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Jordana Kroft

Jordana Kroft : A Plea to the Armchair Warriors from Your Heartbroken Jewish Friends

by Jordana Kroft, October 21, 2023

I understand that reaching out to your Jewish friends and taking a public stand against Hamas may feel exceptionally challenging and vulnerable right now. Even for me, it’s hard to come up with the right words as I send messages to my loved ones in Israel and elsewhere all around the world.

Thank you to those who have reached out privately to express your condolences and concern. It’s appreciated at a time when so many in the Jewish community feel frightened, isolated, and alone. 

Thank you to those who are publicly expressing your horror about what is happening in Israel. However, it has been exceptionally painful to see many of you describe this situation as “requiring context”, “complex” or “nuanced.” This is where you lose, disappoint, and sadden us. I recognize there is tremendous pressure to post on social media and sadly, that necessarily results in folks posting without understanding the impact of their words.

You lose us because we know you don’t know the first thing about the history of the region that you proclaim is so complex. Rather, you use these words because it’s a clever way to appear knowledgeable and suggest you have some authority to speak on the subject without needing to spend time learning anything. However, the message you’re sending us is that there is a context in which the rape and murder of Jews is acceptable. A context we know wouldn’t be tolerated for any other group of people.

How do we know you lack knowledge about the region? Israel does not occupy Gaza and has had no presence in Gaza since 2005. To be clear, there is no Jew inside Gaza (aside from our loved ones taken hostage). Yet, we see you continuously post about how Israel’s “occupation” of Gaza has led to this violence. To be sure, watching the news and reading posts on social media for one week has never made a person knowledgeable about a particular subject - certainly not the Arab - Israeli conflict.

Fortunately, you don’t need to understand the complex history of the region to have an opinion on this war because it’s not about land. It’s simply about agreeing that a terrorist group that wants to murder every Jew should be destroyed.

You frustrate us because your posts quickly gloss over the atrocities committed against the Jewish people (if you acknowledge them at all) and instead, demonize Israel for defending itself and claim Israel oppresses the people of Gaza. Indeed, Gazan civilians are oppressed and suffering, but you are grossly confused and misinformed if you think Israel, and not the terrorist government under which Gazans live, is the oppressor.

You sadden us because we have seen you publicly stand up against injustices perpetrated against other groups - and we have stood up with you: for Black lives, for LGBTQia2s+ lives, for Asian lives, for Ukrainian lives, for missing and murdered Indigenous women, for Iranian women. But now that we need you, you are nowhere to be found. And while this is certainly not the first time we have experienced this, it never gets easier for us to understand.

This week, we have seen calls for a “Global Jihad” against the Jews and watched people gather all over the world to celebrate our massacre and chant “gas the Jews.” Make no mistake, these are not rallies of resistance by an oppressed people. Why is that so evident to us (aside from the celebrating and the calls to “gas the Jews”)? Because these gatherings took place immediately after Hamas savagely murdered us and before Israel even responded. Myself and so many others in the Jewish community used to question how the world could have possibly let the Holocaust happen. Now, we no longer question.

What do your Jewish friends want you to understand? We are devastated by the loss of all innocent lives - Palestinian and Israeli alike. We do not want innocent civilians in Gaza to die. Our hearts go out to the people of Gaza, many of whom don’t like Hamas, but are caught in this war and have lost their homes and their loved ones.

We also need you to understand that Israel must destroy Hamas and save the women, children, babies and elderly that are being held hostage. Israel wants to accomplish this without harming a single civilian and goes to extreme lengths to prevent harm to innocent people. But when Hamas uses its own civilians as human shields, sets up checkpoints to prevent and intimidate them from evacuating the region and refuses to share their bomb shelters with their citizens, what do you expect Israel to do? 

You criticize Israel for cutting off the water and the power in Gaza. But have you ever considered why Israel supplies Gaza with water and power in the first place? Hamas has had every capability to provide for its citizens but has diverted all humanitarian funding it has received to enact terror against Israel. Hamas has not kept this a secret from you. In 2021, they posted a video of themselves digging up water pipes in Gaza to repurpose them as rockets to be fired against Israel. Please explain how Israel and not Hamas is the perpetrator of “collective punishment” against the people of Gaza. Where are your emotional pleas for Hamas to take care of its own people? 

Israel has stated it will turn the power and water back on once Hamas releases the hostages. But do your posts call on Hamas to release the hostages? No. They demand Israel to feed the same people who savagely tortured and murdered their husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, grandparents, children and babies. No other country has or ever would be held to this unreasonable standard. 

We wish that your calls for “de-escalation” and “peace” in your social media posts were realistic. Sadly, those calls to action are utterly ignorant of the enemy we are up against. Hamas has no interest in peace - a message they have communicated in the most indisputable ways possible on the world stage. We know if Israel put down their weapons, every Jew would be murdered. And what of all our friends and family who are currently being held hostage? We would never see them again. We also know that if Hamas infiltrated your borders and your loved ones were slaughtered, raped, and taken hostage, you wouldn’t be calling for “deescalation” or “peace.” 

Please, continue to post about your rage, horror, and disgust at the devastating loss of Palestinian and Jewish life that you are witnessing. But direct it at the proper perpetrator - Hamas. 

And please, check your bias. If you find yourself justifying or contextualizing violence that has resulted in more Jewish people being murdered in a single day since the Holocaust and disproportionately criticizing Israel’s actions relative to Hamas, perhaps it’s not that you care so deeply about Palestinian lives, you just don’t care about Jewish ones.

Jordana Kroft was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia and now lives in Toronto, Ontario. Post university, she spent two years working in the Estonian Jewish community for the world’s largest Jewish humanitarian organization, the Joint Distribution Committee. Thereafter, she was motivated to obtain a law degree to marry her interests in advocacy and community building. After practicing law at a national firm on Bay Street, Jordana moved to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto to continue pursuing her passion for helping Jewish communities.  

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