Beyond the Cusp

January 25, 2017

Anti-Semitism’s Israeli Amplifier of Inaction and Timidity

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The existence of anti-Semitism across Europe, Canada, the United States and the rest of the developed world, particularly on college campuses, is growing and will soon be beyond control and spread throughout society. The first waves will soon break out as today’s college students being steeped in anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic programs and virtual pogroms graduate and bring their toxic views into the political world and then the workplace and society as a whole. These indoctrinations are presented as presumed pro-Palestinian protests such as Israel Apartheid Week, mock checkpoints, demonstrations blocking campus access portraying the Israeli security barrier as the modern version of the Berlin Wall or the Warsaw Ghetto Walls as well as faux eviction notices placed on Jewish and pro-Israel students’ dorm rooms claiming their rooms are to be demolished as protest of terror home demolitions and simple, straight out physical intimidation of Jewish and pro-Israel students. For further observations and documentations one can start with these two articles; Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain and Hotbeds of Anti-Semitism in British Academia or use the results from a simple search engine results for anti-Semitism on college campus we performed as a free service to make life easier.

 

This article is not out to bang the drum which already has been accomplished to the point that a complete percussion section has been added to the anti-Semitism orchestrated noises around the world just covering college campuses and in some cases it spreading to public high schools. This is following a normal progression for many politicized items as has been tracked with other subjects such as global climate change, equal opportunity, affirmative actions, LGBTQ rights and other highly charged political subjects from our modern societies. We will be taking a different tact driving to perceive what is probably the one major change which if taken would help rid the entire developed world from this pernicious evil. We will leave the proof to the links above and what will probably be more than sufficient numbers of articles which are sure to continue to surface. That could change and do so with a rapidity that would astonish the world and could be right around the corner if only some specific events and particular actions taken by some crucially critical people would materialize, but such things are unfortunately not looking ready to occur. So, let’s dive in and see what needs to be shaking.

 

Anti-Israel Protests

Anti-Israel Protests

 

One of the first items which everybody a week ago thought was fair accompli and about to happen as soon as all the arrangements were done and ground was broken was the repeated statement once more by a candidate for President of the United States that the American Embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Candidate Donald Trump promised, and we quote, “We will move the American Embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem,” speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in March. Further he stated this important add-on stating, “The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.” Well, here we are in week one and already the moving of the American Embassy to Jerusalem has gone from we will to a process where ramifications and complications must be weighed and a cost/benefit analysis performed and all the other irrelevant items being spit out all in an effort to say we are going to do the same old same old. We have already heard of Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and other Arab allies having warned the White House of severe repercussions should it proceed with the move. The threats included a threatened review of bilateral relations with both the US and Israel plus warnings of an upsurge in violence should the embassy be relocated. Please do not tell us that the Trump campaign were not aware of these ramifications when they followed the well-worn path of lying to AIPAC knowing full well that they would turn everything over to the State department and Pentagon and either or both would come back with a report warning against such rash actions as they would inflame the world and the ramifications far outweighed any benefit if there could even be an argument that there exists a benefit. Further, they would question the expense and warn that such simply was politically risky should any of the threats of violence be traced to having moved the Embassy, which the State department would warn they would most likely find as the cause of any terrorism targeting American facilities overseas.

 

So, Trump is not going to be as pro-Israel as advertised, and why should he? Expecting President Trump to be more pro-Israel than Israel is ridiculous, as it should be. We learned this centuries ago and it was most succinctly stated by Rabbi Hillel who wisely asked, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” When, as we mentioned yesterday, the Israeli Security Cabinet voted unanimously to delay discussion on any law annexing Maaleh Adumim, can we expect for President Trump to stick his neck out and move the American Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem when the Israelis main decision makers unanimously refused to even consider annexing just a suburb of East Jerusalem? Of course that would be ridiculous. For proof just read Hillel above and it plainly states that step one will always be us being for what we hold dear before we can expect others to act similarly in our interests. Perhaps it would be a good idea to inundate the members of the Knesset’s e-mails with copies of Hillel’s quote followed by a simply Yiddish question, “Nu?” implying to ask what have you done recently which changes anything. Israel acting weak and timid reflects on everything worldwide simply because Israel is the exemplary representation of Jewish pride and strength and of late Israel has shown neither for quite some time.

 

When Israel acts decisively and boldly projects strength and confidence taking whatever steps necessary to protect their people and the future of the Jewish State, it becomes reflected in the actions by Jews in the world and affects the way Jews are treated. When Israel demands respect as she did during the first half of her brief history, the world respected the Jews and allowed for Jews to be proud and live holding their heads high. As Israel has mired herself and given concession after concession with nothing to show for any of it as the land for peace more represented land for terrorism and Israel appeared weak and Jews started to wear long faces and are soon, if not already, hang their heads and shuffle along giving once again the image of the Jew ready to be kicked and ill-regarded. The ghetto Jews, as it had been called throughout much of modern history, was again the view. The Jews were those people who are to be blamed for all the ills in the world, all the wars, all the hatreds, all the destitution, all of any and every evil imaginable and the Jew could be kicked and spat upon and they would shuffle off accepting any scorn. This persona has become accepted on all too many college and university campuses in the developed world. As Israel is demeaned and seen as threatened and not really taking actions to protect themselves, this places the Jews across the world in jeopardy of attack and other forms of anti-Semitism. These acts have already made numerous cities across Europe actually dangerous to Jews to even so threatening that, as in Malmo, most of the Jews are packing up and departing. The numbers of Jews making Aliyah from France this past year was the highest since the end of World War II and many times the average for any year in the past half century. Further, the Arab world is using their oil wealth to finance those NGOs who coordinate numerous campus groups in anti-Israel and anti-Zionist programs with very obvious and well-coordinated demonstrations and events demeaning Israel and Zionism and by an extension anti-Semitism as many times these actions also lead to direct targeting of the Jews on the campus sometimes placing their lives and health in danger.

 

As noted in the articles linked above, there are campuses in Britain where Jews do not even apply as the atmosphere is that toxic. This is a direct result of Israeli passive resistance to terrorism and apparent trepidation to acting boldly to suppress those acting against her. This has to end but for that to come to pass Israel will need to elect a far more active and bold leadership. This can be done but first an election is necessary and the Israeli Zionists and related activists will need find and promote someone to lead one of the existing parties and then support that party with sufficient votes that they either are the party making the coalition or be the main partner in a coalition with sufficient influence to force definitive action. The United States election set in place an opportunity of a lifetime. The election of Donald Trump as President and the fact that for the first time in memory the House of Representatives, the Senate, the White House and soon even the United States Supreme Court will be Republican or conservative making support for Israel, especially as a fair percentage of Democrats in Congress also support Israel, a given, freeing Israel to act without any ramifications from Washington. This is a situation which has not been seen since the founding of the modern state of Israel and may never return again should it disappear in the next election, a certain possibility as the opponents to President Trump will throw everything they have to at least take back the House of Representatives if not also the Senate. There are no guarantees in American politics but the stars and planets have aligned along with the Congress and White House to favor a bold and take-action Israel, now all that is necessary is leadership willing to take action which will define the state of Israel and the state of Israeli politics for the foreseeable future.

 

The unfortunate unanimous vote by the Prime Minister’s Security Cabinet to delay considerations on annexing Maaleh Adumim must be laid in the lap of Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as any leaders of the presumed Zionist and Religious Zionist parties who are represented in the Security Cabinet such as Naftali Bennet. There can be no excuse other than fear of retributions from European nations who are acting with ill will already towards Israel and also allowing similar disregards for their Jewish citizens throughout their college and university communities and even in many cities and towns. The BDS movement is making strides thanks to the recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334 which was facilitated by President Obama who had been rumored was personally involved along with his Secretary of State John Kerry as a means of tying incoming President Trump’s hands in dealing with Israel and in the Middle East. The best way to counter the disastrous implications of that UNSC Resolution is strong and defined actions performed as an in your face Israeli response. The UNSC will not be following up and passing any similar or other damaging resolution against Israel as President Trump will reinstate the American veto of such damaging resolution in the UNSC. The message must be delivered to the Knesset that the irons are hot and it is time to put the hammer to anvil and beat out a favorable fait accompli. The time to annex not only Maaleh Adumim, but Bet El, Ariel, Betar Illit, Modi’in Illit, Har Gilo, Gush Etzion at the least and all of Judea and Samaria returning the PLO, Fatah, and all other terrorist affiliated persons to Tunis or wherever in Europe they would be welcome and give the Arab Palestinians their first hopes for a bright and unencumbered future free of the kleptocracy which has stolen all hope from them for the past near quarter of a century. Will the world, particularly Europe, explode in indignation? Probably, but ride out their initial explosion and with time they will tire of complaining and when things here in Israel settle and the Arabs are slowly but surely incorporated into Israeli society and their lives improve immeasurably, there will be less and less reason to protest eventually leaving no reasons to protest. The future with a secure Israel, and this should be the sole consideration of the Knesset, is with Israel with all the lands promised us between the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and not sharing it with any terrorist nest guaranteed to feed the world’s need to hate Israel, and by equal measure hate Jews. Israel could do more to guarantee her future and destroy anti-Semitism by simply annexing all of Judea and Samaria, removing those who would continue being a menace and reward those Arabs who desire living in peace with equality and security for all. By acting to assure Israel’s future and boldly protecting Israel, Israel would herself be combatting anti-Semitism in the world with better efficiency than any other actions could dream of accomplishing. The first question is can Netanyahu act or is he so damaged by the strains of leadership that he is no longer capable of acting definitively and securing the Israeli future? The last question is are the Zionist Israelis organized enough to start and continue programs and demonstrations demanding that the Knesset and the Prime Minister with his Security Cabinet act definitively with a minimum of delay as time is precious, and if we might repeat Rabbi Hillel, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

 

Beyond the Cusp 

 

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April 16, 2015

Anti-Semitism Rising Yet It Can’t Happen Here

 

Any sane person, one might think, would not doubt that anti-Semitism is rising in the four corners of the globe. While that is true, each admission of that carries an additional modifier. That modifier is the exact same modifier used by Jews everywhere from the beginning of Judaism as a major religion, “It can’t happen here.” Now, that modifier always has some accompanying rationalizations such as the following: We Jews are an intricate part of the society; we are accepted in society; we are seen as judges, lawyers, businesspeople, and are even elected to positions in government; we Jews are accepted and assimilated; and my favorite, this isn’t Nazi Germany, this is America. There is one item from the previous which has always puzzled me, how it is such an intelligent people, as Jews presumably are, can misunderstand that their being assimilated does not infer automatically that the population has assimilated them into the whole. There are other qualifiers and whatever one you can dream up is probably used by some Jews somewhere. What is really ridiculous is when there are leaders of Jewish society, the central pillar around which the community seeks wisdom and guidance, the Rabbis who when asked, “Should not the Jews leave here and seek someplace less threatening to live?” They answer, “No, of course not. Why would you suggest that? This has been our home and the homes of our families for generations. We have a lot invested in this community.” And my favorite and usually their final rationalization, “The authorities have promised to help us and keep the peace and guard against any further anti-Semitism.” Do not get me wrong, they honestly feel that these rationalizations are completely valid and hold water. They refuse to see that the actual realities have struck holes in their every argument.

 

Things in Europe are at the worse and mostly beyond the cusp range of realities; so I will stick with the queries and responses we received when we began telling the other members of the congregation with whom we had a familiar friendship. First allow me to point out that those with whom we still converse online and the Rabbi all supported our making Aliyah and gave it their blessings if not their desire that it be they who were going to live in Eretz Yisroel. But the others gave responses such as, “Why would you want to go there? You are leaving the United States? But things are so much more civil here. Aren’t you worried about the terrorism? And our favorite, you will be returning here within a year once you see what it is like in Israel. I’ve been there and I know. Those naysayers were wrong. We’ve been here well over a year and are loving it. I, myself, have never felt more comfortable and accepted as I have here and can only imagine how much more so once we have mastered Hebrew, at least master enough to, through spits and starts, get through an entire thought.

 

That little anecdotal trip down memory lane was to point out we have seen this attitude play itself out in our own experience. Of course, as mentioned, our friends all expressed their longing to make Aliyah and come to Israel and many expected to do so in the near future, but time will tell on that. Getting to make Aliyah as a Jew is no longer you show up and announce that you are Jewish, kiss the ground, and be granted immediate citizenship. The paperwork we filled out made a pile almost rivaling the stuff we brought with us. OK, that was a bit of an exaggeration. Still, the process for us was a little complicated and took over two years to complete and during that time it had its many ups, downs and why would they need to know this questions. Eventually we completed the process and many of the items we were puzzled why they were necessary proved not to be required but was stuff they gathered for statistical reasons. OK, so you were collecting mega-data, why didn’t you just say so, we’ve heard about Edward Snowden, we would have understood, honest.

 

Our making Aliyah had to do with a young nine year old boy promising himself, the worst promise you can make because it requires you to either complete the promise or let yourself down, that when the time came and all things in America were fulfilled he would retire in Israel, something the wiffie really might have preferred knowing about before we got married, but she already knew I was a bit strange, right, quite strange, well, if you insist, beyond the cusp strange! There, I’ve admitted it, happy? Still, it may have been the most advantageous thing we ever did as it changed our lives for the better and really opened up our lives much as a rose stretches out its petal to greet the morning sun and drink up the warmth and the blessed energy G0d has seen in His wisdom to provide for that rose bud so tightly shuttered to awaken stretching out revealing its beauty and spreading its fragrance for all to inhale and exclaim that this is a beautiful day. That is how we awaken here most mornings.

 

Back to the subject which is as horrific and threatening as our returning home to Eretz Yisroel was rewarding and enriching. The news we read about places in Europe such as Malmo, London, Toulouse, and numerous other places are horrific and makes us feel for those Jews residing amongst such hatreds it amazes us that they don’t simply pick up their lives and come to Israel. Surprisingly, even including all the terrorism within the Green Line in Israel, you are still safer in Israel than you are from crime in the United States or Europe, surprising but true. Yet not only do these people continue to live in places where their lives are under threat both day and night, but their Rabbis all tell them it is the Jewish thing to do to remain in defiance to the threats. Where in all that is holy is that written? Looking back over the past year or so in the United States, pulling solely from news stories, I am able to remember we have had some horrific acts of anti-Semitism. There was the Rabbi visiting family in Florida walking to synagogue in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood who was approached by two youths, at least younger adults if not teens, a brief exchange of words, the sound of gunfire and the two youths walked away calmly leaving the Rabbi sprawled out dead on the pavement. The Florida local police listed this as a robbery gone bad, as if the youths had no realization that religious Jews, which the attire of the Rabbi was obvious, do not carry money or items of wealth on the Sabbath. There have been near countless desecration of Jewish cemeteries or the Jewish section of a cemetery yard throughout the United States and ten times worse in Europe. There have been desecration committed against Holocaust memorials often accompanied by writings on such structures of “Jews to the gas,” “Hitler was right,” “Jews get out,” “Holocaust was a myth,” “We are the new Holocaust” amongst numerous other defamations of this ilk. Then there was a stretch of time where a “game” which became known as the “knockout the Jew” game where a member of a group of youths as they passed somebody sporting Jewish identifying clothing would attempt to one-punch the targeted Jew at a minimum knocking them off their feet or knocking them unconscious, scoring howls and celebratory knuckle tapping in recognition of this person’s singular accomplishment. Eventually this happening caught sufficient attention from the authorities, especially after one elderly man died from his wounds from striking his head on a curb after being struck as part of this fun game. There have been defiling of synagogues with such an event just this past week in Gaithersburg, Maryland. which is located in Montgomery County. which is heavily Jewish with a percentage of eighteen and two-tenths. That is actually a very impressive percentage when one figures in the percentage of people in the world who are Jews, a whopping two-one hundredths of one percent, for those who might be having difficulty with realizing how small a percentage that is, allow me to reference it in other ways, 0.02% which mathematically comes out to 0.0002 Jews per unit of population, one would require counting out a section of any random grouping of people from around the world a staggering five-thousand people in order to have relative assurance that there would be a single Jew in the group. Perhaps placing a bit of writing that Mark Twain once wrote about the Jewish people will be far more impressive than anything I could ever imagine up, so the rest is from Mark Twain’s essay “All Things are Mortal but the Jew”* also referred to as “The Eternal Jew.”

 

If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.
His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him.
He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it.The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind.
All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 
* “Concerning The Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, 1899
The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, Doubleday [1963] pg. 249

April 29, 2014

Anti-Semitism Explodes in the Ukraine

Serial news stories have dribbled in from the Ukraine reporting incident after incident of attacks on Jews and Jewish buildings and institutions since the beginning of the Russian offensive to instigate unrest presumably to facilitate their reacquisition of Ukrainian territory back under Russian control starting with the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. There was the mugging of a Jewish man who was barely able to make it to the neighborhood Synagogue which may have saved his life. Soon thereafter a Synagogue in a neighboring town was firebombed. A second Synagogue was firebombed a few weeks later and there have been numerous reports of verbal abuse and Jews being accosted though not seriously injured in the confrontations. This past weekend brought an end to such benign attacks as events have become far more serious and life-threatening.

 

Yesterday some three-hundred pro-Russian militants armed with baseball bats assaulted a branch of the bank owned by a well-known Jewish oligarch regional governor who has voiced criticism of Moscow. The attack was on the Donetsk office of the private banking and metal industry holding belonging to Igor Kolomoisky. Mr. Kolomoisky is also governor of the nearby region of Dnipropetrovsk. The rioters screamed charges of “fascist” and “enemy of the people” during the assault among other abuses. Kolomoisky has been particularly vocal in his opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin claiming, “He has gone mad with his mission to re-establish the Russian empire.” He has said that Putin was, vowing that “separatism will not pass in Dnipropetrovsk.” Apparently that is sufficient to have your business assaulted and the offices overturned and employees threatened by imminent threats of violence.

 

Over the weekend the Mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov, Gennady Kernes, has been shot in the back by unidentified gunmen. Reported in the City Hall’s website a report on the incident says that doctors are fighting to save his life. Mr. Kernes is known to be Jewish and this has been suspected as a contributing motivation behind the shooting. The rabbi of Kharkov, Rabbi Moshe Moskowitz, told Arutz Sheva that the mayor is being operated on and that security forces are attempting to catch the shooters. As mayor of Kharkov since March 2010, Kernes had been a strong supporter of President Viktor Yanukovich right till his ouster in February. This removes anti-Russian motives as the motivation in his attempted assassination making anti-Semitism an even likelier motivation, especially with the recent boiling over of such emotions which have resulted in a general state of fear in the Jewish community in the Ukraine.

 

The rabbi said the mayor had been jogging and was apparently shot in the back many times. The Rabbi was quoted stating, “This is a very dear Jew, with a warm and loving connection to the community, and we are shocked by the assassination. We are praying for his health – Moshe son of Hana.” Our prayers also go out for Mayor Kernes. Another report that included more information on the severity of the wounds was given by Kernes’s friend Yury Sapronov who told Vesti Ukrainy, a news outlet, “They shot him in the back from the forest. The injury is serious. His lung is pierced and his liver pierced all the way through.”

 

Abraham Duvdevani, head of the WZO, stated, “We strongly condemn this despicable act, and wish a speedy recovery to the mayor.” Anti-Semitism during the early months of 2014 is at a height not seen for decades and anti-Semitic groups operate with no restraint in many places around the world according to Abraham Duvdevani. Jews around the world, especially in Ukraine, feel the need to defend themselves against the spreading hatreds. Abraham Duvdevani further stated, “We must fight this until it is removed from the world.” May we suggest to Mr. Duvdevani and the World Zionist Organization that perhaps in addition to calling attention to these difficult times and the imminent threat to Jewish life in the Ukraine that they coordinate with Israel and arrange for an escape route for those Jews who wish to leave the Ukraine and return to Israel. There have been reports of a sizeable segment of the Ukrainian Jewish community who have expressed the desire to make Aliyah and return home and many do not have sufficient means to make this happen without some assistance. We hope that there will be assistance for those Jews anywhere who desire to return to Israel even if the main reason is due to the increased anti-Semitism which is rearing its head across wide swaths of the globe.

 

This is even more important and deserves additional emphasis in Israel where the commemoration of the Shoah was just observed and a nation stood for two minutes of silent remembrance while the wail of the siren exclaimed the moment. Echoing our sentiments was Yaakov Haguel, the WZO’s Israel activity head for the fight against anti-Semitism, who called on the Ukrainian government to find Kernes’ shooters and put them on trial. “Today, on Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Memorial Day, as anti-Semitism continues to rage, I call on the leaders of the world to use a strong hand against anti-Semitic incidents, whether large or small.” How many more Jews will have to pay before the world takes a stand this time, how many?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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