So a venerated, old woman said that the Jews should get out of Palestine and go back home to Germany and Poland. Or America. Or wherever. And after the negative feedback she scrambled to the terra firma of the two-state-solution mantra. Which was more instructive, if less astonishing.
Was she really changing her passionate belief in the few hours, or just putting some lipstick on it? Maybe, we should be glad her true colors came out. I am. The White House Press Secretary opined, "She should and has apologized. Obviously, those remarks do not reflect the opinion, I assume, of most of the people in here and certainly not of the administration."
You assume, do you now? And I assume that if someone else had barked Juden raus! you would have then assumed that Helen Thomas shared the opinion "of most of the people in here." And what is the administration's opinion when calling for a two-state solution, because no credible Arab movement for over a century has ever cared for it? (The constant two-state buzz is reserved for Westerners and skilled Arab diplomats.) With either malevolence or naiveté or both, the two-staters are calling for a "Palestinian" foot in the door, or, in other words, a Jewish foot out the door. A launching pad against its "sister" state of Israel, figuratively as well—kind of like Gaza. Ask Helen.
There has been a lot of noise here in the California Desert about high-school honor students playing Nazi. And in the anonymous rantings of the blogs and feedbacks you can hear America singing, the reassuring sounds advocating personal responsibility as well as the boys-will-be-boys-get-over-it blather. You also hear the blatant screeching anti-Semitism. Instructively, the latter often cites the Gaza flotilla brouhaha. One even suggested that the local Jews here orchestrated the outrage over this high-school business to deflect the news over Gaza. I should invite him (her?) to my think tank.
So the clarity emanating form the press corps illuminates my little corner of the universe, and the illuminated scene is sobering. There is a lot of hate and it isn't going away and we have nowhere to get away from it. Not to say we don't have friends and those who appreciate us, we do. (Actually, Americans for the most part could care less about your ideology and if you have integrity in your belief they will respect you.) But while these unseemly outbursts at this party of life embarrass them, they frighten us.
Being frightened doesn't feel good, lemme tell you. It feels better to hear two-state talk and just-a-game soothings. But now I see that feeling better isn't the same as being better off. That reality is frightening but fright makes you more aware, more focused and ultimately safer.
There is another, more personal element to it all, what Paul Johnson memorably worded in History of the Jews. The Jews are the light unto the nations; but while light illuminates it also disturbs. Some will want to turn the light off. I must be careful.
But more importantly I must remain true. Not allow the bully to win, to remember that a bully is a frustrated coward. That justice is its own reward. That selfishness and evil are temporary, temporal, even when they are in the driver's seat. That from baseless hatred can come boundless love and by my staying true I can be part of that process.
It sounds dreamy; it is not as real as the bully. That is why he is the bully. What will I be? Those who hate me will paint me as the bully (the Gestapo called the Warsaw Ghetto fighters rapists) that is part of the tactic.
I will let Jewish teenagers know how lucky I feel to be a Jew.