
Then in 2008, when this inevitably happened, and Israel responded, Israel was accused of committing genocide and crimes against humanity.
Then, in 2014, Hamas kidnapped and murdered three Israeli boys, and another war erupted. Israel was once again accused of war crimes and genocide for protecting itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks. #Hitlerwasright trended on Twitter, and the world again obnoxiously and loudly condemned Israel for defending itself. Unlike Hamas, who launched attacks on civilian centers, Israel notified the Gazan’s and Hamas terrorists before bombing the rocket sites. The terrorists, cowardly hid behind civilians, and there were a large number of tragic casualties.
And so now, in 2021, it absolutely came as no surprise to see that the “in” thing is to be woke against Israel defending itself, as it responds to Hamas rocket attacks in Gaza. It is not surprising to see the idiotic moral equivalence made between Israel’s response, trying to reduce the threat of Hamas rockets, to Hamas, launching these rockets with the goal of killing as many Israeli civilians as possible.
As John Podhoretz brilliantly put it, “The idea that the act of defending citizens against incoming rocket fire could possibly constitute a war crime is the textbook definition of moral idiocy.”
Sadly, after a few decades on this planet, none of this is surprising.
I pray for the day that the Palestinian people decide to move on from their refugee camps, and shed their victim-mentality. I pray for the day when leadership arises among their people that refuses to continue nourishing a narrative embraced by millions that only perpetuates their own misery.
And I pray for the day, when the Palestinians, as Golda Meir put it, “will love their children more than they hate us.”
May that exalted day come soon, and may we know no more sorrow.
But for now, I see no changes.