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Gary Epstein
And now for something completely different . . .

Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents: We Are All Jews

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The Germans occupied Denmark on April 9, 1940.  For the most part, they left internal affairs to the Danish Parliament, which did not adopt anti-Jewish legislation. According to popular legend, however, King Christian X  and the Danish people chose to wear the yellow armband that had been decreed for the Jews. It never happened.

Legends are true, however, even if they didn’t happen.  No one makes up inapposite  or unsuitable legends about people.  For the Danish King and people indeed stood by their Jewish subjects/neighbors and saved the overwhelming majority of them from persecution and death.

While we are debunking myths, Edmund Burke did not say, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  Never said it; never wrote it.  And Edmund Burke would not have said anything so silly.  Of course, that is not the only thing that permits the triumph of evil. The acquiescence of mediocre university administrators.  The timidity of the police.  The assistance of enablers and conspirators. The involvement of special interest groups with agendas of their own.  The funding of people like George Soros and countries like Qatar.

What Edmund Burke did say, in his political pamphlet, “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (1770), is the following: “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

I am not sure that our struggle is contemptible, but we are in a fierce battle with contemptible people, supporters of terrorism, rape, brutality, kidnaping, unbridled hatred, savagery, torture, and wickedness.  Our enemies, Hamas and its supporters, have, by sheer audacity and shamelessness, taken over the public square, cowing the civil authorities, the police, the student bodies, and the citizenry into silence.  A cavalcade of intolerant, horrible enemies of decency and civilization have joined forces in an attempt to overthrow virtue.  And they spew theur vituperation at Jews, Israel, and America.

As Burke said, to confront them, good people need to associate.  But who wants to deal with these maniacs?

Thus is civilization destroyed, from the inside, by deracinated people alienated from their social and cultural environment, left without prospects by their estrangement from community norms and values.

“Down with America,” “Down With Israel,” Fuck the Jews,” “Go Back to Poland,” “Hamas, We Love You; Burn Tel Aviv to the Ground.”  As Bari Weiss (and others) have pointed out, no university would tolerate, for a single minute, demonstrators who espoused the removal of Blacks to Africa, or disparaged women, or defamed gay people.  But these privileged students are accustomed to being coddled in “safe” spaces, and they have arrogated to themselves the right and the power to make others truly unsafe.  Moreover, they are confident that Jews and the only Jewish State will stand alone, isolated and defenseless.

They will not stop until someone with moral fortitude and courage stands up and stops them.

If they ever stopped shouting stupid slogans and took the trouble to become educated, they would know that Israel is not a colonial nation, that Hamas violated a ceasefire and committed brutal acts of terror, that Jews are indigenous to the Middle East, that the Arab populations that have been ostensibly subjected to genocide have actually multiplied and thrived, that the Israeli Arabs who are purportedly the victims of apartheid flourish as free and equal Israeli citizens, with civil rights only fantasized about in Arab countries.

But all those are arguments for other times.  Now is the time for decent people to say, “Enough.”  Now is the time for them to proclaim that they oppose bigotry and anti-Semitism and hate.  Now is the time for anyone who opposes rape as a war strategy to stand against Hamas and its supporters.  Now is the time for anyone who truly believes that a gay person should not be summarily executed, to stand with a civilization that has, finally, admitted previous errors and strives for equality and fairness.

Lincoln spoke of “the mystic chords of memory” that would promote unity “when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”  Those chanting, semi-literate, slogan-chanting nitwits are not the majority, but they appear so as long as they occupy the center of the stage alone. I appeal to the better angels of your nature.

Anyone who loves America, or decency, or Israel, or fairness, or morality, or virtue, should stand up and be counted.  Anyone who opposes tyranny and anarchy and brutality and unbridled hatred, should stand and say, “These monsters, these thugs, these murderers and rapists, do not speak for me.”

Here is how to do it.

Wear a Kippa or a Star of David, not as a religious symbol but as a proclamation of decency.  Let the university administration proclaim that they are one with their Jewish students by wearing some outward appearance of Jewish affiliation.  Let the Mayor and City Council don yarmulkes. Let every student who is part of the decent majority wear a kippa or magen david. They don’t need to wave or wrap themselves in an Israeli flag.  This is not political.  This is simple moral conviction, fortitude and courage.

When people deny the humanity and the rights of Jews, we are all Jews.

Let Chabad or the ADL or the Federations distribute yarmulkes and Stars of David to all who wish to cast a vote against mob rule, cowardice, and brutality.  And let every decent person wear one, in public, without fear.

US Army Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds, who died in 1985, led over 1,000 POWs in refusing to deliver Jewish comrades to his German captors, saying “We are all Jews here.”  And he would not back down, even when a pistol was held to his head.  I am not asking for that extraordinary kind of bravery.  Just a small gesture of common humanity.

Put on a Kippah.  Wear a Star of David.  Show that you are not one with Hamas and its supporters.  Strike a blow for humanity and decency.

About the Author
Gary Epstein is a retired teacher and lawyer residing in Modi'in, Israel. He was formerly the Head of the Global Corporate and Securities Department of Greenberg Traurig, a global law firm with an office in Tel Aviv, which he founded and of which he was the first Managing Partner. He and his wife Ahuva are blessed with18 grandchildren, ka"h, all of whom he believes are well above average. He currently does nothing. He believes he does it well.
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