Ron Jager
Ron JagerCourtesy

October 7, 2023 will be remembered as a symbol of a modern day manifestation of Nazi inspired murderous hatred of Jews, but also as the day the music died for Progressive Jewry. What was will no longer be.

Hamas, the Islamic terror organization, showed for all to see, in many cases live on social media, a level of barbarism, and an orgy of murder, torture, and cruelty unseen since the days of Nazi inspired pogroms and the dark era of the Holocaust.

When Hamas terrorists invaded the small and peaceful communities, Kibbutzim, and Moshavim adjacent to the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, many of which advocated relations with Hamas and employed Gazans, they shattered long-held delusions dearly held by Progressive Jews.

Hamas’s barbarism followed by their orgy of violence explained, justified, and celebrated throughout the West by Muslim and progressive supporters of the Palestinian Arabs has forced an overnight exodus of Jews from the progressive worldview. Hamas’s invasion of Israel not only shattered the lives of so many innocent Jews, but also shattered layers and layers of progressive conventional wisdom and smashed to pieces decades of being a part of the vanguard of the progressive world.

Within a brief period of 24 hours, progressive Jews have woken up to the realization that what they so whole heartedly believed in was based on a faulty, and illusory perception that if we express and say the right things, enact the politics and policies of progressive thinking, than we will not only be doing “tikkun olam” but also become senior partners of the widespread “woke” revolution.

The shattering of this worldview felt by progressive Jews is ultimately a good thing. The erroneous beliefs and false paradigms will be defiantly replaced by life-affirming and an embracement of the conventional thinking of mainstream Jewry.

Progressive Jews have signed on and have been overly sympathetic to much of the “woke” discourse in recent years only to wake up to the realization that they signed on to a wordview that had nothing to say about murder, mass rape, murdering children before their parents, murdering parents in front of their children, beheadings, and burning babies alive.

The response to these attacks from pro-Hamas Muslim protestors to one-sided carefully worded statements by University presidents and student organizations, celebrities, and mainstream media personalities shattered the widespread narratives that many progressive Jews have wholeheartedly believed in and supported.

For many years, progressive Jews have dismissed the poisonous and Jew hatred environment of too many Universities and centers of academic excellence. They rationalized the actions of anti-Semitic protestors on campuses claiming that students shutting down events that don’t embrace the “woke” narrative is irritating but then again that’s what students do. The past weeks have shown that the anti-Semitic environment of the campuses has spread overnight to our communities, to our cities and in recent days many, if not most, Jews have lost their sense of personal safety when leaving their homes.

The dissonance experienced by progressive Jews became crystallized when they observed how street protestors in cities across Western nations condemned Israel exercising her right to self-defense even before any major Israeli response to the murderess attacks of October 7th. They watched Muslims and their progressive supporters demonstrate and march brandishing swastikas and chanting at the top of their lungs to “gas the Jews” at events that were supposedly to be about supporting Hamas.

Sister organizations such as Black Lives Matter glorified Hamas terrorists who beheaded and murdered babies. Jewish schools where forced to close down because of safety concerns due to threats by these very same demonstrators. They watched on their TV’s and smart phones how throughout the United States and Europe, mainstream media was all too eager to broadcast Hamas fabrications and propaganda as if its hard news.

The events of the past three weeks have shown these Jews that their progressive affiliation has nothing to do with protecting victims, nothing to do with differentiating between good and evil.

The big question now is will this wake-up moment persist or will progressive Jews revert back to an illusory and progressive utopia? Will they be able to resist the urge to indulge in magical thinking and refrain from believing in soothing myths over harsh realities? When you let society be captured by an ideology of narrow mindedness and intolerance operating under the banner of progressiveness, that society will ultimately fail to protect you as a Jew and will lionize baby killers.

What starts with the Jews, never ends with the Jews. Progressive Jews can use their awakening as a lesson for all of Western society. Civilization as we know it has produced in the modern era not only technological and scientific breakthroughs that have enhanced the quality of life of people throughout the world, but Western society has incorporated the value of human life as a basic tenet of modern living. Sustaining this understanding is not a prerogative, the alternative is what we witnessed on the morning of October 7th, chaos and barbarism.

Ron Jagergrew up in the South Bronx of New York City, making Aliyah in 1980. Served for 25 years in the IDF as a Mental Health Field Officer in operational units. Prior to retiring was Commander of the Central Psychiatric Clinic for Reserve Solders at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring has been involved in strategic consultancy to NGO's and communities in the Gaza Envelope on resiliency projects to assist first responders and communities. Ron has written numerous articles for outlets in Israel and abroad focusing on Israel and the Jewish world.

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