I am not Jewish. I have no immediate family in Israel. But like many in America and around the world, the sheer horror, barbarism, and gleeful transparency of the unprovoked attack on Israel has affected me. I even found myself checking on social media for updates during the Eagles game.

As I often do when major events occur, I am drawn to two things. 

First, the humanity. The real-life impacts. The horror. The anger. The tears. The parents in their homes rushing to hide their children in their in-home shelters, under military-grade body armor. The text messages from teenage and twenty-something concertgoers to their parents, sending messages of love and goodbye as terrorists literally parasailed into an outdoor concert with automatic weapons. As a parent, as an uncle, as a coach, that shakes me to my core.

READ MORE — Guy Ciarrocchi: 9/11 memories we should never forget, lessons we should live by

Second, I reflect on lessons learned, where things stand, and what comes next. In this case, candidly, I am even more despondent and even more moved; even angrier and more committed.

From the “spontaneous” marches through Philadelphia, New York, and across Europe celebrating the attacks or using this terrorist attack as a moment to call for Israel to “free” the Gaza Strip. The initial responses from the Biden administration calling for calm — each side should “stand down.” The commentary on television and in the news about the “escalation of the conflict,” referring to the Hamas terrorists as “freedom fighters,” warriors, or even “Hamas fighters.” Then, in the next phase, the reports began to tally deaths, counting equally the raped and butchered women in the same sentence as the Hamas terrorists being killed by Israeli Defense Forces.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I don’t recall many news accounts including the nineteen terrorist hijackers among those innocently and brutally killed.

The weak, hesitant, and very delayed response from President Biden. The very, very delayed response from many U.S. senators. The even more delayed statement from Obama. The silence from both Clintons. So many “leaders” are hesitantly showing sympathy, and some are offering support for Israel, yet they feel compelled to state that they urge the parties “to work towards peace.”

Israel is the size of New Jersey, with a similar population; within it is the Gaza Strip — twice the size of Washington, D.C. The Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt border it. Imagine if New Jersey lived on constant alert for attacks from armies, paramilitary groups, or terrorists in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York, while having a rebel community living along Ocean City to Cape May, with everything north of Newark unstable. Imagine telling New Jersey’s government to “stand down” and negotiate for peace after its children were beheaded and its women raped and tortured.

And the mealy-mouthed statement from the Governor of Michigan stating that she was “in touch with the communities impacted by what’s happening in the region.” It was as if a hurricane had struck an island, rather than terrorists pillaging, raping, and plundering like the barbarians that they are.

And then there is “The Squad.” The worst of the worst of the radical elements of the so-called “progressive” wing of the Democrat Party. Rep. Ilhan Omar issued a condemnation, adding to the left’s call for “de-escalation and ceasefire.” Rep. Rashida Tlaib went further, suggesting that the Israeli “apartheid system creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance.”

Resistance? Resistance! Setting grandmothers in wheelchairs on fire; repeatedly raping teenagers and displaying their pictures on social media; kidnapping and torturing children — is that what is called resistance these days?

We need true leaders to lead with clarity, to teach our children, to comfort our allies, and to warn our enemies.

I will continue to read the accounts of parents hiding their children. I will continue to pray for those lost and those suffering.

But I will also continue to reflect on, comment on, and write about a path forward on this and other issues. Issues where common sense is being ignored by the pursuit of “transforming the United States of America.” Impacts that result from weakening America, risking our lives and livelihoods. 

And I will fight back against those who are so morally or politically bankrupt that they try to find moral equivalency everywhere. They preach tolerance for evil, looking to compromise over what is obviously wrong, harmful, hateful, and even deadly.

Can we comprise on what’s a fair tax rate? Can we compromise on the amounts of subsidy for SEPTA riders? Can we compromise on how large a tuition voucher ought to be, the aid given to Temple University? Even the rules around mail-in ballots? Of course, we can search for compromise.

Can we compromise and search for common ground on whether it’s okay to ransack buildings in Philadelphia? Set cars on fire? No.

Should the United States tell governments — especially allies like Israel — to stand down when their children are viciously attacked, without any provocation? Should we sit silently while some offer moral equivalency between evil and those who fight back against evil? No!

President John F. Kennedy told the world, “Let every nation know… that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

President Reagan called us the “shining city on the hill” and told Gorbachev to “tear down that wall.” He celebrated when people around the world would greet him in broken English by saying, “Hello, freedom man.”

Today, tragically, President Biden represents a mindset with a foreign policy that is all too soft. Worse, in the tradition of President Obama, he seems to apologize for America. He thinks we are just another nation. As if everybody has some good and everybody has some bad. It’s “so politically correct” that it’s national suicide.

There are times when our allies need us. There are times to lead. There are times when the United States of America must stand up for its citizens and for liberty.

In a world of enemies and evil-doers, in a world where so many work so hard to create moral and political confusion, now, more than ever, America must speak clearly.

In America, citizens have a right to think and speak out — and even march for — what they hold dear. That is why we need true leaders to lead with clarity, to teach our children, to comfort our allies, and to warn our enemies.

So that America remains that shining city on a hill. 

Guy Ciarrocchi is a Senior Fellow with the Commonwealth Foundation. He writes for Broad + Liberty and RealClearPennsylvania. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of those organizations. Follow him @PaSuburbsGuy.

2 thoughts on “Guy Ciarrocchi: The reactions are (almost) as impactful as the bullets and bombs”

  1. Guy, Great article. I heard you on the radio and you were very well spoken, and your points sounded rational and made sense on the radio too.
    I have a few questions: What single thing is usurping Liberty here that can be changed to create the most impact immediately in the US? Is it the mail-in vote? Did you know that a local official in Connecticut’s largest city invoked her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination Friday rather than answer questions in court about allegations of illegal ballot box stuffing during a recent mayoral primary?
    Wanda Geter-Pataky, vice chair of the Bridgeport Town Committee, exercised her right to remain silent multiple times during a court hearing in a lawsuit challenging the results of the Sept. 12 primary, in which incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim defeated fellow Democrat John Gomes. Among the questions she wouldn’t answer: Whether she was the woman seen on surveillance footage making multiple trips in the predawn darkness to an election drop box outside a government building, and stuffing papers inside that looked like ballots.
    After being lied to repeatedly – and coerced by authorities – during Covid (coupled with many US federal agencies censoring questions and basic discourse); let me now ask you not to get distracted by the current propaganda of the moment. Who are we to be picking which civil war across the world to get distracted by and decide is more important, or heinous, than any other? The following places are all currently experiencing civil wars resulting in significant atrocities, casualties and displacement: Afghanistan (US tucked tail after 20 yrs. of active interference and questions abound if Hamas used US weapons left behind there), Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria. Can we fix our voting process so it has integrity and trust, so we can start holding these evil corrupt US leaders more accountable. How do we do that? What is a realistic path to accomplish that?

  2. “The reactions are (almost) as impactful as the bullets and bombs”

    The reaction from the culturally illiterate Left doesn’t surprise me or disappointment me. I have no expectations that there will ever be a legitimate Left in America. Not anymore since the Woke are dominating the Left’s narrative. I have been arguing with my best friend for a number of years that there is greater antisemitism on the Left than on the Right. He and I have been friends since we could walk. We were neighbors in Coatesville. He’s Jewish and a liberal in the best sense of the word liberal and I’m an apostate liberal. Over the last week, I think he is moving more in my direction politically. I asked him the day before Jihad Day if he wanted to borrow a gun. He has no guns. He said, “He’d let me know.” For him, to even consider having a gun in his home is a big step to the Right.

    We had a discussion about a month ago at his beach home with a number of his friends, all Jewish, about the Penn event celebrating Palestinian Culture. I thought it was a bad idea for Penn to have such an event but all of his friends except one disagreed with me. They distinguished between culture and politics. I did not distinguish between culture and politics making the point that all cultures were not equal which prompted one of my friend’s guests to say that my position was antisemitic since Jews have been marginalized, etc. etc. You know the narrative. I have the person’s email but I don’t want say I told you so. Maybe I will later if we ever meet again and I’ve had some Buffalo Trace or Gentleman Jack.

    Like I said, “The reaction from the culturally illiterate Left doesn’t surprise me or disappointment me.” But I am surprised and disappointed by the reluctance of many of my educated, Christian friends to react publicly in demonstration or to what I’ve written on the Hamas atrocity. Those are the bullets and bombs that hurt me. Silence. I fear that they are drawing some kind of moral equivalency between the attack on Israel and the Palestinian plight. But I have another fear. I fear that many of my Christian and conservative friends might have a resentment for Jews perhaps for their intelligence or for their success.

    I hope that my Jewish friend abandons the Left. As Douglas Murray recently said in a speech before a synagogue in London, without a Jewish presence there can be no legitimate Left. Just as in my case, I didn’t leave the Left, the Left left me. Maybe we can say the same for the Jews someday. Maybe the Left has already left the Jews. Maybe the Jews need time to lament the loss of life and then later after a time of mourning, the loss of belief.

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