Anti-Semitic graffiti
Anti-Semitic graffiti BNVCA

Since the terrorist rockets and sirens began in Jerusalem two weeks ago, I’ve been providing regular real-time updates (sirens, rocket attacks, IDF responses, etc) via a WhatsApp broadcast list to a group of approximately 100 people primarily based in the US.

I don’t like to fill up in-boxes unnecessarily but I was encouraged by those in the group to continue with my own personal version of “reporting from the field”. In one text, in an effort to bring the reality of the situation closer to home I sent the following:

If you didn't do so before the ceasefire, in order to gain a proper perspective and sense of what was happening in Israel, I encourage you to download onto your phone one of the "Red Alert -Israel" apps that provide real-time warnings and indications of sirens going off and rocket fire against Israel. If the constant dinging or vibrating is annoying, you can always put it on "silent" in settings. And then take a moment to understand that throughout Israel, especially in the cities and communities in the south and around Gaza, the "silent" setting doesn't exist.

Recognizing the time difference and in an effort to be considerate to those sleeping in the middle of the night, unlike emails, I generally do not send any whatsapps to friends and colleagues in the US until later in the day here in Israel. However, during the Guardian of the Walls operation, I decided to deviate from that policy every once in a while. Whether that decision to send the occasional “middle of the night update text” actually conveyed additional urgency or not, who knows? But similar to the Red Alert - Israel app, if someone was annoyed by the notification sounds, they could always go into settings and put me on 'silent', or mute notifications, or just block my WhatsApps altogether. And I suppose, if one felt guilty about doing that, I would say that it was a good thing, since the guilt would indicate that they feel and maintain a connection, as I believe every Zionist in the diaspora should.

All that said, one morning I received a WhatsApp from someone in the group who I’ve known for years to be a truly committed American Zionist...and it pained me. Am I too sensitive? Maybe....or maybe this is more representative of self-proclaimed American Zionists than we would like to believe...and that's even more painful...and scary.

"Hi Adam. Please remove me from your list. I can’t be woken up in the middle of the night over and over again for basically redundant reports of rockets fired at Ashkelon etc. thank you."

Seriously? I really hope all of our soldiers (my son included) who were stationed in the South and throughout Israel, as well as the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens, who only have between 10-60 seconds to reach a bomb shelter, aren't being woken up by "redundant reports" due to terrorists trying to murder them.

Just to be clear (and all sarcastic venting aside), I may have made aliya with my family 16 years ago but I'm still a very proud American. I absolutely do not fault any American Jew for not being able to fully understand and appreciate what is happening here. To hold anyone not living in Israel to that standard is unfair and simply wrong. It's an impossible expectation to live up to no matter how devoted a Zionist you may be. I lived in the US during the scuds of the Gulf war, the 1st intifada, the 2nd intifada...and as much as the reports of "Israel under attack" pained me, I could never have appreciated what it meant to live here during those times...and I even had family living here!

For the most part, I believe the same is still true today with one significant change that cannot be ignored. Something has landed on the diaspora’s doorstep that should bring home the situation in Israel a bit more. Today, the attacks against Israel and the Jewish people are now worldwide in a very real sense.

- Not just in the halls of the UN, but on the streets.

- Not just the streets of some distant European city but in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Skokie, LA,Toronto and more.

- Not just marching and chanting "death to Israel and death to the Jews" that we’ve all heard before, but actually seeking out Jews to physically beat them - on city streets, next to synagogues, and in Jewish neighborhoods.

- Not an “isolated incident” of a crazy individual, but an organized, antisemitic call for our elimination that is already a full grown and spreading tumor in US cities, on its university campuses and inside its governmental institutions.

This is very much a real thing as Jewish day schools, synagogues and institutions in the US are all on “high alert”. A friend of mine in LA said, “Sadly, [the reports of physical beatings of Jews are] completely accurate and an actual thing...and I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but wearing a kippah and being visibly Jewish is an invitation to abuse. It’s sickening.” Just this week, a friend in NY told me that when I travel to NY, I should wear a baseball hat....in New York!

Perhaps I am being hyperbolic, but the days of "isolated incidents" of antisemitic abuse seem to be gone. Perhaps I’m overstating it, but the US as we knew it growing up no longer exists. Perhaps I’m being overly “alarmist”, but I see intersectionality and far-left liberal hate thinking pervading every aspect of society. I see that civil debate is gone and the anger of woke culture is giving a free hand to the antisemites.

So the next time someone from the US or anywhere outside of Israel sends you an email or a text that says "I hope you and your family are safe over there" - Israelis should be responding in kind...because, even under constant terrorist rocket fire, even with the need to respond to and prevent Israeli Arab violence, it's never been more clear to me that Israel is the only place on the planet where a Jew is truly protected and safe.

Adam Fishman made aliya to Modi’in with his family in 2005. He is the Executive Director of American Friends of Likud.

whatsapp
Join our official WhatsApp group