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We, the Accused

Holding the Victim to Blame

Whenever there is a terror attack against Israel, the world media finds some way to make Israel the accused, whether for provocation or retaliation, for people dying or failing to die, for killing the terrorists, or failing to kill them.

Yehuda Elberg, with rescued cousin now living in Israel

Yehuda Elberg, with rescued cousin now living in Israel

This is not a new phenomenon.  Two thousand years ago, a significant Jew was murdered by non-Jews, and for two thousand years the Jews have been persecuted for his death.  In the current era, Jews are being blamed by anti-Semites for provoking the holocaust.  They have been blamed for its horrible death toll, with their accusers putting the blame on Jewish passivity, and failure to resist.  It is this latter blame that my father Yehuda Elberg addressed in a lecture approximately forty years ago.  He was a holocaust survivor, a member of the Jewish Underground in Poland, and part of the Ghetto uprising.  Immediately following the war he worked on smuggling Jewish survivors to Israel (then known as Palestine).  Below are excerpts from his lecture We, the Accused.

***

On the 35th anniversary of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, a great deal was written about this in Jewish newspapers the world over, especially in Israel. The influential Maariv carried an article by Chaim Baltsan entitled: “Yom Ha-Shoah 1978: Is it Different from Previous Years?” Among other things, Baltsan wrote: “Much has already been written and said about the heroism — and under the circumstances it was extraordinary — the heroism displayed by the Ghetto rebels and the organizers of the uprisings in the camps. We are proud of that heroism, we will always be proud of it. But not so with the Shoah, that dark and bitter phenomenon in which it is impossible to find even the tiniest spark of light. Yet we are compelled to couple it with the heroism and to utter words in the same breath. We have linked the Holocaust with the heroic uprising in order to conceal the unacceptability of the pain, more accurately the shame; when we recall how millions were led like sheep to the slaughter…”

the Armenian genocide

the Armenian genocide

In brief, they are ashamed of us, they are ashamed of the survivors as well as the fallen. We are guilty of having put on the yellow badge. Better we had all died than let ourselves be so degraded. We are guilty because we did not revolt against being locked up in ghettos; proud people do not allow themselves to be locked into cages like animals in a zoo.  We are guilty because we let ourselves be herded into cattle-cars and did not counter-attack the Germans with our fists…

I want to tell you about the individuals and let the Chaim Baltsans be ashamed of their own ignorance, their own narrow mindedness, their own heartlessness, their owned blindness to the heroism of the Ghetto even when that the heroism was not as spectacular as in the Hollywood film.

An episode from 1940:

They made gallows just high enough for the feet to nearly touch the ground ... and they burned the Indians alive.'

They made gallows just high enough for the feet to nearly touch the ground … and they burned the Indians alive.’

The Germans had given the Jews out of a shtetl in that part of Poland which had been annexed to the Reich. They packed in Jews into trucks. One young woman with a baby in her arms was having difficulty climbing up into the truck. A German soldier politely took the child from her and helped her into the vehicle.  When she stretched other arms to take the child, he throw it to the ground.  The woman jumped from the truck.  The German pointed his rifle at her.  She didn’t budge.  He raved and raged and threaten to shoot her and the child.  She still didn’t budge. He then raised the muzzle of his gun and threatened to shoot all the Jews in the truck.  The woman dragged herself back into the truck.  When they arrived in Warsaw, she was out of her mind.

Who can evaluate the greatness of that sacrifice?  Who can measure the boundless love for her fellow Jews, that gave her the strength to make such a decision and incredible courage to carry it out?  The knowledge of what was going to happen to her baby burned so fiercely in her brain that consumed it.  Her nerves were strung so tautly that they snapped.  Yet she still managed to weigh and measure.  Her hands — a scale of destiny. In one hand the compulsive desire to remain with the child; in the other the lives of the few score Jews.  She made her decision and even succeeded in carrying it out before her unbearable anguish destroyed her brain.

Babi-Yar original art by Esti Mayer

Babi-Yar
original art by Esti Mayer

Hunger, fear and pain weaken a human being physically, and diminishes his mental strength.  There’s no need here to recount what the Jews went through from the beginning of 1940 until the summer of 1942.  In the proceedings of the Nuremberg trials you can find the testimony of one Herman Graebe, a German who was present during the slaughter of the Jews at Dubno.  A group of naked Jews stood at the edge of a ditch.  Behind them we Germans were loading their rifles.  Among the Jews stood a woman with a child in her arms.  The woman tickled the child, and began singing to it, so the child was laughing merrily when the German bullets cut down the mother and baby, and they both fell into the pit.

Psychologists tell us that when a person stands face to face with death all the emotions are paralyzed.  Terror, hope, anger, love, hate, all disappear at the moment when one looks death in the eye.  Emotionally he is already on the other side of the fight.

Our martyrs, however, demonstrated that it is not necessarily so.  Maybe fear has vanished, maybe all hope has died, maybe anger and hatred have been extinguished.  But one thing in this woman continued to live—love.  The emotion of love remained awake, strong, self-sacrificing.  I do not know any poem more lofty.  I’ve never heard any song more beautiful, never seen any deed more holy than the singing of that mother to her child in Dubno.  The chuckle of her infant, on the edge of the grave, sent out into the world’s void a resounding testimony of Jewish love and self-sacrifice.  The giggle of that child is the most exalted ode ever sung to the Jewish mother…

I come back to the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto and I must begin with a prefatory observation.

Some years ago there was a fire in the movie theater where everyone pushed for the exits.  People stepped on each other.  More people died from the panic than from the fire.  Similarly, on a sinking ship, everyone tries to get to the lifeboats.  People grab the rope ladders out of each other’s hands.  The result: nobody gets to the boats.

ghetto sepiaThe Warsaw Ghetto was a flaming inferno, a sinking ship.  But what happened with the people there?

On the day before the uprising began it was like Yom Kippur Eve in a pious Jewish household.  People spoke quietly, walk softly.  A kind of reverential air spread over the Ghetto streets, a trembling, but not out of fear.  Out of exultation.  A decision had been made, responsibility assumed.  But it did not weigh onerously on the people.  It hovered over their heads like an aura.  A whole community of Jews went forth to meet the inevitable with the purposefulness, with a sense of mission, and one could feel the presence of the wings of history, the duty to future generations.  Some sixty thousand Jews marched forth into greatness within the almost festive tread…

We, the Accused

It burns me when I hear someone say that the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto saved the honor and dignity of the Jewish people. No! Jewish honor stood high even when Jews were expiring with a quiet, unspectacular death. It was the honor of the entire humanity that was in mortal peril. And it was the greatness of the Jews in the ghettos, with their sanctified life and their heroic death that saved the honor of the human species, and gave flesh-end-blood mortals back their image of God.

I said that Jewish heroism did not begin with the uprising; it also did not end with the uprising. I need not describe the terror, the anguish, the scientific dehumanization system in the concentration camps. According to all experience in history, according to all the laws of psychology, the survivors should have emerged from the camps embittered destroyers, venomous killers and incendiaries, filled with hatred for a world that had led to all this and then permitted it to go on. Their physical health was destroyed. Their homes were destroyed. But the image of God within them was not.

Overnight, upon the liberation of the camps, a social life was created, with culture, with ideologies. The skeletal fingers did not yet have the strength to hold a pencil steadily, but they were already writing books, issuing newspapers.

I could tell you a great deal about the wonders and the miracles performed by the brands barely plucked out of the fire. Instead, let me quote from a letter by Professor Zelig Brodestski, the then head of Britain’s Jewish community, written to the survivors in Bergen- Belsen after he attended one at their congresses, immediately after the war.

“It was difficult for me to accept the task of coming here to you.  I did not know what to expect, how beaten or wretched you would look But you presented me with e picture of a proud Jewish life, a picture which I shall use in order to instill more pride and more life into the Jews in England. I had thought that perhaps you had fallen in your own esteem. But I have never experienced a more dignified congress. I had thought you would look with anger upon the Jews from abroad, who were able to do so little to save you from the Nazi murderers: but you welcomed me with love and warmth, and you spoke to me candidly and earnestly.  I was afraid you would only weep and lament but you combined your tears with the smile of the eternal Jew.  I had feared your disillusionment and hopelessness, but you displayed a faith and a resolution which all the .Jews in the world would do well to learn from you.”

There is an old legend about the lack of Jewish faith and determination which has hoisted over the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the victory of the Maccabees.  Two hundred and thirty five years later, when the Romans set fire to the Temple and the flames reached the mast, a whirlwind lifted the flag, the legend tells us, and carried it off to a faraway place to keep it safe for a future generation of Jews will redeem the Maccabean flag with their faith and determination.

To live and see this flag redeemed was my most ardent prayer and cherished dream since my childhood.  My dream came true in a strange and traumatic way. It was decades ago, the Warsaw Ghetto rose to fight a formidable enemy, and I was there when the blue-white flag was hoisted over the tallest building in the Ghetto.  It seemed to me that I had seen this flag before.  The dreamy blue and stark white flag was soon consumed by red flames together with the fighters.  It was then that I recognized the flag of my dreams.

Four years later in the Gulf of Lion, in the the harbor of Sete, over five thousand holocaust survivors boarded an old ship to fight the British blockade of the shore of Palestine, a ship later to be known as Exodus 1947.  Again I was there, watching the lineups of boarding passengers.  When I noticed the rolled-up banner under the arm of one of them, I immediately knew that this was the flag of my dreams.

I was not in the lines of battle during the Israeli War of Liberation and the subsequent wars of defense, but I knew that the Maccabean flag was there.  The legendary heroism, the devotion and self-sacrifice of the fighters are proof positive that the flag of faith and resolution inspired them.

***

We shall often be the accused.  But it no longer matters.  The flag that was over the Temple, over the Warsaw Ghetto, over Sete, is over Israel: it’s a flag that shall not fall again.

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The Physics of Lynch Mobs

cropped-SCOTTS-2ibxcg1

For Every Action There is an Equal and Opposite Reaction

Forces always occur in pairs. For example, when you push a cart, the cart pushes back against you; when gravity pulls you down against the ground, the ground pushes up against your feet. When you fire a rifle, you feel the recoil. When gravity pulls down on a neck in a noose, the rope pulls up. Whether it’s a jet plane, a rowboat or a baseball bat, Newton’s Third Law of Motion shapes just about everything in our lives that can be touched or felt.

This is a basic law of physics; it’s not a philosophical or theological principle. Nonetheless, it can give us some insight for understanding why the world is moving backwards at the same pace it’s advancing. At the same time that spacecraft travel beyond the outer reaches of the solar system and cancer is treated through genetic engineering, the Islamic Caliphate is fighting the same brutal wars as a thousand years ago. At the same time that the United States has its first black President, it experiences the same, or worse race riots as fifty years ago. This time though, it can’t be blamed on the powerlessness of black people. A black President, Mayor, Prosecutor, Congressional Representatives and policemen in Baltimore all attest to force being exerted, pushing the lives of black people. Is racial progress pushing upwards? One can certainly make a strong argument that black people in high positions are in control of black lives in Baltimore. Yet there seems to be an equal force pushing down.

Schrödinger’s cat / drug dealer

Sir Isaac Newton first presented his three laws of motion in 1686. By the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, scientists realized that really, really tiny things didn’t obey Newton’s Laws.  The rules used to understand the motion of a bullet or cart couldn’t be used to explain how an electron or atom works.

A thought experiment (one that was not performed, but took place only in the experimenter’s mind) was devised by the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, who imagined a quantum experiment with a cat:

cat good bad newsA cat is placed in a steel box along with a Geiger counter, a vial of poison, a hammer, and a radioactive substance…  Until the box is opened, an observer doesn’t know whether the cat is alive or dead—because the cat’s fate is intrinsically tied to whether or not the atom has decayed and the cat would, as Schrödinger put it, be “living and dead … in equal parts” until it is observed.  In other words, until the box was opened, the cat’s state is completely unknown and therefore, the cat is considered to be both alive and dead at the same time until it is observed.

This is counter-intuitive; it defies reason. Cats are either dead or alive. One can say that Schrödinger used the experiment to highlight the limits of Quantum Mechanics when applied to practical situations. The cat is actually either dead or alive, whether or not it has been observed.

Let’s consider a variation on the experiment. The steel box will be the back of a police van. The Geiger counter, the poison, hammer and uranium will be an unused seat belt, drugs, and protruding bolts. Instead of a cat, we’ll place Freddy Gray, a convicted narcotics dealer in the box, possibly busted in the midst of a drug deal. To increase the uncertainty we’ll add a witness who did and did not see Gray deliberately trying to injure himself.

Was Gray both dead and alive in the box? What took his life: was he poisoned by drugs, killed by a protruding bolt. Was it decay from a beating? Did someone hammer him with a police baton? The box has been opened, his death as been observed.  Though we lack crucial information, a verdict has been demanded in the name of justice; in the name of blind justice.

Back To The Future of Lynch Mobs

Lynching is the execution of an offender by a mob without due process of law. In the United States approximately 4,742 individuals were killed this way between 1882 and 1968; of the victims, 3,445 or 73 percent were Black. Some of the lynchings were preceeded by trials, but angry crowds, often stirred up by the press, could tip the hand of justice against the accused. Newspapers provided graphic and grizzly reports, using language that implied that the victim was indeed guilty, and deserving of his fate.

Leo Frank lynch mob

The lynching of Leo Frank

With very few exceptions the practice had pretty much died out by World War II. It was no longer socially acceptable. Although the American justice system is far from perfect, it does offer advantages over mob rule. In theory, evidence is gathered to determine guilt, appropriate charges are laid, and a judge or jury issues a decision based on the evidence.

Have we gone through a time warp, or is it Newton’s inexorable law of motion? Great racial progress has been made in the American justice system. There’s a black Attorney General, black Supreme Court Justice, black prosecutors, black police… Rarely is a black person tried by an all-white jury.

Yet despite this progress, we have lynch mobs in Ferguson, Miami, and Baltimore. Stirred up by the media, motivated by race-baiters such as the President, the mayor and the prosecutor, sympathy riots spread throughout the United States. Justice can only be served, they all said, when the police are convicted. When the people whose job it is to uphold justice have determined the desired outcome before the trial, there is no justice system, there are lynch mobs.

Entropy

boxes3

entropy illustrated

Entropy is a function of thermodynamic variables, with cosmological and social implications. It’s a hypothetical tendency for the universe to attain a state of maximum homogeneity in which all matter is at a uniform temperature (heat death). Based on this, in 1854, Hermann von Helmholtz made what is probably the gloomiest prediction in the history of science, that the universe is dying. Physicists of the day presumed that the underlying laws of physics (then assumed to be Newton’s laws of mechanics) are symmetric in time. Such laws, which made no distinction between past and future, gave rise to a directed arrow which we know as time.

There are many explanations, many discussions around this enigma (all beyond the scope of this essay). We should ask though, is humanity working towards a state of maximum homogeneity, in which all people are uniform? Racial equality, the end of discrimination is a worthy ideal, but when it’s all we focus on, we reverse time’s arrow, and re-create the lynch mobs of a century ago. Are we bringing ourselves to a social equivalent of heat death, with government officials promoting lynch mobs?

 Schrödinger’s Lynch Mob

In a previous essay, we cited Schrödinger’s association of consciousness with learning; adapting to change, learning from experience, transforming humanity. The racial upheaval that’s taken place in the United States shows a society that hasn’t learned, hasn’t adapted, not even to the changes it has wrought upon itself. A society that has lost consciousness. A society that has yet to realize that the election and elevation of people merely based on race rather than qualification will have an equal and opposite effect, that is the degradation of all races, the degradation of that society. The relentless push towards homogeneity will result in the heat death of burning communities, and of order and organization in society.

 

Note:

Dr. Amanda Peet (the physicist, not the actress) recounts the joke that sociology is applied psychology, psychology applied biology, biology applied chemistry, and chemistry applied physics.  Physics is a fascinating field, which grows more so with each new day. Quantum and cosmological weirdness provide a basis for philosophizing on many grand ideas. But people are not quantum objects (though they are made of them). Societies are not governed by the laws of thermodynamics. Physics concepts are applied in this essay as metaphors, not scientific statements.  They are used to illustrate.

 

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A Different Kind Of War

A Manifesto

Redefining the Battlefield

Our civilized world is in a different kind of war, aimed at dragging it back to the 8th century.  Our values are the enemy’s main weapon against us.  We must adapt if we are to survive.

Forget “religion.” Forget “nation” and “geography.” Don’t even think about “ideology” or “economy.” The enemy in this war includes our citizens, our co-religionists, people on the other side of the world, and our next-door neighbors. The civilized world, regardless of race, religion or region is in an apocalyptic conflict, aimed at dragging the world back to the Dark Ages, and the old categories are keeping us from fighting back.

Forget the meaning of war. Forget the Geneva Convention, the Hague Convention on the rules and regulations of war. Those are for armies, countries, civilized people. This is a irrelevant in a different kind of wardifferent kind of war

Some combat takes place on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria. Other battles are on the streets of Ottawa, Paris, Boston and Montreal. Some involves the execution of soldiers; some, of shoppers. The aggressor in this war wants to browbeat his opponents into acquiescence; this doesn’t always entail killing. Sometimes the threat of violence is enough to cancel a lecture, silence a critic. The police are among the first to advise compliance in order to avoid trouble. They certainly don’t want to appear Islamophobic.

Cops are good for dealing with criminals. They are not equipped for war. Our legal system is not equipped for this different war. And so, we are losing.

 

Islamophobia- a different kind of war

Islamophobia

We lost on 9/11.

We lost in the Madrid, the London bombings.

We lost in the Boston Marathon, at Parliament in Ottawa, in the relentless barbarism in Nigeria.

…and countless more.

Body_Scan_Pic

airport security scan

We lose every time we go to the airport and  give up an hour or so to have our bags and bodies scanned.

We lose every time we use a phone, send an e-mail or look at a web page, because these are no longer private acts. They must be scanned by security, looking for plots by our enemies.

We lose whenever an organization fears to publish its address, when security guards or even soldiers have to protect religious institutions. When we can’t go into certain areas of our cities, because they are under control of the enemy.

We lose when dissenting opinions are shouted down or their speakers beaten up. When those opinions can’t be given voice, for fear of offending vengeful, violent people. Free speech is good and we are all Charlie Hebdo, but we don’t want to end up like Charlie Hebdo.

Kenyan Church after attack

Kenyan Church after attack

A Different Kind of War Strategy

It will get worse unless we prepare to fight back. We need different tactics, for this different war. Here are some suggestions:

  • Ban immigration, ban temporary visas from regions where our defeats are celebrated, where our enemies are admired; places such as Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and North Africa.
    • Canada has a long tradition of favoring immigrants from particular countries. It’s time for Canada and the U.S. to discriminate on the basis of origin.
  • Anyone who goes to fight on behalf of an enemy or terrorist entity shall be considered guilty of treason if he is a citizen or legal resident.
    • If he’s on temporary visa, the visa shall be immediately cancelled and the person deported.
    • The death penalty for treason must be restored, with a process that does not lead to interminable delays.
  • Mosques must report to police the identity of new converts,so they can be monitored.
    • Some people find violence and savagery exciting. Tired of online game warfare, they want to go to the next level, and think that Islam will get them there. The Imam of the mosque of Martin Couture-Rouleau, the convert who ran over two soldiers in St. Jean, Quebec, understood the problem, and cooperated with the RCMP. Such cooperation must be mandatory.
    • This discriminatory practice needn’t apply to other religions; their converts are not killing in the name of their new beliefs.
  • Jailed radical Muslims must be isolated from other prisoners, to prevent jailhouse radicalization or conversion.
  • Prisons must develop and apply effective intervention programs to minimize radicalization of inmates.
A War to Protect Civil Rights and Liberties

“Civil rights” are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or “discrimination”) in a number of settings — including education, employment, housing, and more — and based on certain legally-protected characteristics.

  • TheCivil Rights of the majority,and of peaceful minorities must be protected by civil and criminal law.  This includes (within the confines of law)
    • Ability to hold meetings
    • To publish and disseminate information
    • To dress according to their religion without fear of violence
    • To peacefully espouse their religious traditions and attend services.
    • To support the political and social causes of their choice.
      • All without fear of violence.
  •  A person’s right to advocate for a cause shall not interfere with the right of others to work, or to carry on their business.
    Modern taxi service

    Modern taxi service

    • The right to practice a religion shall not oblige an employer to compromise his business in order to accommodate religious beliefs and practices.
    • If a person freely takes on an obligation, he cannot excuse himself from it because of religious issues
      • If a person takes a job as a bartender, he cannot refuse to serve alcohol. If he’s a taxi driver he cannot refuse service dogs because of his religion. If his faith forbids dogs, let him find a different job.
  • Anyone on a visa who interferes with civil rights of others shall immediately have his visa cancelled.
  • Anyone interfering with normal activities (civil rights) of Canadians shall be held financially responsible for the consequences.
  • Anyone causing financial loss though demonstrations or related political activities shall be held financially responsible.
  • Anyone sponsoring or organizing such interference, whether directly or indirectly shall be held financially or criminally responsible.
  • The Tides Foundation of San Francisco funds environmental protests in Canada. Such protests include obstructing the operation or
    "Useful Idiots"

    “Useful Idiots”

    construction of national infrastructure. The anonymous donors who fund such activities through Tides must be held accountable for the damage they cause.

  • Calling for the death of people because of their race, ethnicity or religion shall be deemed a criminal act.
  • It shall be illegal to conceal one’s face when in public place, except as part of organized activity with permit from appropriate authorities.
International Economics and Propaganda in a Different Kind of War

The economic success of Western civilization is premised on capitalism, i.e. the free flow of capital between economic entities.   Any interference with the flow is bad, in principle. However when the entities have another purpose beside economic advancement or are trying to gain a surreptitious advantage, they must be controlled. When a CNOOC, a Chinese company bought a large stake in a Canadian energy company it gave the tyrannical Chinese Communist Party a direct hand in Canadian energy development. It didn’t take long for it to start reneging on the commitments it made to get regulatory approval.

Petronas Towers, Malaysia

Petronas Towers, Malaysia

Petronas, owned by the government of Malaysia also has significant stakes in Canadian energy companies, including infrastructure. Malaysia is sixty-one percent Muslim. This in itself need not be a problem, but the country is quickly sliding towards fundamentalism and violence. A past Prime Minister was a vicious anti-Semite, and the current one has praised the strength of ISIS fighters.

In Saudi Arabia and the gulf Emirates, the governments, the energy producers and the worldwide wealth they control are essentially the same entities. The Saudis are the second largest shareholder in Fox News. They have a growing influence in the American press and entertainment industry, and they are not shy about using it.   When environmentalists oppose North American energy development, when they create obstacles that delay projects and add costs, the Saudis gain a competitive cost advantage. Sometimes the environmentalists know who is funding their work, sometimes they are clueless. Either way, they are serving the regime that has funded the worldwide spread of radical Islam.

By funding North American environmentalists, by engaging in an energy price war, the Saudis are trying to gain a surreptitious advantage. Petronas, the Saudis and CNOOC are not simply foreign capitalist entities. The former two are connected to those who have undertaken the different kind of war against us. The latter two are part of aggressive, anti-democratic regimes with no respect for the values of Western civilization. They must not be allowed to influence us in our battle.

  • Megyn-Kelly-FNC

    Employed by Murdoch and Alwaleed

    All voting control of subsidiaries of state-owned entities must be firmly and clearly separated from the regimes that own them.

  • Western governments shall be entitled to place auditors within the subsidiaries to ensure that decisions they make are for normal business purposes only.
  • Subsidiaries of state-owned entities shall not be allowed to engage in public relations, political lobbying or community affairs, whether directly or through funding of other groups.
  • Subsidiaries of state-owned entities shall not be allowed to invest in the press, entertainment media, or online social networks.
 A Different Kind of War Entails a Different Kind of Sacrifice

In previous world wars, populations related to the enemy were placed in internment camps, to make sure they weren’t working to destroy us from within. Loyal Canadians and Americans were rounded up, and treated horribly. We don’t want to do that again. It’s more than probable that the vast majority of Muslims are loyal citizens of the Western countries they now inhabit (there is no way to properly quantify this). But we can’t ignore the many radicals dedicated to our destruction.   We must make sacrifices, such as suspending some of  our values— the ones that are being used against us.  We must fight back. Pretending that a different kind of war is not really a war is the path of appeasement on the road to surrender.

You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.
                                                                                    – Ayn Rand

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Once We Were Warriors

The recent Sabbath murder of a rabbi in Miami, the sucker-punching of Jews outside a kosher restaurant in Montreal, and many similar incidents around the world do not point to a rise in Jew hatred.  Rather, they show that anti-Semites (whether neo-Nazi or Muslim) feel more comfortable expressing their contempt, whether through insults, vandalism, or physical assault.  The Miami police immediately declared there was no evidence the rabbi’s murder

vandalized synagogue in Miami

vandalized synagogue in Miami

was a hate crime, even though the nearby synagogue had recently been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti. In Montreal, the police tried to discourage the victim from filing a police report, and then drove off.  A member of Hatzoloh, the Jewish Emergency Volunteer Service, rushed to help the injured man in their stead.

In Calgary, as reported in a previous post, the police were out of sight when Jews were assaulted by Muslim demonstrators.  In Paris, pro-Palestinian demonstrators armed with rocks, glass, axes and knives advanced on a synagogue as police lost control.  Jewish youth became warriors, defending the synagogue.  Some were injured, mostly at the hands of gendarmes supposedly keeping the peace.  And there are many places in Europe where the police fear to tread.  The authorities, to put it simply, cannot be relied upon.

Judean Warrior

Ancient Judean Warrior

An ancient Jewish teaching (Sotah 49b) asks “On whom shall we rely?  On our Father in Heaven.”  This can be interpreted as a denial of nature, of cause and effect.  For example according to this interpretation, if someone swings a baseball bat at your head, ducking is not going to make a difference.  All that matters is whether or not God wants you to get hit.  Getting a good job will not be more financially rewarding than studying Torah or playing X-Box, if God doesn’t plan for you to do well.

This is not the traditional Jewish approach, but rather a twentieth century innovation.  The Bible teaches that when Jacob was about to meet his brother Esau, he was afraid that he and his family would be killed in revenge for Jacob’s

the reunion of Jacob and Esau

the reunion of Jacob and Esau

having stolen their father’s blessings many years earlier.  Jacob did three things to protect himself.  He sent Esau gifts to appease him, to make peace.  He prayed to his Father in Heaven.  And he prepared for war.

The historic slaughters of Jews are well-known: the Holocaust, the Chmielniki pogroms, the Crusades.  Many times, Jews went silently to their deaths.  Many times, such as in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, they fought to the death.

The Judean Revolt was Crushed by a Jewish Warrior

Once Jews were warriors, from their entry into Canaan under Joshua, through the  kings of Judea, the Hasmonean rebels and the Roman military.  The Emperor Vespasian appointed an Alexandrian Jew named Tiberius Julius Alexander to spearhead his effort to crush the Judean rebellion of 69 CE (a precedent for modern assimilated Jews attacking Israel).  Jews were valued members of the Roman military for centuries before and after.

Jews should definitely rely on the “Father in Heaven.”  But Jewish teachings also specify not to rely on miracles.  The Patriarch Jacob didn’t: he prepared for war.

In Israel, the IDF must always be prepared, or the country will be wiped out. On Yom Kippur, 1973, it wasn’t prepared.   Some attribute Israel’s survival to God’s intervention.  Others credited it (at least in part) to President Richard Nixon’s insistence that Israel must be saved, no matter what it took.

And in the diaspora?  Must individual, civilian Jews be prepared for war?  They can’t rely on the police.  Sometimes the police can’t intervene, sometimes they won’t bother to.  Will hiring a few security guards protect Jewish institutions from vandalism or assault?  When a Palestinian or neo-Nazi wants to terrorize Jewish children, is the proper response to cower or hide?  To wear a baseball cap instead of a skullcap?

John-Howard-GriffinIn nineteen-sixty, John Howard Griffin wanted to understand the black experience in America, and undertook medical treatments to change his skin color.  He was shocked at the extent of prejudice, oppression and hardship he went through.

In two thousand fourteen, Ryan Bellerose, a Native American, wanted to understand the Jewish experience, and wore a kippa, a Jewish skullcap for a week.   He was shocked by the glares, by the ignorance, and outright bigotry.  He was shocked at being called “Genocider, Jew baby-killer.”  Bellerose, a physically intimidating man, considered that if he was treated this way, what happened to Jews who did not look like they could defend themselves?

Jews can’t all be a Steven Seagal or a Ryan Bellerose, but they must develop a reputation as civilized warriors,  slow to anger, but capable of defending themselves.  Cowardly attackers should not be able to assume that it’s safe to strike.  Anti-Semites should not feel it’s

Ryan Bellerose

Ryan Bellerose

safe to physically express their hatred. It’s time once again for Jews to be physically intimidating.

It’s time for Jews to once again pick up their warrior mantle, to learn to fight, to injure those who would hurt them.  It’s time for self-defence to become a compulsory subject at Jewish schools.  Jews can still rely on the “Father in Heaven,” but not just through prayer and supplication.  It’s not the kind of world we want to see, but it’s what’s the world’s becoming; not just for Jews, but for any non-Muslim living somewhere with a significant Muslim population.  The Jews are the prime target of Jihadis, but certainly not the only one.

As George Washington said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”  Let’s drop our old assumptions, and preserve the peace.