Antisemitism & Opportunistic Evil…
Even the most optimistic of Jews might feel a little troubled by the news these days. On the one hand, we learn that neo-Nazi groups are on the rise in Germany. On the other, we learn that four black Muslims in New York City were plotting to blow up two synagogues in the Bronx. The only good news is that the mother of Ilan Halimi, the young French Jew who was tortured by several Muslims in France, succeeded in getting the magazine called Choc to take off the stands an issue containing the horrendous pictures of the torture. But of course that good news sits on the horrific mountain of antisemitism that was perpetrated against an innocent Jew.
I am reminded here of the searching words of Alice Walker in her book The Color Purple. Walker reminds us that in order to understand a person, we must listen not only to what a person does say but also to what the individual does not say. And if one should listen to what people are not saying about matters pertaining to antisemitism, I fear that one is forced to conclude that the acceptability of antisemitism is on the rise.
With regard to the four blacks Muslims in New York who were plotting to blow up two synagogues, I do not here an outcry on the part of the black community against the antisemitism on the part of these four. Not a peep out of Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. And of course I hear nothing from white liberals in the United States who are far more interested in not being seen as racist than standing up for what is right.
No doubt the four could have raped several elderly Jewish women, and all sorts of liberals would have endeavored to excuse such a bastardly deed by talking about the pain of being raised in a racist world.
It is interesting, though, that the pain of racism never seems to be an impediment to blacks seeing the slightest racial offense.
As for the rise of neo-Nazi groups in Germany, we are told that German authorities are troubled by this. Needless to say, the authorities are not the only individuals who should be troubled. The entire German people should be deeply disturbed. Indeed, Europe in general should be troubled. Unfortunately, there is also deafening silence in this regard.
Now, I understand that these are hard times financially. People throughout the world are struggling to make ends meet. In struggling with their own major financial problems, people are under enough stress.
Yet, we must never lose of the fact that evil is opportunistic, and that it is emboldened by silence.
In the United States, it is no accident that antisemitism is on the rise among black Americans; for blacks leaders no longer criticize blacks for egregious antisemitic remarks or deeds. Not a word from President Obama who certainly has no trouble expressing himself.
As for Germany, there is the possibility that far too many Germans have become morally lethargic in holding the belief that “another Nazi Germany could not happen again”. Alas, we must remember that no one ever supposed that the first Nazi Germany could ever happen.
During difficult times, we must be all the more diligent precisely because people are so much more vulnerable and, for that reason, they can be so much more easily manipulated.
It would be remiss of me not to say a word about Muslims generally. I hold the very simple principle that anyone who kills an innocent person should be publicly and loudly denounced. To be sure, I am aware as anyone that who counts as innocent can be a matter of heated debate. But we do and can have clarity about the matter. My Muslim Arabic neighbor in France is innocent. The Muslim Arabic students whom I have taught are innocent. I cannot even begin to imagine these individuals committing jihad.
Alas, the 4 black Muslims plotting to blow up two synagogues in Bronx NY: They are not innocent. And every Muslim in the world has irrefutable reason to be absolutely clear about that. And thus I ask: Where is the public outcry on the part of Muslims who are so terribly interested in and committed to peace? Why I do not hear so much as a whisper from the Muslim community. What would it take? Black Muslims bombing a mosque?
As I have said, there are surely debatable cases. But just as there are unquestionably debatable classes, there are also cases that are absolutely beyond debate in terms of not being innocent. And if the 4 black Muslims plotting to blow up synagogues in the Bronx do not a case of evil behavior on the part of Muslims, then nothing does.
Needless to say, I would think the very same thing of 4 Jews plotting to blow up a Mosque in the Bronx or in Paris.
While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may require that we exercise a measure of circumspection, it does not require that we be silent no matter what.
And make no mistake about it: Those who take refuge in the shelter of silence are doing nothing other than simply constructing bit-by-bit a sanctuary for evil.
There are those who think that we should not judge others. I do not share that view. When people’s lives are at mistake or the well-being of their family is at stake, then they have a very good reason to be silent. However, for a great many people no such thing holds true. It does not hold for me. I can and shall speak up whenever I have incontrovertible clarity with regard to wrongdoing.
It is ever so appropriate to end with the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s:
In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
(Tags: Germany, Anti-Semitism, Neo-Nazis, Muslim Extremists)