Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Back in 2012, New York City was considered to have the greatest number of Jewish residents in the US (here). New York was said to have more Jews than Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, DC combined (ibid).
While current Jewish census numbers for New York aren't easy to come by, there's a universal feeling among those 'in the know' that New York City still has the largest Jewish population outside Israel (here). By the end of 2019, it seemed perfectly acceptable to call New York City, "the hub of Jewish life in America" (here).
No one questions that assessment.
It's important to mention the size of New York's Jewish population because, in America, size might suggest political strength. If New York City's Jewish community is so large, one might reasonably think that the City's Jews have some kind of political clout. After all, there is--or should be--safety in numbers, right?
That might be a reasonable thought. But for Jews in New York City, that thought would be wrong.
Over the last decade, Jews in New York City have been living in an increasingly dangerous environment. Jews now have to "watch their backs" as they walk in the streets (here). It may no longer be safe to be Jewish in New York City (here).
What makes this safety issue so troubling is that, so far as most Jews seem to be concerned, this growing absence of physical safety doesn't appear to affect the Jewish community's sense of security. This lack of concern could prove dangerous for Jews.
The safety of Jews in New York City declines. Of that, there's no doubt. But the Jews of New York won't make aliyah. They prefer to stay in New York--despite the danger.
Is that wise?
Worse, it isn't just a loss of physical safety that should concern New York's Jews. There's growing evidence that New York's Jews also lose their political safety.
A community's loss of "Political Safety" means the losing of power in the City's halls of power. It means Jews can be ignored when they call for help. It means Jews are no longer treated as someone who counts.
In April, 2020, New York's Jews got a lesson in how it feels to lose political clout. Two incidents stand out.
The first incident happened when a Hasidic funeral violated a standing corona-related social-distancing rule put in place by the Mayor to mitigate against the effects of the corona pandemic. This particular funeral had drawn hundreds (the City said, "thousands", but no one can verify that larger number) into the streets of Brooklyn for a parade to honor the deceased. Angered by the obvious social-distancing violation seen in this gathering, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio penned a harsh tweet, not simply at at the particular Hasidic group involved in this violation, but at the entire City Jewish community (here). The harshness of his comments contrasted significantly with another DeBlasio tweet just a few days earlier, one aimed at the City's Muslim community.
Here are the two tweets, written just a few days apart:
I don't know how you read DeBlasio's words, but De Blasio stands accused of blatant anti-Semitism (here). New York's major papers slammed him. The wallstreetjournal wrote of DeBlasio's "sympathy" for other ethnic groups (see the tweet to Muslims, above) versus his "message" (suggesting some sinister tone) to Jews (here). The journal suggested that DeBlasio was stereotyping an entire community for the violations of a few, a clear act of discrimination; and when the newyorktimes wrote its own essay on this 'tempest', they ran their headline that said, "DeBlasio finds his scapegoat" (here)--a reference to yet another anti-Jew trope.
Was DeBlasio truly blaming the Jewish community as a whole for the spread of corona? Some thought so (here).
This tweet storm didn't end DeBlasio's self-created Jewish 'problem'. One month later, late May, protests broke out around the USA after the death of one George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1,000 miles outside New York. New York saw its own "George Floyd" protests--and these were massive. In New York's protests, tens of thousands of people came together, often scrunched together as tightly packed as sardines (here, at the 2:38:16-26 point). In these protest marches, there was obvious and strong evidence of a repeated failure to observe social distancing on a far greater scale than the earlier Hasidic funeral procession, discussed above.
With the "Floyd" protests, DeBlasio's anti-Jew sin became clearer: while he had threatened the Jewish community over violating social distancing, he gave the George Floyd protesters a free pass. He joined them. He didn't wear his mask. He walked with them--elbow-to-elbow.
He had told Jews he wasn't going to allow anyone to violate the laws he had passed (ibid). Now, he was doing exactly that--for a non-Jewish gathering.
That happened in the first week of June. In the second week of June, DeBlasio doubled down against his City's Jews, with more harsh words. To stop the spread of the corona pandemic, DeBlasio had ordered neighborhood city playgrounds to be locked--even as he himself had rubbed elbows with Black Lives Matter and transgender protesters (here). During those protests, DeBlasio was asked about Orthodox Jews using lock-cutters to break open their neighborhood playgrounds for their children. In response, he slammed the Jews for "taking the law into their own hands"--even though he had himself ignored that same law during the protests.
In the end (if this is indeed 'the end of the matter'), in late June, 2020, the US Department of Justice looked into the issue of DeBlasio's discriminatory behavior towards the City's Jews. It came to the conclusion that DeBlasio had behaved badly not only towards Jews, but towards others in the City who were religious. Still, the DOJ said that DeBlasio had indeed singled out Jews in particular by enforcing uneven pandemic standards:
The DOJ said, DeBlasio had "enforced uneven social distancing rules that “favor certain secular gatherings and disfavor religious gatherings”...“During the period in which all gatherings were banned, you [DeBlasio] reportedly sent police officers to break up numerous gatherings of the Jewish community in New York, including reported outdoor gatherings for funerals...while being more lenient with the protests" (here).
Some Orthodox Jews were outraged, as well they should have been. But other Orthodox Jews ignored De Blasio's discrimination--to march with 'Floyd' protesters, some of whom were no friends to Jews (here).
As if to put an exclamation point on the collapse of safety for Jews (in New York City and elsewhere), a former Police Commissioner has warned (as reported on July 15, 2020) that America is now in a "dangerous place" for Jews. Jews face increased risk, he suggested, especially since police have begun to back away from proactive crime prevention (here).
At a time when anti-Semitism across America increases, less police protection should put Jews--both in New York and nationwide--on alert. In today's America, as police back away from law enforcement, Jews "are vulnerable to ideological attacks and brutal physical assaults by hate groups" (here). Jews are, simply put, no longer safe.
Is this what Jewish life in America's premier Jewish city has become? If safety for Jews in the US's biggest Jewish community evaporates, what will Jewish life become like in cities with smaller Jewish numbers?
As Jewish life in New York--and in America--becomes increasingly unsafe, why do Jews stay in America? Why do they refuse to make aliyah?
What are these exiled Jews waiting for?
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Benjamin Netanyahu has been Prime Minister of Israel longer than anyone one else in Israel's history. Israel is a democracy, but its political climate seems unique among Western democracies.
National politics in Israel don't appear to be particularly Western-like. Instead, Israel's national political scene seems more like a free-for-all-no-holds-barred fight club than what one would expect to find in a Western 'democracy'.
What Israel's national political scene has been for decades, America's national political scene has been for just four years--a wild brawl.
If you are an Israeli who's a gentle, caring person, politics in Israel isn't for you. In fact, Israel's political climate is so tough, most Prime Ministers don't serve out the typical four-year term; most have to call for new elections before finishing 3.5 years--if they're lucky to get that far.
The Israeli political spotlight is harsh, even toxic. Political "sharks" in Israel can't wait to attack a new Prime Minister. The hostility aimed at a new PM is often white-hot. That's why a newly elected PM rarely makes it through a full 4-year term.
Except, that is, for Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is truly the rare political exception. So far in his political career, he has won more elections (7) than anyone else running for PM except David Ben Gurion (9). Netanyahu has served as PM longer (14 years, 124 days, as of July 15, 2020) than anyone else. He has also served more 3.5+ year terms-of-office than anyone else.
He is even the only man in Israel to win an election while under criminal indictment (which, many say, is more politically-driven than fact-driven). Indeed, if new elections are called in Israel before December, 2020 (as some have begun to speculate), he may become the only man in Israel to win a national election while on trial for 'crimes against the state'.
There's no question that Fate has been kind to Benjamin Netanyahu. He leads a 'charmed' political life. His survival in the street brawl called, an "Israeli National election" seems, well, more supernatural than natural.
Why is this man different from all other men who have run for PM in Israel? G-d knows.
There's good reason for Netanyahu's good fortune. HaShem, the G-d of the Jewish people, grants good fortune to fall upon those He chooses. What a secularist might call the "fickle finger of Fate", is only--for the more spiritually sensitive--the guiding hand of HaShem moving actors and events around in order to secure the outcome He deems best for the Plans He has.
So far, HaShem's Plans for Netanyahu have brought him good fortune. But that was then. Now is a different story. Now, July, 2020, Netanyahu suffers.
Where once Netanyahu's approval rating (and his Fortune) skyrocketed (at the beginning of Israel's corona pandemic), it now plummets. He no longer leads. He is forced instead to share his leadership decisions with a so-called "unity government" that offers no unity whatsoever.
Where once he was known for his success running Israel's economic plan, the current, extended pandemic churns his economic plans into chaos (and even violence--here) as he struggles to make decisions surrounded by a supposed "unity" coalition that brings to Netanyahu nothing but troubles and attacks. This "unity" government is a farce. It ignores all attempts to help (here). This 'unity' government brings only dissension, not unity (here, here).
When Netanyahu cannot do anything without approval from his so-called "friends" in the Blue-White Party (the result of the supposed "unity" government), his decision-making capabilities shrinks to zero. His effectiveness as a leader evaporates.
This is why, before the "unity" government, Netanyahu was able to be Israel's corona 'hero'. It's also why now, handcuffed by his 'unity' partners, he suddenly appears beleaguered, indecisive and weak.
This so-called "unity government" is a disaster for both Netanyahu and Israel. It has provoked Israel's public to lose trust in Netanyahu (here). It's brought violent protests to the streets (here). It's gotten so bad that Netanyahu now complains that Gantz--his supposed "unity" partner--along with Gantz's Blue-White Party have failed to take the steps necessary to wage an effective war against the pandemic (here).
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel celebrated Netanyahu's leadership. Now, tied to unwilling partners, he faces protest after protest. Where once he could do no wrong, now he can do nothing right.
The problem is, as he suffers, so does Israel. His "unity" partners are not just driving Netanyahu into the ground. They're driving Israel's economy into the ground.
The secularist might say this is an example of Netanyahu being harassed by the fickle finger of Fate. But the more spiritually tuned might tell you it isn't dumb Fate that moves approval ratings against him. It's HaShem, the G-d of Israel, who moves those ratings.
Why? G-d knows.
The passage of time will tell us if this so-called "unity" government will strangle both Israel and it's longest-serving Prime Minister. In the meantime, Netanyahu might be wise to remember that his survival as PM depends more upon HaShem than the Blue-White Party.
Friday, July 10, 2020
How many times should Israel defend itself against Arab lies and misrepresentations? The answer to this question is simple: every day Arabs lie about or misrepresent Israel, that is the day Israel must respond--forcibly.
But that's not how Israel behaves. Mostly, Israel ignores lies and misrepresentations by Arabs who call themselves 'Palestinians'; or, Israel's response is, at best, tepid. That's a mistake because the world will always see a weak--or tepid--response as an admission of guilt. A tepid response says, we have no response because we're guilty.
Israel recently saw yet another gross lie/misrepresentation by an Arab who calls himself 'Palestinian'--and we also saw that Israel's response was less than exciting. That response was wrong.
Here's what happened:
On June 21, 2020, an Arab driver used his car to ram into Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint near the eastern entrance to Jerusalem (near a place called, Abu Dis). That Arab driver used his car to drive directly into one soldier, sending that soldier flying backwards. The driver then exited his car. He was shot by other soldiers at the checkpoint (he died shortly after). The entire incident took less than 10 seconds.
The next day, Saeb Erekat, a top PLO ('Palestinian') official, called the killing of the Arab driver in this incident, an "execution" (here). Erekat claimed that the driver--who, it turns out, was his cousin--was "rushing through a checkpoint to pick up (or, alternatively, to bring) his mother and sister from a beauty salon in Bethlehem.” Erekat then added, "My cousin, the nephew of my wife, was executed, murdered in cold blood" (ibid).
This is an incendiary accusation. It accuses Israelis of outright, unprovoked murder. For Arabs who call themselves, 'Palestinians', such an accusation has the potential to spark riots and attacks against Jews. Such words are unprofessional for a supposed "diplomat" to use. Such language is also irresponsible, since it could mean that both Jews and Arabs could be hurt by the consequences of those words.
What was Israel's response? Israeli officials said nothing. Instead, they released a video of the incident. You'll be able to see that video in a moment.
But first, keep in mind that Erekat had said that his cousin, the driver of the car, was rushing through
the checkpoint when he was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers.
But as you watch this video, you can judge for yourself. Was the driver simply "rushing through", or even attempting to "rush through" the checkpoint when he was shot--or, did that driver drive into the checkpoint's narrowest point and then aggressively turn into the soldiers?
Watch the video, then you can tell me.
The video is just 11 seconds long; watch carefully here.
If you watch the video several times, you can see the car driving forward into the checkpoint until it clearly and sharply turns into the soldiers--and it may even appear briefly to accelerate (after turning right) just before it strikes the soldier.
Does this driver look like he was driving through the checkpoint? I've watched this video several times, and I don't think so. Instead, it appear that the driver goes straight, all right--but only up to where the soldiers were standing. Then, he turns the car hard into them.
Watch again, if you need.
So far as I am concerned, this video demonstrates that this driver was not attempting to continue straight (as Erekat claimed) through the checkpoint, but was rather driving into the checkpoint's narrowest point in order to turn into somebody. You can even see the car clearly move to its left, as far as it possibly can--no doubt to make its upcoming sharp right-turn as easy (and as accurate) as possible--before it turns sharply to its right.
Israel's response to this attack was, so far as I can tell, silence. Israel merely released the video with little-to-no comment. That 'release-with-no-comment' was a big, big mistake.
Israel should have been as aggressive in its defense as Erekat was with his accusation. Israel should have reprimanded Erekat for lying and inciting--because the video evidence clearly does not support his accusation. The sharp turn of the car inside the narrowest point reveals the driver's actions to be aggressive, potentially deadly--and certainly not 'innocent'.
Arabs who call themselves 'Palestinians' have been crying against Israel with a loud and clear voice for years. This tactic has won these Jew-hating Arabs many friends. People worldwide listen intently to cries and accusations.
Arabs who call themselves 'Palestinian' cry they are "victims" while Israel remains tepid in its response. From this, the world concludes that Israel's relative silence means it is indeed "guilty as charged". This is a pattern that's repeated every day, every week, every month of the year.
It's time Jews in Israel learn from their more sophisticated enemies. Yes, make no mistake. These Arab cries and accusations are far more sophisticated than Israel's tepid responses.
The Arab-Israel conflict is, among other things, a war of words. It's a war of emotions--and many of the Arabs who hate Jews play to the world-as-audience the way an expert fiddler plays to his audience.
Israel can no longer afford to allow Arab lies and misrepresentations to define the terms of the Arab-Israel conflict. But that is exactly what Israel has done--it cedes the ground to anti-Israel Arab accusations. It allows Arabs to define the Arab-Israel conflict as a war caused by Jewish oppression of Arabs, and not a war caused by an Arab obsession to destroy Israel by any and all means necessary.
Israel must change. It's time Israel strikes back in this propaganda war--hard and often. Playing meekly just doesn't work any more--if it ever did.
Israel should know by now that facts mean nothing in this bloody war. Never did. It's emotions that mean something.
Perhaps someone should remind our Israeli leaders that it's the 'squeaky wheel' that gets oiled, not the silent wheel. It's the bawling mother and the angry diplomat that gets the world's attention, not the cool, cold-looking official.
Israel needs to wake up. Israel needs to speak up with anger when these accusations arise--with a loud and clear voice.
Otherwise, Israel loses.
Sunday, July 5, 2020
July 1, 2020 was to be an historic day for Israel. For months, Israel's leadership talked about applying sovereignty to parts of Judea-Samaria, including the Jordan River valley.
Well, July 1, 2020 has come. Now, it's gone. So, it appears, is talk of sovereignty.
Sovereignty didn't happen on July 1. In fact, nothing happened on July 1. Nothing.
That was last week. Today, July 5th, nothing has changed. The order of the day for sovereignty is still "Nothing". The only real news we've heard about this "sovereignty" move is that it's just not "practical" at this moment (here).
Last week, "not practical at this moment" wasn't part of Israel's official "sovereignty talk". Suddenly, it's all Israel can say?
Instead of sovereignty, today's headlines in Israel are about a surge in new cases of conoravirus. Israel seems close to another lock-down--or, maybe not. We wait for more information for our esteemed leadership--a leadership which, by the way, appears to have dropped talk of "sovereignty" as if the word had never been uttered.
Sovereignty? What sovereignty?
Who cares about sovereignty? Israel is talking about corona (here)--and two secret attacks against Iran, in Iran.
One attack was a cyber attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. There have also been three or four other "explosions" in Iran. There was a report of what appeared to have been a missile attack against an Iranian 'installation'. No one knows. No one reveals anything. Israel remains mum.
Sovereignty? What sovereignty? Was someone talking about sovereignty?
Was all this talk of "sovereignty" just a joke? If it was, I don't see anyone laughing.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
One day before Israel is scheduled to act on sovereignty, Abbas declares, "I want to talk with Israel!"
Do you remember when US President Donald Trump announced his "Deal of the Century" Peace Plan? Seems long ago, doesn't it?
It wasn't. It happened in January, 2020--less than 5 months ago.
On january 28, 2020, US President Trump announced his new Peace Plan. It was designed to end the Arab-Israel conflict.
Trump loved it. He called it, the 'Deal of the Century'.
Trouble was, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas didn't love it. His reaction to it was swift, certain and predictable: anger and rejection.
He started with his anger even before the Plan was formally announced. On January 27th, the day before the official announcement of the Plan, Abbas called for an escalation of violence "on all fronts" in order to stop it (here).
Then, Abbas went on a diplomatic rant:
-"Furious Abbas 'gives go-ahead' to Day of Rage over Trump plan" (here, on January 28th)
-"Abbas on Trump peace plan: 'Conspiracy deal won't pass'
" (here , on January 28th)
-"Abbas: 1,000 ‘no’s to the Trump plan" (here, on January 28th)
-"'Slap of the century': Palestinians reject Trump Mideast plan" (here, on January 28th)
-Just four days later, on February 1st, Abbas announced he wasn't just going to reject this insult (slap of the Century) of a 'plan', he was cutting all ties with both the US and Israel because of it (here).
-By February 6th, Israel had already seen a new series of terror attacks (here)--3 occurring on February 6th alone (here).
-On February 7th, Abbas declared angrily, "Palestinians will foil Trump's peace plan no matter who the victims might be'" (here). He added that his Palestinians "will fight the plan regardless of the sacrifices" (ibid).
-The next day, February 8th, Abbas lashed out at Trump, saying in a speech in Arabic that Trump took over the peace process--and did nothing (here).
-Days later, at the UN, on February 12th, Abbas spoke to the UN, condemning the Plan: "Palestinian leader Abbas slams Trump’s peace plan at UN" (here). He "warned" that "violent protests could break out" because of it (ibid).
This has been the tone and content of Abbas' remarks since January, 2020. He rejects, absolutely rejects, the Trump Plan. He won't talk about it. He will no longer speak to the US about it-or, about anything! (here).
Then, a little more than four months later, on June 9th, with less than three weeks to go to Israel's scheduled sovereignty announcement (July 1st), Abbas's Prime Minister announced that the Palestinian Authority (PA) had drafted a "counter-proposal" to the Trump Plan (here). But this "counter-proposal" wasn't going to go to Trump. It would instead go to the Quartet of Mideast mediators--currently not functioning, currently moribund--a group that's made up of the US, the EU, the UN and Russia.
While short on detail, this 'offer' appeared to contain a proposal for a demilitarized Palestinian state, 'minor' border adjustments and some land swaps with Israel. The offer also requested the UN to supervise the agreed-upon peace (here). As announced, there appeared to be no Palestinian interest stated in this draft for direct talks with Israel.
This PA announcement didn't get anywhere. There have been no real responses to it. It seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
But now, today, June 30th, literally hours away from Israel's July 1 deadline to begin announcing sovereignty decisions, Abbas has changed his tune. He's no longer talking about trying to kill the Trump Plan. He's no longer refusing to negotiate anything with Israel.
Now, he wants to advance this 'counter-proposal' (above); and he wants to get serious with it. He wants to discuss it through direct talks with Israel (here).
This call for direct talks is new. It represents a dramatic change in stance by Abbas.
But there's a catch: the offer for direct talks stands only so long as Israel halts its commitment to act on sovereignty. Indeed, the offer for direct talks will be immediately withdrawn if Israel annexes (declares sovereignty over) anything beginning tomorrow, July 1.
This is new--direct talks with Israel. Is it so tempting that Israel will halt its movement towards sovereignty announcements and sit down with Abbas?
My uneducated guess is, yes--Israel will halt its plans for sovereignty, at least for the moment. I think Israel will halt sovereignty actions right now because it has so many internal conflicts right now over sovereignty--and so many unresolved issues with the details of the Trump Plan, which is linked to sovereignty actions--there's a possibility that Israel will seek at least some type of temporary refuge from these conflicts and issues and grab onto this offer for direct talks.
Will Israel accept this offer? Will it drop talk of sovereignty, at least for now?
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
The phrase, 'Year Zero', refers to one moment in time--a specific year--when a set of events change everything. 1917 could have been such a year, for that was when the Russian Revolution brought to the world the oppressive scourge we now call 'Communism'. 1860 could have been another such year, as that was when the war over slavery in the US began in earnest. That war changed everything in America.
1776, when American colonies declared their independence from England, was another 'Year Zero'. That year changed also 'changed everything'.
1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, was another 'Year Zero'. That attack changed everything, especially for Europe's Jews.
You can build a parlor game, called 'Year Zero'. Participants could be challenged to identify their own choice for a 'Year Zero'--for their own lives, or for their families or country.
A 'Year Zero' is distinctive. It's when life, as we know it, changes dramatically. It's a moment when new realities shatter the life-order we had come to know. While a 'Year Zero' is not necessarily a moment that brings change through some kind of violence, that's how we typically think of a 'Year Zero', for it is unwanted violence that shoves extraordinary change down our collective throats.
The Jews of Twentieth Century Europe had their own 'Year Zero'. That might have been 1935, when Germany's Nuremberg Laws were passed, essentially stripping Germany's Jews of their citizenship--and the right to vote, along with other rights and benefits. For Germany's Jews, that was the beginning of 'and everything changed'.
Perhaps 1935 in Poland was another 'Year Zero' for Jews, this time in Poland. 1935 might be the year when physical, violent attacks against Jews increased in number and intensity.
Today, a 'Year Zero' could begin anywhere in the world, for any country or any people. It could begin in France with the election of an anti-Semitic regime to high office. It could begin in America with--some say--the election of a radical Democrat President in the November, 2020 national election. It could begin in Britain with new laws that, perhaps, bring Sharia law to the UK.
Each of these changes could be a 'Year Zero'--a time when everything changes.
For Jews in Western countries, a 'Year Zero' could begin with a Court ruling that Jewish day schools and Yeshivot that teach only Jewish children are henceforth illegal because such facilities do not represent 'equality'. A 'Year Zero' for Jews in any Western country could begin with wide-spread, explosive riots that turn on Jewish businesses, homes, neighborhoods and Jewish wealth.
Sound impossible? If you think so, you haven't been keeping up with news coming out of Europe and North America.
A 'Year Zero' for Jews could mean finding yourself (a Jew) being trapped in a hostile political environment where those with power (either nationally or locally) aim to commit evil against 'the Jews'. Worse, wherever a 'Year Zero' dawns, it will dawn with little fanfare. Jews won't get advanced notice about it in text messages or a whatsapp. They'll have little-to-no time to escape or to prepare for escape.
Can you name a group or two in your own country which wouldn't hesitate to attack Jews if given the opportunity? Do you think such groups exist in your own city? Do you know if they exist in your own city? Have they already attacked--or inspired someone else to an attack?
If, for Jews, the proverbial '#^** hits the fan', will there be time to escape? Or, as has happened recently around the world, would there exist at that very moment--when an escape route should open but can't because--a nation-wide lock-down is in force because of a pandemic--or rioting? What happens to Jews then?
You'll have no escape. You'll be trapped.
The only 'good' news with a 'Year Zero'--if there is one in your future--is this: before a 'Year Zero' actually happens, Jews (almost) always see signs of it. You'll see increases in physical violence against Jews. You'll see increases in various forms of verbal, social, job-site and intellectual "troubles" perpetrated against Jews. Your children will see an explosion of raw, disgusting, hate-filled tweets on social media. They may not tell you about what they see, but they'll see it.
This represents 'good' news because it signals what may lie ahead. Those 'signals' might give you time to get out--if, that is, you heed the warning signs.
Unfortunately, the history of 'Year Zeroes' hasn't been kind to Jews. Jews have almost always been asleep when a 'Year Zero' strikes. Few heeded the signals. Few escaped.
That's how a 'Year Zero' has presented itself to Jews in the past. It's also how it will present to Jews in the future--with clues building slowly, providing signs, warnings and hints that whisper to you to pick up, pack up and leave.
Look around. How good is Jewish life today in your country? How good was it fifteen years ago? By comparison, how good is Jewish life now in your country? Are you safer now than fifteen years ago?
I cannot predict that you are destined to see a Jewish 'Year Zero' in your future. But you can answer three questions:
-Can you see what swirls around you?
-Can you see the clues that assault your senses almost every week or month--the hints of anti-Semitism?
-Do you know that, in 2018, there was a worldwide surge of anti-Semitism that has many Jews "concerned" (here)?; Are you concerned?
Keep looking around. Do you know what's happening to your Jewish children on America's college campuses (here)? Do you know what's happening on Britain's college campuses (here)--or on France's campuses (here)?
Do you see what's been happening to Jews, synagogues and Jewish property in Los Angeles (here), Portland (here here), Seattle (here), New York (here) and Chicago (here, here) --or in cities in the United Kingdom (here) and France (here, here)?
If you're like most Jews who live outside Israel, you--or someone you love--may be clueless about the hate around you. You--or someone you love--may simply not know what you (s/he) don't (doesn't) know about anti-Semitism. Or, if you do know, have you chosen to ignore it?
'Year Zero' is real. It creeps towards you (here). When, or if, a 'Year Zero' strikes your country, will you be caught flat-footed--or will you have already joined your people in Israel and become one with us?
It's your call. It's your future. It's your life.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
The America I left 10 years ago to make aliyah to Israel was an America at peace--with itself. Sure, there were disputes between peoples and groups. But was my America headed towards civil war?
No way. Not in a million years. Not then.
But what about now? Has America changed?
I suspect it has. As a recent US poll suggests, some 34% of Americans say it's likely the US will see a civil war within the next 5 years (here). Is such an idea possible? A civil war?
From where I sit, I no longer see an America at peace with itself, or even comfortable with itself. I see a horror-show. I see a world very much turned upside-down (here).
Look at this video below. It gives you a view of what's going on in just one place in America. The music in the video is upbeat. But the video's content?
As you watch this video, ask yourself a question: which aspects of this video could become a part of your city's future? (Note: there is 'adult' language to be heard here; the video comes from here):
I can't tell you what to think. But if 34% of your American peers believe a civil war is 'likely' in the US in the next 5 years, what does that say about the piece of America where you live? What does it say America's Jewish population?
Civil wars are rarely healthy for Jews. Are you safer today than you were 10 years ago? Are you as safe?
It's already been reported that 2019 was a record year--for anti-Semitism. That year, your America saw more anti-Semitic incidents since such tracking began in 1979 (here). Even if the US doesn't devolve into a civil war, what will you do if America's anti-Semitism is worse in 2021 that it was in 2019?
Where would that leave you? Will you still be safe?
More important, do you remain convinced that aliyah to Israel isn't for you? Or, for your children?