Op-Ed: Back to the 'Garden of the Beasts'
Prof. Phyllis CheslerThe writer, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum and recipient...
On the evening of August 25, 2014, on the upper east side of New York City, a gang of anti-Semitic "thugs" attacked a peaceful but visibly Jewish man--he was wearing a skullcap, (a yarmulke or kippa). They also attacked his wife.
Two cars, "flying Palestinian flags and multiple motorcycles" pulled up to the couple at 8pm, while it was still daylight. They began yelling "anti-Jewish statements." Then, they threw a water bottle that hit his wife and, when her husband came to her defense, they "punched him in the head."
The suspects fled, no arrests have been made, the 27 year old man refused medical attention at the scene.
This is my neighborhood, my home town. This incident took place about a mile away from where I live and work. So far, I have found only one brief article about this in the New York Post and one in the New York Daily News.
Are there more such incidents that are not being covered?
There are so many synagogues on the upper east side of New York City and so many visibly Jewish men and women. New York City's largest mosque is also on the upper east side. What are Jews supposed to do? Hide our faith--even as more and more Muslims in this very neighborhood proudly proclaim theirs by wearing hijab, burqas, Islamic skullcaps, and Islamic dress?
Something is very wrong with this picture.
Jews do not attack Muslims or Christians--or anyone for that matter--for wearing religiously identifiable clothing or jewelry. Only Muslims do that; Muslims and pro-Muslim sympathizers.
Jews and Christians are not allowed to openly and visibly practice their religion in most Muslim countries; and yet Muslims in America and Europe expect to be able to practice their faith, often in very aggressive ways, in both America and Europe.
I remember Eric Larsen's excellent book: "In the Garden of the Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin." The time is 1933. Larsen describes how Nazi thugs begin beating up both Americans and Jews in the streets, quite openly. People see. They walk on by. The American media and more importantly, the American government did not want to publicize the beatings of Americans lest Germany use this as an excuse to default on loan repayments. The Jews? No one seemed to care.
Is this happening again, at an increasingly rapid rate, but not just in Berlin? This time, it is quite global. Such incidents have been happening for quite some time outside of Israel in Australia, New Zealand, France, England, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Canada--and the United States.
Thus, in August of this year, a Muslim mob in Uppsala, Sweden "set upon and severely beat a Jewish mother of four, for wearing a Jewish Star of David necklace."
In July of this year, in Australia, a gang of Arabic speaking goons attacked Zachary Gomo in Caulfield because he was wearing a shirt with Hebrew lettering. Gomo was head bashed and beaten--but he fought back and his attackers fled. Afterwards, the internet was filled with comments that disturbed Gomo (who had served in the IDF) more than the attack itself. The comments said that wearing anything with Hebrew lettering was as provocative as wearing a Nazi armband or a swastika.
In June of this year in Paris (before Operation Protective Edge was forced into action): A Jewish teenager was attacked with an electric Taser by a group of teens. One of the teens, all of whom fled after a passerby intervened, was reportedly also carrying a club. The victim was wearing a yarmulke and tzitzit.
Also in June of this year in Paris: Two teens were chased by a man with an ax and another pair of teens were sprayed with tear gas because they were wearing yarmulkes. In May of this year in Paris, a Jewish woman with a baby was attacked at a Paris bus station by a man who shouted "Dirty Jewess" at her. And in March, a Jewish teacher leaving a kosher restaurant in Paris had his nose broken by a group of assailants who also drew a swastika on his chest.
Now, Jews everywhere are being held responsible for and hostage to Israeli acts of self-defense which, alas, have been touted in the media as aggressive and genocidal acts. The media, the professoriate, international bodies, religious and political leaders, have followed this lethal narrative for so long and so intensely that people really believe that Jews and Jewish Israel are evil and must be attacked on sight.
What we are seeing is this: The decades of Big Lies in the media, inflammatory sermons in mosques, churches, and synagogues, which falsely present Israel and Jews as genocidal Nazis have finally empowered the latent hatred among Arab Muslims and their sympathizers in the diaspora to freely attack individual Jewish civilians as targets and symbols--nay, as collaborators--with the Israeli regime.
I will not hide my Jewish jewelry and I plan to walk freely about my neighborhood. If anyone tries to mess with me--perhaps I will hit them with my walking stick or better yet, smoothly remove my small pink pearl handled revolver from my bag (filled with heavy tranquilizer pellets) and shoot to tranquilize.
No, I do not own a gun but at times like these, I wish I did.
Also appeared at Breitbart.com