Monday, August 07, 2017

Jews: Neither Cowards Nor Brutes

For a long time, the Jewish people have been accused of being cowards. That is because they practiced a pacifistic ideology, and anyone who does so will have someone accuse them of such things. Then they got a country of their own and developed one of the world's most effective militaries. At which point the same people who had accused them of being cowards started accusing them of being brutes.

I was never good at sports or anything of that sort. However the choices that I have made in my life have called upon me to develop an inner toughness. It appears that life will force its will on you whatever your original inclination happens to be. If you start out being naïve, life will force upon you discernment. If you started out being arrogant or unfriendly, life will force upon you humility and compassion. And if you started out being weak, life will force upon you strength.

With the Israelis, what we see is a lesson having been learned too well. Their ancestors had been pacifists and wound up in gas chambers; so they went all the way to the other end. We see a similar case of a lesson having been learned too well with the baby boomers. They started out fighting for all sorts of altruistic causes; and when that was confronted with Reagan conservatism they went all the way to the other end of the spectrum and became completely selfish and self-absorbed.

Are Jews cowards? Don't tell that to Benyamin Netanyahu. Don't tell that to Donald Rumsfeld. Don't tell that to Mark Spitz. There are some in Judaism who believe such things as that it's forbidden to place one's life in danger. However the Israelis are anything but cowards, and many Jews living in other countries have had to learn courage as well.

It is easy to confuse kindness for weakness. This happens more to women than it does to men, but sometimes it happens to men as well. In case of the Jews, their behavior was an outcome not of a moral flaw but of an ideology. They were pacifists and were against violence. That attitude did not work for them, so then Israel went all the way to the other side.

In “Pianist,” after the Jews in the ghetto had revolted, a Polish woman told a Jewish man that it was a good thing as that the Jews had fought for themselves. He stated to the effect of, “What good did it do?” This shows the basic conflict of mentalities. According to the Polish woman, standing up for oneself was of merit. According to the Jewish man, the fact that it got everyone killed was not.

So now we are seeing Jewish people all over the world doing all sorts of different things and practicing different lifestyles. Some are liberal, others are conservative, others tread some kind of a middle line. In my case I have been exposed to all sorts of influences from all sorts of places. I have been called upon to make a sense of all of them and figure out who is right and about what.

At the very least it is time that ridiculous claims be addressed on this matter. Pacifism is not the same thing as cowardice, and creating an effective military to protect one's country is not the same thing as being a brute. I for one would very much like to see Israel rely less on the military and more on trade and diplomacy. But I will not stand up to see the people of my ethnicity accused in the same sentence of cowardice and brutality. They are guilty of no flaw in their moral character. The cowardice of which they were accused was a result of espousing the ideology of pacifism. And the current actions of the Israelis are a result of what happens when people decide that pacifism does not work.


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