As Israel mourns the loss of its soldiers in the fighting in Gaza, there has been an outpouring of support and solidarity for the two Americans who fell in battle there – Texan Sean Carmeli and Californian Max Steinberg. Both died in separate incidents Sunday - a day that saw 13 soldiers killed in Gaza.
(Editor's note - Steinberg is to the left and Carmeli is below and to the right.)
Determined to give Carmeli a well-attended funeral in Haifa on Monday night, some 20,000 Israelis from across the country turned out to pay tribute to a fighter whose lone soldier status won him much admiration. So many people attended, in fact, that there were heavy traffic jams in the city.
Israel calls them the lone soldiers: They are men and women in the prime of their lives who have left their parents and often comfortable lives behind in places like Sydney, London, Los Angeles and elsewhere to join the Israel Defense Forces, marching in the desert and taking up arms to defend the Jewish state.I suppose that I just want to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice made by a few of my fellow American Jews.
The bottom line is that Israel can simply not have a genocidal, terrorist entity at its door-step baying for Jewish blood and these young American Jews gave their life in order to help the Jews of the Middle East rid themselves of Jihadi threats.
I do not expect diaspora Jews to flock to Israel in its defense, but it might be nice if diaspora Jews acknowledged that Israel is fighting a theocratically-ideological foe that, in its very charter, calls for the murder of Jews.
This should not merely be referenced here and there, but made central to the argument. Just as the Nazis called for the genocide of the Jewish people so does Hamas and many millions throughout the Arab world.
Until such a time as we insist upon placing the conflict within the context of 14 centuries of Arab-Muslim Jew hatred then we have no possible case, because our enemies will tell the world that the source of the problem is Israeli land theft; i.e., Jewish land theft of Jewish land.
Again, so long as we continue to use the language of our enemies then we cannot even begin to make our case not just to neutrals, but even to friends.
And so long as we forget 13 centuries of persecution under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperial rule, why should we expect the least bit of sympathy from anyone?