Antisemitism, The Far Right And Me

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Antisemitism, The Far Right And Me

“Tolerance is not a synonym of weakness.” Satyendra Singh

Growing up with the children of Holocaust survivors, I learned it is always an anxious time to be an American Jew. If there isn’t a genuine threat to my safety, my brain can easily invent one. 

The BF says it’s because when my grandparents were being raped and pillaged in Eastern Europe, his grandparents were looking at real estate on the Eastern Shore. We have different anxiety levels.

According to the AntiDefamation League, antisemitism is up and growing over the last five years.

In the past, most antisemitic acts were random acts of violence from  personal hatred of Jews. But lately, the acts are from extremist, political ideology. Most recent acts of Antisemitism are being committed by the Far Right -in particular, white supremacist groups that are embraced by the Right. 

It’s mind-boggling to me that the Jewish Orthodox community has embraced a president who said that the group in Charlottesville who shouted “Jews will not replace us” had some very fine people. He shares the same conspiracy theories about George Soros funding immigrant migration that some synagogue shooters do. 

Antisemitism seems to be the backbone of most far-right groups and conspiracy theories. It certainly is behind QAnon and growing more so. The claim that rich Jews, including the Rothschild banking family, secretly control the world has long been a recurring feature in antisemitism and is behind QAnon theories. I was told that as a child as one of the explanations for Hitler’s popularity. I remember looking around my working-class Jewish neighborhood wondering how anyone could believe something like that.

The age-old anti-Semitic story claiming that Jews kill Christian children to harvest their blood for ritual purposes is making a comeback. I have a personal connection to that one. My last name means “holy seed” because my ex-husband is a descendent of a group of rabbis who defended a Jewish person accused of killing a Christian child to use his blood for a Passover service. They were ultimately killed in his place. I certainly didn’t think I would be hearing that ancient one again. QAnon sounds more and more like a rebranded Nazi cult. I didn’t hear Trump come out against them either.

Antisemitism has been called the world’s oldest hatred. It’s been used throughout centuries to explain all the bad things that happen in a society. It becomes more prominent in times of economic distress and political unrest. My mother used to say that the world needs someone to blame for their troubles. We have a lot of troubles right now. 

Antisemitism is on the rise in Europe as well. It isn’t just “hillbillies raising a confederate flag.” This isn’t an isolated hatred. Don’t stay silent. Two Qanon supporters were elected to Congress this year. Isn’t that how the Nazis started? No one took them seriously and look what happened.

PS I wrote this blog post on Monday.  On Wednesday among the many ugly, white supremacist groups storming the capitol were Nazis.  Carrying swastika flags and wearing shirts that said things like “Camp Auschwitz STAFF, work brings freedom” and “6MWE” (which stands for “six million weren’t enough,” a reference to the number of Jewish people killed in the Holocaust). The Nazis made themselves right at home in the Capitol stoking  fear and sending a clear message of the hate and violence they represent. They were not patriots, Jewish Ivanka.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Jerusalem, Old City

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Jerusalem Old City

“If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel’” Benjamin Netanyahu

My first trip to Jerusalem was in the seventies. My parents always paid for an Israel extension to my self financed Europe trips. I think they were hoping for an Israeli son-in-law. Our days started at the Jaffa Gate near our hostel. We would meander through the Old City in the heat of summer and end up at the Damascus Gate or the New Gate. You could wander back and forth through a stairway in the Western Wall. We walked in and out of the mosques, often just to cool off and enjoy the peaceful feeling inside.

When we got to the meat part which was deep in the market, I was always ready to turn back. It was the first time that I saw raw, dead animals hanging outside like that.There were a lot of flies. It was hot and smelled bad. We were allowed everywhere. One day, a young  Arab boy decided  to be our tour guide for free. He took us walking on the walls above the city. I remember that he said that they were the only red-headed Arab family in the market.

The Arab souq was our favorite huge shopping labyrinth to get lost in. They sold beautiful handmade backgammon sets, religious artifacts and boxes made from olive wood, interesting jewelry, worry beads, scarves, clothes and evil eyes. The bargaining was half the fun (even though we just got it down to the real price in the stores) “We dont hate the Jews,”said the people in the market. “It’s the Zionists we don’t like.”

On my first trip, I did not blame them. The Israeli boys we met were aggressive and the girls were mean to us. Cheap college day tours took us all over Israel from Jerusalem. We met a lot of Americans doing the same thing. The second summer I met nice Israelis. We truly believed that there would be a lasting peace.

I resisted coming back to Jerusalem for many years because I did not want to see what was happening. The Arabs and Israelis did not learn how to coexist. Now Israel the hero of my childhood, is seen by many as the oppressor. For some reason, they have more UN human rights violations than the most corrupt, brutal, sadistic, child army, third world nations. Israel wasn’t the attacker in the 48, 67 and 73 wars. They defended themselves and won. Isn’t that what happens in a war? Governments get land and young people die or get injured. The Palestinians like the American Indians had unfortunately lost the claim to their land from the British before Israel became a state. Israel built their country from nothing just like America did. It seems to be a hopeless situation now.

They call it apartheid by choice. There are Arab speaking schools and Hebrew speaking schools. The Arab schools are divided into Muslim and Christian schools.

The Hebrew Schools are divided into Orthodox and Secular Schools. There are divisions between the divisions. There are a few mixed schools.

I think those who call it South African apartheid have forgotten or never knew what South African apartheid really was. Yes there is prejudice on both sides  and many problems but it is not that.

The holiest city on earth is even more divided on my return many years later. It is still living as one but with a lot of new rules, security and boundaries.

This time, I am staying at the beautiful King David Hotel. As we enter the city from the nearby New Gate, Dvir, our tour guide, tells me that there is still only one red-headed Arab family in the market.

Fly safe,

JAZ