June 6, 2024
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June 6, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

Since Oct. 7, the news has been very almost uniformly distressing for Jews. The article about 14-year-old Ava Cohen (“Ava Cohen, 14, Shuts Down Pro-Palestinian Protest on Upper East Side” May 23, 2024) was the most uplifting piece of news I’ve seen recently. Ava has the wisdom and courage well beyond her years and should be a model for more Jews to follow.

In a world beset by rampant antisemitism and anti-Zionism, with continuous pro-Palestinian protests, demonstrations, encampments and violence, Jewish response has been very limited and timid. Most of our organizations on the local and national level have issued calls for fairness and appeals to reason and have had a few marches and rallies. While these have some use, they are far from sufficient. There must also be many more boots on the ground.

Young Ava, just one single child, when seeing a pro-Palestinian rally instinctively took the initiative to spontaneously organize a counter-rally with a few of her friends and courageously confronted the demonstraters and drove them away.

From the dawn of time, wars have been fought and won by armies with soldiers on the ground in the forefront of battle. Supplies, weapons, airpower, ships, and other means of support all have their place, but ultimately, troops on the ground must be used to achieve final victory. Wars are not won by rhetoric, communications, memos, lectures and even letter writing. The conquests by the Roman legions, Hannibal, Alexander the Great, Ghengis Khan, Napoleon, Communist Russia, Nazi Germany, Communist China, North Vietnam, etc., were all accomplished with troops in battle. Even the United States and Israel won their independence by troops fighting in hand to hand combat. None of these gains were achieved by slogans, memos, speeches and appeals to reason.

The reluctance of American Jews to directly confront their adversaries in the streets is a major weakness in our current fight for survival. We have become intimidated from holding our own rallies lest they get disrupted by our adversaries.This sad state of affairs is what young Ava instinctively recognized as being an untenable situation, and she reacted to it in a remarkable display of wisdom and courage. What American Jews desperately need are many more leaders like 14-year-old Ava Cohen. Just imagine, if we had a few thousand more like her, the whole landscape of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations would drastically change.

Max Wisotsky

Highland Park

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