Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Beat Goes On -- Anti-semitism in my time

Anti-Semitic acts are not new to me. Throughout my life I have experienced them often. I add to the veracity of those who encounter this hate and are voicing their hurt and anger today. I empathize with other minorities who are now suffering from the bastardization of an allegedly democratic Trump presidency. It is no coincidence that hate crimes across the nation are significantly higher. Our complaints about Anti-Semitism are real as it simmers under mankind's historical surface rearing its ugliness, in our time, when social, cultural and historical events dictate. We are able to even wax predictive of its emergence.

I remember well the experiences of this, the longest hatred, throughout my life. Sometimes I fought back and other times I did not want to get into an emotionally-charged blood-pressuring raising event. Now, I would not hesitate to defend myself and my people, the DNA of whom I share. 

​​Some examples:

When we first moved into our home I played with children in my neighborhood. At the age of about 8 one girl with whom I was playing told me Jews were Christ killers. I stood incredulous, did not know what she meant nor how to defend myself against an attack which I had never heard but knew then ​I was innocent. It was explained to her by another older girl in the neighborhood that the Jews did not kill Christ and that the Romans did. That, what should ha​ve been ​​an unnecessary explanation mantra, would be repeated by me again like a nursery rhyme with a bad ending I had learned. At​ ​​​eight years old I had to begin thinking about a 2000 year-old hatred that the mind of a child could not comprehend.

Another girl in third grade told me the same thing. Equipped with my new retort, that the Romans did it, we verbally sparred. The teacher refereed the dispute but was not, I thought, as vociferously against the girl who levied the accusation. It was, after all, the 1950's when we did not talk about such things. This is an era in which Trump and his minions ​would like to return to "make America great again.” One will pardon me if I think it was not so great then.

​A new German girl enrolled in my elementary school. We sat together in the lunchroom. When she saw my Jewish star I wore around my neck, she picked it up off my chest, scowled angrily and threw it back down. I sat silent​​ly.

In my workplace some women were discussing what they bought and one said that she "Jewed" a guy down to get the best price reflecting the stereotype of Jews and money. ​It felt as if she shot an arrow into the bulls eye of my heart​ but I said nothing​.​
The worst though, by far, was a verbal exchange with an older woman with whom I worked as we discussed the 1978 television mini-series "Holocaust." She said and I quote "Well that's what you get for killing one of your own." She meant, of course, ​​the killing of Chris​t, who was after all, a Jew, was justification for the Holocaust. ​​I will never forget that.

One hears t​hose things ​repeated by anti-Semites today. After 2000 years the mantra of the responsibility for deicide STILL haunts the Jew. I believe that accusation above any other explains​ the etiology of anti-Semitism's spread even in our time and has been justification for all the other stereotype​s ​with ​​which Jews have been tainted throughout centuries. ​As Jews dispersed from the Middle East 2000 years ago the specter of hate for the Jew morphed into the culture within the area Jews immigrated and was subject to the trajectory of its history.

Jews never do well when the government in which they live is extremist Fascist right nor do they prosper in a nation that is extremist Communist left. Jews do much better, as I aver ​most others do, in civil libertarian democracies where religion is separate from the state. The truth of this should register in the Jewish mind.

When I was a youth a country club near me was off limits to Jews. Today it is not but the social sickness of anti-Semitism is, like a polio virus, still around. If one does not inoculate oneself from its infection the consequential horror of it will, one can be sure, result. ​To stay silent today is not an option and there are 6 million reasons why it should never be.​ The beat of anti-Semitism goes on even reaching the halls of power in the radical so called "Alt Right​nativism of Trump's base ​stretching ​e​ven into the White House itself. Why am I am NOT surprised that the beat goes on and that it never seems to stop? 

Anti-Semitism is, indeed, the longest hatred stretching over continents. When will it ever end?

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