Saturday, May 25, 2024 -
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Whose values?

Mine was one of the 180,000 letters that were written to President Biden last week to mark the 180th day since Oct. 7, the 180th day that innocent people continued to be held hostage in Gaza. It was a campaign organized by the OU that gathered support from across the American Jewish community.

Ahead of delivering the letters, the OU’s Moshe Hauer voiced my exact thoughts and feelings, specifically in the immediate aftermath of the tragic death of seven aid workers. I wish I could reprint the speech in full, but if any passage epitomized my feelings, it was this:

“The more that people go and question and challenge and hold up [Israel’s] mistakes as if they are [Israel’s] values and downgrade the values of Hamas as if they are their mistakes, the more they feed the genocidal narrative . . . the menacing rallies that are taking place in our streets and in our universities, promoting a distorted and false narrative against the . . . one nation and army that picks up their guns only to defend themselves. That uses periods of quiet to advance science and technology and aid for hurricane and earthquake victims as opposed to the other side that uses periods of quiet to commandeer concrete sent to build homes and instead build miles of tunnels for the next opportunity to be able to kill.”

Part of what has made the past six months so difficult for all of us who care about Israel is the topsy-turviness — the vilification of a people, country and army that many of us know intimately to be good, alongside a knee-jerk defense of a group that proudly espouses its philosophy of destruction.

Possibly most painful of all, the disregard the world has shown toward the hostages, 134 people whose fate since Oct. 7 remains unknown. How can the world ignore the pain of the great-uncle of Kfir and Ariel Bibas, the two beautiful red-headed abducted children, who also spoke last week?

The day after the tragic death of the seven aid workers, the UK’s Independent’s entire front page pictured wreckage and a one-word headline “Enough.” By contrast, the Independent has not once since Oct. 7 ran a dominant front page headline about innocent people being held hostage for over six months.

It took the Denver Post over six months to have a front page story about the hostages.

If not for the Jewish community and Jewish media, there would be practically no word about the hostages anywhere outside of Israel. Geopolitics are complicated, but the inhumanity of abduction isn’t. That so many choose to ignore or justify that cruelty has added another layer of inexplicable pain to this six-month mark.

The full press conference can be viewed on the OU Advocacy Center’s YouTube channel.

Shana Goldberg may be reached at [email protected].

Copyright © 2024 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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