Netanyahu calls on world to condemn synagogue fire

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.56.17 AMI’ve often criticized the PM’s policies on the peace process, the settlements, the extreme religious right in Israel…But the PM is also right sometimes, and this is one of those times. He correctly points out that when the subject is terrorism, Palestinian attacks on Jews/Israelis barely register on the Richter scale of journalistic awareness. And the clergy is worse because when they do they often are often hypocritical, judgmental unsympathetic.

I’m am fed up with some of my fellow clerics whose hearts are full of love for Palestinians but have only thinly veiled hate in their hearts for Israelis. Any thoughtful person knows that both Palestinians and Israelis suffer, both experience loss, both have aspirations that are thwarted and both neglect important issues in their communities because the daily conflict overwhelms or distorts everything else.

And yet when Israelis defend themselves from murderous Palestinian attacks on their streets, the Swedish foreign minister’s calls for an investigation of the Israelis are reported, but there is almost no word of condemnation of the attacks. When Palestinians disseminate bogus reports of alleged Israeli violations on the Temple Mount, the clergy is shocked. But when Palestinians commit arson by destroying a synagogue and the Torah scrolls within it, the clergy is silent.

If I point out to those of my colleagues who apply these double standards that they are anti-Semitic, they will respond by blaming the victim. “That’s what you Jews do,” they will say. “When anyone criticizes Israel, the Jews play the anti-semitism card in an attempt to silence legitimate criticism.” Can you say “Catch 22”? “Criticism” which relies on double standards and stereotyping is anti-Semitic by definition. When something looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, and quacks like a duck, there is no alternative but to call it a duck, regardless of whose feathers are ruffled.

Racism, sexism and anti-Semitism are ingrained in American culture (and not only American culture, but that’s a topic for another time). Why should anyone be surprised if the behavior of well-meaning people is conditioned by anti-semitism, and that these people are often unaware of this conditioning, just as some people are sexists or racists because they have been influenced by those present in American culture.

No one is happy when confronted by uncomfortable facts. This is especially true when people are confronted with the fact that their attitudes, actions or opinions are tinged with anti-semitism…or racism or sexism. The only thing that’s new here may be the fact that I am less inclined to put up with this BS than before. —Rabbi Kerry Baker

Referenced article: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4763071,00.html

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