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  • Writer's pictureRabbi David Gerber

Why This Flag Is So Important

God Bless America

It's not always easy to be proud of one's country. We have division, anger, spite, and a checkered past. Once in a while something happens that makes us take a step back from the aggrivation of the problems our country faces and realize that we are, indeed, blessed to live here.

Our nation is never more united than when we are under attack. Think of the unity we had after September 11th or the Gulf War. We tend to forget about Red America and Blue America and focus on the red, white, and blue.

On college campuses across the country, so-called pro Palestinian encampments have been taking down our country's flag and replacing it with the flag of the Palestinians. In some cases they have even been burning the US flag.

I say "so-called" when refering to these protesters because I do not believe they are pro Palestinian. They are best described as anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, or anti-American.

Jews have lived in the diaspora for centuries. Until 1948 we had gone almost 2000 years as minorities in non-Jewish countries and states. We have been oppressed, excluded, persecuted, and mass-murdered in almost every land we have been forced to dwell.

America, despite its flaws, has been a unique safe-haven for the Jewish people. Since the famous letter that George Washington wrote to the Jews of Newport Rhode Island, the freedom for us to practice our religion has been unparalleled.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. - George Washington

What would George Washington think about these encampments on college campuses? A group of students idolizing a jihadist foreign entity. Young Americans willing to side with a terrorist organization that seeks the destruction of Western Civilization.

I am as Zionist as they come. I have, at all times, no fewer than three Israeli flags adorning our congregation's sanctuary. But none of them are higher than the stars and stripes.

The United States and Israel are allies for the same reason they are villified. They are outposts of western democracy. They are at the frontlines of the battle against the destruction of our lifestyle.

As American Jews we must pay close attention to what is going on in our country. Please take the time to consider the following:

While antisemitism is on the rise, our government is fighting for us.

This week the House of Representatives passed the Antisemitism Awareness Act. The bill was passed with a wide bi-partisan majority. While some will focus the handful of Demoracts and Republicans who oppsed the bill, not many issues can unite our politicians.

The key element is that it defines antisemitsm using the IHRA definition. This is essential in holding colleges and univerities liable for failing to protect Jewish students from hate speech that is disguised as anti-Zionism. Anti-Zionism is the sheeps clothing for the wolf of antisemitism.

Last week our government finally approved aid to Israel and Ukraine. While it may not seem so, the two are connected. Israel's war with Hamas and Ukraine's war with Russa both have Iran lurking behind the scenes. Israel and Ukraine must prevail to stop the spread of Iran and Putin's evil.

Finally, despite the disproportionate noise of the college campuses or the antisemitic congresspeople, the vast majority of our country still supports Israel. Most Jews are Zionists. Most Americans support the Jewish state. It is incumbant upon us to acknowledge with gratitude a country that has our back.

To Restore Our Faith in College Students

Watch this video, describing how a fraternity in UNC-Chapel Hill defended the US flag from destruction.

While We're Talking About the Flag

Here is one of the greatest moments in sports history...and the greatest play ever made by a Chicago Cub (sorry about that).

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