Sunday, December 29, 2019

Why the Increased Violence Against Orthodox Jews?

Louis Farrakhan - Part of the problem?
I can’t explain it. No matter how much I try, I cannot figure out why there have been so many deadly or near deadly attacks recently against Orthodox Jews in the greater New York New Jersey area.  Most recently last night in the home of a Chasidic Rebbe in Monsey, New York.

According to the media reports, 5 people were injured – one critically - by a knife wielding black assailant who use a long knifed machete. Thankfully, no one was killed. I pray that they all quickly and fully recover. The assailant was caught later in Harlem. 

I asked myself this morning, ‘What in the world is going on?!’ It isn’t that those that attack us - all of a sudden started hating Jews. I’m pretty sure that hatred has long existed. But until recently that hate did not usually translate into deadly violence. Now they seem to be happening with increasing frequency.

We know that white antisemitism is alive and well in this country. Although there are probably thousands of white racists and bigots (among them White Supremacists, neo Nazis, and the KKK) that have a deadly hatred of us, they are still a minuscule percentage of the general population. Most of that hatred is sourced on a centuries long history of Christian theological dogma about the crucifixion of their god. Which placed a large part of the blame on us.

Even tough in our day the vast majority of Christians no longer believe that, those racists and bigots still do. To them we are the enemy – the devil’s disciples… a hated people that deserves to die for that sin. They are the ones most prone to believe in antisemitic propaganda like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or canards like using Christian blood to bake Matzah. Or that the Holocaust is just Jewish propaganda to gain sympathy for their cause of ripping off the white race (Germany) for reparations.

(I don’t believe the racial theories Hitler used as an excuse to slaughter us all could have happened without the undercurrent of that Christian based theology of German Lutherans. At least subliminally if not overtly. There is no shortage of White Supremacists and the like whose hatred of us generated antisemitic attacks by some of its members.)

Then there is Muslim based hatred. Middle Eastern Arabs have made no secret of their hatred of us. Some of which is theology based too. A hatred that was exacerbated by the Zionist ideal that turned into a massive European Jewish immigration into then Palestine. Those new immigrants settled the land and developed it into the modern Jewish State of Israel. The land Arabs considered their own was now occupied by what they considered European colonialist Jews forcing the indigenous Arabs out of their land thereby becoming refugees. 

Those refugees came to be known as Palestinians whose hatred was - and still is fed by radical Islamist preachers that characterize Israelis (i.e. Jews) as infidels that have illegally taken over their land. And who therefore must be eradicated. Towards that end they have embraced a multitude of antisemitic lies and propaganda such as the above mentioned ‘Protocols’ and Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Propaganda nurtured by the occasional antisemitic TV miniseries.

That can obviously generate antisemitic attacks from sympathetic Palestinians and other Jihadist types living in this country

But what about black hatred of us? The history of antisemitism cannot possibly go back to the pre slavery era. Prior to the advent of slavery on these shores, black people were not really a significant part of the population. Before black Africans were brought to these shores to become slaves, they had no connection with Jews. They probably never heard of us  in their countries of origin. .

But then again, once they were here, what was it that turned so many of them against us? Surely there was no better friend of black people than the Jewish people. The Civil Rights era was filled with Jews fighting for their rights. Including some pretty prominent Jews. Some Jews ended up giving up their lives towards furthering that goal. 

Here are some of my thoughts.

One cannot overstate the decades long influence of Louis Farrakhan in all this hatred. When you call the Jewish people ‘termites’ it doesn’t take much to go from there to exterminating us.

There are some black ‘religious’ groups like the Black Hebrew sect whose antisemitism rivals American neo Nazis. which seemed to be the motivation of the attack last week in jersy City. Black hatred has been around for a long time. But just like its white counterpart, it is a small minority of their community. It is however that evil minority that is flexing its deadly muscle now.

I want to be clear. I’m sure that most black people do not hate us at all. They probably don’t even think about us that much if at all. If they ever do, they are no different than the rest of mainstream American and wish us no  harm. In many cases there might even been some love and admiration for us. Just like there is among mainstream American whites.

I have no clue why attacks from this segment of the black community are increasingly happening now. But it helps to know where this hatred comes from. I also think there might be a lot of copycat’ism going on.  Why Orhtodox Jews? Perhaps because they are they most visibly Jewish? I don’t know.

The question is what can we do about it. Screaming ‘Antisemtism’ at the top of our lungs will not prevent the antisemites from acting. 

I have even heard some people calling this new phenomenon a pogrom. Not only is that untrue it is an insult to this great country of ours (called a Malchus Shel Chesed by no less a Gadol than Rav Moshe Feinstein). The centuries of pogrom filled European Jewish history where from time to time locals attacked and ransacked Jewish communities  always had government sympathy if not outright approval. The exact opposite is the case here. 

What about better police protection? I’m not sure whether even that would have prevented what happened last night. Are there even enough police to guard every Shul, school and Shteibel in Monsey? ‘Or Boro Park? Or Flatbush? Or Williamsburg? Do those communities want to live in a military style protective environment? Not sure they would want it even if it were possible. Which it probably isn’t.

The only real solution seems to be the most difficult  if not impossible to accomplish. Which is to somehow educate the haters about who we really are instead of what they think we are. Getting someone like Farrakhan to change his narrative would be a good start. But I think pigs will sooner fly.