Last Monday night/Tuesday, Jews observed (not celebrated) Yom HaShoah—Holocaust Remembrance Day—on the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. After World War Two, Jews insisted, “Never again!” Israel built a military to defend the Jewish State. It’s what’s happening in America that disturbs me.
Carolyn and I didn’t do anything formal for Yom HaShoah. We discuss the Holocaust year-round. We see movies. We read books. I recently finished the 1933 novel “The Oppermanns” by Lion Feuchtwanger about Germany’s early Hitler years and “The Postmistress of Paris” by Meg Waite Clayton, a recent novel about smuggling Jewish refugees out of occupied and Vichy France.
To be clear, the United States isn’t Nazi Germany. But America has a long tradition of anti-Semitism. Given today’s political far-right, I worry that enough Americans won’t stand up and be counted against Christian nationalism and its anti-Semitic views.
Example: Conservative (anti-Trump) New York Times opinion columnist David French, in “How Tennessee Illustrates the Three Rules of MAGA” (April 13), cited “National Conservatism: A Statement of Principles” by members of the Edmund Burke Foundation:
“Where a Christian majority exists, public life should be rooted in Christianity and its moral vision, which should be honored by the state and other institutions both public and private. At the same time, Jews and other religious minorities are to be protected in the observance of their own traditions . . . in all matters pertaining to the rearing and education of their children. Adult individuals should be protected from religious or ideological coercion in their private lives and in their homes.”
Take a moment. Like dhimmis (non-Muslim monotheists) in Muslim lands, Jews would be relegated to second-class citizenship. Christians make the laws? Jewish law permits abortion when a mother’s health or life is threatened. Christian legislatures banning abortion take a position that supersedes Jewish law.
Do the statement’s signers really believe their religio-political philosophy will allow Jews, Muslims and others to retain equal footing in America’s affairs? If you need convincing, look to one of the nation’s biggest political disgraces, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R.–Ga.).
In a tweet, Greene defended the alleged leaker of classified documents Jake Texeira, a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman. Her justification: “Jake Texeira is white, male, Christian, and antiwar. That makes him an enemy of the Biden regime.”
Greene believes that Biden and Democrats represent much of the world’s evil—although Biden is a Christian. Then again, Biden’s Catholic. Greene finds Texeira justified because he is white, male and Christian. Anti-war? He’s military. Further, most Americans support Ukraine’s defense against Russia. Only a handful of Special Forces are reported on the ground there. Ukrainians do the dying. After Afghanistan and Iraq—a few troops combat ISIS in Syria—few Americans hanker for war.
Question: If a Jew—perhaps Black and female—had stolen and published those top-secret documents, would Greene have defended her?
Greene lives on a fringe that’s disturbingly large. Witness the 74 million votes (not all from the fringe) in 2020 for Donald Trump, the sitting President, who stated of the white-supremacist, anti-Semitic 2017 march in Charlottesville, Virginia: “There were good people on both sides.”
The black smoke that ascended from the crematoria in Europe eighty years ago warns Americans today. Don’t look at the U.S.A. through rose-colored glasses.
My new novel, The Short (Pun Intended) Redemptive Life of Little Ned, is now available in softcover or e-book from Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, and iuniverse.com. Or order from your favorite bookstore.
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