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The World’s Deafness to ‘Bring Them Home’

If bringing the hostages home is going to take place, only Israel can be relied upon to accomplish it.
[additional-authors]
June 10, 2024
People, including the families of hostages, walk at the front holding a ‘Bring them home now’ sign at the the Israel Day on Fifth parade on June 2, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Adam Gray/Getty Images)

“Bring Them Home!”

As slogans go, that’s a pretty good one.

There’s even a similar-sounding ballad from the Broadway musical “Les Misérables”: “Bring Him Home.” The message in each is the same: Return what was taken and bring to safety.

Desperate pleas come with their own poignancy and resonance. A declarative demand usually gets peoples’ attention. Often it becomes internalized: “Mind the Gap.” “Stop.” “No Trespassing.”

You don’t need to tell me twice.

“Bring Them Home!,” however, may be catchy, but it hasn’t quite caught on. There are dog tags that promote the message—in both Hebrew and English. I wear one, but most Jews are on notice that such partisan public support for Israel can be risky—unless you’re standing among a critical mass of Zionists. In these openly antisemitic times, wearing a yarmulka or Star of David can result in unwelcome harassment and, in some cases, beatings—regardless of whether or not you are a Zionist. Being a Jew is a provocation all its own.

French Jewry, along with their co-religionists in Stockholm, Brussels, Madrid, Copenhagen, London and Berlin, have lived with this reality for nearly two decades. American Jews are new to this global reception. Until the campus chaos, bridge and tunnel disruptions, and public spectacles at city council meetings and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, American Jews were insulated from these violent expressions of antisemitic hate.

Americans were still blithely deluded by an earlier refrain of counterfeit currency: “Islam is a religion of peace.” That one, laughably, still gets recited. Although there must be some peace-loving Muslims, one would be hard pressed to place Islam and peace in the same sentence with any degree of geographic certainty.

Different messages from “Bring Them Home!” receive better airplay. These are the new sounds on city streets and college campuses. Admittedly, the choirs consist mostly of enraged Muslims drunk on their mother’s antisemitic milk. Along with brainwashed college students, they never seem to flub the words.

Different messages from “Bring Them Home!” receive better airplay. These are the new sounds on city streets and college campuses. Admittedly, the choirs consist mostly of enraged Muslims drunk on their mother’s antisemitic milk. Along with brainwashed college students, they never seem to flub the words. There’s all that rehearsal time in mosques around America. And in lectures, professors seem to know nothing about any academic subject aside from Jew-hating activism. So we hear all this noise pollution, roared with great verve and alacrity:

“Al-Qassam, you make us proud; kill another Jewish soldier now!”

“Jews, Jews, Go Back to Poland!”

“We say justice, you say how. Burn Tel Aviv to the ground!”

“There is only one solution, intifada revolution!”

And that addictive ditty beloved by jihadi wannabees: “Hamas we love you. We support your rockets, too!”

Amid these chart-toppers, “Bring Them Home!” doesn’t leave people humming.

And, yet, four of the hostages still held captive by Hamas were extracted from Gaza this past Saturday. In broad daylight, no less, from two separate buildings, culminating in a firefight between Israeli special forces and Hamas terrorists.

Nearly 300 Palestinians (including terrorists, although the absolute numbers are always subject to the mathematical mischief of Gaza’s Health Ministry) were allegedly among those killed. To no one’s surprise, the hostages were locked inside the apartments of civilians who were charged with standing guard. Yet another example of Gazans serving as an auxiliary fighting force. They are a far cry from “innocent civilians.”

Meanwhile, the IDF demonstrated that “Fauda” is not just a nail-biting television drama about counterterrorism. Such brave commandos exist—the derring-do of highly motivated, patriotic Jews. That’s what 2,000 years of persecution climaxing in the Holocaust can do to a people.

Given these recent events, talk of ceasefires, without the return of the remaining hostages (or their remains), is the gibberish of a senile American president, and the colossal misjudgments of those with plummeting GPAs, faulty scholarship, and job-killing rap sheets.

Had there been a ceasefire, the four hostages would still be in Gaza.

Remember the gory details of 10/7? The horrific imagery, the unimaginable suffering, the unspeakable savagery?

We will soon learn what was done to the rescued. The terrified face of that young girl, now back home, but on October 7 abducted on the back of a motorbike, reaching helplessly for her boyfriend. That image has been seared into the minds of every Jewish father and boyfriend, the world over.

Hamas is never going to voluntarily return anyone. Barbarians don’t make humanitarian gestures. And Western nations critical of Israel’s war aims in Gaza, including the United States—along with Spain, Norway and Ireland, which recently rewarded terrorism by recognizing a Palestinian state—were never going to unleash a whirlwind of hurt on Hamas in order to “Bring Them Home!”

Progressives are not going to board planes and set up encampments in Egypt, alongside the Gaza border, coughing up their lungs and going on hunger strikes, until Hamas surrenders—in a dramatic demonstration of their solidarity with Jews. The global media will continue to fixate on Israel’s war of self-defense, giving it another name. Preposterous allegations of genocide will continue. A legally unenforceable arrest warrant, issued against a democratic leader, will tarnish the community of nations while mass murderers operate with impunity.

Israel could just wait around for divine intervention. But Yahweh tends to go his or her own way when it comes to favoring the Chosen People. The Red Sea parted, but once only.

All that Israel can depend on is its own fighting spirit, and Senator Jon Fetterman, and all those righteous Republicans—public officials and citizens—from red states, and other great allies like Douglas Murray.

What’s behind the indifference to “Bring Them Home!”? Age-old antisemitism, of course. But there’s more. The progressive left, that motley alliance of Islamists and Jew-haters bathing in an alphabet soup of BLM, DEI, and LGBTQ, reject the very notion of a Jewish nation.

To them, Jewish invaders stole Palestinian land. They are not interested in examining the historical and legal record—the biblical Kingdom of Judea, which reigned 1,800 years before anyone had ever heard of the Prophet Mohammad. Why would they adopt a slogan that acknowledges Israel as the ancestral homeland of the Jews?

One way or another, Israel will reclaim its people. And, hopefully, the IDF will not abandon the moral imperative of punishing everyone responsible and complicit in these darkest days since the Holocaust. Last week’s Celebrate Israel Parade was a more somber affair. But there was a Parade, as a symbol of tribal cohesion, and remembrance.

If bringing the hostages home is going to take place, only Israel can be relied upon to accomplish it. Rescuing their own has always been, in yet another “Les Mis” showstopper, “the music of a people who will not be slaves again!”


Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro University, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. He is the legal analyst for CBS ɫ Radio. His most recent book is titled “Saving Free Speech … From Itself,” and his forthcoming book is titled, “Beyond Proportionality: Is Israel Fighting a Just War in Gaza?”

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