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The Hamas Pogrom: A September 11 Moment also for the Jewish Diaspora

The Hamas pogrom on October 7th, was not merely an Israeli trauma, but a trauma for the entire Jewish world. This incident stands as a stark reminder of the delicate balance between Israeli national security and the escalating antisemitism worldwide and personal security of Jews worldwide

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For Israel, this was a direct assault on its sovereignty and ability to safeguard its populace. Yet, for global Jewry, it was an attack on their social status, identity, cultural, and religious heritage. Just as 9/11 was not solely an assault on the US but also on Western values, the Hamas pogrom has similarly jolted the Jewish world.

Jewish communities feel more vulnerable. Antisemitism is increasing, becoming more blatant, extroverted and violent. Rejection of antisemitism in the public sphere is lax. The characteristics of the Hamas pogrom evoked repressed collective memories of pogroms and antisemitism that they hoped would be relegated to history.

The dominant sentiment in North American Jewish communities tends to be liberal. However, even liberal-progressive Jews who criticize Israel now feel betrayed within progressive circles. They understand more and more that the current progressive narrative adopts a double standard regarding Israel. The support of many progressives in Hamas causes progressive Jews to recognize the existence of very illiberal elements in the current progressive discourse. This discourse often categorizes Jews as white, Palestinians as people of color, The Jewish State as a colonial project, and Hamas as an organization that seeks justice. The progressive discourse often fails to capture the Jewish lived experience and erases the Jewish unique identity.

However, crises often generate opportunities. This tragic event could reshape Jewish identity and bridge divides between Israelis and the diaspora. We're at a crossroads. Differences can blur, replaced by shared challenges and goals. 

The Hamas pogrom allows us to reconsider Jewish identity in the diaspora. Currently, Israel-engagement efforts are far less complex now, and the framework of peoplehood becomes more relevant than before. Now, we have an opportunity to redefine diasporic Jewish identity, not as a mere response to a crisis but as a key moment to sculpt a cohesive identity, rich in its diversity.

Throughout history, in adversity's face, Jews have shown resilience and unity. The post-October 7th era is no exception. If harnessed rightly, this can be a defining moment for a stronger, united global Jewish community, poised to face future challenges together.

* This newsletter was inspired by Mike Diamond from Toronto, who shared with us (and with many others) his feelings following the Hamas pogrom. Only after we read Mike's thoughts, we realized that the pogrom is not only an Israeli trauma, but a real trauma for the entire world.


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