Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The deadly racism of demanding Jewish restraint
Birkenau. The tracks which Ahmadinejad denies lead to the ovens which Ahmadinejad denies. But surely this all happened because of Jewish lack of restraint!
A true story, a parable
by Loy Mershimer
The elderly Jew looked out over the river, and silently laughed for joy. The sunlight ran from shore to shore, sparkling like diamonds on the water, calling forth praise. It was a good day, a day for giving thanks... A ferry pulled to the shore, and he stepped up to board, smiling slightly as the gentle breeze tufted his wise, grey beard. The wisdom of Torah lighted his face as his eyes blessed creation and creatures alike: “Praise you, G-d, for this good day!” “Praise you for these people here, that they could enjoy this scene with me!”
The beauty of his thoughts was suddenly broken by a strident voice: “A fig, I say!” “A fig for the Jew!” Through the clustered passengers strode a strongly built man, athletic and proud: “A fig for the Jew!” The big stranger ruffled the kippah of the elderly Jew and turned to play the crowd. “What do we have here?” he asked rhetorically, gesturing grandly. “We have ourselves a bona fide Jew!” “Rub its head three times for good luck; yank its beard and money will flow!”
Several of the clustered people chuckled; others turned away and pretended not to see…
“…Yank its beard and money will flow!” the rowdy strong man continued his litany, as he turned again to his victim. “Isn’t that right, Mr. Jew?” “Yank your beard and money will flow?” The elderly Jew replied with a look of trepidation: “What do you want from me?” he asked. Visions of past abuse danced in his soul…his head bowed.
“What will you pay me to stop yanking your beard, old man!” sneered the athlete. With that he yanked the man’s beard, and laughed to the crowd. “It’s a bank!” he cried. “Yank the string and money will clink out!” “Where’s the payment, old man?” Again, he yanked. And again.
Then, instinctively, impulsively, he knew not how it happened…something steeled in the soul of the old man…and as the strong bully grasped his beard for another yank, the old man bit down on his hand.
“Aaaaahhhh!” shouted the athletic bully. His proud words quickly turned to pain. “The Jew bit me!” he cried. His pride seamlessly turned to self-righteous indignation: “This Jew assaulted me for no reason!” He clutched his wounded finger and began calling for the police. “You saw him bite me!” he cried to a bystander. “Yes, I saw,” replied the man.
“Here now!” said the police officer. “What’s all this racket?”
“The Jew!” blustered the wounded bully. “This Jew attacked me for no reason, and bit my finger!” “You see the blood!” “This Jew wanted my blood!” “I was just having a little fun with him, and he attacked me!”
“Come with me,” said the officer, as he clasped the shoulder of the grey-bearded Jew.
“But, sir!” said the old man, tears in his eyes. “He was pulling my beard and threatening me! He was hurting me!” “Look, the hair pulled out by the roots, the blood on my face!”
“Tell that to the judge,” said the officer. “Come along.” “You’re under arrest for assault and battery.”
Later, the elderly Jew stood before the district judge, and told his story as true as it happened before G-d.
The pious judge listened to the story, hands about his chin. Then he reached for his gavel and clanked it down with all the weight of law-abiding authority: “A fine for the Jew!” he said. “Enough to cover damages and pain and suffering for this fine athlete!”
The gathered audience nodded their heads, tongues clucking in approval of the wise judge’s decision.
Then the judge turned to give a final lecture to the old Jew: “What’s the matter, old man?” he said, false moral authority creasing his portly brow. “Couldn’t you practice a little restraint?”
“Couldn’t you practice a little restraint?”
In this court of supposed justice echoed the most unjust words an ear could hear…words dripping with moral authority, yet so fatally wrong: of course it was the Jew’s fault, the words shouted: He didn’t practice restraint!
A true story, yet ongoing
It would be bad enough if this event only happened once, and it did happen…but the travesty is that its injustice continues. It happens often on an international scale, as a Jewish nation struggles for life and peace.
Terror? Rockets? Missiles? Kidnapping? Suicide bombs? Beard-pulling? Destruction? Such is a daily occurrence for a lonely nation, surrounded on the dock by a clustered crowd, some of whom add their voices in derision, others who turn away in silence: it’s only a Jew being terrorized, after all!
And so the nation gives up her land, land made to blossom as a garden, arid land turned into lucrative flower, and only asks for peace in return. But in return, what? More bombs, more terror, more injustice. “We’ll yank your beard, Mr. Jew. Where’s the money?” “We have the strong man behind us, you know!”
They didn’t want the Jew’s land after all; they only wanted the Jew’s destruction…
And yet the clustered crowd blames the Jew!
The beard of the Jew is pulled again and again. Blood is running down his cheeks; his right to exist is denied, and actions for peace are mocked. Yet if he moves against the hand of his oppressor, it is his fault! The arrest must be made; this is peace, after all: the removal or submission of the Jew!
And if the Jew is destroyed, it’s all the same, surely!
After all, he didn’t practice restraint, you know…