Second step forward: In 2018, for the first time, Israel will have the opportunity to run for a seat on the Security Council. This Council is obsessed with finding Israel as the world violator of human rights despite the multi-front wars occurring in nearby areas, and the devastation and expulsion or flight of millions of people who are now exiled and homeless.
How can that possibly be? What creates the environment that allows an international community to agree to condemn Israel over other human rights violators? Wherever hate is unleashed, regardless of the perceived target, Jews have historically been, and will for the foreseeable future continue to be, recipients of the fallout of that hate.
One step back: In Brexit, the ‘other’ worker objected to were the Poles. Yet, swastikas are being found all over England. England was the voice of defense in the EU when issues of circumcision and kashrut arose. Who will speak up now in the EU? With the current sentiment against all foreigners, despite many living there for decades and generations, who will support the Jews in the UK? Jews had been expelled 200 years prior to Christopher Marlowe writing The Jew of Malta in 1594 and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice two years later. Will living with Jews make it more difficult to turn against them?
Second step back: Jews live without fear in America. Unless you are attending a university where hate crimes are up according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Contrary to popular belief, according to the FBI, 57% of religiously targeted hate crimes targeted Jews.
Are you on twitter? Have you seen or heard of the Jewish Cowbell? It looks like this:
((( NAME ))).
"The inner parenthesis represent the Jews' subversion of the home [and] destruction of the family through mass-media degeneracy. The next [parenthesis] represents the destruction of the nation through mass immigration, and the outer [parenthesis] represents international Jewry and world Zionism."
This internet meme began a few weeks ago as part of a response to a New York Times reporter, Jonathan Weisman’s tweet, regarding an essay by Robert Kagan on the emergence of fascism in the United States. Since then, I have had friends and colleagues report that they have been the victims of internet abuse and harassment. Many Jews are fighting back by encapsulating their own names in the triple parentheses announcing being a Jew is a source of pride.
How is it then, that regardless of the fight, hate always exposes anti-Semitism?
Perhaps the answer is that being a Jew isn’t simple. It is not simply a religion although it revolves around a belief in an ethical monotheistic God. It is not a simple race since it is comprised of people of many races. Indeed, Israel may be the only country to fly people from other countries and of other races onto its land. It is not a simple culture since it draws from and blends with many cultures of the world. As Jews, we have lived in nearly every corner of the world. While based on ancient texts, Judaism is ever evolving. Unless someone is keeping up, they will frequently make invalid suppositions. And,
Third step back: Scapegoating is a psychological defense mechanism that provides a sense of gratification or denial by targeting ‘others’ for justified aggression by projecting blame on them and convincing themselves (and often others) that negative occurrences are the scapegoat’s responsibility. In as much as the term scapegoat originated in the Torah, we have now completed the dance.
Nonetheless, if you saw the postings in Rabbis Against Gun Violence, they said, #DisarmHate. Our job as Jews is to keep looking to find the Divine in our fellow human beings, to view every human being b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God and to assist in ridding humanity of hate. Here’s a way to begin: attempt to go a week without using the word against, person, place or thing.
BTW: Ginger Rogers said her job was to do everything Fred Astaire did except in high heels and backwards. Sometimes, three steps back is the same dance as three steps forward.
Enjoy the balance of the summer.