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Friday, November 6, 2009

The Major

     Yesterday's news about the tragic, horrific shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas must send the same shudders through America's (and the world's) moderate Islamic community ... the same way that Herschel Grynszpan's November 7, 1938 assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath must have sent shudders through the German-Jewish community.
     Far-right-wing, radical groups here in the USA are reacting in much the same way the National Socialist government did seventy-one years ago. Instead of seeing the murders as the work of a isolated gunman, they are now transferring Nidal Malik Hasan's guilt onto an entire religion and ethnic group. Just as Nazis turned the act of a 17-year-old into a crime attributable to a global Jewish conspiracy, so now bloggers see terrorists in every Middle-Eastern face. If that face happens to wear Islamic garb...

     I would hope that we in the American-Jewish community would step up and stop the violence before it begins. Nip it in the bud. Demonstrate solidarity with those in the American-Islamic community who like us seek peace. Show the world that tikkun olam - repairing the world - applies to the whole world, not just the world that looks like us and "believes" like us.
     Does this mean we molly-coddle radical Islamic terrorists? True terrorists who seek the overthrow of the American government, and any other Western power? Absolutely not!
     It does mean, however, that we should not limit our efforts to eradicate terrorism to radical Islam. We should and must attack home-grown terrorists just as hard, just as fast. The Timothy McVeighs and Benjamin Nathaniel Smiths who would kill or deport every non-white. The Jerome Corsis and Debbie Schlussels and the rest of the media who would fan the flames of hate, not unlike Goebbels, who famously said that anti-Jewish demonstrations should not be organized by the NSDAP, but if they erupted "spontaneously", they shouldn't be stopped. That same tone pervades blogs and newscasts on Fox News, and in right-wing blogs across cyberspace.
     As we approach the seventy-first commemoration of Kristallnacht, the November pogrom that became the irreversible turning point in the horror we know as the Holocaust, we should work with every fiber in our being to silence the voices of hate. Regardless of their source.
     V'imru amein.

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