Jewish World Review April 21, 2003 / 19 Nissan, 5763





Big Lies at Passover



By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | With another Passover, the world's Jews again find themselves at the center of a firestorm of lies and distortions that threaten the lives of individuals and, indeed, of the reborn ancient Jewish homeland of Eretz Israel.

I see world developments of the past two years or so as the beginnings of a very dangerous new anti-Jewish holocaust, predicated, as all previous anti-Jewish holocausts and pogroms have been, on lies.

This time, however, I find myself involved in some small way, as a newspaper columnist.

For many years, I wrote a humor column for local and national markets, but since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, I've been essentially unable to "think funny" very often. I have, instead, written quite a lot about what I see as the serious global threat represented by the proponents of radical Islam, which have developed a series of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish lies, and have sold them wholesale to way too many willing buyers around the world.

I realize that for a person with easily injured feelings, mine is a dangerous position to take in a public forum like a newspaper column. It is, after all, decidedly pro-Jewish and pro-Israel, which means it's decidedly unpopular with most liberal thinkers, one of which I have been all of my adult life. I'm not, in fact, sure when it became right wing to support Israel and be pro-Jewish, but it definitely has, and this has thrown me out of my usual political orbit.

However, I can't help feeling that if someone doesn't speak the truth, those seeking to redirect history by warping it, will succeed, and everyone will lose, including those who either by design or deception, have adopted the lie as the truth.

If I weren't an avid student of history, I doubt it would be so troubling to me to allow anyone who wants to believe the Big Lie to do so without my putting in my two cents. But I know where that kind of intentional ignorance can lead, particularly for Jews, and, being a Jew and the mother of Jewish sons, I find it difficult not to at least try and shake some clarity into people.

What I guess I'm not accounting for is some peoples' intense desire to ignore any fact that might paint the Jews in a positive light. I'm not sure where that kind of selective blindness comes from, but it isn't new, and has cost millions of Jewish lives throughout history.

Most people, with the exception of those truly deranged, neo-Nazi or radical Islamic element, agree that those Big Lies that have gone out of control in the past, (the Jews kill Christian babies to make matzo, or the Jews poisoned the wells to cause the Plague, or the Jews have a direct line to Satan in their beards, or the Jews are a crafty, subhuman race, too dangerous to allow to live) were, in fact, Big Lies, and the resultant murder of millions of Jews, unfortunate. What they fail to see is the latest round of anti-Jewish lies (like the Jews of Europe stole Palestine from the Ancient Palestinians, they were behind the terror attacks of 9-11, or they deliberately targeted civilians in the mythical Massacre in Jenin), are of the same ilk, perpetrated by the same kinds of people with the same anti-Jewish agenda, and I don't feel safe just letting it go, and waiting for people to apologize to the survivors later. So, I guess I'll just have to tolerate the occasional hate mail.

For the past 50 years, Jews at their Passover tables everywhere, have been able to say "Next year in Jerusalem," and know such a thing is possible. Last year, one of hundreds of contract suicide killings of Jews and Israelis, targeted dozens of innocent civilians at their Passover Seder in Israel. No huge, worldwide outcry ensued. They were only Jews, after all, and the world recognizes the Jew as victim. It is less comfortable with the Jew as self-preserving warrior.

Here's hoping they get used to it, and that the world's Jews will still be able to realistically pray for Passover next year in Jerusalem.

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© 2003, Rachel Raskin-Zrihen