Published in THE TIMES OF ISRAËL / JULY 26, 2014
* Eitan Chitayat is the founder of natie.com, a boutique global agency that specializes in branding, animation, storytelling, and design.
I don’t know how to write this without sounding like the kind of person I’m about to sound like, but sometimes you’ve just got to write it like you feel it. And I feel this. I un-friended a ‘friend’ from Facebook the other day.
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To be honest, he wasn’t really a friend. He was a professional aquaintance and one whose talent I respect. But that’s it.
I un-friended him because he crossed a line.
I don’t mind that he didn’t write to ask how we’re doing here in Israel. People have their lives and we’re not the center of the world.
No. He started posting videos and images that reek of anti-semitism and an anti-Israel bias the likes of which are posted by people who clearly hate my country.
And I saw these posts.
A video by an English elected official who spewed such anti-Israel rhetoric that it was borderline hatred.
And a post that Robert De Niro supposedly made claiming we’re an apartheid state. (He never said that at all. We’re not – and that post was another spreading of an untruth).
He crossed a line on a day – the other day – that 13 regular Israeli fathers, sons or brothers here were killed defending my country. Men drawn into a war they did not want to fight, but fought to protect their families, friends, and country – and to protect ME. A war others will continue to fight because to not fight it means we will perish. I don’t mean that we will lose our country, but as you can see by the turmoil around us in the Middle East (that has nothing to do with us) we will lose our lives.
He crossed a line following 10 days in which we, the citizens of Israel, have been bombarded the length of the 10 hour drive north to south of our country, and two our drive east to west of our country (that’s the size of Israel) with missiles intended to murder Israelis, no matter what gender, what age, what profession and what religion they follow. (We have over a million Israeli-Arabs living here within our borders as citizens with full rights).
And as I write, coming home from a day of work and having put my son to bed in his crib, we are still being bombarded.
He crossed another line after he saw that I unfriended him when he wrote an email to me saying that it’s ‘…funny to be de-friended for posting a statement from an elected official. As a Jew you should realize that mass murder is never justified’. (His identity will remain hidden, of course).
First of all, don’t give me that ‘as a Jew’ crap. I don’t need to be a Jew to realise that mass murder isn’t justified. I need to be a decent human being.
Secondly, I don’t give a damn that he was an elected official – he said some preposterous, disgusting and very untrue things – and history is full of misguided elected officals.
And third, we’re mass murderers? My country accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire twice and Hamas keeps firing away. They aim rockets at civilians while we go at great lengths to avoid civilians actually calling them in their areas and dropping warning charges, to give innocents a chance to escape. That’s unprecedented in warfare history. We leave Gaza for a chance at peace 9 years ago and for 9 years we got rockets, hate education, underground tunnels built with the purpose of entering Israeli territory so radicals can murder and kidnap Jews? This is what we get for leaving Gaza unilaterally 9 years ago. And we’re mass murderers?
No – fool. Ours is not the behavior of mass murderers.
I’m tired of the argument lobbed against us where I read people saying it’s ‘not fair’ because more Palestinians have died than Israelis. Of people asking ‘why are we complaining when we’re the stronger ones?’
My heart bleeds for every innocent killed no matter what side they’re on. Palestinain or Israeli innocents – it matters not.
But I will not apologise for surviving.
For surviving missiles intended to kill me. The fact they didn’t kill me doesn’t mean they weren’t sent with the intention to murder. We have a defence system, shelters, evacuation procedures and governments who take care of us – I will not apologise for living and surviving thanks to being prepared because we have a culture that celebrates our lives and cherishes them instead of sending 10-year old children to be fighters and bombers. I will not apologise for having a business, a home, a family and friends here who want normal lives and to live in peace with our neighbors. I will not apologise for existing and I want nothing more than to co-exist quietly with neighbors who accept me here.
But this is not what Hamas wants.
Let me be very clear. Hamas is trying to kill ME. My family. My baby son. All of us here. That is their purpose. Get it through your heads – that is what is happening. And it’s VERY personal. For all of us here.
Our Israeli civilians – people like me – are being targeted to die. Palestinian innocents on the other side are dying because my army is trying to protect us from thugs operating in those areas who are launching rockets at my populated cities. If Palestinian innocents are dying it’s because of jihadists and terrorists (other names for thugs), but NOT because of the State of Israel that is trying to protect its citizens as any sovereign country would do. People are going to die. Innocents will die and it’s awful and it’s ugly. But we have to do what we have to do now. That is not a tone of justification. It’s me telling you the way it is – and believe me, we’re already paying the price with the blood of our people…of families who will never sit together again. Play together again. Hold eachother again.
This is not a game.
I was speaking to my father this evening and he advised me, like a good father does, bless him, to not speak my mind on Facebook. Why go to the trouble? But he’s looking out for his son knowing I’ll face backlash.
Look, we remained silent in the 30′s and look where it got us. We hoped rational people would see sense and refused to believe that people were capable of evil. And where did that get us? Trainrides straight to the gas chambers by REAL mass murderers. And there are those today who follow directly in the footsteps of the Nazis and who state proudly that they want to see all Jews dead, all of israel wiped off the face of the earth. (It is in Hamas’ offical charter – I’m serious – look). And why? Not because of ‘stolen land’ and politics but because they’re misguided, pitiful, hateful people who hate Jews and don’t give a damn about their people. Because anyone who gives a damn about their people would try giving them a future and not use them as pawns in a sick game of death and 72 virgins.
No, I will not remain silent while lies are spread about my country, my people, my culture, my values. I will be the FIRST in line to condemn my leaders and countrymen and women when they do wrong – as we do.
(And we do). But we are in the right here and I will not be quiet.
If anyone doesn’t understand any of the above; if anyone doesn’t get it; if any of my friends are going to post anti-Israel messages in a time where over 500 Palestinians have tragically died in this current conflict yet you remained silent while almost 200,000 Arabs were murdered by Arabs these past few years; if you’re not writing about Assad using chemical weapons against his people; if you’re not writing about ISIS who crucified 8 christians the other day and who are telling Iraqi Christians ‘convert, pay tax, or die’; if you only have criticism for the State of Israel that is doing EVERYTHING in its power to avoid civilian losses to Palestinians during a war; if you’re going to do nothing but sit wherever you’re sitting and just dish out your anti-Israel dirt while rockets are being aimed at my house, family and friends as our boys are fighting to protect us – and you’re going to dish it out simply because we’re living in this land and you haven’t got a clue as to our connection to it; if you’re going to join the anti-semitic and anti-Israel demonstrations flaring up in the world like we’re seeing in France, Turkey, Berlin, most Arab states and even in the US that have nothing to do with this conflict but are really just expressions of hatred directed at Jews and Israelis (and these expressions will be directed at the host countries soon); if you’re going to stay quiet and just accept, then go ahead and unfriend me from Facebook now because you’re probably no friend of mine.
Know this: when someone tries to end my life, IT IS PERSONAL.
And if you’re adding fuel to the fire by posting crap that in some small way will contribute to my demise, then again – un-friend me now.
Because you can have the hatred, the twisted, the sick and evil and be a part of that – or you can have me. But you can’t have both.