Colors: Cyan Color

Before the first Israeli troops entered Gaza in retaliation for the October 7 Hamas attack that killed more than 1,400 people, there were calls for ceasefire on the streets, social media, and in political forums. Until last month, the call was voiced by opponents of Israel who have no interest in the security, let alone existence, of the Jewish state.

The corner of Second Avenue and East 42nd Street has been fortified with barricades and a police booth for as long as many New Yorkers remember. The security measures at the Israeli Consulate in New York are permanent as protests here have occurred in war and peace, regardless of pretext. Likewise, the Israeli Embassy in Washington has been the setting of countless protests over the decades, but this past Sunday’s action by one man changed the conversation.

In his January 17 column entitled Kahane Chai!, Rav Yoel Schonfeld wrote that his feelings had changed regarding Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League in New York and the Kach party in Israel. Calling Kahane “the most prescient Jew of our times” and “a wise man,” he urged that “the Kahane message still should ring loudly in our ears.” In the next issue, Warren Hecht disagreed with Rabbi Schonfeld, arguing that to publicly advocate the positions of Kahane was to supply ammunition to our enemies with which to brand us as racists.

Late Sunday, news broke that an active-duty US Airman lit himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C.  He shouted “Free Palestine” and “I will no longer be complicit in genocide” as he burned.  His act of violence amid what is obviously severe mental illness should be viewed as a tragedy, yet it is celebrated by Hamas supporters who want to see Israel’s destruction, claiming that this is a great moment for their cause. More than that, this is the natural conclusion of a society that uses the mental illness of others for political gain.

When the Patriots entered the Super Bowl in 2007, they walked in with a 18-0 record.  Every commentator said they were unbeatable.  The first undefeated team since the 1972 Dolphins was about to put the crown on their momentous achievement.  The New York Giants, however, came to play, and they were victorious.