Today, on Shabbos, the front door to the shul was locked. It was an unusual occurrence at this particular shul (another shul for some mysterious reason, never unlocks the front door) and I was bewildered by it. After much investigation, I found that the doors were locked in precaution for reprisals from the incursion of Israel into Gaza, it was done, I was told, for my own protection.
For my protection? Do I live in Gaza? Am I in middle of a war zone? Can there be any less Jewish message than a shul locking their doors on a Shabbos?
Last week, on this blog, I asked the question as to why pro-Israel Montreal Jews don’t demonstrate on the street. I went into a huge diatribe as to the message Montreal Jews are sending to Israel and the world by huddling in their ghetto and meeting in their synagogue to support Israel. This week I will not do that.
Jew hating, pro-Palestinian thugs took to the streets a week ago calling for Jihad, Murder and the elimination of Jews (http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=6UWPeK-uydk) why did they feel they could march through the streets of peaceful Montreal and scream these hateful, inciteful and offensive slogans, because they knew that the Jews in great numbers would shy away from counter-protest, would shy away from criticizing them and would basically stay away.
This was proven over and over again by the Jewish community. When Hillel brought in Bibi Netanyahu, former Prime Minister of the State of Israel to speak at Concordia, a small riot by the same Arab protesters seen in that youtube video stopped the speech. Even though hundreds of Israel supporters were sitting in the hall waiting for Netanyahu to start speaking, even though Netanyahu himself was ready to show up and deliver his message, the organized Jewish community (who later blamed Concordia) decided it was a security risk. So the peaceful participants at a university were deprived of their program by a few hundred thugs.
Jews are scared. They are scared because the community preaches fear. Jews are scared because in the last decade, the community has invested millions of dollars to build forts and fortresses around our schools, our synagogues and our community centers. The community is scared because the organized Jewish community has consistently refused to speak tough when it comes to Jew hatred. The community is scared because our leadership is scared.
The definition of a leader is one who stand in the forefront and leads. Not one who cowers in their highly protected ghetto and squeaks from behind a podium.
Yassir Arafat, although I hate everything the man stood for, was a leader. He didn’t shy away from the Israelis, he didn’t shy away from his message that the Palestinians must be a free people living in their own state. As terroristic and repulsive the mass murdering man was, he exemplified everything a leader should be and his people are stronger for it.
In all evil there is a lesson. Yassir Arafat taught us that if you believe you are fighting for is right, then put your body and soul in front of it and fight til the death.
Too many times in Jewish history, Jews hid away in their ghettos. Too many times in Jewish history did Jews cower and hide. Today, we have a strong homeland. Today we are a proud people who should be holding our heads up high and declaring our Jewishness, declaring very publicly our support of Israel, but most importantly declaring that we are not afraid.
I find myself quoting Rabbi Meir Kahane a lot these days. Although some consider him a radical, he did have quite a few things to say about Jewish activism that applies greatly today. At a speech at Brandeis University shortly before his assassination in 1990, Kahane was accosted by Jewish protests calling him a racist and Israel a genocidal state. His response could teach us all a lesson:
“…If G-d forbid we listened to these crazy Jews here, there would be no Jewish state. They suffer from an advanced specific form of Jewish ail, it’s called guilt. There are certain kind of Jews who hone guilt to a fine art. They feel guilty about everything, whether we did it, we didn’t do it, we are guilty. Remember in Lebanon, in Beirut, Christian Arabs massacred Muslim Arabs, who was guilty? The Jews. Don’t feel guilty, they had their opportunities over and over and over again for a state called Palestine and they refused because they believe they could have everything.
So they speak today of moderate Arabs, a more sophisticated version of moderate terrorists, who presumably murder Jews moderately…There is not one Arab speaker who if he came to Brandeis would ever be picketed by an Arab. And know that. They are not riddled with guilt as these people are…”(http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=rrFhiuV-NI0)
19 years later Jews are still racked with this guilt. This is why Federation did not hold their solidarity rally on the streets of Montreal. This is why a small rag-tag group of people who have been standing in solidarity with Israel on a weekly basis for years have beeh marginalized and ignored. This is why Jew haters feel free to march in downtown Montreal unabatted and unapposed screaming Itbach al Yehud (slaughter the Jew). They all know what the Jewish community has yet to figure out..When the rhetoric gets tough, the Jews hide in their synagogues and lock the doors.
When asked on Radio Shalom Montreal why the solidarity rally was being held indoors, deep in the Jewish ghetto, Federation CJA President Marc Gold replied “..It’s easier to control the message.” Unfortunately, the message that was sent by that rally and the inaction of the Jewish community, is that the Jewish community is weak, scared and in hiding. We are once again lambs waiting for slaughter.
‘Itbach al Yehud’ (slaughter the Jews) yelled the protesters last Sunday. The Jewish community’s collective response…a loud click as they locked their synagogue doors on Shabbos.