Last night I shared a film clip of New York City counsel member, David G. Greenfield’s response to a group of Anti-Israel protesters who disrupted the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz, with several of my friends In my e-mail I stated that I felt that this was “one of the most important film clips you will ever watch”.
Greenfield’s heart wrenching response, echoed very similar views to what many of us feel who support Israel. Over the last several months I have encountered numerous childhood friends and other folks who I have known for decades who have made anti-Semitic statements to me. I really don’t believe they consciously realized what they were saying.
I’m not unlike many of us who are shocked at the number of individuals in our society who are unable to see that when they make anti-Israel statements, they are actually attacking the Jewish people. I doubt that when the comments are spoken aloud, they are aware that their statements are very reminiscent to the things that were said about Jews before just about every pogrom –– including the holocaust.
I’m so sick and tired of hearing the line from individuals in mainstream America, that they have no problem with Jews, yet Israel is nothing more then a terrorist state. What offends me the most, is when I hear this kind of talk coming from friends of mine. Prior to really researching statements for myself, I also felt they way they do. Once I started to research the reality of the situtations, I became very aware of the biases most news media groups had against Israel. Unfortunately, for all to too many, “ignorance is bliss”.
Back in the late 1970’s, I encountered my first experience with any type of anti-Semitism. It was while I was still in high school that a small group of “nazis” wanted to march in my hometown of Skokie, IL. At the time, Skokie had the largest population of holocaust survivors in the United States. This hate group chose Skokie for that reason. The impact this incident had on my life, has forever changed my world view. I will never forget the conversations I had with some close friends I had at the time. Their statements still haunts me to this day.
When I shared the film clip of New York City Councilman Greenfield, I was totally impressed with the number of my non-Jewish friends, who I feel would fall into the category of being righteous gentiles. So many shared views of support of Israel and the Jewish people. One such friend shared “Greenfield’s speech was quite eye opening. I never thought of seeing things from that perspective before. Greenfield is absolutely right”.
Another friend wrote back stating: “I remember Skokie’s reaction to the proposed nazi march. We are basically nuts to allow this type of behavior from those who are anti-Israel to continue on . . . especially on American soil.”
Then I received an e-mail from a childhood friend who’s ramblings sent shivers up and down my spine.
“You know what, Vicki. I don’t think this is the most important film clip I’ve ever seen. A handful of fanatic, maybe frightened, terrified people disrupted that meeting. I do not believe that fighting hate with hate is the answer, not on anyone’s part, no matter who they are. It’s terrible that people disrupted the Auschwitz commemorative. Just as a reminder, though, the United States constitution guarantees freedom of speech. Besides, I could not see nor hear anything the so-called demonstrator was saying. What? People aren’t allowed to have opinions that differ from Jewish people? Why was there a discussion only about a resolution for the Holocaust? What about the slaves that provided the labor that gave this country the wealth we all benefit from, still today. Where’s the resolution for them? Why isn’t David Greenfield rallying for them. A slave ancestor was sitting right beside him.
You can focus on this one incident and feel justified in victimhood, but I’m not interested. All I do is become angry; the self-righteous lecture giving by the Jewish council member made my blood boil. This is nothing more then propaganda.
Vicki, to make myself clear. I am not Pro-Palestinian, I am not Pro-Israel. I am pro-tolerance, pro-equality, pro-peace for everyone, pro-freedom of speech, and first and foremost, I am Pro-Love.”
It’s obvious this childhood friend, is not familiar with the history of what life was like for Jews during pre-holocaust days; or familiar with the fact that there is a growing anti-Semitic force in which hatred is being spewed against Jews, Christians and anyone else who doesn’t fit into the category of those who support terrorism and hold extremist views and values.
I personally do not know how to respond to this type of ignorance especially when the person is uninterested in hearing any other views but their own. It’s both frustrating and scary.