While messages of “Happy New Year” still flow into my message box from my non-Jewish/Hebrew family and friends, I wake up everyday inescapably confronted and concerned with, as well as deeply troubled by, the reality that I am geopolitically tied to a nation (Israel; my legal and ancestral homeland) accused of (and that is in fact) committing genocide, and another (the USA, where I was born) of being complicit in it.
This geopolitical reality, coupled with my innate and vibrant sense of humanity, imposes upon me not just a responsibility, but in fact, a national and global-citizen mandate, to investigate, reflect on, sort out and make critical decisions, along with clear and unambiguous public and official declarations, about where I stand on this matter.
As an Israeli citizen, I could find myself exposed to after-the-fact international criticism, and/or other consequences for being complicit in genocide thru my silence and/or inaction. As the Holocaust Encyclopedia reminds and warns the world:
“Bystanders” is a catch-all term that has often been applied to people who were passive and indifferent to the escalating persecution that culminated in the Holocaust.
After the war, many ordinary Germans and Europeans claimed that they were “not involved,” that they were “bystanders” to the events of the Holocaust. Use of the term “bystander” to avoid any responsibility for what happened, however, obscures the many different levels of individual involvement at all levels of society.
Reviewing the use of “bystander” as a general category leads to a more nuanced exploration of the full range of behaviors and what people did—or did not do—to facilitate the persecution and mass murder of other human beings.
If we use the metrics laid out in the Holocaust Encyclopedia, now that South Africa is pursuing legal redress from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel, concerning matters of genocide, the socio-political options for Israelis and Jews around the world have become stark; the “innocent bystander” defense has been rendered void and useless. Here’s a video of two very brave, well-positioned, and well-informed Ashkenazi anti-Zionist Jews. Check the video notes for more info about them and their work...