Sunday, July 19, 2009

Racism Gets More Mainstream


There is a shocking story in Haaretz today. Headlined, "Vatican teaching Hezbollah how to kill Jews, says pamphlet for IDF troops" it goes on to tell of a pamphlet purporting to expose a racist conspiracy theory worthy of the a title like "The Protocols of the Elders of Islamo-Catholicism".

You can read details in the Haaretz story here.

Briefly, it tells of how the Vatican has taken Hezbollah operatives on tours of Auschwitz in order to teach them how to "deal with" the Jews; of how Hezbollah operatives have assured the Vatican that all Arabs are secret admirers of Hitler; and of how Hezbollah uses its vast wealth to influence and control the European politicians and media in order to undermine Israel and the IDF.

The pamphlet was being distributed, for several months, to IDF soldiers with the endorsement of officers of at least the rank of colonel (brigade commanders.)

When confronted with the facts of the pamphlet and its content, the IDF issued a statement saying it had stopped the distribution of the pamphlet and that:
"The book was received as a donation and distributed in good faith to the soldiers. After we were alerted to the sensitivity of its content, distribution was immediately halted."

What is the most shocking about this story is not the pamphlet and its content. We have long known there are crazy Jewish racists.

What is shocking is how far this rot has gone.

The pamphlet was written with the help of Chief Rabbi of Safad - an official of the Israeli government and a respected leader in his community, son of a former Chief Rabbi of Israel.

Worse than that, the pamphlet was published by the Union of Orthodox Congregations of America: the "OU". This are the same organization whose OU label is used to signify kashrut on most kosher food produced in the U.S. This is the organization which represents the "Modern Orthodox" trend - not the "ghettoed Hassidim". It has hundreds of affiliated synagogues (15 in Toronto) and tens of thousands of members in North America. Its representatives sit in the boards of all the Jewish communal organizations, boards of Rabbis, and Jewish appeals. It has a youth movement (NCSY) and runs summer camps. It has a respectable looking web site!

Worse than that, the pamphlet was being promoted by mid-level Israeli army officers, and with at least the knowledge of some senior officers.

Worse than that, both the official army educational bureaucracy and thousands of soldiers who read the pamphlet thought that its claims where at least plausible enough not to warrant a question. It took four months for someone to complain, and for the army to investigate, and to decide to stop distributing this pamphlet. And even then the army can only issue a mealy mouthed statement that acknowledges that the content of the pamphlet was "sensitive" - as if the problem was that it might insult powerful Catholics, whose support Israel needs; not that it contains paranoid racism.

And, the aid to the Chief Rabbi of Safad, when confronted by Haaretz about the content of the pamphlet, insisted that its all true.

But worse than all this, I do believe that most of the people involved in the promotion of this pamphlet don't see what was wrong with what they where (and some still are) doing. The forger, or forgers, are one or two or three individuals. The rest where duped. But that is precisely the issue: that so many, and many of them influential, Jews are so deeply into a world view where all goyim are blood-thirsty anti-Semites, that this pamphlet seems plausible to them; that news of a Catholic-Shiite "concordance" to murder Jews doesn't scream "Fraud!". And it is a serious problem when it seems obvious to us: that our people is so obviously just and pure that politicians and media critical of us can only be so because of bribes from our enemies; that our enemies control the media with their vast amounts of cash, and this is the only explanation for why we can't convince people of our enemies' evil and our own justice; and that the fact that no one but us reports on how deep is the plot against us, is just further proof of how thorough and successful that plot has become.

It is understandable that a people at war will demonize its enemies. It is understandable that a people under stress will fear and hate the "Other". It is understandable that a people suffering, now or in the recent past, might believe, literally, that the whole world is plotting against them. It is understandable that a people with a "bad press" might blame that on the wealth and nefariousness of others. This is what allowed antisemitic conspiracy theories to thrive among the masses in czarist Russia and interwar Germany. It is what allowed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to be believed by so many. It is all understandable. But it is racism nevertheless. And it is shocking that this disease has made it so deep into the body of the Jewish people today.

I had thought, living in my left liberal Jewish bubble, that we where better inoculated. Apparently not. The question now is: how do we stop the disease before it permanently disfigures, or kills, the patient.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Eric Mendelsohn said...

They got got at it

OU renounces Vatican-Hezbollah booklet

July 20, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Orthodox Union distanced itself from a pamphlet that implies friendly meetings between Vatican and Hezbollah officials.

The booklet, by a purported former Hezbollah fighter who converted to Judaism, stirred controversy this week In Israel after it was revealed that Israeli army officials had distributed it among their troops.

According to the booklet, the Vatican initiated meetings with Hezbollah figures and suggested to them that they sympathized with the Lebanese terrorist group's aim of destroying Israel. The army ordered a stop to the booklet's distribution.

The booklet includes an endorsement from the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

"Upon investigation, it has been ascertained that this endorsement was made by staff at the Orthodox Union’s Israel branch office, and was never submitted to, nor approved by, senior Orthodox Union management," the OU statement released Monday said. Its contents are "antithetical to the well-known views of the Orthodox Union regarding respect for other faiths and their leaders. The Orthodox Union rescinds the endorsement of the book and disavows any connection to the views expressed in it."

The statement also pledged a review of OU procedures to prevent a recurrence.

"The Orthodox Union expresses its sincere regret to those of other faiths who may have been embarrassed or offended by the publication of this work," it said.

5:09 pm  
Blogger Sydney Nestel said...

Eric.

"got got at it" ??? please clarify

Also

"The Orthodox Union expresses its sincere regret to those of other faiths who may have been embarrassed or offended by the publication of this work,"

What about people of the same faith? Jews should be embarrassed and offended too. First and foremost the OU.

10:49 pm  
Anonymous Eric said...

should read caught at it

11:25 am  

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