Saturday, September 4, 2021

A Jewish Perspective: The Short Version - By Larry Shapiro

A Jewish perspective
The short version

By Larry Shapiro

From a Jew's standpoint, a good part of our history is how people blamed us for natural and manmade disasters. In 1095, Pope Urban called for Christians to go to the Middle East to reoccupy Jerusalem. On the way, crusaders who thought of Jews as infidels went into Jewish areas and tried to convert them. Those who refused were killed, So great was the cruelty, Jews unwilling to abandon their beliefs killed their own families to keep them from falling into the hands of the Crusaders. 

This was not the first time that Jews committed mass suicide. In 74 Ad, Jews holed up in the hillside fort called Masada committed mass suicide rather than fall into the hands of the Roman invaders. 

The first suicide in Jewish history was committed by King Saul who impaled himself on is sword rather than be seized by the Philistine army that defeated him in battle on Mount Gilboa. It was not the last suicide as many times throughout history Jews chose to do away with themselves rather than be tortured and killed by the powers of the day. 

In the 12th Century, Jews were accused of poisoning water wells causing the black death that was decimating Europe. Under torture, a handful of Jews confessed to creating the plague leading cities all over Europe particularly in Germany to burn Jews in a rehearsal for what their descendants did to the Jews in the 20th Century.  

In the case of Christianity, the prevailing reason to hate Jews was because Jews were blamed for deicide, i.e. killing Christ. In some fundamentalist circles, this belief exists to this day. Some suggest that it is more widespread than just a few fundamentalist voices. 

Islam's hatred of Jews started around the time of Muhammad. Muslims accused Jews of believing in the wrong deities and have hated Jews ever since. 

In the 21st Century, when religion is on the wane, a secular world understands that Jews shouldn't be punished for killing Christ or for worshiping the wrong Gods, but many among the where there's smoke there's fire folks think Jews have too much power and are basically untrustworthy, prejudices that are vestiges of the religious beliefs they abandoned.  

During times of peace and achievement, Jews live in what is called a golden Age in which they are free to live their lives and pursue their aspirations. When many calamities confront mankind such as these days when a growing pandemic, demolition of the political order, messy war endings, climate change leading to the burning of the world and mass deaths from opioid addictions, make life more uncertain, people carrying the anti-Jew virus start sucker punching Jews in the streets. 

Jews aware of their history understand that they will be blamed for calamities. Jews who are in denial about their own history (we should never have irritated the crusaders) support the blamers, encouraging elected officials like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to freely perform their Jew scapegoat dance. Many millions swallow the Palestinian victimhood narrative which is text book scapegoating of the Jews. 

I guess there comes a point where some Jews worn out from the unfairness stop resisting making them and their offspring more vulnerable to their pariah status. While they may not convert, they internalize the hatred of Jews even going as far as creating organizations that they hope will set them apart, like Jews for the Restoration of Jewish Ethics. As far as I know it's not a real organization but maybe it's on the way. 

Of course nothing is black and white. Israel has been reborn and for the first time in 2000 years Jews have an army. Jews are tough and resilient and are still healing the world. Jewish names are all over hospitals and on letterheads of charitable organizations. It may be that we will never be the world's most favorite people, but we're truckin on. 

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