In Great Britain, Ken Loach finds antisemitism "understandable"
In Argentina, a celebration of Israel's birthday is interrupted by a gang of 15 or 20 people, armed
clubs, chains and nunchakus, shouting: “Death to the Zionist Jews!” .
In Austria, survivors of the concentration camp Ebensee who gathered to remember their liberation, were shot at with pellets and abused by masked neo-Nazi thugs screaming ‘Heil Hitler!’ and ‘This way to the gas!’. According to this report, they were Leftist neo-nazis.
In the US, a terrorist plot to bomb two Jewish synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx was foiled by police.
Surfing the Net, I stumbled upon a conversation about this piece of news on some message board. I have re-worked some the wording so as to prevent detection by google, and for dramatic effect, but the gist is preserved:
Poster A: Here is some news about how a plot to blow up 2 synagogues was foiled. How awful for the Muslim community in Newburgh! This will be a terrible blow to their pride. They lost, you know, two soldiers who were Muslim in the war in Afghanistan, and took great pride in that fact. They should speak out against this strongly.. it will be to their advantage to do so.
Poster B chimes in: How awful for the Jewish community! Sounds like another hate crime. But I don't think the Muslim community will speak out, though of course I may as yet be agreeably surprised.
Poster A, reproachfully: A hate Crime! Huh! Don't be absurd. No crime was committed. It was only a conspiracy, for God's sakes!
Poster B, meekly: Yes, you are quite right, but it was a conspiracy to commit a hate crime.
Poster A: A hate crime is just another crime. You don't call the rape of a woman a hate crime, do you?
Poster B, a little more bravely: The acts of vandalizing, or blowing up stones wouldn't have any significance if the targeted stones weren't in a particular cemetery with a particular meaning, to certain people. But for all I know you may be right, again, as you always are. Perhaps it was the same as any commonplace conspiracy to knock over park benches or tear down somebody's picket fence or deface subway walls with ugly graffiti.. Good night now.
Poster A: Sleep loose...
I find these conversations quite fascinating in their insistent avoidance of confronting the meaning of such events. A story about a foiled terrorist attack against two US synagogues passes through the rigorous wringer of two vibrant minds, a few times, and each time the fearful reality of the event gets demoted: from terrorist attack to hate crime to any crime to mere vandalizing attempts. Never mind that the target was synagogues, not cemeteries, and the targeted were living Jews, not stones or dead people. Poster B seems to think that synagogues are like churches, only Jewish. Churches have cemeteries adjoining them, but Jewish cemeteries have to be built at some considerable distance from any place of residence, demarcating a strict line between life and death. But this would be too much knowledge to expect from certain people, I suppose.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Thursday, May 21, 2009