Thursday, June 11, 2009

Murder at the Museum: The recent murder by a right wing anti-Semite at the Holocaust Museum in Washington is a mystery to me. Who would have thought after the murder of 6 million innocent humans that anything like that, as Elie Wiesel said at the Buchenwald concentration camp with President Obama, would again be perpetrated? Who would think this would still be part of human history?

For the Jew, the specter of Hitlerian hate never dies. It lives on not only among the rancid right wing fanatics but it lives on among leftist extremists as well. The Jew is hated from each side of the political spectrum equally and in every corner of the globe. Even in many South American states, synagogues must have guards on rooftops. They must remain nondescript with little visible acknowledgment of what, in reality, they are. If a Jew has money he must be unpretentious, careful not to show his wealth lest he be a target -- the rich Jew, the non-deserving-of-his-money Jew even if he worked so hard to get it.

I am convinced that the world's LONGEST hatred is its most UNIVERSAL hatred. I am convinced there is NONE other like it EVER in human history. It is and has always been so very hard for me to understand. I, a Jew, have none of the poisonous stereotypical attributes accorded to Jews. I am neither a Communist nor a Wall Street banker. I am certainly not among the rich, I am not a thief, a conniver and I am not plotting to undermine anyone. I have never been involved in a trade union nor a conspiracy to hurt multitudes. I have never known anyone who has. The only group with whom I have met consistently is a book club. The question becomes, as it always has been, why. Why is the Jew the most despised, put upon, rejected group, I think, on earth?

I KNOW my people and have lived among them all my life. I KNOW who I am and I KNOW the generality of who we are. I KNOW the goodness, the brilliance, the yearning for success, education and the caring about the powerless that lies deep in the Jewish heart. I KNOW Jews voted overwhelmingly for Obama despite fears to the contrary. I KNOW this and yet I do NOT know what we as a people have done for 5000 years of history to deserve our fate. Is the reason fundamentally the accusation of New Testament deicide or is it jealousy of Jewish success as my mother so often explained to her child what the rationale behind the accusation of "Christ Killer" was so many years ago? Why is Madoff so feared among my people as an indictment of ALL of us but Charles Ponzi was just a bad guy and had nothing to do with Italians? Why were indictments of the spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg a stain upon all Jews? Why were my parents afraid to talk about the issue? Why was not the spy Robert Hansen an indictment of all Danes, Polish or Germans and a shame upon them?

If I had lived in Europe at that fateful Holocaust time and if I were the same person I am today -- disabled, Jewish, female among other minorities I would have had a free ride to Auschwitz and, in reality, would have done nothing to anyone to deserve it. If I could live to be 200 the mystery of the murder at the museum would still remain a mystery to me.