Roots of Hatred and Prayers for Peace

23 Jul

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Day after day, we are bombarded with Anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic news. The latest is direct attacks on Jewish owned shops and synagogues in Paris.

This is Kristallnacht.

This is history repeating itself.

This is terrifying.

Whether or not you are Jewish, understand that this is wrong. That when there are rioters marching, armed with bombs and batons, destroying the property and livelihood of total strangers just because they are Jewish, that this is wrong. That when those rioters scream “Death to Jews” and “Slit Jews’ Throats,” that this is more than wrong. This is horrific.

This is also a story we have all heard so many times before: Anti-Semitism.

Throughout history, the Jews have been vilified. Whether it’s as seemingly innocuous as Shakespeare’s grotesque depiction of Shylock, or a Renaissance artist’s hyperbolic portrayal of the “big nosed Jew” or as heinous as the Holocaust or the kidnapping and murder of 3 innocent Jewish teenagers from a highway in Israel, it is the age old tale of Anti-Semitism.

Don’t be dissuaded by people who try to separate the issue by calling themselves the less inflammatory Anti-Zionist. That’s a euphemism for Anti-Semite and you know it. And I’m not going to debate the entire Middle East conflict but I will tell you that I support and love, 100%, Israel. Israel, where my oldest son was bar mitzvahed only 11 months ago at the Wall, a remnant of another attack on the Jews millenia ago. Israel, a living testament to the countless historical attempts to exterminate Jews over 1000s of years, and their incredible struggle to survive. Age. Old. Tale.

The other night I went to a concert at Jones Beach, New York. On a beautiful summer evening overlooking the bay, I watched a man wearing a yarmulke make his way through the aisle and take his seat with his wife. A month or so ago, I would not have given this a second thought. And yet now, at the James Taylor concert, in an arena full of aging hippies, I was frightened for this man’s safety. This was the first time in my life, in my home on the shores of the very Jewish Long Island, that I have ever felt this kind of fear.

How long until these acts of hatred arrive in America? Almost 13 years ago, my husband was working in the World Financial Center when a plane flew into the WTC, right across the footpath that connected his building to one of the towers. It was a devastating time engineered by Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization. Do not forget that Hamas, the government for the Palestinians, is also a terrorist organization, regardless of how you may feel about the Gazans and their plight. Hamas, whose very charter calls for the obliteration of Israel and the killing of the Jews. Hamas, who was responsible for time and again strapping bombs to their own people and dispatching them to Israel’s crowded public areas only to detonate themselves and kill as many civilians as possible in the process. Age. Old. Story.

How do I explain this to my sons? How do I prepare them for a world that largely hates them just because they are Jewish? How do I make sure that they are still proud of where they come from and who they are? How do I guarantee that they will stand up and make a difference? I wish I knew.

Hatred is a horrible vehicle. It seeps into cracks when you’re not looking and grows roots and limbs and buds until it evolves into an entire network of destruction. It may flourish and bloom and multiply and before you know it, it is a strong grove, a forest, an entire landscape. It may look good, but it is poison. And its enemy is peace. Rooting for the enemy. Praying for peace.

Amen.

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2 Responses to “Roots of Hatred and Prayers for Peace”

  1. John Zinn July 24, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    I will never understand how anyone could blindly hate any generalized group of people for no better reason than race, color, religion, political beliefs, etc… Since the world is so incredibly engaged in regulating everything down to how one breathes, why not throw in a regulation requiring each hate monger to walk a mile in his/her enemies shoes before acting on purely insane impulses. Just a thought…

    • Lisa Goodwin July 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

      Thank you so much, John, for your thoughtful reply and for reading. Interesting proposal, indeed.

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