The sixth and last class of Chabad’s latest program on the 1967 war was depressing…deeply depressing. Sorry, this photo is to try to offset that. 🙂
The gist was that humans are actually not taught to hate, but they are born with hate. That flies against so much of what we have studied and learned…or believed. One of the core reasons we give for Arab and Palestinian hatred of Jews and Israel is that they are exposed to it from the earliest of ages…in their history books, from the older generations, from violent rhetoric and vitriolic speeches and rallies. Videos of children training with guns and knives and being directed to kill Israelis is a horrific image. We think, here are these innocent loving kids, being TAUGHT to hate.
And this does not even take into account the charter of Hamas, or the deadly and disgusting hate speech uttered by the Arab world before each and every war against Israel. If you have the slightest doubt that their goal was to “wipe us off the map” and destroy each and every one us…go watch some videos and read some real history books. All of this is in their very own words.So… Are we really born to hate? One of the examples the Rabbi gave was to look at a classroom. When the teacher leaves and the young kids are unsupervised, they grab the toys they want…they push and shove. I don’t want to believe that they all do this, but okay, maybe some or even most of them do. They don’t know any better.
And okay, so maybe human beings aren’t born hateful… That is a depressing notion…but they are definitely born selfish. Self-survival is a natural instinct… It is a result of the Natural/Animal Soul.
BUT…the other side is this…the upside…is if we are born selfish and filled with hate, then we need to and can be TAUGHT TO LOVE. We need to LEARN TO LOVE.
According to the class, we have little to no control over anyone else, only ourselves…and therefore the way to love and to learn love is to embrace Hashem, Torah and the Mitzvot. We need to embrace our G-dly Soul. Many believe that human beings were made solely for this journey…to be given tests and challenges and then overcome them, make life meaningful and fulfilled and move onwards and upwards.
The other main take away from the class was how Anti-Semitism is a completely, illogical thing. There is no rhyme nor reason…and certainly not any room for truth, fairness or objectivity. It literally makes no sense. We are damned if we do… Damned if we don’t…
We are hated for supposedly controlling the banks and the money of the world…and hated for being poor (the pogroms in Russia). Hated for starting communism and hated for supposedly being the creators of capitalism. It is a lose-lose for us… and based on no logic.
There are people in countries, who have NEVER met a Jew, and yet hate us…are anti-Semitic. So why???
I am fairly certain I have shared this with you before, but it is a vital and important video.
Anti-Semitism may START with Jews… but sadly and dangerously it does not END there!
Here is an encapsulation of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ take on it: Anti-Semitism started out as a theological argument… Jews were different from the rest. We became monotheistic. We were blamed for killing Jesus, etc.
Then they needed something new… They needed a scientific argument, especially since the Nazis and Communists did not believe in G-d or religion… If there was no religion, the “religion” of Judaism would not matter. So they went to science and breeding. Jews were weak and inferior… Needed to be wiped out for the master race.
Now it is a human rights issue. Look at the UN and BDS…one and only one group is ever called out…Israel and thus the Jews. They throw out the words apartheid…genocide…occupation… Not against Iran or Syria or any of the true human rights abusers… Nope… Just one and only one place… the worst country and group of people in the world… Israel and the Jews! So when anyone says they are ANTI Israel, know what they really mean. This does NOT mean one cannot criticize Israel or discuss her policies, but there is a drastic difference between that and being ANTI something. Mark this with people, because usually after ANTI-ISRAEL rhetoric, comes anti-Zionist and Anti-Semitic comments, too. It is a very slippery slope.
In a strange twist from my class, the Rabbi also says that anti-Semitism brings Jews together. The threat of violence and hate bonds us and forces us to support each other. He says that when times are too good, and things are too easy, Jews assimilate and lose their identity. And many will argue that assimilation is the biggest threat to Judaism…more than anything else.
So what can we do, aside from connect to Hashem, study Torah and perform mitzvahs? We can be fair and objective and make sure we try to educate those who are ignorant. There are people who will never acknowledge a single point, or concede a single argument, so don’t waste your time or energy there… But there are those who truly do not know the history or the facts. We just need to make sure we are always honest, forthright and telling the whole truth.
And where things get tricky and people get nasty is in this next sentence… Anti-Semitism comes in many forms and from many directions, and in this great country of ours, we are seeing it from the Alt. Right, in blatant Neo-Nazi like ideas and notions, AND from the Alt. Left. Case in point being college campuses and professors and groups like BDS and SJP, and also seeing people who were just kicked out of the LGBTQ march in Chicago for carrying Israeli flags.
These are dangerous and ignorant times. There is the idea, for many people, that being inclusive and open is a great and unifying thing…but that it still does not and cannot apply to Jews.
We must stand up to this. We CANNOT let it become a mainstream idea and belief. We CANNOT let lies and misrepresentation define us. We CANNOT let it become a part of a our DNA.
Maybe it already has. So we must do what we need to do… Come together, take a stand and connect to Judaism AND Israel!