When I first received notification that Rabbi Marvin Hier had been invited to offer a prayer at the Trump inauguration on February 20th, I wrote an article in which I elaborated upon the courage required to accept this invitation. You never saw the article because I decided not to publish it. After seeing the interviews with Rabbi Hier on television and in the press, I felt that he had so clearly explained his decision, that my comments were superfluous. He was unequivocal about his love of the United States and his respect for the US presidency as the pinnacle of its democracy. He has always been vocal on his commitment to the survival of the Jewish people.
In the meantime, the inaugural prayers have been delivered and his choice of passages from Torah and Psalms were poignant. They were messages that a large segment of the world did not want to hear.
Have there been complaints made about the prayers of the four Christian ministers who blessed the future president of the United States calling on their savior in the process? If so, I have missed them. Who exactly is so irate at the words of Torah spoken by Rabbi Hier on that moment in history? There are two distinct groups of haters. First there are the classic Anti-Semites who would simply be upset to see any Rabbi held in great respect appearing on the inaugural platform. But there is an additional audience to consider. Am I the only viewer who noticed that there were no Muslim clergy invited to speak? I am fairly sure that every Muslim around the world, received the message of their irrelevance to the founding fathers of the United States, and to its constitution quite simply by this omission. Let us examine my premise more closely:
One must only look at the words that Rabbi Hier emoted to understand why he selected them, and why others found them dangerous. “By the rivers of Babylon, we wept as we remembered Zion. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem may my right hand forget its skill.” This prayer has become emblazoned in the heart of every religious Jew for the past three thousand years. Those who have aligned themselves against the Jewish State and the Jewish people, began a calculated campaign to rewrite Jewish History. Devised by Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian authority, it has focused on trying to prove that the Jewish people have no historic or religious connection to their land. This 3,000-year-old biblical prayer referring to the importance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people, contradicts their revisionism. Their incremental political successes in this effort have brought forth illegitimate UNESCO resolutions with false claims that the Jewish people have no connection to their holiest religious site, the Temple Mount and to their holy city. The recent Paris Conference attempted to validate the calculated lie that Jews have no rights whatsoever to Jerusalem’s Old City — in spite of massive historic evidence to the contrary.
Rabbi Hier’s quotes from the Old Testament (known by Jews world-wide as the Torah) are proof once again that the home of the Jewish faith is and has always been in Jerusalem, and is actually on the very Temple Mount which has been stolen from Jewish heritage by the Jordanians . The building of the Dome of the Rock on this specific location was and remains an insult to the Jewish world. In spite of this, Israel protects the site and the rights of Moslems to pray there in safety. In agreeing to allow the Temple Mount to stay in Arab hands, Moshe Dayan took it upon himself to acquiesce to Arab demands in a futile effort for mutual respect and co-existence. It was in essence, the first “land for Peace” swap. Dayan was not a religious man, but a General and an archaeologist who did not understand the damage that his concessions would impose on the future of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
The online vilification of Rabbi Hier’s speech and of the man himself came from cowards who would never have the courage to confront the rabbi in person. The internet potential for rebellion brings rabid anti-Semites out from their hiding places and gives them a voice with anonymity. This is not the first time he has been threatened. After more than thirty years of association with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, I know firsthand how much courage it requires to stand up for Tolerance in a world of prejudice. As the founder and dean of very organization which has fought bigotry among different ideologies and religions throughout the world, he has met with every major leader in the free world. His efforts intended to bring human beings of varying cultures together, with respect and understanding of their differences. This same man is now receiving hate mail for defending his own people and their own land. Even some individuals who understand the horrors of the Holocaust, and who support his institution, are so afraid of the new president, that they are apologetic and embarrassed when this rabbi stands up for his own beliefs. History has taught them little.
Social media has given power to the cowards. It has given platforms to the haters. It has given anonymity to those who purport one goal, but have their secret agendas. We live in dangerous times where the public is being manipulated by individuals looking to mobilize individuals for their own purposes. We need to look carefully before joining mass events which purport to have one goal, but which are led by those who wish to cause unrest, discontentment and an American version of the “Arab-Spring” on the streets of great cities throughout the free world. Riots have been mobilized against police forces and inspired the murder of innocents.
Organizations such as “Black lives Matter” altered their agenda midstream to become a support base for the Palestinian cause, and the Women’s March on Washington is led by a woman who believes in Shariah law, which oppresses women world-wide. It becomes increasingly important for each citizen of every nation, to investigate carefully which organizations and events they support. Allowing one’s self to be used as a pawn in a larger game, is naïeve and dangerous. We are living in complicated times, where what seems simple and straight forward, often is not. What appears pure may well be polluted. It is time to sit back and reassess. Arabic social media was used successfully to create havoc in the Middle East. Those who wish the same for the Democratic nations will use similar techniques to create discontent and anarchy. The past Presidential campaign was fertile ground for haters of every description to express their frustrations.
Anger from those who see life in its terms of “them” and “us” has come forth now, simply because of a prayer offered in the hope that the new President of the United States will succeed and stand up for that which is right and just. When in American history did a prayer ever become an excuse to express hate and vilify a respected man of G-d?” The times they are a-changing.”