Beyond the Cusp

September 6, 2017

Defining Hate in the United States

 

When looking into this subject, there were a number of interesting findings which might cause one to pause and wonder about the why, who, and impetus behind things going on here. One of the first items was that there appear to be far more left leaning groups pointing fingers than right leaning groups. On the other side of that coin and unsurprising was that there appear to be more right leaning groups identified as hate groups than left leaning groups. The one item which everybody agreed upon was that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) appears to be the self-appointed hate group identifier. There was also an amount of disagreement about whether this was a balanced and appropriate group to be trusted. The left leaning groups all unanimously applauded the SPLC efforts and findings having virtually no problems with almost anything stated by them while most right leaning groups gave the SPLC credit for doing a difficult job but insisted on pointing out that they had missed a number of definitions, especially on their “Hate Map” (see below). All the varied commentary on the “Hate Map” from any direction all had some glaring omissions which we, of course, took exception to and will now list. The hate groups missing consist of almost all anti-Israel, anti-Zionist groups and but very few anti-Semitic groups. Glaringly absent were BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel and Israeli products), BLM (Black Lives Matter who have been rabidly guilty of all three forms of anti-Semitism), Nation of Islam, Free Gaza (who organize the flotillas to attempt to break the legal arms blockade of Hamas and Islamic Jihad), Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER who protest almost everything Israel and Zionist), Al-Awda (the largest Palestinian-American grassroots organization based in California), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Friends of Sabeel-North America (anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic group demanding the eradication of Israel denying the Jews are entitled to a homeland and supporting replacement theology), International Solidarity Movement (ISM who support and aid Hamas and the PLO and have been caught using United Nations ambulances to ferry terrorists and munitions in Gaza), Jewish Voice for Peace (decidedly anti-Israel and largely anti-Netanyahu actively supporting the leftist parties in Israel to the point of interfering in Israeli election campaigning against the sitting government in the media between elections in attempts to weaken the Likud and Jewish Home parties as well as any Zionist or religious parties), Muslim American Society (MAS who are extremely active on American campuses pushing the Palestinian claims to all of Israel from the River to the Sea Palestine must be free is one of their rallying cries), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP are actually an arm of MAS and was founded by a former MAS member) and finally, if the 2012 Democrat Party Convention (see video below) is any indicator, a fairly significant segment of the Democrat Party could also make the list and we suspect parts of the Republican Party as well. Unfortunately for Israel and the American-Israeli alliance which has been strong since a relatively rocky start where one could point to 1969 as the turning point where the United States began full support of Israel and the two nations have shared technological defense discoveries but that appears to be weakening after a long run. It was said by Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, as part of the Treaty of Adrianople, “I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this country or that is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” Perhaps the wise man has a point, no permanence between nations except as serve the immediate needs of each nation.

 

Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map

Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map

 

 

Hate is a difficult subject at any time and even more sensitive in the United States at the moment as charges of institutional hate are being brought against conservatives in general and the Republican Party and associated groups in particular. The media and some entertainment individuals have harped on this subject refusing to allow anything to calm after the horrendous display in Charlottesville a number of weeks back. The coverage of the violence there has been one sided in the mainstream media with an opposing view of a different tone coming from conservative talk personalities. There has been one area of agreement from both sides, namely that the Nazis, KKK and white supremacists are all unjustifiable hate groups who have no legitimate place at the table in American society. Where the left and right differ is the level and amount of support these fringe groups presumably have. According to the right leaning talk and opinion hosts and editorialists, these groups are marginalized by the conservatives and are a fringe area which has no power and very few followers and are given no quarter by conservatives and are a disgrace to all Americans. According to the left mainstream media, these groups are pervasive throughout the society and rule the conservative movements and dictate policy to the Republican Party and have a very strong showing at all right leaning events and are within all the right leaning groups almost without exception. Obviously, both sets of commentary cannot be valid; either they are a marginalized group of outcasts and are small in number or they can be found all throughout the conservative groups and rule the roost. Here we have exactly similar argument as was presented about the SPLC and their objectivity. Where you stand on either issue, we are willing to bet that you either support the conservative or the leftist side of the argument on both. We would be starkly surprised to find people taking opposing sides on these two issues, though we must assume such is possible.

 

Hate comes in different packages within any society and it will never be eradicated. Some hatreds are actually valid, though such strong feelings are rare. We can assume that cancer is universally hated, as are most diseases and illnesses. But these obvious items are also not areas of contention within our societies. Where hatred becomes a problem is when one group within the society holds such feelings for another group within the society. Often such feelings are mutually felt as if a group hates your group; it is human nature to hate that group in return. It takes a rare breed of people to resist such a reaction when targeted by hatred. These are the kinds of hatred which if we were to be a better people we could find resolutions to such feelings. Some of these hatreds go back hundreds if not thousands of years and are passed on from parent to child almost in their mother’s milk. Anti-Semitism is just such hatred as it has a history which reaches back before written history. Anti-Semitism has such a pernicious nature that we recognize it in the story of our liberation from bondage in Egypt when towards the end of the Seder dinner service we state, “In each and every generation they rise up against us to destroy us. And the Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hands.” The validity of that ominous prediction is absolutely bone chilling terrifying. If one were to follow the entirety of the history of the Jews, they would be capable of identifying some atrocity perpetrated against the Jewish People either within Europe or the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) going back to before Islam and Christianity took turns persecuting or expelling Jews. Even the history of the United States has its examples which include but are not limited to the Order Number 11 issued by Major General Ulysses S. Grant on December 17, 1862, during the American Civil War which ordered the expulsion of all Jews in his military district, comprising areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky. The order was subsequently reversed by President Lincoln but not before much of the Jewish population had been dispossessed of their lands and property. Also there was the refusal by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who in 1939 refused to permit any of the refugees to enter the United States from the ocean liner the M.S. St. Louis which was carrying over nine-hundred Jews fleeing Nazi Germany forcing the ship to return to Germany where the Jews were sent to concentration camps. Neither episode would make any rational person’s list of memorable events about which to be proud. And that is where we can get to a definition of hate which both groups could probably live with. Hate is any action which in general a population would rally against and refuse to grant it their support. With this definition, it requires that the population as a whole to concur that something is contributing to hatred before making that judgement. After all, would not being able to identify and define hate be preferable to allowing each group to get together and decide who they wish to call outcasts of society with an accusation of being part of a hate group. If any small group could decide who are parts of a hate group, then we would all soon find ourselves accused of hate. To accuse a group of being a hate group should be something taken carefully and with a general consensus. And not to worry, Nazis, the KKK, and White Supremacists would all easily qualify as hate groups despite the accusation that the conservatives are all members of such groups because that accusation is pure politicizing hate, and that is one thing which must be avoided at all costs unless your aim is to tear the fabric of American society asunder and turn brother against brother once more.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 8, 2013

A Lesson from the Holocaust

Today is Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs Remembrance Day in Israel where time is taken to assure that the Holocaust is never forgotten. This year it falls on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against the Nazis where half-starved Jews with almost no weapons other than a few handguns and rifles stood against an entire battalion of the Nazi army and held them at bay for over a month before the entire ghetto was annihilated. This desperate final stand was a response to the planned slaughter of the Warsaw Ghetto by the Nazis which had been scheduled for the first day of Passover in order to celebrate the Jewish holiday of liberation with what the Nazis saw as a celebration of the denial of G0d and the promises to the Jewish People. Throughout the years since the Holocaust there have been many lessons drawn that mainly lead to the one singular goal, the promise Jews must revere and keep to themselves and their posterity, “Never Again!” There has always been one manner of keeping that promise which has always seemed of paramount importance which I will try to explain.

Before the horrors that were the Nazi execution of plans to conquer the world and reshape it in their own image, Germany was the leading country of the modern world with the best minds and most advanced culture. The majority of the world’s leading scientists resided there, especially in the disciplines of physics. Germany was viewed as the new renaissance with benevolent governance under the Weimar Republic. Germany was the leading republic of freedom and thought making their society the envy of many. But there was a problem with this near perfect scene that lay underneath it guaranteeing it would fail in a drastic manner. Germany was suffering under punitive laws placed on her after World War I which undercut her economic health. This eventually led to the printing of monies in order to meet payments levied against the German government. These payments along with large outlays of “investments in the future” led to runaway inflation as the German money became devalued. This led to a cycle which eventually caused unemployment and economic strife which the Nazis promised a solution and blamed it on the outside world and the plotting of those who wished to destroy the German race. Germany had also bought wholesale into the eugenics movement which had blossomed in the United States and spread through Europe. Take all these individual difficulties and social upheavals, shake well, and you do not get a happy ending.

Once in power the Nazis began to implement purity laws which were more about punishing the impure than it was about aggrandizing the pure or master race. This, of course, was not supposed to be possible in the country which a few short years earlier had been the most liberal and socially advanced nation in the history of the world. The overriding thought to many while the initial plots were being enacted by the Nazis was one of, “It cannot happen here,” Nowhere was this denial of reality stronger than in the assimilated Jews of Germany. Many of these Jews had arrived from Russia where they suffered the pogroms under the Czars and then persecution under Stalin and the Communists. Upon their arrival in Germany the Jews tried to assimilate and weave themselves into the German society attempting to be as much like their non-Jewish German neighbors as they could. Assimilation was the answer to pogroms as they happened because the Jews had lived separately from the Russian society preferring to keep amongst themselves. It was the otherness that had caused the pogroms, not the fact that they were Jews. True, there were still some religious Jewish communities which attempted to live apart from the rest of society much as exist today in areas of Europe and the United States. But the Jews in Germany had lived assimilated and integrated into the German society more so than in previous European societies. The Jews lived lives the epitome of, “It cannot happen here.” Yet somehow it happened here in a way beyond anything that had ever come before. One of the first steps taken by the Nazis was to pass laws forbidding the Jews and other undesirables from owning firearms. They went from house to house disarming those determined to be part of the “other” in German society. Yet even this disarming of the Nazis’ future victims did not alarm anybody as they accepted that this was just being done to make society safer by removing guns. It was all done for a better tomorrow and to save the children etc.

I had mentioned that many of these Jews had fled Russia and the Czarist and Communist pogroms. One would tend to believe that these Jews who were but one or at most two generations removed from experiencing the pogroms would have been more sensitive to what befell the Jews starting in Germany and spreading throughout Europe. But what about the Jews from the Russian pogroms, why did they not realize and see the warning signs? Was it because of their separateness? Unlikely as many of the Jews provided needed skills for the Russian people amongst whom they resided. But where had these Russian Jews arrived from? Many of the Russian Jews came to Russia via numerous places throughout Europe which could be traced back to a series of singular events which inevitably nudged and shoved them to Russia. For many of these Jews the previous residence had been Germany, Britain, France, Italy and lastly, Poland. In each and every one of these countries the Jews had faced persecution. One could trace these families’ history simply be tracing where they had faced persecution and managed to get out before the final cleansing and they would flee to the nearest, or sometimes the farthest, safe haven where Jews were not persecuted. This would increase the presence of the Jews in the new country which inevitably led to the next persecution as soon as disease or hard economic times gave way to finding the others who were to blame. This was the coming to fruition of the worst of all curses which were prophesized to inflict the Jewish People. The verse is well known as it is taught in every Jewish Bible study as it is one of the most frightful passages in the Torah.

Leviticus 26:36-38 As for those of you who are left, I will fill their hearts with anxiety in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf will frighten them, so that they will flee as one flees from the sword and fall when no one is pursuing. 37 Yes, with no one pursuing they will stumble over each other as if fleeing the sword — you will have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 And among the nations you will perish; the land of your enemies will devour you.

This history of being chased from persecution to persecution where once Jews had fled the country or province in which they were being hunted or even slaughtered as a reaction to times of trouble had one thing common to all of these troubles and persecutions, the Jews were not permitted to own weapons. Originally the laws against owning weapons were applied to entire groups or classes of societies. Only the nobles and those in their employ were permitted weapons even if one could afford such luxuries. Eventually weaponry became affordable and everybody could own them. This is when governments began the real exercise of disarming the citizenry. When the peoples under a ruler were disarmed, it was not always universal. Still, unless everybody was permitted to own weapons, the Jews were usually among those disallowed such privilege. The two most known cases were in Czarist Russia and Nazi Germany where Jews were explicitly disallowed to possess weapons and their homes and businesses searched and all weapons removed some time before the actual persecutions were begun. That is the lesson that the Holocaust and all of the similar persecutions, pogroms, purifications, inquisitions, and other oppressions throughout the ages have taught me, never allow myself to be disarmed and that if such should become the law of the land and I am not living in the Jewish homeland, move. It is that simple and I choose not to even discuss the supposed realities and niceties which always come along with those who will disarm the people before enslaving the people or worse. I forbid my continuing to reside amongst those who would disarm me. It is that simple, a lesson learned.

Beyond the Cusp

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