Should Israeli Lives Matter?

I saw something on Facebook the other day that rubbed me the wrong way.   Now, depending on who your ‘Facebook friends’ are, you can encounter lots of disagreeable material on Facebook, but this was different. Many people whom I like and admire reacted to the increasing number of Arabs brutally murdering Jews on the streets of Jerusalem and its outlying areas by posting, “Israeli lives matter.”  

I love and appreciate that these people, both Jewish and Christian, want to show support for Israel and the Jewish people. Social media, with its hashtag and slogan mentality is largely where our society interacts today. My instinctive, negative reaction may be completely wrong. Still, “Israeli lives matter,” doesn’t resonate with me.

Politicians regularly exaggerate and speak in hyperbole. America’s current President goes beyond that; he blatantly propagandizes. He talks of  things like building a transparent administration or about working across the aisle that he knows are untrue. HIs stock in trade is disinformation, reminiscent of the old Soviet Union. One of the damaging effects of his presidency is an increase in the corruption of language. 

When, back in 2014, Michelle Obama held up a sign reading, “#Bring back our girls,” that was a way to do nothing while getting kudos for being sympathetic.  Boko Haram still has the girls and the First Lady’s sign leads overseas to mockery of America. Secular liberalism speaks of universality while pigeon-holing everyone by race, income, gender and a constantly  increasing list of criteria. It pits people against each other while piously decrying bigotry.  


The ‘Black Live Matter’ movement enriches demagogues and empowers politicians while impoverishing and destroying African-American communities. It is easier to make people angry and to convince them that they are blameless victims, rather than to have serious and uncomfortable conversations. Discussing corruption and decay among the police, corruption and decay in teachers’ unions and the public education system, self-destructive cultures that produce fatherless boys and dozens of other issues all get pushed aside while shouting three obfuscating words.

‘Black lives matter,’ inevitably produced ‘Police lives matter.’ I understand the impetus for a counter-slogan, but in the final analysis, exchanging buzzwords promotes conflict while ignoring the real work that needs to be done. ‘Israeli lives matter’ encourages the growth of a ‘Palestinian lives matter’ movement, supporting the concept of moral equivalence. 

For this reason, I am uncomfortable with joining the ‘X lives matter’ movement. Our culture loves to sound virtuous without the messy business of acting virtuously.  I know that those who are saying, ‘Israeli lives matter’ are appalled, as I am with the world’s double standard. Like me, I hope they are horrified at Europe and America’s inviting refugees carrying suitcases full of hatred and violence into their countries. I’m sure that most of these people support Israel with money, time and their votes. Still, I worry that adopting mantras reduces us as a society, allowing us to pretend we are reacting to serious issues with an ephemeral tap of our fingers.

Yet, social media is where our society interacts. I may be completely wrong. What do you think? 

There’s still time to take advantage of our Sukot sale. You don’t want to miss this one!

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19 thoughts on “Should Israeli Lives Matter?”

  1. Sorry, james: please accept my humblest apologies: it was not 20 mosques, but TWO HUNDRED German mosques allocated for the Syrian ‘Christian refugees.’ And the Refugee Riots in Stockholm and Malmo took place on 13 Sep 2015.

  2. Thanks, james, for your comments and objections. I live in an international household with one foot still in Europe. Ignoring your epithet of ‘emotions,’ I have personally witnessed Germany being overrun by Gastarbeiter from six or more Mediterranean nations, later being accepted on Government welfare and transitioning to permanent citizenship. Of all the nations whose low-skilled workers overran Germany, the most permanent have been the Turks. In the ‘old days’ I had overwhelmingly positive experiences with Turks as cordial, honest and upstanding. Nowadays I am aware that the youngest generation of Turks there is by no means so cordial. In Berlin app. 1/5 of the city (SE) is a Türkenviertel, and there are problematic areas where non-Turks are best advised not to transgress. I know of an American soldier who was brutalized. I beg your humble pardon, but having witnessed what the bleeding-heart government has done to its nation by overpopulating with Turks and a horde of asylum-seekers since the 1960’s, if recent news reports of the Merkel administration allocating funds to build some TWENTY MOSQUES in Germany for the ‘Christian refugees,’ please forgive my rant: ‘Oh no, here we go again!” Solutions: perhaps ‘Conservatives’ like you can put them up at your houses?

  3. We don’t say a farmer tilling his field ,or a man running a city carwash the cause of street gangs. Yet, purportedly by some, Israel makes a need for jihad justified.
    Too real,and sadly, It is,” the Shema”, that makes trouble, because The Emet of Torah is opposed by many.
    THOU SHALT NOT KILL makes Cain-like minds guilty,and that infuriates them the more.
    Some Crusades some millenium back are not cause for butchering today.
    Thanks for writing,and letting us write.

  4. Making ISRAEL THE SOURCE OR CAUSE OF JIHAD IS WRONG! I am yelling,but not just to scream,”Fire!”,for panic sake in a crowded theatre.
    Too often some in Media will pick what they want to pick, rather than state the case/ facts.
    We don’t say street gangs and drug lords are caused by common citizens who mind themselves. But we let some purport It is Israel’s fault for the war against them. Sad,That when they do as any of us would do ,if we were in their place, they are called the bad guy. Damnable (literaly).

  5. I remember when I was a child, my grandmother would receive “Round Robin” letters from her sisters. Sometimes a picture would be included. After reading the letter my grandmother would write a letter, include it with the one she received and send it on to the sibling next in line. I remember receiving hand written letters from her while I was in college. What a wonderful concept. We’ve lost that and replaced it with something so shallow. I don’t want to share my intimate feelings, thoughts and turmoils with people I don’t really know. But I would like to strengthen the relationships I have with the people God has placed in my life. What would happen if folks just quit Facebook and spent the time they use to spend on it writing a letter to their grandmother, mother, father, siblings, children? I quit Facebook several years ago but haven’t written any personal letters. My loss! Shame on me! There is something just so trite in our relationships today. No depth. Do we even really know how to be in a relationships anymore? I’m super frustrated with how superficial we have become. We don’t try to get to know people. We just use silly slogans to imply that we care when we really don’t give it a whole lot of thought after we write “so and so’s life matters” and then hit the post button and move on to the next thing. How do we start connecting more with those that matter to us? I don’t think it is thru silly slogans on social media. What I love about you Susan is that you push me to thinking just a little further than I would have on my own.

  6. Susan, having had many friends from the middle east there is some truth to your statement that Arabs grow up to dislike Jews. But I would argue that dislike or hatred stems from their hatred towards the state of Israel and what they perceive as its horrible policies. Also let us not forget that the same European conservatives you speak of are also some of the most Anti-semitic groups around. They look at Jews no different from Arabs or any other non-white protestant entity.

  7. “Husky young Arab males.” I don’t understand why this is inherently a problem. Also I would be just as skeptical of trusting random pictures being put up on social media, as I would of American media. The Swedish riot you mentioned occurred in 2013 (I just googled it). That being said I completely understand what your saying. Anytime there is huge influx of people into an area there is going to be problems. Considering the big number we are talking about probability demands that at least few are going to be bad actors. Let’s also remember that these refugees aren’t just young muslim jihadis but also include many Arab Christians escaping persecution. The same Christians that I assume many people in this comment section were horrified to see being beheaded by ISIS. Putting emotions side, you still haven’t proposed an alternative solution to dealing with the refugee crisis. This is assuming (not that anyone is advocating this) that letting them die of hunger or war is not a legitimate alternative…I apologize if I sound argumentative, but I just feel as a Conservative too many times I here other members of my community say this or that idea/person is terrible but hardly ever do I here an alternative solution.

  8. Susan, you and Kathy (in the comments) really hit the nail on the head for me. I initially saw that there might be value in the original slogan, but then another and another came out, as well as the pundits’ parody versions, and I just felt it all smelled of factionalism. Whatever the original message, it got watered down. For me, ‘human lives matter’. Well, and this: ‘all life matters in some way or other, so don’t kick dogs and watch how much meat you eat and plant a tree and respect your elders and cradle babies with love and read books’.
    Er…that may have watered the slogan down more than anyone else has done as yet.
    How about ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you’?

  9. I think it’s a good idea for everyone to have many outlets for news – those that support our preconceived notions and those that don’t. It’s our obligation to look for truth.

  10. James, international social media is swarming with photos of husky young Arab males rushing European borders and demanding exorbitant sums as asylum….yes, angry males minus women and children. In two Swedish cities ‘refugee’ mobs have started riots and burned cars. Late-night short wave radio from places like Germany seem to indicate that what we see on social media is but the tip of the iceberg. And curiously, American media do not report the rioting or burning, the negative side of the ‘refugees.’ Europe is waking up. America? Just like Pravda in the old Soviet Union, as Susan says, our mainstream media shows us the talking points and images the regime wants us to see and shuns those images and messages in disfavor.

  11. All lives matter! Whatever opinion you may hold (and I largely agree with you), the strength of your Musing this week rests upon two astute observations: (1) That the administration currently in power spreads rampant disinformation, and (2) Cutesy-wutesy little mantras can contribute to the widespread corruption of human language. A famous author of science fiction went beyond Orwellian ‘doublespeak.’ He had one of his characters spout the cynical opinion that the primary purpose of human language is not to communicate, but to deceive. By using human language we oft seek to conceal our true intentions. Nowhere is this more accurate than in today’s politically correct argot: our world comes more and more to resemble Back to the Future, Part Two. Time machine, anyone?

  12. Wow – I just woke up to see so many comments! Yes, I am in Israel, where it is now Friday morning. Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, is encouraging everyone who has a gun to carry it – the reaction of the liberals is one amusing note in these difficult few days.
    I hope to write more about life here next week. Israel is very small. Everyone -including us- has a connection to someone who has been attacked, murdered or lost a family member. At the same time, life carries on in every sense. We are taking buses, walking around and eating out. The streets are full of Jews and Arabs going to work and working together. Most of these attackers are teenagers – an easy group to incite and manipulate.
    I agree that ‘all lives matter,’ but that is only true if you believe that God created us in His image. And in His book, you can also forfeit your right to life by your behavior. Too often, life is really a case of kill or be killed.
    James, try to read some of the German or British press. The American press is not presenting what is going on with these refugees. Americans, and the European left are incredibly naive. Many of these young men flooding into Europe have been raised and educated to hate Jews and increasingly Christians. From Arab children’s TV shows to math problems in school, violence is glorified.
    Joanie – my husband reads (and improves) my Musings before they go out, but I write them. We do tend to think the same way on almost all issues.
    I appreciate all your comments.

  13. The short answer for me is that I agree with you Susan. However, there are multiple issues here. I am as uncomfortable with the fact that our society interacts on Facebook as I am with “X lives matter”. The problem with Facebook started with Sesame Street. Everything in Sesame Street was too short, too fast, and not connected to a context that makes sense. 30 years later we have an adult Sesame Street called Facebook. I am finding myself face-to-face with young adults who ask me questions. They are all intelligent, around 25 years of age, and searching. My sense is that they are looking for context, depth, meaning, and purpose. They won’t find it in one liners or on Facebook.

  14. “I hope they are horrified at Europe and America’s inviting refugees carrying suitcases full of hatred and violence”. I’m not trying to be politically correct, but I’m just curious to see your evidence backing this statement. Also was wondering what your plan was for dealing with the current refugee crisis?

  15. Susan, are you still in Israel? Our media makes it seem as if just walking the streets in Israel is a dangerous thing to do. The thugs that are using terrorism at such a personal level is disturbing but so in line with how they operate. Several years ago someone I know was thinking of visiting Israel but was waffling on going because there was an uptick in violence at that time. My reply to her when she seemed hesitant was, GO! We will all die someday but not one second before God calls us! To die in Israel would be an honor! I still feel the same way!
    I got so tired of Facebook several years ago that I closed my account and have not regretted it. I’m tired of rhetoric. We’ve become a society of gutless slogan sayers and repeaters. There is nothing those who hate Israel would love more than to see tourism to Israel be stopped. I believe it is a major source of income to the area. If someone can afford to go to Israel they should go, not just put up a silly slogan that really has no bite. So, once again I think you and I are on the same page. Mazal Tov! Many blessings.

  16. I am so in agreement with you Rabbi!!! The stealing of the real meaning of words and turning them into something they were never meant to mean has disturbed me for a long time. Putting a label on something does not in any way remedy the problem but intensifies it. Insanity seems to be reigning in all areas of our culture and society.

  17. Hello Susan,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. I believe this does nothing but separate people into boxes. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of “the enemy”…united we stand, divided we fall. So for those forces today who are intentionally trying to separate us into categories, boxes, beliefs or anything else, it make us weak as people.
    If we all just acted on the belief “all life matter” and I mean all. Then how we act on a daily basis is united and powerful.
    Thank you for all you do.

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