Ignorance is DANGEROUS.
Yesterday I noticed this image in my Facebook stream – a friend had “Liked” it. I agree with the concept so I clicked through to the group that had posted it; a group named We, the People, will be heard.
Scrolling down their page I saw a lot of American Patriotic conversations and felt good until I came upon this one that infuriated me.
Note: The above quote from Martin Van Creveld, a historian and theorist, was intentionally taken out of context by this anonymous person behind the Facebook group to paint Israel as an evil aggressor. According to Wikipedia, the statement was made “In a September 2003 interview in Elsevier, a Dutch weekly, on Israel and the dangers it faces from Iran, the Palestinians and world opinion”.
The comments were full of Anti-Semitic ignorance-based hatred. I jumped into the conversation and 21 out of 205 people (about 10%) “liked” my response and a few of them responded in support of Israel, however, most everyone else spewed venomous words that I won’t post here.
Shortly after that, this one appeared.
Notice the number of people who Liked and Shared these posts with G-d knows how many others who in turn shared them on Facebook and in their own blogs. To put this into perspective, this is a group with 147K people following it. And there are thousands of groups like this on Facebook with tens of thousands more posts like these floating around the various groups – I’ve only shared this as an example of what I’ve come across, the rest usually get posted to my other blog.
I started this blog almost 5 years ago for the purpose of sharing our Israel Aliyah experience with family and friends in the US. About a year later, at the bequest of Prime Minister Netanyahu, I shifted a bit in the direction of hasbara (positive public relations for Israel, getting the truth out) and started a brand new blog to focus specifically on that as well as educating Americans (especially Jewish Americans) about potentially dangerous shifts in government focus and society. However, my experience yesterday moved me above the fed up line and has me wondering just how effective is it for me (and hundreds of other Israeli bloggers) to continue investing time on hasbara. Is it really making a difference? Can it?
Tonight, in Israel, we will begin the celebration of the 65th anniversary of Israel’s Independence after spending the previous 24 hours remembering and mourning the loss of the men and women whose sacrifices enabled this independent Jewish country to exist – with the help of G-d, of course! And after reading the venomous posts of Patriotic Americans mentioned above, I have to wonder: Is there any place else on earth where Jews can really be independent? I honestly fear for the safety of any Jew living outside the land that Hashem has blessed us to live in. I believe the warnings that Rabbi Nachman Kahana has been sending out in his weekly divrei Torah; the gist of which is that as America continues its decline, Americans will blame the ever-convenient scapegoat: the Jews within their midst.
Hasbara or Aliyah Kiruv: which will benefit the Jewish people more? If you have time to do both, terrific! But I don’t. And being faced with a choice, with knowledge of the prophecies in Tanakh, I think it’s time for an intensive kiruv effort to bring Am Israel home from the galut. Now. What do you think?