By Ari Bussel
It is 93 degrees in Boston. A non-Jewish friend is still at a loss to understand “why did Israel attack Palestine?” I am astonished, for there is a new country.
It is 79 degrees and partly cloudy in Miami. A Jewish Columbian friend is sending me a notice of a demonstration today in Beverly Hills. News travel around.
It is 91 degrees and partly cloudy in Washington, D.C. (soon to be a state?). An ambassador, a former Consul General of his country to the Western United States, writes about demonstrations that took place last week here in LA:
I heard there was poor participation at the pro-Israel demo in LA
As I remember in my times there, the pro-IL demo outnumbered the proPal one Is it not YOUR responsibility to ensure decent participation???
Then, a local activist here in LA, where it is 70 degrees and beautifully sunny, sends out a reminder of the upcoming demonstration and community event.
On Friday, at a press conference gathering at the Iranian American Jewish Federation, politicians who care about Israel and the fate of the Jewish people stood shoulder-to-shoulder in utter disgust of what took place in WeHo at a Japanese restaurant on La Cienaga Blvd. Apparently, a group of pro-Palestinian protestors demanded to know “Who is Jewish” in order to beat them up.
Maybe it played a bit differently, but they were right. Jews should wear a Yellow Star of David, noticeably on their clothes, and they must not sit at the same tables as Aryans. What a Chutzpah of those Jews, and how correct were the demonstrators trying to restore order and calm to the community.
In Beverly Hills, we live in a bubble, a most unique one, that in many ways resembles Israel itself. Commonsense, power-to-do-good, teamwork, majority Jewish, a light unto others. Many years ago, then Mayor MeraLee Goldman was confronted with a demand for “equal time” when she invited anti-terrorism expert Steve Emerson to give a second talk at Council Chambers, part of the Millennium Forum Series she founded.
MeraLee utterly refused, rejecting the demand and the threats that came along. She took a stand. That was some two decades ago.
In the City of West Hollywood, Staff allowed a screening of a virulently anti-Israel movie disguising as a “documentary.” It is the sort of “documentary” that serves as evidence the Jews stole a land not theirs, they are Occupiers, they run an Apartheid Regime and abuse the poor Palestinians. It is a most brutally-honest film that compares Israelis to the new Nazis.
At the end of the screening, a person is so outraged and motivated, that the necessary thing to do is to to go out to protest, identify a Jew and beat or kill him, because the Jews are so evil. They deserve all that will happen to them, and anything thus is justified. The world will be such a better place without them, so it is essentially doing a favor to the world.
Such a movie screening that receives the blessing of the most liberal city in the United States is what leads to the Demonization, Dehumanization and Delegitimization of the Jewish People (the three Ds of the BDS movement).
Only one Council Member (today WeHo’s Mayor Lindsey Horvath) objected. The rest touted “Free Speech.” Imagine a movie that claims to be “documentary” that showcases Blacks as rapists, child molesters and killers. There is no need to imagine the consequences. The City would be on fire. But seemingly, Jewish life (and hence Jewish blood) is permissible.
In previous centuries, instead of such “documentaries,” there were similar blood libels, chief among which is that we use the blood of Christian children to bake our Passover Matzos.
It was so important to showcase that travesty of reality, that the Council stood behind Staff and allowed the movie. The pleas of the residents that they were not safe and of hundreds of others fell on deaf ears (all except one).
So why is anyone surprised that a group of “protestors” would come into a dining establishment in WeHo and demand to identify the Jews in order to beat them up, or ridicule them, or terrorize them in some other fashion?
Eighty some years ago, this was a common scene. It was OK to stop a respectable-looking woman and make her clean the sidewalk with a toothbrush, because she was Jewish-filth and deserved it, or to beat a Hassidic Jew almost to death, while the crowd stood in joy.
When good people do nothing, and allow evil to flourish, we should not be surprised of the results. And we should know our past.
MeraLee Goldman stood firm. Terrorists do not get “equal time” to those fighting for the United States. There is no “moral equivalency” to the 9-11 Attacks on the US. There is no excuse. We are not those at fault. She did not allow the enemies of the United States to use our own system and values against us. She stood and protected the body against auto-immune disease.
The City of WeHo took the opposite approach. And if it were to happen again today, likely nothing would have changed. Staff in WeHo would permit and pay for such a screening, under the guise of “free speech” or “the public right to know.”
What still bothers me is my inability to understand WeHo and to forgive what happened there. The ONLY place throughout the Middle East and the African Continent that LGBTQ are protected and enjoy equal rights is in Israel, the only Jewish country in the world. And this is not an easy thing by any stretch of the imagination, because of the clash with the tenants of the religion.
So why go out and attack Israel and the Jewish people? Why allow evil to come in, welcomed and supported? “Take a Stand,” we shouted, implored, begged; but to no avail - it all fell on deaf ears of those determined to see the movie screened. In Gaza, Syria and Iran, Gays are tortured then either hung to death in City Squares or thrown (alive) off roof tops. Clearly Israel is responsible for that too!
Talk is a very cheap commodity nowadays. Action - meaningful action, not lip service - that backs faith is a rare commodity.
Possibly we should all go back and study Pastor Marin Niemoller’s words:
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out - since I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out - since I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - since I was not a Trade Unionist
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - since I was not a Jews
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me
Let us each take a moment, and check your own four corners -
is action backing up faith?
Do we have the courage to act?
Do we speak against evil, wrongdoing and things that should be done differently?
Take the example of Mayor MeraLee Goldman, or of Mayor Lindsey Horvath. Women taking a stand, even when it is unpopular. Even when they may pay a personal price. Stand up for the right thing. Do not be afraid. And do not give up, for the truth is on your side!