Thursday, August 05, 2004

Folks, Can We Stop Being Racist?

I don't want to write this post. I really, really don't want to. But I'm starting to feel like I have to.

I've spent time in a variety of Jewish communities, mostly various flavors of Orthodox and Conservative. There are certain trends that one notices as one moves further to the right of the religious spectrum, one of which is an increasing tendency toward what can only be called racism.

I'm sorry guys, but it's true. The sorts of things that one hears about "the Arabs" in so-called frum communities would make a decent person's skin crawl. People talk casually about "wiping them out." Sometimes they make jokes about it. If these same people heard American Muslims saying similar things about Jews, they'd be calling the ADL in no time. I don't think they'd be reassured to hear that it was only a joke.

These are the very circles in which one most often hears of the "rising tide of anti-Semitism," of madrassas preaching hatred of Jews. They say, this is different. We're not directly inciting people to kill. Well, neither are the vast majority of American Muslims -- even the sort that we call "fundamentalist." It's all talk. But we recognize that it's dangerous talk, that talk can have consequences.

We recognize it when it's them. What about when it's us?

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