By Rabbi Yeshaia Charles Familant
Senior White House Advisor, Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, stood next to the dedication plaque at the newly declared – and illegal – U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. At the same time, in Gaza, the bloodiest single day for Palestinians since 2014, where currently 60 protesters have been killed by Israeli soldiers and about 3000 more injured by live gunfire and tear gas.
This, in the so-called Jewish State of Israel! The bloody irony is that during Passover each year, Jews recite the litany of the Ten Plagues visited upon the ancient land of Egypt – the tenth and most tragic, the slaughter of every first born Egyptian male child. We are told that when the escaping Hebrew slaves and their families arrived safely on the far shore of the Reed Sea, they cheered and broke into song at the sight of the drowning Egyptian army.
In the Talmud (tractate Sanhedrin), Rabbi Jonathan ben Uzziel (1st century), echoed the admonishing words of his God:
“The works of my hands [the Egyptians] are drowning in the sea. How can you sing songs of praise in my presence!”
As a constant reminder of that reprimand, at the Passover seder each year, we are told to spill from our cups a drop of wine – serving as a symbol of blood – at the recitation of each plague.
And yet, in Jerusalem, on May 14, 2018 Ivanka Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, were sipping champagne while Palestinian blood was being spilt in Gaza.
It can be no accident that their celebration was scheduled to take place one day before the Palestinian commemoration of their exodus, termed Nakba (catastrophe). 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Between 400 and 600 Palestinian villages were sacked, while urban Palestine was almost entirely extinguished. Present day Gaza is one of the territories to which Palestinians fled, and where they and their descendents now live. They’re still hoping for a country they can call their own!
Can it be that the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel were oblivious to the likely Palestinian outrage at the provocative move of the US embassy to Jerusalem? Or is it probable that both heads of government had a callous and cynical disregard to the inevitable reaction?
Nations throughout the civilized world, though openly condemning the illegal move of the embassy and the escalation of violence in Gaza, stand impotent in the face of stonewalling by the United States and Israel.
Recall the words of President John F. Kennedy:
“The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.”