Racist Calls of Apes and Pigs? Forget Rosanne. Let’s Talk Islam

On June 17, 2018, the New York Times printed an editorial about Racism titled “The Racist Trope that Won’t Die.” The author, Brent Staples, called out Rosanne Barr for resurrecting a slander against a Black advisor to President Barack Obama “as the offspring of an ape.

Staples described how the accusation of blacks being descendants of apes was originally promoted by slave traders and historians to justify slavery and lynchings. While such attitude “has been pushed to the margins of the public square,” according to Staples, “it has maintained a pernicious grip on the American imagination.

Staples would go on to illustrate how Black people were more likely to be convicted of a crime, receive a longer sentence, and were more likely to be shot even if unarmed compared to White people. He argued that the “pernicious grip” of imagining a Black man as an animal accounted for the disparity and injustice befalling people of color.

Needless to say, Staples was happy about ABC’s cancellation of the Rosanne Barr show, but he viewed the sentiment of the Barr comment as much deeper and systemic in the American pysche.

“centuries of institutionalized racism – and the dehumanization of black people upon which it relied – have left an indelible imprint on how Americans process blackness.

“The notion that the country might somehow move past this deeply complex, historically layered issue by assuming an attitude of “color blindness” is naive. The only real hope of doing that is to openly confront and talk about the powerful, but submerged, forms of discrimination that have long since supplanted the undisguised version.”

Staples essentially said that all Americans have a variety of racism, some are just more disguised. The quick dismissal of Barr was appropriate, but a simple tonic. Americans need to have a deeper conversation about race.

Now imagine the same situation as described above ratcheted up by many decibels to an entirely new deafening level:

  • Imagine that it wasn’t a solitary hated black person being called an ape, but all black people being disparaged
  • Imagine the person making such accusation was not a comedian, but a prophet
  • Imagine society not shutting down the comedian, but echoing the vile words for everyone to hear across the world
  • Imagine that the racism is not even discussed

That is Islamic anti-Semitism.

Islamic Anti-Semitism

The root of Islamic antisemitism is regrettably found in Islam’s holiest text, the Quran:

  • Surah 5:59-60:Say, “O People of the Scripture [Jews], do you resent us except [for the fact] that we have believed in Allah and what was revealed to us and what was revealed before and because most of you are defiantly disobedient? Say, “Shall I inform you of [what is] worse than that as penalty from Allah ? [It is that of] those whom Allah has cursed and with whom He became angry and made of them apes and pigs and slaves of Taghut. Those are worse in position and further astray from the sound way.
  • Surah 7:166: “So when they were insolent about that which they had been forbidden, We said to them, “Be apes, despised.“”
  • Surah 2:65: “And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the sabbath, and We said to them, “Be apes, despised.”

These are unfortunate verses. But it is also important to note that many verses in the Bible can also be read in a very unfavorable light. Many moderate Muslims today do NOT believe that the Islamic prophet Mohammed despised all Jews and that the sentences are not to be read literally. However, there are many powerful Muslims throughout the world that do hold such antisemitic views.

Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI list several examples of Muslim clerics and leaders calling Jews the “sons of apes and pigs.”

  • Former President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi in September 2010: “No reasonable person can expect any progress on this track. Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else it is war. This is what these occupiers of the land of Palestine know – these blood-suckers, who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.
  • Sheikh Taleb Al-Silwadi in the Palestinian Authority Daily in December 2012 wrote “the strong Jihad fighter, adhering to its religion and faith, challenging the tyranny and oppression of the Zionists, those descendants of monkeys and pigs who thought they could deny us our strength.”
  • Teacher on official PA TV September 2013: “The Israeli occupation authorities lock the Al-Aqsa Mosque from morning until afternoon. At this time, the assistants of the monkeys and pigs (i.e., Jews) and the herds of settlers can enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque (i.e., Temple Mount plaza) without anything stopping them.”
  • Poet on official Palestinian Authority TV September 2014: “O, you who murdered Allah’s pious prophets; You have been condemned to humiliation and hardship
    O Sons of Zion, O most evil among creations; O barbaric apes, O wretched pigs
  • Danish imam Mohammed al-Khaled Samha in October 2014: “How can we – or any free Muslim with faith in his heart – accept the division of Palestine between [the Palestinians] and a gang of Jews, the offspring of apes and pigs?
  • Jordanian preacher Ibrahim al-Namarna in November 2014: “Oh Allah, destroy the Americans and the Shiites. Oh Allah, destroy the Jews, for they cannot contend with you. Oh Allah, elevate the Al-Aqsa Mosque until Judgment Day. Oh Allah, elevate the Al-Aqsa Mosque until the Judgment Day. Expel the brothers of apes and pigs from Palestine in humiliation and degradation.
  • PA cleric on official Palestinian Authority TV January 2015: “Many Muslims are being harmed these days by a group whose hearts were sealed by ‎Allah. ‘He made of them [Jews] apes and pigs and slaves of deities
  • Girl on official Palestinian Authority TV May 2015: “Oh, you who murdered Allah’s pious prophets; Oh, you who were brought up on spilling blood; Oh Sons of Zion, oh most evil among creations; Oh barbaric monkeys.
  • Sheikh Muhammad Abu Sa’ada in October 2015: “The Al-Aqsa Mosque awaits its Mujahideen, and its Martyrdom-seekers. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is waiting, and it knows that even if the occupier desecrates the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the heroes of Gaza are making preparations and are digging tunnels that lead to Al-Aqsa, and one day they will emerge in the [Al-Aqsa Mosque] plaza, the streets, and alleys, and proclaim: Allah is great! And will announce general mobilization against the brothers of apes and pigs
  • Official spokesperson for Fatah, Raafat Alayan said in November 2015: “we have succeeded in preventing 80% of the settlers, the sons of apes and pigs from walking around the Old City [of Jerusalem].
  • A terrorist who murdered three Israelis in 2017 left a will calling “You, the sons of apes and pigs – if you do not open the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, I am certain that after me will come a man who will strike [you] with an iron hand, I warn you!
  • Preacher in Gaza in March 2018: “we are near our blessed land which is being trampled by those descendants of apes and pigs, the remnants of the brutal, savage, and barbaric colonialism.

All over the Muslim world, clerics, imams, teachers, sheiks and government officials call the Jews the descendants of apes and pigs. This is not a single comedian calling out a single person whom she detested; but scores of leaders calling out all Jews, especially Israelis.

These Islamic leaders are not expelled from their posts nor ridiculed by the public. Instead, their messages are internalized by children and the aged. The message is heard in the streets of Europe where Muslims are as much as five times more antisemitic than Christians according to ADL polls. And it is the tagline of Islamic countries, including 30 countries that don’t even recognize the basic existence of Israel.

The antisemitic Muslim preachers of hatred are at full volume and their calls to stab and kill the inhuman Jews are more vivid than slave traders who lynched blacks 200 years ago. But their apologists in the liberal press boldly whitewash the bigoted words and actions by mischaracterising Arabs as “resorting to violence” because of “Israel’s treatment of Palestinians,” while their band of brothers in the United Nations similarly invert cause-and-effect by labeling “Zionism is Racism,” as they attempt to remove the Jews from the Jewish Holy Land and obliterate every aspect of Zionism from the world.

Americans have come a long way in the decades since black slavery, lynchings and segregation, but there is still a need to speak candidly about race as the echoes of racism are still heard in our society. The urgency is all the more pressing that we speak clearly and loudly denouncing the pervasive and pernicious Muslim antisemitism that is broadcast openly around the world. Peace and civility will never exist without such efforts.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The “Unclean” Jew in the Crosshairs

Abbas’s Speech and the Window into Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

Covering Racism

If a Black Muslim Cop Kills a White Woman, Does it Make a Sound?

No Jews Allowed in Palestine

The Palestinian State I Oppose

Your Father’s Anti-Semitism

Blessing Islamophobia

Where’s the March Against Anti-Semitism?

The Highbrow Anti-Semite

Paying to Murder Jews: From Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran to the Palestinian Authority

NY Times Discolors Hate Crimes

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

Jews in the Midst

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The Happy and Smug Bigots of Denmark

Various polls rank Denmark as one of the happiest countries in the world year-after-year.

Commentators have sought to explain the phenomenon. They have pointed to the country’s “hygge,” which entails a feeling of community and brotherhood. They note the country’s generous welfare policies which give people a sense of being cared for as part of a greater family. Overall, the Danes consider themselves extremely relaxed and easy-going.

Yet this feeling of camaraderie has limits, specifically as it relates to non-Christians.

White Christian Danes

Denmark is a homogeneous society. According to recent statistics, roughly 10% of the country’s population of 5.8 million people are immigrants. By way of comparison, the immigrant population in the US is over 13%, the United Kingdom is over 14% and in Germany it stands at over 20%.

The realtively few immigrants that the country has taken in are predominantly from neighboring Germany and Poland. This is in sharp contrast to other European Union countries that absorb people from former allies and colonies, such as Germany which mainly absorbs people from Turkey; the UK which takes in people from India; and France which takes in many people leaving Algeria.

The large local indigenous Danish population and similar nature of the new immigrants has produced a country with little diversity. The religious makeup of Denmark is roughly 75-80% Christian and 15-20% Atheist or Agnostic. The small sliver of “other” religions is almost only Muslim, with virtually no Jews (estimated around 5-6,000), Buddhists or any of the other world religions.

The dominant Christian faith has deep roots and clear advantages.

Not only does the country’s flag feature the Christian cross, the country has set up the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC) as the official state church, and as such, state taxes go to support the ELC (accounting for roughly 14% of the ELC budget). Further, the reigning monarch must belong to the ELC (ie, must be a Christian), and public schools in Denmark must teach the Evangelical Lutheran theology.

Nice set up.

According to the official website of Denmark, “Compared with most other countries in the world, Denmark’s societal institutions and popular mentality have been shaped by Christianity to an exceptional degree. It can be asserted that religion is more firmly entrenched in Danish society than in many other countries…. Christianity’s unique history in Denmark explains why the mutual interdependence of the people, the state, and the church has remained in place longer and more strongly in Denmark than in any other country.

Brenderup Church, Denmark
These days, the Atheists and Agnostics have become more active in teaming up with the Christians to keep the non-Christians out of the country.

Anti-Jewish and Anti-Muslim Policies

In April 2014, Denmark passed a law which prohibited the ritual slaughter of animals according to Jewish and Muslim law, with a penalty of up to four months in jail. The country claimed that the law was intended to provide a more humane method of killing animals – by stunning them before killing them – an action prohibited in the production of kosher and halal meats. That the impact was only felt on the Jewish and Muslim communities was deemed coincidental.

In May 2018, Danish lawmakers passed a law which forbade the wearing of garments covering the face, commonly known as the “burqa ban.” While the law was not applied to Muslims only, it clearly targeted Muslim women’s unique religious practice.

And in June 2018, Danes gathered 50,000 signatures to force the parliament to consider banning the circumcision of boys under the age of 18, a practice performed according to the religious tenets of Judaism and Islam.

The Atheists and Agnostics claim that they are simply seeking and enacting laws that prevent harm to those that cannot speak for themselves – children and animals – and not assaulting any religion. For example, they have not fought aggressively against the existence of the state church or banning the baptism of children. (In reality, even if they sought to do so, the dominant Christian religion would make their efforts futile.) The current wave of “humanistic” laws that had no impact on Christians were able to gather support from the dominant majority religious group and pass into law.

But the actions of the Danish government go beyond their view of “humanistic” laws.

In January 2016, the Denmark instituted some of the harshest immigration laws in the European Union, which allowed the country to seize immigrants’ assets over $1,450 to help pay for resettlement and extended the time for immigrants to apply for family members to come to Denmark to three years from just one.

The welfare state of relaxed brothers had declared its limits, and it seemed to focus particularly on non-Christians.

Regarding the circumcision ban, consider that the Christians and Atheists have not attempted to ban children from getting tattoos or piercings. They have not sought to have a child sign a consent form before getting surgery. Society acknowledges that a child’s upbringing and well-being are made and ensured by the parents. If they’re Christian.

Regarding animals, has Denmark enacted a law preventing the boiling of lobsters alive? How about turtles or insects? Does the country ban animal-testing for drugs? Cropping dogs’ ears and tails? No.

And as it relates to immigrants, the country is trying to contend with an uptick in the number of immigrants coming to the country (from 70,000 in 2011 to 99,000 in 2015), in which almost all of the incremental population come from Muslim countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Morocco. As the number of Muslim applicants spiked, the percentage of people granted asylum in Denmark dropped from 85% in 2015 to 36% in 2017. Coincidence?

Denmark may lay claim to being among the happiest countries in the world because of a feeling of community among its citizens, and smugly contend that it is evolving to a secular-humanist-progressive ethos from a deeply religious one, but in fact it is simply ring-fencing their society to keep it homogeneous by excluding non-Christians. For Danes, hygge is reserved for White Christians.


Related First.One.through articles:

Your Father’s Anti-Semitism

“Jews as a Class”

Je Suis Redux

Totalities

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No Jews Allowed in Palestine

The acting-president of the Palestinian Authority made his desire for a country devoid of Jews in a statement in July 2013 when he declared:

“In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.”

Some Palestinian-apologists tried to divorce the statement from antisemitism by noting that Abbas said that he didn’t want “Israelis,” not Jews. Those apologists ignored Palestinian law that forbids the sale of land to any Jew, not just Israelis. It ignored the repeated assertion by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority that Jews have no history in Israel. It whitewashed the Hamas Charter‘s rant against Jews around the world.

President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry tried to further invert reality and cause-and-effect by stating in December 2016:

“Does anyone here really believe that the settlers will agree to submit to Palestinian law in Palestine?”

Suggesting that it is not Arab antisemitism but Israeli Jews unwilling to coexist that underscores the Palestinian Authority goal of a Jew-free country.

But the facts are clear as laid out in a March 2018 Palestinian poll which found that 63% of Palestinian Arabs want to forbid any Jews from living in their country. While slightly better than the 93% of Palestinian Arabs that were found to be anti-Semitic in a 2014 ADL poll, the horrifying results are abundantly clear that the Palestinian’s hatred is not limited to Israelis but about all Jews generally.

Israel as a Jewish State,
Palestine Open to Jews

Mahmoud Abbas criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that a final peace agreement include a statement that Palestine recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Abbas’s protests included comments that such a recognition was not required in peace deals with Jordan or Egypt, and that such a recognition would harm the status of Israeli Arabs.

It is quite a pool of hypocritical spittle.

Neither Jordan nor Egypt have laws that forbid the sale of land to Jews nor have they made statements that Jews are unwelcome in their respective countries. Meanwhile Palestinians have fabricated a narrative that only Arabs have a history and claim on the holy land.

If Abbas is truly worried about the status of Israeli Arabs (who prefer to live in Israel over a future Palestinian state), he should be able to empathize with Israelis’ fear about the status of Jews in a potential Palestine. Maybe Netanyahu would waive the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State in exchange for a clear Palestinian declaration that Jews are welcome to live and pray in Jewish holy sites throughout Palestine.

It could go a long way to normalizing relations between Jews and Arabs and ending the prevalent antisemitism in Arab society.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Abbas’s Speech and the Window into Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

The Palestinian State I Oppose

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Related First.One.through video:

Expulsion of Jews for 1000 years (music from Schindler’s List)

Judea and Samaria (Foo Fighters)

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May 15 is Israel’s Neighbor Day

On May 14, 1948, Israel declared itself a new independent country, as the British Mandate of Palestine expired. The declaration of independence stated that the country will be “for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

It welcomed everyone.

Unfortunately, at that same time, the Arabs in Palestine had been rioting and killing Jews for many months in attempts to stop the Jewish State from coming into existence. Once Israel declared its independence, five armies from neighboring Arab countries came to destroy the nascent state. The war would go on for months. Israel survived.

Despite the Arab war against the Jews before Israel’s independence and after, Israel remained true to its vision of welcoming non-Jews as full citizens in the country. Approximately 156,000 non-Jews became citizens of Israel at the Jewish State’s rebirth, around 18% of the population. In 2018, 70 years later, the non-Jewish population in Israel stands at over 2 million people, representing over 25% of the Israeli population.


Israeli Arabs having a picnic in the shade under the ancient aqueduct in Caesarea
(photo: First.One.Through)

The Arab citizens of Israel have availed themselves of the open society that Israel created. 

  • There are currently 18 Arabs in the Israeli Knesset, 15% of the parliament. By way of comparison, there are only 50 blacks (9%) in the US Congress
  • Israel has non-Jewish Arabs on the Supreme Court, Salim Joubran being the first in 2004
  • Non-Jews have served as Israeli ambassadors around the world, including to Norway and the Dominican Republic
  • Non-Jews serve as generals in the Israeli army

Non-Jews are a key fabric of Israeli society, as envisioned in the Israeli declaration on May 14, 1948 that welcomed non-Jews to “participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

It is appropriate to take the time to celebrate Israel’s non-Jewish citizens that chose to make peace with Israel, not war; that chose to help build the state, not to dismantle it; that chose to stay and be friends and neighbors with Jews, not to run and fight alongside the Jewish State’s enemies.

Regrettably, there are anti-Zionists that continue to undermine and attack Israel, who refer to the failed 1948 war to destroy the Jewish State as a “Nakba,” a “catastrophe.” As they channel their hatred on May 15th with angry calls to “Free Palestine,” let Zionists around the world commemorate “Neighbor’s Day,” a day to mark and celebrate the many non-Jews who stayed to become citizens of Israel in 1948 and continue to help the country thrive 70 years on.


Related First.One.through articles:

Arabs in Jerusalem

An Inconvenient Truth: Population Statistics in Israel/Palestine

Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East

Nakba 2: The Victory of a Democracy

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Arab women entering the Kotel Plaza in Jerusalem
(Photo: First.One.Through)

Abbas’s Speech and the Window into Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

The acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas gave another one of his long anti-semitic speeches on April 30, 2018. Much of the western world condemned the speech as something brand new and vile that should not only be condemned, but also marked Abbas as unfit to remain as the leader of the Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs). The condemnation was so widesread that Abbas issued some sort of apology a few days later.

Abbas is an Antisemite

Let’s be clear about some things that the media is not telling you:

  • Abbas did not just say that Jews were themselves responsible for Nazi Germany killing them in the Holocaust, he said that Jews were responsible for ALL of the massacres that had befallen them throughout history. Abbas said “The Jews who moved to Eastern and Western Europe had been subjected to a massacre by one country or another every 10-15 years since the 11th century until the Holocaust in Germany. Okay? But why was this happening? They say that it was happening because they are Jews…. The anti-Jewish (sentiments) was not because of their religion but because of their function in society, which had to do with usury, banks, and so on.”
  • Abbas whitewashed 1,400 years of Arab antisemitism. After Abbas’ harangue against Jews in Europe and Russia, he said “I challenge you to find a single incident against Jews just because they were Jews in 1,400 years in any Arab country.” He should probably review some basic history from the founding of Islam in the seventh century when the Muslim prophet Mohammed slaughtered Jews in Saudi Arabia, to every country that Muslims invaded in the subsequent centuries, where Jews were often given the choice between conversion or death. Tunisia 1016. Morocco 1033. The list is long.
  • Abbas said that Jews were shipped to Palestine because the host countries wanted to get rid of them. Abbas said that many world leaders including Lord Balfour from the United Kingdom, Adolf Hitler in Germany and the foreign minister of Russia all hated the Jews and wanted to get rid of them so encouraged them to move to Palestine.
  • Abbas said he is disgusted by the Israeli national anthem. The essence of the Israeli national anthem is about the longing of Jews to return to their homeland. Abbas argued that the anthem is a farce. “Their [Jews] narrative about coming to this country [Palestine] because of their longing for Zion or whatever -we’re tired of hearing this.
  • Abbas reiterated that the Jews have no connection to Palestine. Abbas has long argued that Jews have no history or connection to the land of Israel. He has made the arguments before the United Nations and to Palestinians. He did so again in April 2018: “The truth is that this [Zionism] is a colonial enterprise aimed at planting a foreign body in this region.” He added that the European Jews have no historical connection to Palestine since they are all descendants of Khazars that converted to Judaism in the eighth century.
  • Abbas made a non-apology. Abbas did not really apologize for his anti-Semitic comments a few days later. He apologized that people were offended by his comments. “If people were offended by my statement in front of the P.N.C., especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them. I would like to assure everyone that it was not my intention to do so, and to reiterate my full respect for the Jewish faith, as well as other monotheistic faiths.” In other words, he stands by his comments and believes them to be true. He is just disappointed that people were offended at hearing his version of the truth. No one has called this out.

Let’s be clear: Abbas hates Jews, not Judaism. The persistent truth is that Abbas has always hated Jews as foreign interlopers in Palestine. For example, he has said that a new state of Palestine will be welcoming of all religions (that would include Judaism), but the PA has existing laws that call for the execution of any Arab that sells land to a Jew. Conclusion: it’s the people, not the faith.

Abbas is a peddler of nasty lies, and many of them are not new. The only additions from the April 30 speech to Abbas’s long history of vile comments are that Jews were at fault for their own massacres because of their “function,” and that they came from Khazar, but these are simple extensions of his prior comments.

So why the sudden uproar?

The Media Has Long Concealed Abbas’s and Palestinians’ Jew Hatred

The United Nations and world media have long defended and protected Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians in their quest to give the SAPs independence and sovereignty. They have ignored the antisemitism and terrorism from Palestinian Arabs and placed the blame on Israel, as acknowledging Arabs’ hatred of Jews undermines the very notion of peace and justifies many of Israel’s actions.

Palestinians are inherently good, but have become antisemitic because of Israel. The world and liberal press are hard-pressed to charge the SAPs with any wrong-doing. When confronted with something unsavory about the Palestinians, the press tries to paper it over, such as absolving the Palestinians of their overwhelming (93% of people according to the ADL) hatred of Jews. In covering the ADL findings, the New York Times wrotethe Middle East results were not particularly surprising.” Is that because everyone knows that Arabs hate Jews? If that’s obvious, why the sudden commotion about Abbas laying it out clearly in April 2018?

Palestinians “Resort to Violence.” The New York Times actually wrote in 2012 that the virulently antisemitic terrorist group Hamas “took control of Gaza in 2007 and is backed by Iran, is so consumed with hatred for Israel that it has repeatedly resorted to violence.” The Hamas Charter clearly and repeatedly calls for violent jihad and the destruction of the Jewish State. However, the liberal media crafted an alternative reality to make the people of Gaza victims “resorting to violence” instead of being terrorists.

Palestinians are moderate; Israelis are right-wing. The world was so eager to market Abbas as a “moderate,” that it ignored his history of vile comments, because if the leader of the Palestinian Authority was a moderate, his demands were presumably reasonable, and vice-versa. The failure of any peace discussions must therefore be on the “right-wing” (as the liberal press peddled) Israeli leadership.

Palestinian actions are unhelpful; Israeli actions are harmful. Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said in reaction to Abbas’s April 30 antisemitic rant: “Such statements are unacceptable, deeply disturbing and do not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or peace in the Middle East.” Seriously? “Do not serve the interests of the Palestinians?” When Mladenov talks about Israeli settlements in the West Bank, he does not say they are unhelpful, he says they are “threatening the viability of the two-state solution and eroding the prospects for peace.” Somehow noxious antisemitism is not an impediment to peace, only Jews living in houses in their holy land.

These factors have been at play for decades. So why the sudden turn on Abbas? Why would the NY Times write an editorial on May 3, 2018 “Mr. Abbas’s Vile Words” that “by succumbing to such dark, corrosive instincts he [Abbas] showed that it is time for him to leave office.” Abbas has always been vile. He has always negated Jewish rights and history in Israel and has been effective at getting United Nations and the liberal media bodies to support his narrative.

I suggest that there are two main points at play here. One has to do with the alt-left narrative of Palestinian reform and the other with the left-wing attempts to parse antisemitism from Anti-Zionism.

Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism by the Global Left-Wing
and by the Arab and Muslim World

Palestinians continue to reform, and are thereby worthy of sovereignty. For several years, the western world has sought to portray the Palestinians as progressing from their violent and antisemitic past (plane hijackings, murdering of athletes, intifadas) to a moderate stance of co-existence.

Consider the New York Times on May 5, 2018 claiming that while Abbas wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial (over Abbas’s 13 years of heading the PA, the Times mentioned this disgusting fact only a few times) it pretended that he recanted. “In 2014, on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, he [Abbas] issued a formal statement calling the Nazi genocide ‘the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era’ and expressing sympathy with the victim’s families.” But Abbas then tied the Holocaust to the plight of the Palestinians, as though there is a remote equivalency between the slaughter of millions of defenseless Jews in the Holocaust to the failure of the Arab armies to destroy the nascent state of Israel. Abbas saidThe Palestinian people, who suffer from injustice, oppression and (are) denied freedom and peace, are the first to demand to lift the injustice and racism that befell other peoples subjected to such crimes,” calling Israelis racists like Nazis. That’s not really recanting his book on Holocaust denial when he equates the Jewish State with Nazi Germany.

However, his latest comments provided no room for liberal cover. Abbas’s April 30 gratuitous slander against the Jewish people highlighted a disgusting worldview that can never live at peace and negotiate honestly with the Jewish State. The liberals’ carefully constructed fig leaf of Palestinian moderation was obliterated.

Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism. For the Arab world, it has always been one and the same. The Palestinians elected Hamas to 58% of the Parliament in 2007 with statements in its charter that included:

  • “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious.” Preamable
  • In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised.” (Article 15)
  • “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people. “May the cowards never sleep.”” (Article 28)

It is specifically the presence of Jews in Israel and its territories that offends Arabs and Muslims. They don’t believe that Jews have any rights to be in the land and want them gone. As such, they forbid the teaching of the Holocaust in UNRWA schools and find nothing objectionable about Abbas’s latest speech. The Arabs are both antisemitic and anti-Zionist. One is part-and-parcel of the other.

Yet the western world that views itself as progressive has been at pains to tease apart anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Liberals have argued that criticism of Israel cannot be conflated with antisemitism. As such, vilifying Jews OUTSIDE of Israel is considered an offensive comment and clearly antisemitic, such as saying that Jews were to blame for the Holocaust. However, slamming Israeli Jews is fair game, such as when the BBC said that Israeli teenagers were partially responsible for their own murder since they should not have been hitchhiking in the West Bank. The world was content in blaming the victim in the case of Jews in Israel and the Israeli territories. For the alt-left, no Israeli can ever be a pure victim nor any Palestinian Arab a true criminal.

Abbas’s speech was treated with a yawn in the Arab and Muslim world, as antisemitism and anti-Zionism have long been a single cause. But it has confounded the western self-declared “progressives” who are doing their utmost to criticize Israel without the moniker of “anti-Semite” staining their liberal bona fides. As such, they are throwing Abbas under the bus rather than considering their own disturbing positions. Off with Abbas’s head.

To paraphrase Mel Brooks, it’s good to be a liberal king.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Why the Media Ignores Jihadists in Israel

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

The Palestinian State I Oppose

Abbas Knows Racism

In the Shadow of the Holocaust, The New York Times Fails to Flag Muslim Anti-Semitism

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When Hate Returns

Yom Hashoah, the Day of Remembering the Holocaust, is often a time for people to think about antisemitism generally, and not just the massacre of Jews at the hands of the Nazis and their abettors.

Many books have been written about the history of antisemitism, one of the best being “A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism” by Phyllis Goldstein. She tracks the nature of antisemitism at different points in history and in different lands. In her diagnosis, the root causes are often unique to that particular time and place.

I would like to consider when hate returns to a particular country under a different guise, such as historic antisemitism manifesting itself as anti-Zionism today. There are many examples, but this review will focus on the United Kingdom 1290/1929 and 1713/1939.

Banning Jews from England 1290
Banning Jews from Hebron 1929

1290 England: The origin of the “blood libel,” that Jews sought and and killed Christian children, began in England in the twelfth century. It its original incarnation, the accusation was that Jews killed the Christian, much as they had killed Jesus. Over time, the claims continued that the Jews used the child’s blood on Passover to make matzah and for the four cups of wine at the seder. Whether the people’s attacks on England’s Jews led to the edict of expulsion in 1290 is a source of debate, but the fact that King Edward I forced all Jews to leave the country and quickly seized their belongings and cancelled all debts that they were owed may indicate a financial motivation as well.

1922 Jordan & 1929 Hebron: The British assumed the mandate of Palestine in 1922 and quickly separated the land east of the Jordan River for the Hashemite Kingdom to win local friends, as they tried to do in other Arab lands including Iraq. They promptly ignored key components of the Palestine Mandate which clearly spelled out that no individual could be excluded from the land because of his religion, by allowing the Arabs to ban all Jews from the region. Just a few years later, in response to Arab riots in which they slaughtered several dozen Jews in the ancient Jewish city of Hebron, the British “evacuated” the remaining Jews from the city and moved them to Jerusalem, presumably to protect the Jews from future attacks. Jordan would remain Jew-free to this day, while Hebron would only be Jew-free until 1967, after the Jordanian Arabs attacked Israel and lost the west bank of the Jordan River to Israel, including Hebron.

The British leadership followed the antisemitism of the British people to expel the Jews of England in the 13th century, and would follow the antisemitism of the Arab people to expel the Jews from various parts of the Middle East during the 20th century.

Tolerating Antisemitism in Gibraltar in 1713
Tolerating Antisemitism in Palestine in 1939

1713 Gibraltar: Beginning in 1290, England would not allow any Jews to live openly in its lands for over 360 years. It was only in 1656 under Oliver Cromwell that Jews were allowed to return (presumably under the guise of trying to convert them to Christianity). But despite this new indication of tolerance of coexistence, the British would also tolerate antisemitism.

After a series of battles between England and Spain, the English won the rock of Gibraltar from the Spanish. In the Treaty of Utrecht, as the Spanish handed the island to the British, it demanded that England continue to ban the presence of Jews and Moors (Muslims), as the Spanish were still heavily influenced by the Inquisition run by the Catholic Church. The British agreed, even though they did not enforce it aggressively. (The ban is technically still part of the law governing Gibraltar, even though 2% of the island is Jewish).

1939 Palestine: The Arabs in Palestine were in the midst of multi-year riots that had begun in 1936 to stop the flow of Jews into Palestine because of international law that the British facilitate the immigration of Jews. In 1939, as the Holocaust descended on the Jews of Europe, the British agreed with the Arabs that no more than 75,000 Jews would be admitted into Palestine over the next five years in an edict known as the White Paper. The document would seal the fate of over 100,000 European Jews who became trapped in Europe.

History echoed itself. While the British had finally begun to accept Jews in England in 1656, less than 60 years later they accepted the Spanish demands that non-Christians be barred from lands that they were taking over. Over 250 years later, the British would take on the Mandate of Palestine in 1922, and then be part of an agreement that they would block Jews to satisfy the demands of the local Arab population.


Arabs riot in Palestine 1936

Britain’s leadership had historically followed the urging of its antisemitic populace (in 1290) and the Catholic Church (in 1713) to ban Jews, and did the same in the 20th century in Palestine at the urging of the Arabs in the Middle East.

From the Middle Ages through the Inquisition, Europe believed itself to be a Christian continent and expelled the Jews and repulsed the Muslim invasion. In the 20th century, many European nations have adopted a similar narrative that the Middle East is a purely Arab land and should be left to the Muslims. The European Christians and Middle East Arabs have ignored the desires and right of Jews to their own place in their homeland.

The British are currently debating whether their political parties – the liberal Labour Party in particular – are antisemitic or merely anti-Zionist. The correct question is whether they are outwardly antisemitic or simply tolerate antisemitism.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

No Disappearing in the Land of the Blind

Palestinian Jews and a Judenrein Palestine

The EU’s Choice of Labels: “Made in West Bank” and “Anti-Semite”

My Terrorism

Save the Children

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Taking the Active Steps Towards Salvation

For many people, the favorite part of the Passover prayers is the Torah reading on the seventh day of the holiday.

The song “Az Yashir,” (the Song of the Sea), is a celebratory hymn that the Jews sang after they crossed through the Reed Sea safely and watched the Egyptian army drown. It is recited from the Torah in a unique melody compared to every other reading during the year, and it is the only time that the entire congregation stands for Torah-reading, other than the recitation of the Ten Commandments and the conclusion of each of the five books.

Just as the Haggadah that was read on the first night of Passover directs us to “show himself as if he had left Egypt,” everyone in the synagogue does not simply sit and listen to the words of the Torah, but takes an active step of standing while they listen to the song.

וּבְכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר, חַיָּב אָדָם לְהַרְאוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם, שֶׁלֹּא אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בִּלְבָד גָּאַל, אֵלָא אַף אוֹתָנוּ גָּאַל–שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר “וְאוֹתָנוּ, הוֹצִיא מִשָּׁם–לְמַעַן, הָבִיא אֹתָנוּ, לָתֶת לָנוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ” (דברים ו,כג. In every generation, a person is obligated to show himself as if he had left Egypt:  for He did not redeem only our ancestors, but even us as well, as it is written “And He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He swore unto our fathers” (Deuteronomy 6:23).

The participation of standing for the song is communal today, just as the song was sung by the entire congregation over 3,000 years ago.

א  אָז יָשִׁיר-מֹשֶׁה וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת-הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת, לַיהוָה, וַיֹּאמְרוּ,  {ר}  לֵאמֹר:  {ס}  אָשִׁירָה לַיהוָה כִּי-גָאֹה גָּאָה,  {ס}  סוּס  {ר}  וְרֹכְבוֹ רָמָה בַיָּם.  {ס} Exodus 15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spoke, saying: I will sing unto the LORD, for He is highly exalted; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.

The fact that the Jews were appreciative for their salvation is understandable, but also shocking that such emotion appears during this Song of the Sea for the first time in the bible. Throughout the story of the ten plagues and leaving Egypt, all the way until the shores of the Reed Sea, the Jews mostly complained to Moses; they certainly did not say ‘thank you’ to him nor exalt God.

11 Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness. (Exodus 14:11-12)

The constant actions of Moses during the story were in contrast to the persistent inaction of the Children of Israel. The Jews were content to stay where they were, to have all of their basic needs taken care of for them, whether food to eat or graves in which to be buried. The Jews were as much physical slaves to the Egyptians as they were to their own complacency. They had accepted their misery, and angry that Moses had the temerity to break the status quo.


The Crossing of the Red Sea
by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)

I will suggest here that the Song by the Sea was the third and pivotal step in the Jewish people taking action to break the weight of inertia and achieving salvation; not just freedom beyond the borders of Egypt, but of the slave mentality as well.

The First Steps: The Tenth Plague

The streak was on.

Nine times in a row, God had brought a plague onto the Egyptian people. In chapter after chapter, the bible recounts how God inflicted pain on land and sea, on animals and fields, yet all of the while, the Jews were in a protective bubble. They were not impacted by the plagues nor asked to participate in any way.

But at the announcement of the final tenth plague, the bible tells us that it was time for the Jewish people to take action.

וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה ע֣וֹד נֶ֤גַע אֶחָד֙ אָבִ֤יא עַל־פַּרְעֹה֙ וְעַל־מִצְרַ֔יִם אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֕ן יְשַׁלַּ֥ח אֶתְכֶ֖ם מִזֶּ֑ה כְּשַׁ֨לְּח֔וֹ כָּלָ֕ה גָּרֵ֛שׁ יְגָרֵ֥שׁ אֶתְכֶ֖ם מִזֶּֽה׃ דַּבֶּר־נָ֖א בְּאָזְנֵ֣י הָעָ֑ם וְיִשְׁאֲל֞וּ אִ֣ישׁ ׀ מֵאֵ֣ת רֵעֵ֗הוּ וְאִשָּׁה֙ מֵאֵ֣ת רְעוּתָ֔הּ כְּלֵי־כֶ֖סֶף וּכְלֵ֥י זָהָֽב׃ וַיִּתֵּ֧ן יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־חֵ֥ן הָעָ֖ם בְּעֵינֵ֣י מִצְרָ֑יִם גַּ֣ם ׀ הָאִ֣ישׁ מֹשֶׁ֗ה גָּד֤וֹל מְאֹד֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם בְּעֵינֵ֥י עַבְדֵֽי־פַרְעֹ֖ה וּבְעֵינֵ֥י הָעָֽם׃

And the LORD said to Moses, “I will bring but one more plague upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt; after that he shall let you go from here; indeed, when he lets you go, he will drive you out of here one and all.  Tell the people to borrow, each man from his neighbor and each woman from hers, objects of silver and gold.” The LORD disposed the Egyptians favorably toward the people. Moreover, Moses himself was much esteemed in the land of Egypt, among Pharaoh’s courtiers and among the people. (Exodus 11:1-3)

If God was able to do everything on behalf of the Jewish people, why did He want them to take the jewels of the Egyptians? He could have just given the Jews riches or transferred the wealth to the Jews.

God knew that the Jews had a complacent mindset after hundreds of years of slavery. He needed them to break free of that inertia and confront their oppressors. To do that, He commanded the Jewish people to stand up and take back the wages and goods that had been taken from them while they worked as slaves for so long. Step 1: confront the oppressor.

Yet the single step would not be enough to earn redemption nor break the psychology of slavery, so God commanded the Jews to take additional action.

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat itAnd they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. 10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. 11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord‘s passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. (Exodus 12: 3-14)

God commanded the Jews to do something out-of-the-ordinary. Each family was to take a lamb into their houses for three days, and then slaughter it and paint its blood onto the outside doorposts of the house while they devoured the roasted meat throughout the night. Quite a bizarre farewell to Egypt.

Some biblical commentators believed that sheep were sacred to the Egyptians and that slaughtering them and painting their blood onto the outside of the house and eating them was a detestable offense to the Egyptians. If so, this action would be a continuation of the first step above: confront your enemy first by taking physical goods (jewels), and then by destroying their spiritual world (sacred sheep).

But the text reads differently. The bible writes that the blood is for God to see (“when I see the blood”), not the Egyptians. The blood on the doorways is therefore not designed as an insult to the Egyptians, but an act of affirmation that the Jews believed in God, and that God will protect them. For nine plagues God protected the Jews without their active participation, but for the final plague, the Jews needed to participate in their salvation. Step 2: show your belief.

The Next Step: Entering the Sea

The communal belief was short lived. As described above, the Jews quickly reverted to their old habits as they verbally attacked Moses for bringing them out of Egypt to face death at the hands of the Egyptian army at the shore of the Reed Sea.

And Moses similarly fell into the old trap of assuming that God would do everything for His people and called out:

וַיֹּ֨אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֣ה אֶל־הָעָם֮ אַל־תִּירָאוּ֒ הִֽתְיַצְב֗וּ וּרְאוּ֙ אֶת־יְשׁוּעַ֣ת יְהוָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־יַעֲשֶׂ֥ה לָכֶ֖ם הַיּ֑וֹם כִּ֗י אֲשֶׁ֨ר רְאִיתֶ֤ם אֶת־מִצְרַ֙יִם֙ הַיּ֔וֹם לֹ֥א תֹסִ֛יפוּ לִרְאֹתָ֥ם ע֖וֹד עַד־עוֹלָֽם׃

יְהוָ֖ה יִלָּחֵ֣ם לָכֶ֑ם וְאַתֶּ֖ם תַּחֲרִישֽׁוּן׃

But Moses said to the people, “Have no fear! Stand by, and witness the deliverance which the LORD will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The LORD will battle for you; you hold your peace!” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Moses tried to allay the fear of the Jews and told them to sit back and watch God save them. But God was not pleased with the words of Moses.

The drama of the story is heightened, as the Torah reading takes a pause just after Moses makes his declaration. When the Torah reader takes up the reading again at the next aliyah, we imagine that the dramatic splitting of the sea is about to happen. But it doesn’t.

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה מַה־תִּצְעַ֖ק אֵלָ֑י דַּבֵּ֥ר אֶל־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וְיִסָּֽעוּ׃

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. (Exodus 14:15)

God surprisingly questions Moses proclamation and instead calls for the Jewish people to literally take the next steps forward in another act of redemption.

The Midrash says that the Jewish people were frightened and reluctant to march ahead. But a prince from the tribe of Judah, Nachshon ben Aminadav stepped into the sea undeterred, and the waters finally split and saved him from drowning (Sotah 37a).

Nachshon’s actions can be viewed as a continuation of the important second step: show your belief, as an individual. Do not be lulled into the prevalent community attitude of letting the leaders or someone else take action. Do not sit and wait, as even a solitary person’s actions, coupled with a leader’s (Moses) prayers to realize God’s vision, can help redeem everyone.

Rabbi Aaron Kampf of Manchester, England balances the notion of individual action versus the will of God. In recounting the story of Queen Esther, Rabbi Kampf notes that Esther’s uncle charged her to speak up on behalf of the Jewish people to the king.

יג  וַיֹּאמֶר מָרְדֳּכַי, לְהָשִׁיב אֶל-אֶסְתֵּר:  אַל-תְּדַמִּי בְנַפְשֵׁךְ, לְהִמָּלֵט בֵּית-הַמֶּלֶךְ מִכָּל-הַיְּהוּדִים. Megillat Esther Chapter 4: 13 Then Mordecai bade them to return answer unto Esther: ‘Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.
יד  כִּי אִם-הַחֲרֵשׁ תַּחֲרִישִׁי, בָּעֵת הַזֹּאת–רֶוַח וְהַצָּלָה יַעֲמוֹד לַיְּהוּדִים מִמָּקוֹם אַחֵר, וְאַתְּ וּבֵית-אָבִיךְ תֹּאבֵדוּ; וּמִי יוֹדֵעַ–אִם-לְעֵת כָּזֹאת, הִגַּעַתְּ לַמַּלְכוּת. 14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then will relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house will perish; and who knoweth whether thou art not come to royal estate for such a time as this?’

The speech that Mordecai gave to Esther was not a pep talk of “you can do it; we’re all counting on you!” but one of humility. God has a plan, and you can either play or part or disappear into history because salvation will come from somewhere else.

An individual’s action will become successful or unsuccessful based on the will of God. A person should not be so self-centered as to believe that they alone can change the world. But as Rabbi Tarfon says in Pirkei Avot 2:16:

לֹא עָלֶיךָ הַמְּלָאכָה לִגְמֹר, וְלֹא אַתָּה בֶן חוֹרִין לִבָּטֵל מִמֶּנָּה

You are not expected to complete the task, but neither are you free to avoid it.

A person must be involved and take actions in partnership with God.

The Final Step: Gratitude

The Jews were finally free of the physical and mental slavery when they sang “Az Yashir” on the other side of the sea. They had confronted their enemies and showed their belief in God. They witnessed their Egyptian masters completely defeated.

However, one more step was required to become free: the expression of gratitude.

The actions that the Jewish people had taken in their salvation were all commanded by God: take the jewels; slaughter the lamb; paint the doorposts; move forward; etc. In many ways, the Jews had traded masters: the Egyptian taskmaster for God.

But on the safe dry ground they understood that the calls of complaints to their leader Moses were empty. Those were not steps forward but merely instinctive reactions, animalistic. Now, they decided for themselves to thank God.

Noble peace prize winner Elie Wiesel believed deeply in the action of expressing gratitude. He believed that gratitude was the ultimate expression of humanity:

“Gratitude is a word that I cherish.
Gratitude is what defines the humanity of the human being.
No one is as capable of expressing gratitude as one who has escaped the kingdom of night.”

And as the Children of Israel and Moses sang in unison about their gratitude to God, the transformation of a people was realized. They no longer were physically or mentally constrained by the will of Egyptian masters, broken of free will like cattle. They were on their way to participate actively in the teachings of their God and the God of their fathers.

Rabbi Meir Soloveitchik wrote: “While not all are loved by God in the same way, we are all held accountable for our actions, and are rewarded for a life well lived.” (Azure No. 19, “God’s Beloved: A Defense of Choseness“)’ Our ability to confront the wrongs, to demonstrate our faith and to be thankful for God’s gifts are key ingredients to the story of Passover and how we live our lives.


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Watching Jewish Ghosts

Holy Thursday arrived in Seville, Spain on March 29, 2018 with the traditional pomp and circumstance. Donning capes and tall conical hoods (the capirotes), the nazarenos marched through the streets of the city to the central Cathedral as they have done for hundreds of years.

Holy Thursday procession in Seville, Spain March 29, 2018
(photo: First.One.through)

But the hundreds of men in white hoods held a very different meaning for some people in the crowd. While the nazarenos may have focused on their penitence during holy week (Semana Santa in Spain), the scene meant something quite different to the lone American Jew watching the march.

As an American

Americans have long associated people dressed in white robes and hoods as belonging to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a racist and anti-Semitic group that continues to have some support in parts of the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers the group to be both the most infamous and oldest hate group in the USA. The group epitomizes hatred and violence.

As such, most Americans instinctively cringe when they hear about the group or see their members in the infamous hoods.

It is hard not to have the same immediate reaction when seeing that attire in a very different situation.

Marcher in Seville, Spain March 29, 2018
(photo: First.One.through)

As a Jew

Jews cannot come to Spain and not consider how few Jews remain in the country. The expulsion of the Jews in the summer of 1492 is marked in collective memory, much like the Holocaust of 1939-1945.

The cleansing of the Jews in Spain had an earlier start in Seville, as it was in that city that the Spanish Inquisition really got its start. In 1391, a preacher by the name of Don Fernando Martinez lectured his congregants that Jews were evil and were infiltrating Spanish society. While the riots that broke out in March were put down, the mob gathered strength and plundered the Jewish Quarter of the city in June. Roughly 4,000 people were killed. The synagogues in the city were either destroyed or converted to churches and the Jewish community was decimated.

Within two years, King Henry III of Castile (1379-1406) passed judgement on the preacher and the city itself for what had transpired. Few Jews returned and the city. That year, in 1393, the first brotherhood (hermanad) appeared called Las Negras. As a sign of penance during Semana Santa, the members donned white robes and capirotes, and have continued to do so until this day.

In time, other brotherhoods would cover the city. They would wear their own colors of Black-and-white, all purple or green. Over holy week, they would carry large candles and march towards the cathedral, many handing out candies to the children who would normally be scared of such scene.

There were no longer Jews in the city to care or remember.

Nazareno walking in Seville, Spain March 29, 2018
(photo: First.One.through)

This American Jew

I have no doubt that the Catholics celebrating Holy Week in Seville have no idea that the origins of their processions stemmed from their massacre of Jews. I do not even think that they ponder why their region of Spain uniquely uses this custom. The area of southern Spain is known as Andalusia, and is the part of Spain that was under Muslim rule from the 700’s until the Catholics expelled them in 1248. In all, I believe that today’s Catholics’ desire to seek purity is self-reflecting, and does not consider that their ritual comes from evicting all other religions from the province.

But this American Jew observes too many things. Like someone attending a funeral service at a cemetery who looks off in the distance to see cars go by without a care, I do not blame the Catholics for their indifference to my plight as they go about their own day. However, I cannot help see the ghosts of the Jews of Spain as I watch their procession during Semana Santa in Seville.


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In the Shadow of the Holocaust, The New York Times Fails to Flag Muslim Anti-Semitism

On March 23, 2018, an 85-year old Holocaust survivor was found brutally murdered in her apartment in Paris, France. The French authorities have been loathe to call the attack anti-Semitism, and the New York Times has been similarly adamant in not mentioning that the killers were Muslim.

In an article without any pictures on page A7 of the March 27, 2018 New York printed edition, the article noted how the French did not clearly call the murder stemming from anti-Semitism, writing:

“The Paris prosecutor’s office said on Monday that Ms. Knoll had been killed because of her ‘membership, real or supposed, of the victim of a particular religion,’ – a roundabout way of saying she was killed because she was Jewish.”

It was appropriate that the paper spelled out what the prosecutor’s failed to state clearly – that the victim was attacked because of anti-Semitism. It is therefore surprising that the paper would similarly fail to identify the attackers in this incident – and many others in France – as being Muslims.

The Times wrote that the Paris prosecutor’s office said that the two men arrested for the murder were from “North African origin,” but failed to clarify that almost all of the men that moved to Paris from North Africa were Muslim.

When the Times gave background about the murder of an elderly Jewish woman, Sarah Halami, last year in France, it would only write that the killer was “a man of Malian origin who shouted ‘God is Great’ before throwing her out a window.” Did the paper clarify that he was Muslim, that 95% of Mali is Muslim, or that he actually said “Allahu Akbar” in Arabic? No.

When the Times wrote about the murder of four people in a Parisian kosher supermarket attack in 2015, it rightly called the attack antisemitic, but it only noted that the killer was “Amedy Coulibaly, a heavily armed Frenchman.” Did it mention that he was a pro-ISIS Islamic radical of Malian descent? No.

When the Times described the “2012 assault on a Jewish school in Toulouse by Mohammed Merah, who killed three children and a teacher after killing three soldiers,” did it add that he was a Muslim of Algerian descent that pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda? No.

Did the Times give any color as to root cause of the murder of an elderly Jew? Well, it did – because of perceived Jewish actions. “The suspect ‘said that the Jews have the money, and that was the reason he attacked her,’ Mr. Kalifat said [who heads a French Jewish organization.]” The problem was that Jews have the money. There was no mention of noxious Islamic Jew-hatred.

This has become standard practice for the New York Times, to conceal the background of the attackers, especially if they are Muslim.

The Times does not touch the much more prevalent anti-Semitism in the Muslim community than in France generally. The ADL released a report of Jew-hatred around the world and broke down the details by religion. The results were startling about the perception of Jews :

  • Jews have too much power in the business world: 35% of Christians; 65% of Muslims; 25% of Atheists held such views in France
  • Jews have too much power in the financial markets: 27% of Christians; 64% of Muslims; 23% of Atheists
  • Jews have too much power in the global affairs: 21% of Christians; 54% of Muslims; 19% of Atheists
  • Jews control the media: 21% of Christians; 61% of Muslims; 18% of Atheists

The disparity continued for seven other opinions. Overall, the ADL concluded that 49% of Muslims in France are anti-Semites compared to 17% of French Christians and 14% of French atheists.

The Holocaust of the Jews in Europe during World War II happened at the hands of Christians. The terrorism against the Jews worldwide today is happening at the hands of Muslim extremists. And the media is remaining silent as it seeks to curtail “Islamophobia.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

Covering Racism

New York Times Finds Racism When it Wants

The Only Extremists for the United Nations are “Jewish Extremists”

If a Black Muslim Cop Kills a White Woman, Does it Make a Sound?

Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

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Fake Definitions: Pluralism and Progressive / Liberalism

It has long been a favorite marketing ploy to brand oneself in a manner that can give the maximum level of appeal. For example, those people in favor of abortion rights call themselves “pro-choice” rather than “pro-abortion,” to move the conversation from the killing of a fetus to one about a woman’s right to choose. It is brilliant and effective.

Over the past decade, the far-left liberal wing of the Democratic party began to make strides in taking over the party in both numbers and policy. As part of their hijacking the party leftward, they opted to re-brand themselves and their policies as “progressive” and “forward-leaning,” rather than “liberal.” The marketing maneuver was meant to demonstrate a path towards the future. In doing so, the liberals weren’t merely re-branding themselves, but trying to recast “conservatives” as older and backwards-thinking “deplorables,” to quote Hillary Clinton.

The marketing continues to be retooled, post the Democrats loss in the 2016 presidential election. The Democrats are giving pause as to whether to continue its leftward shift and push the likes of socialists like Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren and Keith Ellison. Would emphasizing the perception of being a bunch of “coastal liberal latte-sipping politically-correct out-of-touch folks,” as Barack Obama said be a good strategy, or should the party pivot itself as caring about ALL people and opinions?

Enter the next new thing for liberals: “pluralism.” It suggests a very wide tent open to all people and opinions – including conservatives.

But it ain’t. It’s just more liberal policies and people advancing a new tagline to try to win an election.

To be fair, it’s not just liberal politicians trying to win an election. It’s about all liberals who are trying to come to terms with their own biases. They still hate the people who “cling to guns and religion,” as Obama described, but by self-describing themselves as in favor of “pluralism,” they feel that they have pierced their liberal echo chamber.

Of course, it’s a sham, and one that left-leaning Jewish groups are embracing wholeheartedly.

Jewish Pluralism

Consider the Jewish organization the Shalom Hartman Institute. It proudly identifies itself as cross-denominational and calls for “radical pluralism.” Does it truly invite all people and opinions? Well, the group is run by a bunch of elite Ashkenazi intellectuals. Do the Israeli or American chapters have Haredis on its leadership team – the fastest growing group in Israel? No. Does it have a large number of Mizrachi Jews on its staff, representing the majority of Jews in Israel? No. How about any of the over 100,000 black Ethiopian Jews that have come to the country over the past few decades. Nope.

There are more Muslims on staff than all three of those Jewish groups combined.

But the left-leaning organization is working with left-leaning media outlets to advance the notion that it is pluralistic.

Consider the March 16, 2018 article in a major New York Jewish paper, The Jewish Week, which ran an article called “Across the Great Divide.” It posited the question: “Can Yehuda Kurtzer’s [president of the Shalom Hartman Institute North America] doctrine of pluralism heal the divides in the Jewish community?”

The Hartman Institute is only pluralistic in the sense that it’s members come from different denominations of Judaism including Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative and Open Orthodox, but it’s politics are liberal.

Consider one of its recent topics on “Jewish Canon and Male Privilege.” Is this really a pluralistic organization that is open to a wide range of views, or is it simply seeking to bring in more conservative people to listen to the liberal talking points? Will the SHI host a discussion about “The Bible’s Prohibition of Homosexual Relations,” or “Why are Muslims Much More anti-Semitic than Other Religions Today?” I highly doubt it.

So it goes in the world with the word “pluralism.” The word is being co-opted by liberals and being stripped of its true meaning.

And it is a shame. Because the world could really use some genuine dialogue.


Related First.One.Through articles:

American Hate: The Right Targets Foreigners, The Left Targets Americans

A Country Divided

There are Standards for Unity

Older White Men are the Most Politically Balanced Demographic By Far

The Non-Orthodox Jewish Denominations Fight Israel

The Democratic Party is Tacking to the Far Left-Wing Anti-Semitic Fringe

J Street is a Partisan Left-Wing Group, NOT an Alternative to AIPAC

The Reform Movement’s Rick Jacobs Has no Understanding of Tolerance

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