Editor’s note: This is an edited version of a longer article, which contains (among other things) more information about the role of Jews in American history. To read the complete article, go to Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

Are self-anointed Jewish political “leaders” trying to turn America into the kind of hell from which our people have repeatedly been forced to escape for the last two millennia? Are they going out of their way to prove the truth of the old Yiddish adage, “Our own Jews will destroy us”?

It’s a shame to have to ask these questions, because Jews and America have been good for each other.

Jews have enriched this country through achievements in science, law, business, arts, and culture. And in patriotism and heroism. Haym Saloman was the chief financier of the American Revolution and gave no-interest loans to the new country’s political and military leaders. Before him, Asser Levy and Jacob Barsimon had to fight the anti-Semitic leadership of the New Amsterdam colony to win their right to bear arms in defense of their community. Judah P. Benjamin was “the brains of the Confederacy,” while Isadore Busch of St. Louis helped lead the fight to abolish slavery.

Jews have been generals, admirals and Medal of Honor winners. In every war since the War Between the States, Jews have fought for freedom in disproportionate numbers, often with great distinction.

America, in turn, has blessed the Jews. Our forebears came here to enjoy the freedom of a nation whose government – unlike those from which they fled – was bound within strict limits. The Bill of Rights, our chief protector, has stood against the savagery that might otherwise be perpetrated by prejudiced individuals, institutions, and governments.

But judging by the talk of many self-anointed Jewish “leaders,” you’d think the blessings of freedom counted for nothing. In their minds and in their mouths, it’s “victim” this and “victim” that.

These “leaders” depict the U.S. as a nation where helplessness, mindless violence and bigotry prevail. They tell us we are under siege from extremist organizations and hate groups – often choosing “enemies” so unlikely that a knowledgeable person is struck with bemusement. One of the latest groups to be defamed by Abraham Foxman’s Anti-Defamation League is the Tyranny Response Team (TRT). Founded by a Jew – Bob Glass – the TRT stages non-violent protests. Members have opposed harmful legislation by wearing yellow Stars of David and handing out flyers showing victims of genocide. But because the legislation they oppose is “gun control,” which Foxman favors, the ADL assigned “hate group” investigators to watch them.

Too many self-anointed leaders demand that we hew to a vision of Jews as helpless and passive by nature – childlike victims whom the world owes guilt and constant apologies. They preach that our entire nation is populated by similar victims whose sufferings give them an unquestionable moral claim – victims of poverty, disease, racism, sexism, violence and a whole host of newly-discovered inequities and inequalities.

And they invariably propose one balm to heal all miseries: government. Government unbound, unlimited, unhindered. In their utopian vision, government is a godlike, all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing, force for good. Good, imposed by force.

Although Jews have benefited so greatly from America’s limited government that the epithet “statist Jew” should be as unbelievable as “kosher ham,” influential Jews from Nobel-Prize winner Elie Wiesel to Charles Schumer to Barbra Streisand cry for an expansion of government power so limitless it makes the carnivorous alien plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” look like a rose in spring.

One of the “benefits” these Jewish leaders want to impose is victim disarmament (“gun control”). Not trusting ordinary men and women to own guns, they agitate for conferring upon uniformed soldiers, police, and other government agents the monopoly on the legal use of lethal force.

Have these Jews forgotten their own history? Have they forgotten that, from Pharaoh to Stalin and Hitler, powerful governments have been their worst tormentors, their slave masters, their ghettoizers, their inquisitors, their slaughterers?

Jews who today crusade for the omni-benevolent, but omni-controlling nanny state have forgotten the proud Jewish traditions of self-defense, self reliance and armed opposition to tyranny.

They have forgotten Abraham, who (in Genesis 14:11-24) rescued his nephew Lot from four kings, by arming 318 servants and hunting down, violently attacking and dispersing his captors. They have forgotten Judah Maccabee, the brilliant warrior who captured Jerusalem from the Greeks and re-dedicated the Temple (and a man once described as “Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing a yarmulke”). They have forgotten the heroic young men and women who rose up in resistance in the ghettos of Warsaw and Vilnius.

These heroes who took up arms followed Jewish law and tradition: A Jew may choose to defend against aggressors, but when the threat is ominous, a Jew must fight back. The Talmud, the code of Jewish law, states: “If someone comes to kill you, arise quickly and kill him” (Tractate Barachot, pages 58A and 62B).

Because earlier American Jews followed these traditions of righteous defense, they enjoyed life and freedom while their cousins died by the millions at the hands of Hitler and suffered under Stalin.

Yet Sen. Charles Schumer, for example, sponsors or co-sponsors every major victim disarmament bill. He’s followed closely by Sens. Boxer, Lieberman, Levin, Feingold, and Kohl.

It seems that these statist Jews – despite their talk of the Holocaust and their cry of “Never again!” – know nothing about the nine major genocides of the 20th century, in which at least 74 million people were slaughtered by their own governments. They close their eyes to the fact that each mass murder was preceded by enactment of gun-control (victim disarmament) laws. Victims were blamed for society’s problems, numbered, classified, disarmed and punished by wholesale destruction.

Too many Jewish leaders have forgotten that when the spiral of blame and punishment seizes a society, the Jews often become its victims. Such leaders do not lead or represent me or the many fine Jews who value all of the Bill of Rights for all citizens. But I’m afraid someday I’ll have to pay – as both a Jew and a freedom-loving American – for the folly of these leaders.

Now I ask Jewish leaders:

  • Why – if guns are so evil that their mere possession drives otherwise peaceful people to violence – do you want police and military forces to be better armed than you? Have you forgotten the glowing death’s heads, the silver lightning, the sleek black boots and tailored uniforms of the Nazis who rousted your parents and grandparents from hiding and drove them like farm animals to slaughter?

  • Have you forgotten one of America’s open secrets – that, until recently, the upper echelons of the U.S. military were virulently anti-Semitic? That while Jews were dying in Europe, U.S. Army officers and intelligence agents were convinced that Jews were dangerous, subversive and malign? Are these are the people to whom you want to grant a monopoly on the use of armed force?

  • How can you walk through death camps, yet deny the need for self defense?

  • If your vigilance fails and a genuine hate group really does take over America, how will you fight them, once you’ve disarmed yourself and your countrymen?

Jews have a reputation for being intelligent. But it’s stupid to destroy the Bill of Rights, the one document that has created a historic haven for Jews when all the rest of the world has been against us. If the guardian of the Bill of Rights – the un-infringed right of individuals to keep and bear arms – is destroyed, how will we defend ourselves when tyrants come to take our freedom of speech, religion, or trial-by-jury or our protections against self-incrimination, unwarranted searches or cruel-and-unusual punishment?

I challenge true Jewish leaders to promote Bill of Rights Day on December 15 instead of giving all their energy to the self-perpetuating Holocaust industry. Promote that special day and mean it. Learn the significance of every amendment and support every shining one of our 10 protectors.

I challenge America’s Jewish leaders to do what’s best for all America. Warmly embrace all of the Bill of Rights for all citizens. In the long run, that’s what’s best for Jews and Judaism – and for the world.

Aaron Zelman is the executive director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

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