Surveying the chaos currently enveloping many countries one can only conclude that insanity has become the new norm.
Rational discourse leading to positive rectification of human rights abuses has instead in many cases been replaced by mob violence, anarchist agendas and destruction of properties.
In addition, common sense has flown out the window as mass confessions of original sin become the order of the day accompanied by “taking the knee” as the latest symbol of guilt by association.
It is obvious that there is a problem with law enforcement in some countries and especially in the United States which was the original focal point of this latest frenzy. There are serious social inequalities which have festered for far too long there and which the law enforcement authorities seem incapable of dealing with in a manner consistent with human rights. The fault lies with successive administrations all of whom have ignored the situation, swept it under the too hard carpet or given lip service without any constructive solutions. In the absence of political will the vacuum is being filled by radical groups which have their own nefarious aims all of which are now being fulfilled on the streets of the USA.
Inevitably copy cat behaviour has broken out in Europe, UK and also Australia and New Zealand. So-called progressive groups like nothing better than climbing onto somebody else’s bandwagon and hijacking a cause for their own purposes. Thanks to social media the same messages of entitlement, victimhood and targeting can be spread internationally. Before one can blink all those peddling their own hobby horses are able to infiltrate demonstrations which rapidly become vehicles for hate rather than expressions of harmony. That explains how Jew and Israel hating groups have latched on to the latest protests and manipulated them for their own nefarious ends. Thus we witness mobs mouthing vile slogans and blaming Israel for a myriad of crimes which have nothing to do with the original event in the USA.
There can be no excuse for blatant police brutality and this must be dealt with by weeding out those responsible and improving training. The object should be a force which is sensitive to local circumstances and operates within the confines of the law. Defunding and disbanding law enforcement agencies is a lunatic option which unfortunately merely encourages further mob violence. Creating police free zones is a recipe for chaos and mayhem. Jews know only too well what happens when police in totalitarian societies are used to enforce State directives and conversely when law and order breaks down because of the absence of enforcement. That is why two thousand years ago Rabbi Hanina stated: “were it not for the fear of authority man would swallow his neighbour alive.” In our modern context, it means that in the absence of legal & lawful authority society will disintegrate into the law of the jungle. Plans to disband police forces and surrender to anarchy are a mortal danger for all law-abiding citizens and especially Jews.
Much is made of the fact that in certain countries people of colour are disproportionally represented in crime statistics, violent crimes and incarcerated. Economic deprivation, lack of a decent education and discriminatory policies are all factors but deliberately overlooked in the rush to apportion blame is the fact that the victims themselves must shoulder some sort of responsibility. The Jewish experience shows how such impediments can be overcome. For two thousand years in Europe, Jews were ostracized, confined to ghettos, excluded from professions, expelled, murdered in pogroms and generally denied civil rights. Did they in response riot, destroy property, go on killing sprees and surrender to mob mayhem? NO. Their response was to invest in communal education for children and adults, excel in those areas of employment they were permitted to engage in and strengthen family and communal networks.
Even in the USA and UK, Jews for many years were denied entry to certain clubs, subject to quotas at universities and forced because of economic refugee deprivation to live in sub-standard accommodation in economically deprived areas. They worked in sweatshops during the day and went to night school in the evening in order to attain the qualifications needed to break out of this situation. Instead of destroying, they created and thus were superbly poised to take full advantage when the discriminatory barriers eventually fell.
No matter how much we deplore racism there is every reason why we should be wary of the current campaign of mindless destruction and Orwellian thought control running rampant everywhere.
The targeting of statues is a classic example of how easily something simple can mutate into a runaway train wreck. By all means, examine the actions and writings of those commemorated and if the individuals concerned are clearly guilty of racist attitudes a good case could be made to remove them from public display. The problem, however, is where do you stop and draw the line? Why should the statue of Winston Churchill who led the fight against Nazism be targeted? In the eyes of radical extremists he is a “warmonger” and “imperialist colonial oppressor.” Should we succumb to the lunatic fanatics or is it time to say enough? Followed to its logical conclusion Jews would have a field day demolishing symbols of those who oppressed us over the years. This short video sums it up:
Likewise the knee jerk banning of certain films and television series has demonstrated how misguided censuring of alleged politically incorrect subjects can easily escalate. Gone with the Wind has been blown off the screens and in the UK Fawlty Towers classic episode of “don’t mention the war” lampooning the Germans amongst others was summarily banished. This created such a storm of indignation that those responsible for this asinine decision were forced to announce its return albeit with a screen warning alerting sensitive viewers to the possibility of emotional distress. This is the ludicrous level to which mass hysteria has now reduced large swathes of the population.
The logical extension of banning films and TV programmes is the banning of books deemed to be unpalatable to sensitive readers. Ban racist publications by all means but who decides? The next thing to happen will be the purging of libraries and book shops followed by mass burnings. Where have we seen all this before?
Taking the knee makes a great media spectacle but what does it achieve? Genuine atonement should be accompanied by practical steps to solve discrimination not eruptions of criminal destruction of businesses, shops and desecration of Synagogues and Churches.
For Jews living in Europe and the USA, the current civil unrest accompanied by expressions of venomous bile should serve as a warning that things can only get worse. The purveyors of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel conspiracies are manifestations of awakened ancient demons. While we must always be on the side of the oppressed we also need to learn from our past experiences. Very rarely have we been lovingly embraced by those we sought to help. At the end of the day, we became the inevitable victims.
What does the future hold in places where law and order is collapsing and demonstrators are shouting slogans against Jews and Israel? Nothing good I am afraid.
The time has therefore once again arrived when crucial decisions need to be made. Our experiences from not so long ago should point the way.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.