Missing the Target on Israel
Vandals and hatemongers never seem to go out of style. Such was the case again this week out in Chicago.
Vandals spray-painted the words “Death to Israel’’ on two synagogues and a Jewish school early Saturday in three separate incidents police say could be linked and are being investigated as hate crimes.
Moshe Perlstein, rabbi at Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago, said cameras captured video of the men damaging his rabbinical school at 2756 W. Morse starting at around 4:40 a.m. The footage shows one man spray-painting the side of the building while the other ran around to the front and threw rocks at the front door, breaking a glass window, he said. The video has been turned over to police.
First, let us dispense with the usual disclaimer and note that the perpetrators are criminals and vandals whose opinions shouldn’t carry any weight in our discussions. Also, in terms of full disclosure, I’m not a believer in all of these so-called “hate crime laws,” whether they target religious groups, racial demographics or gays. But the fact remains that we are currently saddled with having these laws on the books, so we shall proceed from there.
The question which this malicious act brings to mind is as follows; why is it that whenever Israel gets up to some business which angers or annoys the global community there is an uptick in people condemning all Jews everywhere, or taking the opportunity to attack distant synagogues filled with people who may have never even set foot in Israel? To varying degrees, this happens more subtly in the print media as well as the ignorant prose of spray can wielding cretins. Is it so difficult for some people to draw a distinction between the religion of Judaism and the political entity known as the nation of Israel?
Yes, I’m well aware of the stated purpose of the creation of Israel and how tightly interwoven the religion is with the national identity, so you may feel free to spare me the lectures. The point here, in more general terms, is that there are Jews who live all over the world, many of them here in the United States. And apparently they do not all feel an iron bound duty to agree with every decision which the political and governmental entity of Israel’s government makes. Some do, of course, but the point remains that it is possible to disagree with the policies and actions of the Israeli government without an automatic assumption that you now have a problem with all Jews everywhere. One is a government, the other is a religion. Until we can get past the special melding of these concepts whenever the subject of Israel arises, we’re not going to make a lot of progress in that conversation.
Discuss amongst yourselves. As for me, I’ll be watching the Giants game in a couple of hours.