Monday, November 15, 2004

A Good Question

Musings #83
November 13, ‏2004
Rosh Chodesh Kislev

A Good Question

A few years ago I accompanied a group of Christian tourists on a tour of Shiloh. I told them all about life in modern Shiloh, how it began, and I also mentioned how we’ve suffered from terror attacks and the murders of friends and neighbors. A little girl, who was with the group along with her family, asked a good question. The adults with her all looked down embarrassed, and none of us could give an acceptable answer. She asked: “Why do people always try to kill the Jews?” A good question, yes?

This little girls’ question is related to questions that have been bothering many of us.
Why have so many people worldwide embraced, supported Arafat, the terrorist?
Why are so many politicians, journalists, and diplomats sad to see him dead?
Why haven’t the journalist “muckrakers” publicized the truth about Arafat’s “life-style?”
How come they’re so accepting about his widow, living on a budget of close to $2,000,000—that’s two million dollars a month? And she’s trying to get more!
Where are the exposes about Arafat’s administration? Financial? Civil rights? And more…
Why do those, including newly re-elected George Bush, who claim zero-tolerance for terrorism, tolerate Arab terrorism against Jews?
Why is it so much easier to raise money for Holocaust Memorials than for Jewish education?
And why is the “m” word, murdered so difficult to find when writing about, announcing terror attacks and the Holocaust?
And how can “transferring,” deporting, of Jews from their homes be the preferred policy by Jews and the world’s diplomats, but the “transfer” of Arabs be considered the epitome of immorality?

Whenever it comes to Jews, there are different standards. And dead Jews are more popular easier to market than live, vibrant ones. OK, we recognize these as facts, but what’s the reason?

Is it religious; the Christians have always blamed us for killing Jesus, even though it was the Romans?
Is it that both the Christians and the Moslems conceived of their religions as replacements for Judaism and it really bothers them that we’re still around?
Is it that nasty characteristic of human nature that needs to have someone to push around?

That last question gets me thinking. Generally the kid who gets pushed around is davka the one who tries the hardest not to bother anyone. And is there a people in the history of this world who has tried harder than the Jews to assimilate and please others? I may not be a great historian, but I can’t think of any of people that has consistently attempted not to “step on anyone’s toes” in the various places we’ve been exiled to. No matter how hard Jews try to assimilate, they’re still considered Jews by the “natives.”

During the more than five hundred years since the Spanish Inquisition, the Catholic church still has records tracing which families were originally Jewish.

Let’s take a look at pre-Hitler Germany. The Jews there served in the army, were educated, professionals, businessmen. They embraced the culture, music and art. They were loyal German citizens. That’s why they didn’t make much of a fuss at the first few laws limiting and restricting their lives, their civil rights. As “proper Germans,” they would never make a fuss. They considered it a minor glitch, soon to be corrected; of course, “Germans are such a civilized people.” The rest is history as the saying goes.

We are perpetuating the discrimination against ourselves, and it is time to stop. It depends on us, on no one else. We have to stop being so apologetic for surviving. After the Six Days War a book came out of political cartoons by Dosh, So Sorry We Won. It seemed humorous then, but it’s worse than pathetic, it’s downright dangerous that today over thirty-five years after our miraculous victory, there are Israelis who want it canceled, null and void. They prefer the world’s sympathy. They’d rather live on reparations than as a proud, independent nation.

It is now the Jewish month of Kislev, during which we celebrate Chanukah, the holiday of Jewish freedom of our victory over the Greeks and the assimilationists. Like the Maccabees, we, too, will be victorious.

Batya Medad

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