The nuns, my teachers, at Stella Maris, who blamed the Jews for the Holocaust, and the new self-proclaimed guardians against Islamophobia in progressive circles have something in common.
Both manipulate misguided political responses aimed to silence.
In seventh grade, I believed my oral book report on Adolf Eichmann’s role in the Holocaust would shed light on the danger and horror of unchecked anti Semitism.
Naïvely I believed they would see where Jew hatred went if I reported the horror of Nazi Germany.
Instead, before I even got back to my seat, I was assaulted by a classmate’s response, “Hitler built good roads for Germany.”
I felt my heart sink.
The teacher not only agreed, she added that the Jews would continue to be persecuted until we accepted Jesus as our Messiah.
It was I the Jew who was demonized for pointing my finger at a baptized Catholic.
The class discussion focused not on the torture and murder of six million Jews, but on how if Hitler “sincerely” repented at the moment of his death, he would (after doing time in Purgatory), end up in Heaven. Not so me, the unbaptized Jew, I would never get to Heaven or ever “see” God.
The insanity of what took place in that classroom came to mind recently during a conversation amongst friends on Radical Islam’s global reach.
This time it was a dining room in California with progressive people instead of a Catholic missionary school in Japan.
A Parisian woman, describing the carnage at Kasher, the Jewish grocery store in the Marais where she lives, spoke openly of her disgust at the silence of the left re.5 Radical Islam. As a leftist herself, she wondered why she was in the minority when it came to criticizing Political Islam.
“I am not a Jew and I cannot understand how people don’t see it is changing our lives into fear” the Parisian shared.
She was upset, “only one prominent imam” is speaking out in Paris today. As result, he needs to be protected by guards day and night.
I expected a shared concern, questioning why more imams and leaders of the Muslim community are not speaking up against Islamic Terrorism. I expect progressives to speak up against Radical Islam. I expected a shared upset over global jihad.
Instead, the conversation turned adversarial:
“Well, you didn’t put a French flag in front of your door (after the terrorist attacks as many in Paris did) did you?” “No, I am a single woman, I live in a very mixed neighborhood…” “Then you should understand why Muslims don’t speak up, why is your fear acceptable and theirs not?”
Her lack of “empathy” for ordinary Muslims became the issue instead of expecting more from Muslim communities to denounce terrorism.
“I have many Muslim friends who are afraid of what is happening, they hate it as much as I do,” the French woman continued, adding how as a woman, she was dismayed by the lack of any unified outrage from feminists on the place of women under Islam.
But the outrage at our table was not towards Sharia Law.
Instead, a defining moment in sexism for one woman was not with Islam, but her experience of the time an Orthodox Jewish man very reluctantly shook her hand. This juxtaposition of Jewish Orthodoxy with Radical Islam was met by the Parisian exclaiming; “The Orthodox Jew is not blowing himself up!”
My heart sank.
It’s the Orthodox Jew who offends, not the Radical Islamist blowing himself up in grocery stores, concert halls, and anywhere else. The misery of women under Sharia Law is dismissed by the “sexist” behavior of the Orthodox Jew.
Youth turned Jihadi are excused. Imagined racism is privileged over radical imams and social media savvy of ISIS.
Wow. Time out. Check your anti-Semitism:
How does an Orthodox Jew not wanting to shake your hand figure into a discussion-turned-argument about the subjugation of women under Sharia Law?
There is no equivalency.
Instead of looking at Radical Islam’s reach into France, instead of calling out the horror of global jihad, the focus is on policing those of us who do.
There must be another way to be progressive other than finding ways to excuse Radical Islam.
As a child I heard the evil of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism taken to its height, excused.
Just as there is nothing to defend in Nazi ideology, there is nothing to defend in Political Islam. Both must be condemned. Neither deserves empathy.