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Know Thine Enemy


American Jewry – certainly when compared to earlier generations – has become indifferent to the fate of Israel as well as its own. No doubt, poor and uninspiring leadership in both Israel and the United States is a major contributing factor, but it goes further.

Political correctness, left-wing media, and a revisionist educational system have also been contributive factors to the ambivalence and complacency of American and Israeli Jews. The recent horror in Mumbai and the relatively muted response from Jewish leadership in both countries lends credence to this argument.

Commenting on the murders of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife Rivkah, and the other Jews at the Chabad Center of Mumbai, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni declared, “Our world is under attack. There are extremist Muslim elements who do not accept our values or our existence.”

If ever someone had the correct assessment but the wrong conclusion, it’s Livni. Indeed, Jews around the world are under attack by Muslims, but in view of what’s been going on for centuries, why differentiate and call them “extreme”? The American government and media have been no less pusillanimous in confronting this Islamic onslaught.

The 9/11 attack was a greater act of dastardly aggression than even Pearl Harbor and should have drawn the sustained wrath not only of the U.S. but of every civilized nation in the world. But rather than rightfully put our country on a war footing, the president chose to prevaricate, insisting time and again that Islam is a religion of peace.

From the outset of World War II until its conclusion, there was never any ambiguity about who the enemy was. The country wasn’t spoon-fed such disingenuous drivel as we’re fighting “the forces of evil.” As a society we were able to focus our anger on a discernable common enemy and in so doing brought the war to a successful conclusion.

Why can’t this be done today? Why is the current conflict referred to as “the war against terror” rather than what it really is – “the war against Islam”? Why aren’t Jews, at least, willing to tell the truth about who and what we’re up against?

Here in the U.S., putatively educated Jews have become fat cats. No longer moved by the pain and suffering of past generations of Jews in Europe and in lands under Muslim domination, American Jewry has become so ensconced in a comfortable secular lifestyle that there really isn’t much inclination to understand that a Sword of Damocles is hanging over its collective head.

My parents marched to the slogan “A Jewish state in ’48,” and my friends and I were glued to the radio in June 1967. Today’s generation of young Jews and their “enlightened” parents, by contrast, are all too blasé about the fate of Israel and world Jewry. They are either too irresolute or too consumed with material pursuits to bother reading the writing on the wall – hence their overwhelming support for the heretofore unknown Obama.

Israel is saddled with equally dubious leadership and a segment of its population that seems hell bent on committing national suicide. Having not been given even a moment’s rest from its Muslim neighbors throughout the past century and into this one, too many Israelis seem to have forgotten the nature of the Jewish historical experience with this ancient foe.

Why else, in the face of broken agreements, increasing violence, and general Islamic recalcitrance, would Israeli leaders continue to push for Palestinian statehood? By what rational design would this be in Israel’s interest (or, for that matter, America’s)?

What will it take for Israeli leaders and opinion shapers to finally realize the enemy is not a traditional nation-state but a religious faith – a religious faith opposed to Jewish sovereignty and all that entails?

The Koran, supposedly the revelation of God to Muhammad, abounds with hatred for “disbelievers” (i.e., Jews); its debasement of the Jewish people has been ingrained in generations of Muslims for centuries. Revisionist scholars may labor to portray Muslim anti-Semitism as something of a recent phenomenon, due mainly to the creation of the State of Israel, but readily available historical documentation indicates otherwise.

Thirteen hundred years before the Holocaust, Jews were treated as untermenschen in lands conquered by Islam from Indonesia to Spain. Jews throughout the Arab world were forced to pay a special tax of tribute to the local sultan for the privilege of living among the “true believers.” Every accusation, every punishment imaginable, every humiliation conceived of, was meted out to those who refused to accept the “true religion.”

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American Jewry – certainly when compared to earlier generations – has become indifferent to the fate of Israel as well as its own. No doubt, poor and uninspiring leadership in both Israel and the United States is a major contributing factor, but it goes further.

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