MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.


June 2, 2011

Fears From My Father – Part 1

MasterPo’s parents were second-generation American. When MasterPo was growing up MasterPo’s parents told stories that had been related from their parents about long lost (in many cases literally) family from “the old country” that didn’t come over to America.

Then as now (maybe more so then than now) it was common for one or two groups from an overall family to immigrate to America. Then, once established here, send money back home to pay for bringing other members of the extended family over to America. For most the plan as anticipated. But some family members back in “the old country” didn’t use the money sent to come to America. Instead they bought more land, opened or expanded businesses, retooled existing businesses and farms, etc. Not squandered or lost but just not used for the intended purpose of bringing the rest of the family over to America.

That alternate scenario worked – for awhile.

Then the Nazis came.
(And for those on the other side of the boarder, Stalin.)

The family tree lost many branches. Whole segments, whole ancestor communities were gone.

It’s understandable in a way. No one wants to leave what they know and are comfortable with for the unknown. And that was long before National Socialism grew, though anti-Semitism was always alive and well anyway. So when push came to shove they didn’t leave. And in the end lost everything, often including their lives.

Many probably fell victim to the “normalcy bias” that nothing bad can every fully happen. But it did.

Growing up, going to relative’s for Break The Fast or Passover eventually the topic of conversation would turn briefly to this or that act of anti-Semitism. MasterPo’s parents, aunts and uncles would say “Yes, it could happen again here too” (meaning in America).

MasterPo isn’t making any predictions about Nazi uprisings in America. And a level of anti-Semitism has always been a factor in American society since even colonial times.

However, today we live in a world that more and more seems to once again repeating history and blaming the Jews for the worlds’ ills. Right now most attention is being focused on Israel and the Middle East. MasterPo does not have a good feeling about that outcome. But when (not if!) the same problems and the violence come to Main Street, U.S.A. once again the Jews will be blamed. It would not take much for violent anti-Semitism to erupt in America. It has happened before (see Crown Heights, Brooklyn, August 1991 as one such example).

MasterPo’s father’s fears may yet come true in his son’s life time.

9 comments:

MBTN said...

Being Jewish as well, I can understand your fears. Germany had been a very progressive society at the turn of the century. Most Jews who lived there at the time considered themselves Germans first and Jews second. It is amazing how the attitudes changed there in a single generation.

Today in the US, it seems like there is more bigotry aimed at Muslims. Protests over building of mosques, burning Korans, panic over "sharia law". It is totally irrational, and personally I think it is shameful that such a thing can exist, especially in our free society that was created by people who were trying to escape intolerance in Europe (ex: Pilgrims).

Many people think that, as a Jew, I would be anti-Muslim. That couldn't be further from the truth. As a Jew, if anything, I am more sensitive to the plight of any minority group, because I know it could be me next.

Besides, Jews lived and prospered under Muslim rule in the middle ages. The animosity between Jews and Muslims in a modern construct.

MasterPo said...

Muslims didn't love Jews in ancient times either. Some muslim empires where nicer to Jews than others (meaning fewer restrictions and massacares) but none welcomed them with open arms.

There is true and deep concern to be had over extreme islam, sharia law, and the frieghtening silence from the marjoity of the muslim world that supposedly is peaceful and loving but doesn't stand up to the supposed handful that are extremists and radical.

But that's a topic for another article.

Being Jewish does not automatically mean you hate or even dislike muslims. But for too many muslims, being muslim does mean an automatic hate for Jews.

That's the difference.

MBTN said...

Jews lived and prospered under Muslim rule in the middle ages like I said. Ironically, it was the Christians who caused the Jews the most trouble during that time. Jews lived happily for centuries in muslim-controlled Spain. However, once the Christians conquered Spain, they were subjected to the Inquisition and then finally expelled. Some believe that Columbus was a hidden Jew whose motive for his voyage was to escape Christian rule.

Also, my own personal experience with Muslims has been extremely positive. All of the ones that I have met personally have been nothing like the stereotype. In fact, one of my roomates from college was a devout Muslim and we are good friends to this day. We have never had any animosity.

What I have found is that it is easy to hate people in the abstract. However, once you know people who are Muslim/gay/black/Jewish/whatever personally, then it becomes much harder to hate that group. I think just sitting down and breaking bread with somebody is the best way to dispel any pre-conceived notions. Doing that, you really learn that people are 99% the same.

Arsenius the Hermit said...

I'm Scots Irish and I distrust Muslims. I learned to in Lebanon in 1982-1983. Nothing that has happened since then has caused me to change my opinion. I appreciate the Israelis, having known some of them in the Marines (they often sent officers to our schools at Quantico) and having seen them in Lebanon. I also know a good bit about their history and values from my own reading. Doubtless there are good Muslims and bad Israelis. But if I have to pick who I want next to me in a tight spot, it's Israelis hands down.

MasterPo said...

MTBN - That's rubish. MasterPo isn't going to play the game "some of my best friends are ". That's nonsense. You can not deny that entire countries of muslims are taught nearly from birth to hate Jews and their duty to KILL Jews even at the cost of their own lives. Tell us: How many Jews are taught in school to murder muslims?

MasterPo is also waiting for exact examples of muslim empires underwhich Jews, as you say, "prospered". A persons prosperity is more of their own doing than what any ruler or government does for them. Rules and governments can only hurt not help prosperity.

The only conquerer of ancient Israel that was remotely benevolent to the Jews was Alexander the Great. He didn't try to oppress them for their religion or force them to convert to his. As long as they paid their taxes and didn't revolt religion didn't matter to him. Under Alexander the Jews of anceint Israel reall did prosper (as much as a conquered people can). That is why today so many Jews are still named Alexander or Alex.

Arsenius - You raise a good topic MasterPo was going to work into a future article. The American military (especially the Air Force) has very deep respect for the Israeli military. Our military knows full well the Israeli military isn't a banana republic 3rd rate fair weather force.

Which begs the question: If someday the politcal decision is made to send American forces to Israel as "peace keeping" force or to enforce a "no fly zone", will American pilots and soliders follow orders to actually shoot at the Israelies to enforce these U.N. eddicts?? (presuming they aren't shot at first, which is doubtful)

Arsenius the Hermit said...

Master Po, in Lebanon the U.S. State Department made every effort to prevent the USMC from having any coordination or liaison what so ever with the IDF. The stupidity of this beggars the imagination. But Habib detested the Israelis and he was running the show. President Reagan was clueless about the potential for disaster in this. You don't put two armed forces next to each other without exchanging staff officers and agreeing boundaries, etc. But we did because we were ordered to. This caused a lot of tension with the IDF. They crossed our perimeters, we interdicted their patrol routes, and the news media made great play of it. There was a lot of anxiety over this situation and it culminated in an incident where Marines and IDF tanks had a very unpleasant face off out on the airport. At that point, the MAU commander decided to ignore the asinine orders filtering down from Habib and his lackeys. He arranged a meeting with the IDF General in charge of the area and essential issues were worked out. There were no problems after that. It's worth mentioning that when the MAU was bombed, Israel offered the use of it's excellent medical facilities but the U.S. State Department forbid the Marines to accept, so the wounded had to be flown to Germany for treatment and I have no doubt some died because of it. The U.S. military and the IDF have school level interactions and many unofficial contacts. The distaste of the military for the pathetic antics of the State Department is legendary. I seriously doubt even the most ignorant and bigoted U.S. president would be so ill advised as to place the U.S. military in the position of having to obey orders that would injure Israel. If that were to happen, I think the military would try to turn the situation to assist rather than hinder Israel. I have never understood the pro Moslem anti Jewish sentiment in the State Department, but in reading books like Genesis 1948 and The First Israelis I find it is undeniable.
Obama is certainly pro Islam and seems to be perfectly willing to sacrifice Israeli interests to curry favor with the Arabs. That's nothing new for Israel, I suppose, every ally they've ever had has thrown them over in the lurch, a la DeGaule.

JBO said...

They did not cross YOUR perimeters- YOU are an American. I am not anti Semitic. I sure I will be called one in this post since that is always the fall back when nothing else can be said- just as you are often called racist with your views on Obama.

Ancient times of Islam vs Israel - you mean the 500CE correct? Israel did not have a state at that time. One has to remember that Israel was not a country for about 3000 years until the BRITISH gave the occupied land to the Jews who had lost their land in Europe. Are you ready to give back your house to the Native Americans who lived on it 3000 years ago?

Considering that Palestinians- who were either Muslims, Jewish, Christian or polytheists (as all of "us" were before were before Abraham)- owned the land and worked it for many years before their land was taken away and given to others----
somehow the story doesn't work for a fence and shootings.

Yes, I know the stories. Yes, I grew up with survivors. Yes, I know that the Jews "deserve" a state and yes I think the people who had their land take in 1948 deserve a state as well.

Living in Saudi I learned that we are all people of the Book- the Torah- the binder of all the major religions that formed in the Middle East. Let's not use that Book to destroy each other. Ishmael was "your" cousin- whether you like it or not.
The hate you "see" is almost as much hate as the hate that I continually see portrayed by American Jews against those who are in a situation that they do not live in. You probably lived on a kibbutz when you were 13- but you are an American and should be respectful of ALL religions.

MasterPo said...

JBO - MasterPo would not call you antisemetic. Just grossly misinformed.

Do your homework: There has never been an arab/muslim nation of "Palestine". Never.

There has never been an arab/muslim nation with Jerusalem as it's capital. Even when Jordan controlled the land they never sought to make Jerusalem a capital.

Muhammad never visited it Jereusalem.

Jerusalem is mentioned 700+ times in Jewish scripture. It's not mentioned once in the koran.

You get the point.

Arsenius the Hermit said...

You lost me there, buddy. "They did not cross your perimeters, you are an American."

What of it? All defensive positions have perimeters that are not porous. I'm not sure of your point. Elaborate and I'll address it.

I'm glad you had such a great experience with muslims. I think if you had been in Beirut in October of 1983 you might have a different perspective.