Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States. You've heard about it, I know you have. You may even have had that very same thought-if only for the most fleeting of moments.
I don't get the brouhaha. It's not that I don't think the idea is reprehensible, I do. I also confess to having those fleeting thoughts, myself. Hey, I'm only human.
What puzzles me, though are the people, mostly on the Right who say they are disappointed by The Donald's remarks. How could they be disappointed? Were they not listening when he announced his candidacy by saying that Mexicans are rapists?
I'm having a hard time mustering up any real shock or outrage, though. Chris Christie Christie (was that one too many Christies?) said that he wouldn't allow any orphans under 5 years of age to enter the country from Syria. Orphans. Under 5.
JEB! said that we should only allow Christian Syrian refugees into the country. He said that we should be able to tell the Christians from the Muslims, but in the case of any doubt, he thinks we should err on the side of caution.
You can google this stuff, I'm not making it up.
Ben Carson said that Islam is not consistent with the Constitution.
When you think about it, banning Muslims is pretty much in line with what the GOP seems to stand for these days. While most of the GOP presidential candidates have denounced the Muslim ban as being unconstitutional, none of them have said that it is a morally corrupt idea.
Ted Cruz simply said that banning Muslims is not his policy.
Hopefully you're getting the idea that this is not your grandfather's Republican Party. Certainly not the party of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower or Ronald Reagan.
Why, you ask is this a reality check for Jews? I'm glad you asked.
Much like Mel Gibson, contemporary Jews act like the Holocaust never happened. Here's a spoiler alert, my Hebraic bretheren (and sisteren): It did happen and it happened while the rest of the world watched.
And here's the reality check: It could happen again.
Arabs have been trying to purge the Middle East of Jews for centuries. From the moment Israel declared her statehood, the Arab world reacted with renewed vengeance, vowing to destroy the new nation and exterminate her citizens.
How smart is it to think that they don't really mean it? Did they attack on the eve of Yom Kippur with paintballs?
My friend, who I shall call "Lenny" insists that the so-called Palestinians will awake one day and decide that it is in their best interest to peacefully coexist with Israel.
It may be a testament to Lenny's innate goodness that he is unable to understand the concept of ill will. It may also be a fatal mistake.
I am not troubled by the fact that Trump finds the banning of Muslims a reasonable solution to a problem that he clearly does not understand. What is deeply troubling is that he is only giving voice to a sentiment shared by a surprisingly large segment of what I would laughingly call, "my fellow Americans."
Antisemitism is neither new, nor unique. I would suggest to you that it is somewhat ubiquitous, like anthrax, lurking just below the surface of our culture, as well as international society, at large.
The next American demagogue may find a following among those who believe that it is the Jews who are at the core of their unhappy lives and we just may be out of miracles. Can you say, "Volkswagen?"
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