Never Stay Indifferent, Never Stop Caring

July 29, 2015

I remember the first anti-Semitic remark I received. It was a comment to one of my posts here, and it said “What a shame Hitler didn't finish what he started.” That night, I couldn't sleep. I was concerned and bothered, but most of all- I was horrified. Later, as I became more involved in the lives of Jewish communities outside of Israel, I was exposed to the enormous measurements of similar remarks that Jewish people from all over the world take every day like a punch to their guts.

It's not as if I didn't know about post-WWII anti-Semitism before, but I had never been exposed to it personally, and nonetheless- was never a victim of it, living in the anti-Semitism – protected Israel. As some of you may unfortunately know, it is not something you can easily overcome, and the state of shock and fear continued to follow me the next times as well. “You stinking Jew,” “the source of all evil…” I couldn't get these remarks out of my head. I shared these experiences with my loved ones, and they were left speechless themselves. The scary reality of anti-Semitism hit us Israelis in the face.

We, who constantly wish out loud to get the hell out of this scalding-hot, conflict-ridden Israel and move abroad, were struck by the fact that anti-Semitism, in its full frontal ugly form, has yet to pass from this world, and probably never will.  With every new hateful comment on my posts, and on Israelife's Facebook page, my helplessness grew bigger and bigger. At times I replied, but then received even more painful comments, and the possibility of history repeating itself with a second Holocaust became more and more vivid in my head.

Then one day, I decided I had had enough. I decided that those people, full of hate and rage, are sad and pathetic, and not worthy of my reaction or even my thoughts. So I stopped caring. I ignored all anti-Semitic or hateful remarks, and simply looked the other way. I believed that if I were what I thought was “the bigger person,” those people would slowly back away and eventually – disappear into the hollowness of the unnoticed underground (because let's be honest- hatred will never completely vanish.)

I lived like that for months, as the bigger person. “Animal,” “Die,” “a monster taking over the world-” I ignored them all. At some point, I even stopped deleting these remarks from the “comments” section, with the hope that it would show the unaware readers the true face of haters, who sometimes tried to hide behind “Israel is violating human rights” rhetoric. I wanted people to see that it is not us, Jews, who terrorize others, but it is others who terrorize us. I was so sure of my way that it did not occur to me that something much worse than fear took over me: I became indifferent.

Just like that, I let horrible words spread online because I was sure that if I remain quiet, it would go away. I just stood still, and let the most dangerous weapon in today’s world – comments on social media – fire. By being the bigger person, I let slide things that should never be ignored. I let hate spread under false pretenses that “in the end- everything would be alright.”  I came to this realization when someone posted on Israelife's Facebook wall a picture of Hitler, and added a few swastikas for decoration.

That day, I decided that I will never stand still, and never stay silent again. I know that what I experienced is nothing compared to what some of you have been going through, and that is why I would like to turn to you and encourage you to always fight back. Never turn the other cheek, never ignore. Being indifferent does not weaken anti-Semitism, it makes it more powerful. Now, it is up to us to stop it from spreading, and send it back to the shadows. Let's show them, one and for all, that we, just like every other person on this planet, are here to stay.

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