Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Truth about Emmanuel

A word about Rabbi Mencken’s recent Cross-Currents post on the racial tensions in the Israeli city of Emmanuel.

In brief the claim is being made that a Supreme Court decision forcing an Ashkenazi School to integrate is a gross miscarriage of Justice. Askenazi residents claim that there is no prejudice at all. The Supreme Court decision to integrate – they say - is based on a lie which the anti Charedi judges are using to exploit the situation for their own nefarious purposes. Ashkenazi residents say that the only real issue of dispute with the Sephardi parents is over religious standards.

The American Agudah involvement is based on a call from the Ashkenazi elements in Emmanuel who - as I understand it - are mostly Chasidim and are making claims that this is an attempt by the government to gain a foothold in Charedi education.

The truth is I have no information about what is going on there. I have my suspicions based on my own experiences with Chasidim in Bnei Brak who all expressed prejudice against Sephardim. Nonetheless Rabbi Mencken has clearly sided with the Ashkenazi side that there is no prejudice at all.

Of course it is quite possible that Rabbi Mencken’s understanding of events is true. It would not be the first time that a court issued an unfair judgment. What is disingenuous about his argument is the notable fact that he cites only one side of the argument to make his case and trashes the Supreme Court based on his own prejudice against them.

He may be right. He may be wrong. But to argue his case based on information provided by only one side of the issue without hearing the other side is wrong. It is therefore equally wrong to form an opinion based on his post.

What is also troubling is the fact that has closed off comments on that post.

I guess he is so convinced he is right that he does not want to be bothered with opposing views and arguments. What makes this so frustrating is his own admission that he does not have the facts and that he has only heard one side of the story.

Could it be that he has a preconceived bias about the players - and an agenda to always spin the Charedi side of the issue as the correct one?