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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘hate’

‘Move De Line’: Shalom Bayit; Shalom Aleinu

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

In parshah Ki Tetzei, Moses teaches us, almost as an afterthought, “Do not hate an Edomite because he is your brother.” This teaching is understandable. After all, even an estranged brother who has wronged me is still my brother. But then, in a leap hard to grasp for many of us, the Torah goes on to teach, “Do not hate an Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land” (23:8).

What? How can we help but hate those who enslaved us? Whose king demanded that “every male Israelite born be thrown into the Nile”? There must be a deeper meaning to these words. How can we be expected to develop good relations with such a mortal enemy? Which do we do? Do we recall our suffering in Egypt (l’maan tizkor et yom tzetcha m’eretz Mitzrayim) or do we “not hate an Egyptian”?

When I studied at Yeshiva University, hundreds of us would rush to the cafeteria after morning seder to quickly get our lunches so we could make it to our afternoon shiur on time. As you can imagine, the line could grow very long. There, standing behind the counter, dishing out daily helpings of whatever was on the menu was a gentle Holocaust survivor, Mr. Weber. To this day, so many years later, I can still hear his voice prompting us along: “Move de line, move de line.”

Over the many years of my life, his constant refrain has become integral to my personal philosophy. To me, he was not simply asking us not to slow down the line; he was telling us not to get stuck in a tough spot and, by extension, not to remain mired in the bitterness of the inevitable challenges and disappointments we all face – not to bear grudges for the rest of our lives.

We all have to “move de line.”

That means letting go of the negatives that hold us back – the things that enslave us, that humiliate us, that degrade us. Ironically, until we can let go of those things, we will remain enslaved, even long after our captors have set us free. We need to “move de line” if we are to forge new paths and realize new goals.

Hurt begets hurt. Anger begets anger. Hate begets hate. If you want to move de line, you have to let go of hurt and anger. If your “captor” allows you to go free, the least you can do is grant yourself the same grace. As long as you continue to be enslaved by negativity, you can know no freedom; you cannot embark on a new beginning. You are stuck.

As Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks eloquently teaches, “To be free, you have to let go of hate. That is what Moses is saying. If they continued to hate their erstwhile enemies, Moses would have taken the Israelites out of Egypt, but he would not have taken Egypt out of the Israelites. Mentally, they would still be there, slaves to the past. They would still be in chains, not of metal but of the mind – and chains of the mind are the most constricting of all.”

But what of all the mitzvot centered on Yetziat Mitzrayim – including those recalled on Shabbat, when laying tefillin, putting on our tzitzit or reciting the ancient truths at our Seders? In fact, there is no hate, no rage, no call for revenge or retaliation – not even a shred of negativity – in any of these mitzvot. Instead, they focus on the positive: Remember. Learn. Grow.

Move de line.

Rav Soloveitchik views the Egyptian exile and suffering as the “…experience which molded the moral quality of the Jewish people for all time.” Rather than embitter us, our experience in Egypt and subsequent emancipation teaches us not to hate and retaliate but rather “…ethical sensitivity, what it truly means to be a Jew. It sought to transform the Jew into a rachaman, one possessing a heightened form of ethical sensitivity and responsiveness.”

The most practical method of teaching compassion, sensitivity and concern for others, the most direct way of imparting a sense of mitgefiel, is to recall one’s own experience of tzarah. It should come as no surprise that it is often he who has suffered sickness who best understands the discomfort of the ill; he who has sustained loss who can best comfort the bereaved, and he who knew wealth and success but who suffered reversals who can best identify with a colleague or neighbor who confronts similar obstacles.

What’s Your Sin? Removing the Number One Stumbling Block in Your Life

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

With the High Holidays rapidly approaching, we begin to take stock of our lives. Here are five fundamental and common sins. Which one is your biggest stumbling block?

Wronging others. We may have wronged others emotionally or financially. We frequently excuse our behavior by saying, “I didn’t intend any harm. I was just…” But good intentions do not whitewash sinful acts.

Ask yourself, “Is there anyone I offended or whose feelings I have hurt? Have I caused someone distress? Have I made fun of someone (even good-naturedly)? Do I owe anyone money? Have I reneged on an agreement? Have I enriched myself at the expense of others?”

You may think, “I’ll straighten it out later. I’ll make good in the end.” But repentance is only possible while you are in this world. Nobody knows which day will be their last. Once a person’s body shuts down, so do the gates of repentance. Whatever you can correct, do so while you still can.

Action steps: Can you recall any time you hurt someone, perhaps a friend, neighbor, family member, fellow congregant or business associate? Even if you think you have both moved on since then, you still need to make amends and/or apologize.

Hating your fellow Jew. Perhaps you do not hate anybody, but how about intensely dislike? Are there people you cannot be with and feel distaste just looking at them?

We do not have to go out of our way to spend time with people we do not like; often, it is good to limit contact with those who push our buttons. But we are forbidden to harbor personal animosity toward our fellow Jew, as the Torah cautions us (Leviticus 19:17), “Do not hate your brother in your heart…”

Some people just rub us the wrong way. When we look at them, we think about their real or imagined faults. Instead, remind yourself that you do not know everything about them and judge them favorably. In addition, think about their good points. Everyone has good qualities and has done good deeds. Search for and admire the good in others.

Action steps: Make a list of those you dislike. Write down their admirable qualities and the good they have done. Next time you see them, bring to mind what you wrote and try to give them a genuine smile and greeting.

Being callous. Sometimes, our issue is not that we have wronged others, or that we hate them, it is that we ignore them. Often, we are so focused on our own lives that we do not pay enough attention to others. We may ignore the difficulties they have, perhaps in finding a job or a spouse, coping with illness or paying bills. Although we cannot help everyone, we still have to do whatever we can. Pirkei Avot reminds us, “It is not your responsibility to complete the work, yet you are not free to withdraw from it (2:21).”

When we hear about a difficulty or tragedy, often our reaction is, “What a pity. Thank God I’m not affected.” And we go on with business as usual. But we are affected: Our brothers and sisters are struggling. We have to ask ourselves, “How can I help? What can I do?” If you cannot provide physical, financial or emotional assistance, do not minimize the importance of including them in your prayers.

Action steps: Devote a portion of your time and resources to helping others. At least each week, preferably daily, do an act of kindness. When you meet someone, show an interest in that individual and see if you can be of assistance.

Neglecting our relationship with God. Sometimes, people get so busy with daily life they forget about their Creator. God created us to have a relationship with Him. Each day we do not develop this relationship is a day lost forever.

Action steps: Every day, connect with God by: Praying to Him, performing a mitzvah mindfully, sensing His presence, thanking Him for one of His blessings and thinking about how He guides every aspect of your life for your highest good.

An essential part of having a relationship with God is not disrespecting Him. For example, we must ensure that we do not talk during davening or leave the synagogue while the haftarah is being read.

Double Standards on Facebook

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Some things, you have to see to believe.  I was alerted by a friend, a couple of days ago, to the existence of a truly revolting, anti-Semitic Facebook page called “The Untold History,” which, according to Facebook, does not violate Facebook’s standards.

We practice link hygiene here at TOC, so I offer this write-up from the Online Hate Prevention Project (OHPP) website, which contains a link to the offensive Facebook page.  If you can stomach another round of anti-Semitic imagery, cast a glance at the image copied in this post from the Facebook page – one of quite a few.  The page has 833 “Likes” as of this writing.

We don’t know how many users have reported this page for “hate speech,” against which Facebook has a policy.  But several of those who have reported the page have posted in the comments at OHPP’s Facebook page that the response they received was like this one (posted by OHPP):

fb-response

The text reads:

Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards.  Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment.  We reviewed the page you reported for containing hate speech or symbols and found it doesn’t violate our community standard on hate speech.

(This is the response I received as well.)

I tend toward the libertarian when it comes to freedom of expression; as long as Facebook is a private company, I believe it has the right to host or not host what seems proper to its leadership and shareholders.  Facebook can afford its users the latitude of expression it prefers, even when the expression in question is really offensive; the customer base can then decide to participate or not accordingly.

But since Facebook has a policy on hate speech, what is the company’s standard for latitude in freedom of expression?  What doesn’t get to remain on Facebook?  Where does the arbiter make the cut-off, and can users trust that it’s being done fairly?  This week, we have been given a unique opportunity to do a comparison with what did get banned at Facebook – if only for a few days.

On 9 August, author and columnist Ruthie Blum posted a column in which she recounted her recent adventures in being banned by Facebook:

For the past two months, I have intermittently been barred from Facebook.

The first time it happened was in June, when I tried to post my Israel Hayom column. Suddenly, a window popped up, telling me that inappropriate material had been found on, and removed from, my page. I was warned that if I continued violating Facebook’s “community standards,” I would be banned from the social network for good.

The notice included a link specifying these standards, and a demand that I click to acknowledge I had read and understood them. Failure to do so, it said, would result in my inability even to open Facebook to read my newsfeed. I complied.

Ms. Blum worked through the wickets Facebook set up for restoring her account to its good graces, but was unable to determine what, exactly, had violated its standards.  She was barred from Facebook for 24 hours at one point, and then for three days.

Her columns, she observes, are political in nature.  (Ms. Blum was formerly an editor at The Jerusalem Post.)  I append links to samples of them from the relevant timeframe here, here, here, here, and here.  She writes responsibly, in measured tones, and with reason and documentation; there is nothing intemperate or inflammatory about her content.  You might disagree with its political perspective, but you could not reasonably consider it “hate speech,” violence, threats, or bullying.  One thing it is completely free of:  graphics depicting anyone, or depicting anyone’s ethnic or religious symbols, surrounded by dead bodies and blood.

Here’s a screen cap from one of her recent columns at Israel Hayom:

blum-1

Contrast the tone and presentation of the type of content she was trying to link to with a random sampling of the content at The Untold History’s Facebook page:

Arab Donald Duck Tweets for Israel to be ‘Demolished’

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

An Egyptian radio host who identifies himself as the official voice of Donald Duck on Disney Middle East called on Twitter for Israel to be “demolished.”

The discussion that began Sunday on the Twitter feed of Wael Mansour continued on Tuesday.

“I truly wish #Israel is demolished, I hate Zionism, I have so much hate inside me with every single child they murder or land they seize!” Mansour tweeted Sunday. The tweet followed one that read: “I saw a video of Israeli soldiers brutally arresting a palestinian woman in front of her 3 children coz they seized her home & she objects!” which could explain his Twitter outburst.

Mansour responded to some critics by tweeting: “I don’t know why insulting #Israel & #Zionism is “Anti-Semitic”?! They are just a bunch of Polish/ Ethiopian immigrants roughly 70 years old” and “There are Jews who hate Zionism; does it make them Jews Anti-Jews?! Of course NO! We respect Jews & disrespect Zionism, there’s a difference.”

The Algemeiner called on Disney chairman Bob Iger, who is Jewish, to respond to the controversy. Disney owns the rights to Donald Duck.

Contacted directly via Twitter by the Algemeiner, Mansour told the paper, “The Zionist entity is a racist entity by definition, performing crimes of hate by the power of its criminal law. I stand firm by what I said.”

Mansour said Egypt “dictates an overwhelming Islamic sentiment that happened normally. On the other hand, the Zionist entity is a bunch of immigrants stealing lands and creating a state based on a racist difference.”

Abbas’ Fatah Party Lauds Female Terrorist as ‘Master of the World’

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

The administrator of one of Fatah’s official Facebook pages recently posted a picture glorifying Palestinian female terrorists and the Palestinian woman, defining her as the “[female] master of the world, according to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which translated and published the blatant incitement.

The Facebook posting in June flies in the face of constant statements by the Obama administration, including the president himself, that  chairman Mahmoud Abbas has lived up to its commitment to stop incitement against Israel and Jews.

The Facebook posting praises the women terrorists and states that each one “gave herself only as a Martyr.”

The posting includes pictures of three women as examples of this heroic Palestinian woman: Dalal Mughrabi, Ayyat Al-Akhras and Laila Khaled.

Dalal Mughrabi led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history in 1978, when she and other terrorists hijacked a bus and killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children.

Ayyat Al-Akhras, at age 17, was the youngest female Palestinian suicide bomber. She killed 2 Israelis and injured 28 in a suicide bombing near a Jerusalem supermarket on March 29, 2002.

Laila Khaled was a PFLP terrorist who participated in the hijacking of TWA flight 840 in 1969.

The terrorists are pictured with a rifle, a pistol and wearing an ammunition belt, respectively. Palestinian Media Watch has reported that Fatah regularly uses its Facebook page to glorify terrorists.

The text on the picture with the three terrorists praises each one as the female “master of the world.” It adds, “Men should be humbled in her presence and the moon should hide. I bow my head and kiss the hand of every Palestinian woman.”

It describes how – contrary to the world’s other women who the text claims do not care about their homeland, give in to conquerors, and even entertain them – Palestinian women are worthy of admiration and praise for becoming “Martyrs.” Two of the terrorists pictured became “Martyrs” during their terror attacks:

“Except for you, oh mother of purity, honor and modesty.

For you gave yourself only as a Martyr (Shahida);

Except for you, oh olive branch, oh tree of nobility, oh wellspring of honor.

The hardships exhausted you and the pickaxes fell on you,

but you were not exhausted and you did not break.

For you are the Palestinian woman who gave herself only as a Martyr.”

This past January, female terrorists were also presented on official; Palestinian Authority television as role models and heroes for Palestinian women by the coordinator of the Palestinian universities’ Fatah sorority committee called “Sisters of Dalal,” Ayyat Salah Al-Din:

“When we speak of the ‘Sisters of Dalal,’ we’re talking about a prisoner’s sister, a Martyr’s (Shahid) widow, or the Palestinian fighter’s daughter in general. You’re talking about the successors of Martyr Dalal Mughrabi, and the successors of Martyrdom-seekers (i.e., suicide terrorists) like Wafa Idris, Ayyat Al-Akhras, Andalib Takatka, and many others.”

As previously reported, The PA-run city of Bethlehem last January glorified “the district’s female Martyrs” during a public ceremony in which the terrorists’ were honored, including the families of the two female suicide bombers Ayyat Al-Akhras and Andalib Takatka.

At the ceremony, Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun stated that “the existence of female Palestinian Martyrs is very significant to the role of the woman in all areas of life,” according to the official PA daily, PMW reported.

The Al-Hayat Al-Jadida newspaper told its readers,  “District Governor Abd Al-Fattah Hamayel said, ‘The Martyrs’ victory began to become real with the declaration of Palestinian statehood, in spite of all attempts to erase the Palestinian identity.’ … At the end of the ceremony, the families of the female Martyrs were honored, among them: … [the families of] Ayyat Al-Akhras… and Andalib Khalil Muhammad Suleiman (Andalib Takatka).”

Andalib Khalil Muhammad Suleiman or Andalib Takatka – female suicide bomber who killed six and wounded more than 80 in her attack on Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda outdoor market on April 12, 2002.

Now that  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has forced Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume direct talks, it is probable that the PA will  tone down the incitement, but only until the talks get to the point where Abbas does not get what he wants.

France Foils Major Terrorist Attack, Arrests Neo-Nazi

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

France has arrested a new-Nazi singer who it said was preparing a “major terrorist attack” after his wife bought four rifles.

Kristian Vikernes, who was convicted nearly 20 years ago for knifing one man to death and burning down several churches, is linked to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.

BBC reported that the French interior ministry said Vikernes  is “a potential threat to society.” Officials said the neo-Nazi previously received Breivik’s manifesto for a crusade against Muslims who he said “were taking over Europe and could only be defeated through a violent civil war.”

Police also arrested Vikernes’ wife and searched their home for weapons and explosives.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/france-foils-major-terrorist-attack-arrests-neo-nazi/2013/07/16/

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