Fruits of Hatred: Three Jews Murdered in Kansas
How does this happen?
Tragedies such as these, spring from a few people and a few institutions who create the fear of the “other” be it Jews, Blacks, Gays or Muslims. This fear and its conjoint twin, Hate is carefully cultivated, nurtured and fanned among people who may otherwise have been decent, sincere people but are then infected by the Hate. It gets its growth from the majority of the people, who sit quietly, allowing the fear-mongering to continue unchallenged.
Inevitably, some of the more emotionally-charged people decide to take matters into their own hands and strike a blow for “Freedom”, against what they perceive as the Evil Juggernaut, coming to destroy them all.
We see the results of unchallenged Hate in these three deaths, in the murders of other Jews elsewhere, in the murders and beatings of Gays and Sikhs and Muslims all over the country, in recent events.
The trouble with remaining silent when Hate is directed against the “other” is that it can just as easily be cultivated and turned around to be directed against “us”, but by that time, it is a bit late for regrets.
Jews and Jewish organizations should take a lesson from this tragedy and look around them. Jewish organizations are in the midst of promoting fear and hate against Islam and Muslims, for some, this promotion of anti-Muslim fever is the major source of raising funds; strike fear into the hearts of Jews so they will donate more money to support the “defense” of Jews. Unfortunately, far too often, defending Jews has become synonymous with attacking Islam and Muslims and so, nobody complains when anti-Muslim fears are fanned.
Sometimes, the majority of Jews are silent because they agree with the actions of the hate-promoters and sometimes, the majority remains silent because they do not wish to take on a Jewish organization publicly. The results of either, are the same, they always end up creating hate and fear of another minority and inevitably, someone takes it upon himself to deal with the growing menace of the “other”, with tragic results.
Last October, the Washington Holocaust Education and Resource Center (WHERC) held a fundraiser in Seattle, inviting Mark Weitzman, the Government Affairs Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), as their keynote speaker.When local Muslims learnt of this, they explained to WHERC that SWC was deeply involved in promoting fear and hate of Islam and Muslims and by having their director as an honored guest, WHERC is indirectly promoting hate and fear against Islam and Muslims. WHERC’s reaction was to lock their doors, shut down discussion and pretend nothing was wrong; the fundraiser continued with the director of SWC as the honored keynote speaker.
Mark Weitzman may not have spoken against Islam or Muslims that day, but the fact remains that his organization, the SWC, has held major events with speakers who spoke against the prophet Mohammed and Islam as a major source of evil and hate. SWC has also produced and promoted fear-mongering movies against Islam and Muslims such as “Ever Again” and “The Third Jihad”…the list of SWCs campaigns against Islam and Muslims is staggering.
Of all the Jews in the Greater Seattle area, only one single Jewish person, informed WHERC that he was not going to attend their luncheon because of their invitation to the SWC Director. All other Jews either remained unaware or, decided not to take a public stand against a Jewish institution…and continued with their financial and personal support for WHERC. Some Jews even decided (with help from WHERC) that Muslims were being “Anti-Semitic” by taking a stand against an event held by the “Holocaust Center”…the holiest of all holies. My personal Jewish friends who were informed about this, shook their heads and agreed Weitzman should not be honored by the Holocaust Center, but still, they did nothing. Instead they continued with their financial support for the organization. Clearly, it was more important to defend a Jewish institution that stood against Hate (as WHERC professes to do), than it was to take a stand against Hate itself and end up being seen as attacking a Jewish organization.
This realization and experience shook me to my deepest core.
How can Hate be defeated if hate against some is okay? How can we condemn hate-mongering by some…the “other”…sources and promote (sometimes, by our silence) hate-mongering by other…”our”…sources?
It just cannot work, not in the US, not anywhere in the world.
Israel cannot be promoting hate against Arabs and Palestinians and pretend great injury when hate is aimed at Israel.
Muslims cannot promote Hate against Ahmediyya, Christians and Hindus, and be pained when the same hate blows up their own “REAL” Muslims.
Sunnis cannot sit silently during hate-promotion against Shias and wonder why people hate all Muslims.
Jews cannot permit their Synagogues and other institutions to become centers for hate-promotion and wonder why other people are not joining them an a grand battle against Hate.
It cannot work.
Then, when tragedy strikes our own, we mourn alone and there is nobody around, who will comfort our broken, fear-filled hearts.
We need to ally ourselves with each other against ALL forms of discrimination and hate. Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, whoever we identify with, we need to set aside our parochial loyalties and make a conscious decision to unite against Hate and Fear. This does not mean forming yet more “interfaith” discussion groups that do little more than look at our common religious callings, but groups that are ready, able and willing to take on their own, if Hate and Fear are being promoted from within their particular groups.
If we are unable to get past our identities and if we continue to support Hate when it is being promoted by our own, then we must steel ourselves for the inevitable backlash of Hate, that will take its toll against our own. Whether we are Muslims, Christians or Jews, it doesn’t matter.