What follows is good corrective medicine for bigots who think Jews all stick together. That’s the most ill-informed blob of bigotry on the planet. I’ve been Jewish all my life, and I can assure you the only thing two Jews can agree upon is how much money a third Jew should donate to the synagogue!
We awoke last week to the rather spectacular headline that 19 rabbis, including 12 women, had been arrested for demonstrating in front of the Trump Hotel on Columbus Circle in New York City.
They were protesting President Trump’s executive order calling a temporary halt to those seeking to enter America from seven predominantly Islamic countries. If you have any regard for the truth, you won’t call it “Trump’s ban on Muslims.” Go ahead and guess which country has the largest Muslim population!
You’re wrong (almost certainly)! The answer is Indonesia! And which country comes in second? India! And neither Indonesia nor India is among the countries where the temporary ban applied.
Trump’s aim is better than that. This was a totally sensible security precaution, applicable for a limited time only. It was not crafted as a “ban on Muslims.” Trump-haters are so short of material they can’t let niceties like the truth stand athwart their path.
Back now to the 19 rabbis. They belong to a group called “T’ruah,” which describes itself as a “liberal Jewish group.”
As an activist in Jewish fundraising and support for Israel since the early 1960s, I must note that I’d never heard of the group until last week. That’s not an overweight insult. I’m confident they’ve never heard of me, either, but I cite my ignorance of that group’s existence merely to head off those outside the Jewish community who, if they assumed this group were credible and strong, might get the notion that “The Jews are against Trump.” Any Jewish male worth the cost of his circumcision or any Jewish female worth the mikvah fee feels downright liberated by Trump’s ascendency and Obama’s obsolescence. At least no Israeli prime minister who visits the Trump White House will have to leave hungry! The fact that there still remain Jews who miss Obama and hate Trump goes a long way to destroy the myth of Jewish intelligence.
A group such as T’ruah has the right to be small and non-influential. Such a group also has the right to take suicidally stupid positions and promulgate positions that are contrary to the interests of the Jewish people. But no group, no matter how small, non-influential, marginal, unheard of, suicidal or stupid has the right to back up its position with historical comparisons as swine-headed as the one put forth by T’ruah.
In explaining their anti-Trump position to critics, the good male and female rabbis of T’ruah actually said, “The banning of refugees hurts us personally to the core. We Jews remember the fate of those aboard the S.S. St. Louis in 1939.”
Stop right there. There’s no need for those of goodwill and normal intelligence to go one milli-squidgen further.
In 1939, just prior to Hitler’s invasion of Poland and the onset of World War II, a German ocean liner, the S.S. St. Louis, with a human cargo of Jews fleeing Hitler’s oppression, headed for North America in hopes of finding a safe haven. It was pitiful. The ship was refused permission to dock and off-load its cargo of desperate Jewish refugees in Cuba, Canada and, most shamefully, in the United States! It’s altogether possible that Jewish refugees aboard the S.S. St. Louis, as they were waiting hopefully to be allowed to land in Miami, saw the lights in their relatives’ ocean-front apartments in Miami Beach before they were turned away by President Roosevelt, who had earlier told a Jewish congressman begging him to admit Jewish refugees, “I’m growing tired of hearing the whining of Jews!” It’s possible some of those Jews aboard the S.S. St. Louis who were a scant 3 miles from their relatives were returned to Europe, where one third of the passengers perished in the Holocaust.
The most breathtaking violation of history of which I’m aware is the notion of this group, T’ruah, comparing the desperate Jews of that ship, who had never threatened nor harmed a single innocent German, to an Islamic population laced with those who not only admit but proclaim they will infiltrate the legitimate refugee population with Jihadis bent upon slaughtering as many non-Muslims as possible, especially Jews!
So, Trump’s protection of Americans “hurts T’ruah to the core”? Well, while their name signifies one of the sounds blown on the shofar (the nine staccato notes), interpreted as a “call to action,” it makes me interpret their political positioning as a call for me to blow the whistle on them!
Their Jewish stupidity hurts me to the core.
But all is not lost. T’ruah may be making the worst possible choices for their Jewish brethren.
But at least they’re not anti-Semitic toward the colored people!
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