My first realization of anti-Semitism came as a ten-year-old. I don’t remember the exact moment of comprehension that someone hated me because of something I was versus something I did, but it hurt and fascinated me at the same time.
What was the justification? Was there something evil in me that only others could detect? Were Hitler and his genocide against Jews an aberration or was this part of a pattern throughout history?
Should I fight back or acquiesce?
So I studied the history of Jews, as much as a pubescent boy, with little intellect as far as my teachers and parents perceived, could. I went to Hebrew School and was especially attentive and inquisitive about Jewish History.
I studied my ancestors’ 400-year slavery in Egypt. I learned about G-d’s intervention via His choice, Moses, to lead the Jews out of bondage and into His law. Then He had Moses guide the Hebrews to the land that was to be theirs, Israel.
My jury of one ruled Jews in general and me in particular to be innocent. Thus the charges of blood libels, disloyalty, and conspiracy to control the world are hereby dismissed. (Did I mention I was the judge, too?)
I discovered that Jews had so many opinions amongst themselves that you couldn’t pin anything on them, except some shared religious beliefs. Even those tenets were in discrepancy from one Jewish group to another. DNA wasn’t useful, because as a religion, not a race, people came into and left Judaism freely.
After I rendered my verdict, I decided to fight against anti-Semitism in my own small way.
Opportunities are often hidden in the shadows of our fears
At 14, I caddied at the Evanston Country Club (no Jews or Black members allowed.) Between rounds we bag mules hung around the caddy shack. One late summer afternoon, the biggest greaser amongst the caddies yelled at me, “Hey Jew, go get me a Coke!” I complied. Without hesitation, I dumped the soda into his face. Then I exploded through the door for the two-mile sprint home.
He yelled, “You’re just a chicken-s&% Kike!” Stupidly, I stopped and went back. As his fellow oilers circled around, he bared a broken soda bottle, grabbed me by the shirt and held the bottle against my jugular.
He said, “Jew, I won’t slice you if you apologize.” I said “I’m sorry.” He dropped the bottle. As he and his friends laughed and began to disperse, I tapped him on the shoulder. As he turned, I timed a perfect right cross to his eye, shocking the living Hell out of him ... and me. Then I set the world record for the two mile run home.
The next day, after working the phones, I marched back with about 15 of my friends and challenged the greaser to a fight. He agreed.
So he and his duck-tailed Elvis wannabes and me and my buddies went to a park. I beat him like a Ringo Starr solo. He offered his hand in defeat. Neither he nor his friends uttered another cross word to me again.
Don’t forget to pack your courage for your journey to survival
How many Jews could have been saved if Israel existed before World War II? How tough would those Nazis have been if they knew a Jewish entity could wreak havoc upon them for their evil?
I don’t know what it’ll take to get Arabs/Muslims to want peace. It’s hard to deter those that believe G-d wants you dead. However, I’ve concluded that a timid response to even one suicide bomber or one rocket shot into Israel has exactly the opposite effect.
Jews must respond forcefully to anti-Semitism wherever it comes from. It may not go away, but I guarantee it’ll think twice before taking another beating.
Whether the world likes it or not is irrelevant to Jewish survival.