The Toppled Tombstones

Vandals who are racist Jew-haters desecrated a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri this past weekend.  They (under my assumption that this kind of vandalism and wanton destruction would require more than one individual) toppled the headstones of some 200 graves, the graves of Jewish women and men, and possibly Jewish children buried in the Chessed Shel Emeth Cemetery..

Racist Jew-haters have called in numerous bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers across the United Stated in the past months.  Twenty seven states, at last count, and more than fifty JCCs (Jewish Community Centers) have been affected by this upsurge in hatred.

I have asked myself, repeatedly, how this can happen, and why this is happening.

There are many Jewish women and men who work for television networks and newspapers, in short, “The Media”.  President Trump has openly declared that the media is the enemy of the American people.  Jews are and have always been active in Civil Rights organizations.  The Southern Poverty Law Center is one such organization, and it, along with the ADL (Anti Defamation League) have been among the most powerful opponents to some of the extremely racist and bigoted sentiments that became apparent even more so now than before during the 2016 Presidential Election.

Given our collective Jewish History, a history replete with blood libel, pogroms and murder, a murder that culminated in the extermination of more than a million and a half Jewish children, and yes, six million Jewish human beings, it is no wonder that many of us stand and declare loud and clear, Never Again!  This declaration does not curry favor among the Neo-Nazis, the racists, the bigots and the hate mongers who crawled out from under their rocks, emboldened by the rhetoric of the 2016 Presidential campaign.

And so it is, that Jews become yet again targets.  Targets of hatred.  Targets to be threatened.  Targets who see scrawls of swastikas and “Jews to the ovens” on subway cars.

Frankly it means little to me that President Trump’s daughter converted to Judaism, nor that her husband Mr. Kushner is an Orthodox Jew.  I’m more concerned that the President of the USA, his advisors and his cabinet members, the members of Congress, Republican and Democrats alike, representatives and senators, the Governors of the fifty states, mayors and council members across these United States have not declared, in one unified voice, that there is NO ROOM for this Jew-hating!  There is no place here in this American society for anti-Semitism, just as there is no room for ANY discrimination and bigotry.  Not now.  Not ever.

To those who still do not understand, let me make it simple:  I will stand shoulder to shoulder with my Muslim sisters and brothers.  I will stand with my Latino sisters and brothers.  I will stand with my Black sisters and brothers.  I will stand with my sisters and brothers in the LGBTQ community.

I will stand with the infirm and the oppressed.  I will stand with the “Other.”  I will stand and I will not be intimidated.  Because I remember.  I remember that not so long ago NO ONE stood for my family when they were being murdered by Nazis for the “crime” of being who they were: Jews.

About the Author
Born in Israel, Yuval emigrated as a baby to Austria and then Canada. He returned to live in Israel in '71 until '91. His military service was in Golani Brigade's 13th Battalion (including Yom Kippur War) with reserve duty as a tank commander and later a liaison officer in the IDF Liaison Unit. He now resides both in the US and Israel, Maryland and Zichron Yaakov respectively.
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