New Year, Old Problem

How can the same human beings who cry and protest at the disappearance of some rare snail, bird or lizard - which apparently isn't hardy enough to survive according to the principle of evolution - not be willing to support human communities destroyed for political reasons?

Batya Medad,

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There was a time in many countries when it was common to see signs: "No dogs, no Irish allowed." And even now, when the signs are illegal, there is still all sorts of discrimination. When I was Googling the subject just now, I found a fantastic article in the Village Voice from eight years ago about anti-conservative discrimination by "liberals".

Now, the definition of "liberal" is someone who believes "that all citizens have equal rights under the law." The only problem is that there isn't a single country that truly guarantees equal rights to all, and frequently the "liberals" are most militant in imposing their views on others. They favor their pet "victims" with all sorts of assistance, and they don't care who suffers, who's discriminated against in the process.

When I was in high school, I heard about the terrible discrimination against Jews in the USSR and immediately became one of the activists protesting the situation. I tried to publicize the situation and the demonstrations in my mostly Jewish suburban Long Island school. But I wasn't successful. The popular cause at that time was Civil Rights; that is, the civil rights of American Blacks. I was alone in seeing the rights of Soviet Jews to go to synagogues, to eat kosher, to have a Brit Milah and to keep Shabbat as a civil rights issue.

During the Nazi rule in Germany, nobody seemed concerned by the discrimination against Jews. Of course, it first started with minor things, like being forbidden to sit on park benches and being required to wear a "Jewish star" on their clothes. Then came more serious restrictions, like moving into the ghetto, and much later, systematic murder. Think of it as "salami tactics". The Nazis stressed that they wanted their land Judenrein: "Cleansed of Jews, denoting an area where all Jews had been either murdered or deported."

There were no protests, neither by the great liberals of the age, nor by World Jewry. Even when thousands of Jews were being murdered daily, the world was silent. Growing up post World War II, I was certain that such a thing would never happen again; but here we are, not even two months after Disengagement, and more of the world is Judenrein.

Jews are forbidden to enter large sections of the Land of Israel. Just this morning, Jewish worshippers were arrested for praying in the Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue in Jericho. This didn't happen in Jericho, New York, or Jericho, Vermont or Canada. In those locations, Jews are guaranteed the right to pray. It's just in the Middle East, which includes the Holy Land, where Jews are restricted. Even though up to the middle of the twentieth century there were large and affluent Jewish populations in various Arab countries, today, after massive migration, the few remaining Jews are severely discriminated against.

And where are the cries and protests of the lovers of human rights and liberalism? And where is the UN Security Council, which is so quick to condemn Israel for existing, for defending itself?

How can the same human beings who cry and protest at the disappearance of some rare snail, bird or lizard - which apparently isn't hardy enough to survive according to the principle of evolution - not be willing to support human communities destroyed for political reasons? The communities were healthy and vibrant. Why did they have to be destroyed? The only reason was racism and hatred of Jews.

According to Jewish tradition, we have just begun the new year, and we all have the power to repent, to cleanse ourselves of sin. If we repent properly, sincerely, the sins convert to good deeds. We are all capable of change and improvement.

G-d willing, the world's human and civil rights activists will recognize the continuing discrimination against Jews and use all their powers to stop it. And even more importantly, G-d willing, the entire Jewish People will wake up and unite for all Am Yisrael, the People of Israel.

Copyright©2005BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.




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