Dear Non-Jewish Friends,
I have been trying to find the words to write to you for the last six weeks, but it’s not easy. The Jewish community is experiencing a kind of devastation. We feel alone and attacked. On Oct 12th I wrote a post “Special thanks to my non-Jewish friends who have been in touch. Whilst international protestors chant “gas the Jews” (i.e., me & the community), your care means so, so much.” The post was wishful thinking, since a total of 13 people have reached out.
My first reaction was anger; “Where the hell are you? This is my hour of need, and you aren’t here,” but within seconds of that thought, I realized that the opposite was true. Six years ago was my previous hour of need – when I was hit by a car, had life-threatening brain hemorrhages and two life-saving brain surgeries — and everyone was there for me. Literally thousands of people reached out. From personal experience, I have rock-solid evidence that the statement “my non-Jewish friends aren’t here for me when I need them” is clearly not true. It was confusing.
What stops non-Jewish friends from reaching out to show solidarity? I want to understand rather than accuse.
The next stage was to ask why there is such silence. What stops non-Jewish friends from reaching out to show solidarity? I want to understand rather than accuse; I hate the “silence is violence” accusations. Silence can be complicated. People can remain quiet because they are unsure what to say, afraid of getting canceled, or other reasons. Violence is violence – like the actions of the Palestinian terrorists – but silence can be many things.
There is the “I don’t get it” aspect — as one Jewish friend was asked by her non-Jewish boyfriend, “I don’t get it — Israel is thousands of miles away, why is it so important to you?” For those who still don’t get it, it is crucial to know that all Jews are connected. We feel it. There are only 18 million Jews on earth, 7 million in Israel, and almost every Jewish person you know has family and friends who live in Israel. It hurts every time I see a picture of another Jewish hostage. This is our worst period since the Holocaust, and every Jewish life is currently at risk.
I always want to stay conscious of not being a victim, but still want to shout, “where the hell are you?” There have been calls to gas the Jews in San Diego, Australia and elsewhere, as well as other calls to violence against our people. There are pro-Palestinian protests with “from the river to the sea” banners which are code for the eradication of all Jews. There was a “Global Day of Jihad” which led to Jewish schools being closed in London. Three-hundred thousand pro-Palestinian activists overwhelmed central London on Nov 11th, desecrating the U.K.’s Remembrance Sunday, which commemorates those who died in both World Wars and other conflicts. Meanwhile, 1200 Jews have been raped, murdered, tortured, killed and kidnapped, over 240 hostages taken – and the response has been worldwide anti-Jewish protests.
All it takes is a private “hi, thinking of you” message, or a supportive post. It is hard processing your apparent lack of solidarity, but perhaps I am misinterpreting something.
The Palestine situation is frustrating. Israel has always wanted a Palestinian state. The “liberate Palestine” slogans, apartheid accusations and oppression tropes are compelling narratives, but fake news. The ‘liberate Palestine’ slogan is a shallow myth. The Palestinians have never wanted a two-state solution despite many offers. ‘Liberate Palestine’ means ‘Destroy Israel’, but they won’t admit it. Look at a map of the 1937 Peel Commission proposal, where they were offered 80% of the land. They couldn’t bear the idea of Jews having the other 20%. Four years later the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, flew to Germany to meet Hitler and see how he could help out in the Middle East. Later offers for a Palestinian state were turned down by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, because the Palestinian leadership do not want their own state if it means accepting the existence of a Jewish one.
My social media feeds have turned into obituary pages and kidnap notices, pro-Palestinian fundraisers, and silence from most people outside the Jewish community.
There are people who want to kill us.
I am here.
Where are you?
Your Jewish friend,
Marcus J Freed runs the Jewish Filmmakers Network which is a call-to-action for filmmakers and content creators to fight antisemitism online. www.marcusjfreed.com, www.freedthinking.com, and on social at @marcusjfreed