Archive for October 12th, 2016

Harden not your hearts

October 12, 2016

As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
Hebrews 3:15

Dov Waxman a prof at Northeastern University after the mass 2014 slaughter in Gaza asked the question





The well-known American Jewish periodical The Forward published his lamentation. Waxman pointed out that the slaughter, condemned universally and the last straw for many American Jewish millenials, drew yawns from most Israelis.

He wrote:

Their violent deaths do not elicit much anguish or remorse. At most, there is a cursory expression of regret before the blame is quickly placed elsewhere — on Hamas’s shoulders. This ability of some Israeli Jews to so easily dismiss Palestinian suffering is a byproduct of their long conflict with the Palestinians.
More than anything else, it is this constant exposure to violence that explains why so many Israeli Jews seem unmoved by the massive violence their army has unleashed upon Gaza. They are convinced that this violence is a fully justified and necessary response to Hamas’s rocket attacks and tunnel infiltrations.. Palestinians have long since just become the enemy, an object of fear and loathing. As they have been almost completely dehumanized in the minds of many Israeli Jews, their deaths have become all too easily disregarded.

What about American Jews?

I see very little expression of concern for the welfare of Palestinian civilians terrorized by Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire.



Waxman sadly covers himself by bringing in Hamas and their “firecrackers”, those pathetic unmanned rockets that cause little damage in Israel. Nobody defends the fear created in Israel’s border towns but the overwhelming, massive overkill in Gaza is beyond the pale.Israel’s massive propaganda machine providing talking points to American Jews who asked the pathetic question, devoid of any context:”What would you do if rockets were fired at your city?


Waxman to his credit wrote:


Until now, the American Jewish community has rallied to support Israel in word and deed, while almost completely ignoring the suffering of Palestinian civilians. All too often, American Jewish declarations and gestures of support for Israel fail even to acknowledge Palestinian suffering, let alone to provide some concrete relief for it.

What lies behind this apparent callousness? …there is also a belief among many Jews that any expression of anguish or sympathy for the suffering of Palestinian civilians would undermine Israel’s cause and play into the hands of the country’s enemies. This belief is fundamentally misguided.

To sympathize with Palestinian suffering is not to condemn Israel or condone Hamas; it is simply an expression of our humanity, as well as of our Jewish values. The ardent desire to demonstrate solidarity with Israel should not come at the expense of our humanitarian consciences. This not only erodes our moral character as individuals and as a community, but also risks alienating many Jews who rightly agonize over the humanitarian costs of Israeli military actions. As human beings and Jews, we should never let our support for Israel harden our hearts to the suffering of others.