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Where's the Outrage?

Where's the Outrage?

Jew-haters of the world need to know that we have as much passion to defend Jewish lives as they have passion to destroy us.


I took a break from the hood the other night to speak to a large synagogue in Palos Verdes called Congregation Ner Tamid -- and I used a word that got me in trouble. The occasion was a showing of "Obsession" -- a documentary on the rise of radical Islam and the worldwide terror that has accompanied it -- and it was sponsored by CAMERA, an organization that counteracts anti-Israel bias in the mainstream media.

"Obsession" assaults you with the hatred that fuels the fire of radical Islam.

The film points out that the majority of Muslims are not radical Islamists, but when it hones in on the radicals, the words and images make your skin crawl.

You see an old sheik, speaking to what looks like 100,000 people, pulling out a sword and exhorting his screaming flock to kill every Jew they can find. One radical Muslim after another is shown giving motivational speeches on the fine art of Jew-hatred. And Jew-killing. Lots and lots of Jew-killing.

The Jew-haters are honest: they want Jews dead. All Jews. Roadblocks or no roadblocks. West Bank or no West Bank.

But here's the crazy part: There's not a word from the Jew-haters about the dreaded Occupation. Not a peep about roadblocks or fences or the oppressive policies of the Zionist occupier, which, as we are so often reminded, lie "at the heart" of our enemies' discontent. The Jew-haters are honest: they want Jews dead. All Jews. Roadblocks or no roadblocks. West Bank or no West Bank.

Talk about an inconvenient truth.

When you see all this Jew-hatred, it's tempting to be dismissive and say "These are only the radicals; there are many more moderates." Or to get all cynical because "The radicals will always want to kill us. So what's new?" These are great coping mechanisms that help us maintain our composure. But here's what's new: The radicals aren't just getting bigger and bolder on the battlefield, they're also, amazingly, winning the PR war.

Who would have figured that two years after our heart-wrenching evacuation of Gaza -- two years of continued relentless attacks from an enemy that brazenly calls for our destruction -- we'd be the target of a boycott from British professors? Again, it's tempting to get all blase and say "Been there, done that."

But this blase attitude is a reason why we are losing the PR battle: We assume that getting all worked up about stuff doesn't really make a difference, or that it's not very becoming of Jews. The practical thing to do is to stay composed and look for solutions.

Well, here's a practical idea: Let's all take a time-out from "solutions" and get a little worked up. Let's stop being so composed and start being outraged.

Because if we continue like this, the whole world, except for America and Micronesia, will be boycotting Israel.

Israel needs the Diaspora to get more emotional right now -- because emotional outrage wins PR battles. Our enemy understands that a lot better than we do.

The most effective TV interview I ever saw happened about five years ago on a major network, while Israel was in the midst of numerous suicide bombings. The anchorman asked Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg, a very composed and sophisticated man, why Israel could not arrest these suicide bombers. Well, you should have seen the outrage on Mr. Burg's face.

With clenched fists and an almost growling voice, he said something like: "But how do you expect us to do that when they can blow up in one second?"

It was visceral, it was sincere and it didn't come from talking points. It came from his heart, and I guarantee you it played well in Wisconsin.

After seeing the Jew-hatred in "Obsession," it was hard not to get worked up when I spoke at the Palos Verdes synagogue. I wanted the Jew-haters of the world to know that we have as much passion to defend Jewish lives as they have passion to destroy us.

But I got a little carried away. I said that we need to have our own Jihad -- a Jihad for life -- and to show the enemy that we believe in it as much as they believe in their "Jihad for death."

A fellow Jew rose up in indignation. My clever twist did not amuse him. No matter how much I tried to explain the subtleties of turning our enemy's word on its head to convey our own "noble struggle," the word went too far for him.

I understood his discomfort, but maybe that's precisely why we need to go there.

Our PR timidity has backfired on us. I'm not saying we should emulate "Wrestlemania" announcers (how sincere do they look?), but I am saying that we need to get bolder and more emotional. It makes us more human.

For example, when the bombs fall on Sderot, instead of empty cliches like "no terrorist is immune" and "this is unacceptable" and so forth, we should have the guts to run ads all over the world and get on CNN and the BBC and say things like: "We gave them land, and they gave us war." "This proves that the occupation was never the key problem," and "How would England respond if the same amount of bombs fell on Manchester?"

These are not think-tank words, they're real words. If we can deliver them with the same intensity Mr. Burg used five years ago, the world will better understand the justness of our cause.

The amazing thing about the PR battle is that it's probably the only area right now where we can win. The political, military and diplomatic landscapes are a mess, but the PR landscape is wide open. Especially post-disengagement, there are numerous PR victories that are ours for the taking.

In a brilliant article in Haaretz, Moshe Arens explains why you can't deter terrorists, you can only fight them. It's time for Jews of all stripes to get their mojo back, and join the PR fight.

Even if your only weapon is your PC, and your mouth.

This article originally appeared in the LA Jewish Journal.

June 9, 2007

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Visitor Comments: 60

(60) Roxie Reedy, June 27, 2007 2:08 PM

I also believe it is HIGH time ALL the Jewish people (and GENTILES who love and stand with Israel)to stand up and say to the politicians ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Israel does NOT need to give up any more land, hold back on defending herself,or make ANY concessios to Islamic terrorist for the sake of "so called peace". You can't "play Nice" with a viper. You act swiftly and cut off it's head!!! As a US citizen, I appologize for the stupidity of our government!!!!! Please know there are multiple thousands just like me with the same attitude. Please note that in the middle of July there will be a Summit in Washington D.C. where thousands of Christians United for Israel will meet with Jewish brothers to let you know you are NOT alone!!!! G-d bless you!!!

(59) LEONARDO ZAMORA, June 20, 2007 9:22 PM

this was very good it pumpt me up,i'm with you brothers, even thou i am not a jew i support you,thank you for sending me this writings,i will keep learning more so i can be i good jew in the future thanx.

(58) Anonymous, June 18, 2007 9:14 PM

In regards to land for peace...

Wasn't Judea and Samaria, now known as the West Bank, land taken by Jordan from Israel in the pre-1948 war? They sure made themselves at home there! Even after retaking the area, the world denies Israel this land. No matter what side you fall on concerning the occupation of land taken from the Arabs from the wars since, realize, my "landsmen," that the occupation of the West Bank is not mentioned in the peace process, and that Israel has, in the name of peace, given it up. Israel should give back land it has taken from aggressors in war, but also give up land taken from Israel? Let Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt give up a chunk of their unoccupied land to the masses of Palestinians. Oh wait; these countries don't want the Palestians!

(57) sjhepner, June 18, 2007 8:30 AM

Class Action...

Has anybody heard of class action for slander, defamation and hatemongering... its about time we implement it..

(56) Roddy Frankel, June 17, 2007 11:15 PM

100% empathy

As a newcomer to the Chicago area, I have tried for several years to speak out for Israel at local temples and gatherings, with some limited success. I have also tried to encourage the local Federation to invite Walid Shoebat as a guest speaker. No luck there. The most common response I here is indifference, mixed with trepidation about opening up a can of worms. It seems there are many influential Chicago Jews who are openly hostile towards Israel. What to do?

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