I have a daughter, a brother, cousins, nieces and nephews living in central and southern Israel. The graves of my parents and other ancestors are in its soil. I was born there; we are well-acquainted with terror and hate even as we are proud of being a high-tech, medical, and academic beacon in the middle of a desert watered by blood.
And Anne Frank’s diary will never burn.
I keep thinking, after another sleepless night of fear and concern and dread as the latest war against the civilians of Israel (that’s what it is; that’s what was initiated) about Anne Frank. Maybe it’s because my daughter residing in Tel Aviv is also a working redemption of the world-class journalist that Anne would have become in a world not committed to killing Jewish children.
On a certain level, something is bred in me by the thick orange groves of my post-Holocaust-era, childhood days in Israel, by the innocence and kindness I recall from those times—the morning of "the gathered remnant."
I cannot drain my soul of its deep affinity with the 20th century Jewish narrative. It is absolutely insane that children and parents must hide in bomb shelters in a free Jewish state just 70 years after Himmler. Sirens in the night? Families fleeing into bomb shelters? Nursery school kids seeing the plumes of deadly missiles streaking across the sky and headed for their playgrounds?
And worst of all: Jewish youngsters being forced by contemptuous circumstances to kill the Arab sons and daughters of Palestine. We were helpless in Europe while the world looked away; now we have the will and technology and the Anne Frank story to defend ourselves while the world admires or criticizes or divests. We would have chosen life in all categories; our enemies, apparently not.
Sometimes one wonders what the media, the pundits, the leftists, the Presbyterians, and most of Europe would all do if they did have not the Jews to examine and excoriate. Certainly it’s a collective straight line away from their own inexhaustible layers of racial hypocrisies, inquisitions, crusades, slave-trading, and discarding-all-principles-for-oil that comes with their parlor anti-Semitism.
Millions of words of analysis and somber reflection, if not steaming chastisement, fill the pages and testimonies of the world’s press and legislative records about Israel simply looking after its own citizens. Meanwhile, Syria is boiling with infanticide; Iraq is balkanized by murderous intra-Muslim gangs; Yemen breeds international plots to blow up airliners and decimate “satanic” America.
The Israeli people, feisty, democratic, argumentative, weary, filled with angst, though unwilling to ever give up their remarkable country, are unswerving, united, and resolute in the wake of this madness.
Jews all over the world join with them in contemplation and reflection, hope and prayer. In the 1990s, we celebrated the real sense that a two-state solution was at hand. Time and again, the other side walked away from a final agreement; sadly, it’s the Palestinians, with their artificial internal “reconciliation,” who have self-destructed into two states: terror and suicide.
Given all this, we Jews are not going to suddenly capitulate on anything. Israel can only lose once. For us, world history has been an oil leak, from betrayal to BP. So you see, it’s just that we are not going to be marched to the gas chambers ever again. And Anne Frank’s diary will never burn.