Say what you will about other vaccines, but I have come to realize that I have been successfully vaccinated against anti-Semitism.
It is Prof. Mark LeVine at the University of California at Irvine, Prof. Joseph Massad at Columbia, and so many other paid haters in academia. There are Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ocasio Cortez, Cori Bush, and Jamaal Bowman. There are Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, and Kanye West.
They have vaccinated me against their hate. They can’t affect me. I do not recoil but eagerly embrace the opportunity to take them on. They use words so I use words. No apologies or hemming and hawing. When they allege Israel is bombing too many targets in Gaza, I respond: Not enough. When they ask, “What about humanitarian concerns?” I respond: “Yeah, free the hostages. That’s my humanitarian concern. And until then, as far as I am concerned, Israel can Dresden Gaza.” Dresden is not only a noun in my lexicon; it is a verb. America did it and Britain did it to German Nazis. Now it is Israel’s time to make “Never Again” more than a souvenir button after visiting Auschwitz or one of the too-many Holocaust museums in America. In the past, Jews could not fight back; now they can. That is “Never Again” in action. “Never Again” — again and again — in Gaza.
Never ever again.
I react to anti-Semitism differently from the whiners and complainers.
Before my lung transplant, in my younger days, I faced three such experiences. One time, I was traveling home to Brooklyn for Shabbat as I did every Friday during my four years as an undergrad at Columbia. It was a 90-minute ride: the No. 1 IRT local subway train to 96th Street, then the No. 3 express to Brooklyn, the No. 6 “Avenue J” bus to home. I was on the last leg of the journey, sitting in the back, as I saw a middle-aged gentleman with a briefcase alight the bus. As he walked down the aisle, a jerk stuck out his foot and tripped him. I got up and demanded that the jerk apologize to the man. The jerk got up and said something about my religion, and soon we were fist-fighting. I managed to land a blow that set his nose bleeding, and soon his entire face was bloody as was his sweater. The driver threw him off the bus.
The second time, I was riding back home after Shabbat on Saturday night. I always came home for Shabbat because my presence for Shabbat was very important for my Mom after my Dad of blessed memory passed away. It was also meaningful to my three younger sisters to have me at home to recite the kiddush prayer over sacramental wine, thanking G-d for having bestowed the Holy Shabbat on us as His gift reminding us of Creation. I used the 90-minute rides each way to do my assigned readings, which were rather voluminous. On this occasion, it was Saturday around midnight, and a group of three older teens entered the subway car. I remained focused on reading The Pursuit of the Millennium
” by Norman Cohn. Suddenly, one of the three grabbed at me and swiped my yarmulka just as the train doors were opening. That kippah had special meaning; my sister Debbie had knitted it for me. He stared at me, laughing in my face. I stood, smiled, showing no emotion, and then kicked him in his crotch so hard that he hit the floor, grabbing at what might otherwise have produced more of him. He dropped the kippah. His two friends ran out of the train, and he needed only one more kick in his spine to inch him out. As he gagged, I would like to think he was trying to say “My bad.”
The third incident entailed slamming someone on the head with a briefcase holding a five-pound volume of the Talmud.
I am older now and have had a lung transplant. I use the pen now more than the sword, boot, or briefcase. And I no longer ride New York City subways. But after changes upon changes, I am more or less the same. I cannot abide Jews whining when they can fight back. “Holocaust education” has melted an entire generation of American Jews into whiners about anti-Semitism. Jews need to fight the way Italians, Irish, Polish, and German people always did when I was growing up in Brooklyn.
The singer Ed Ames, who had a voice clear as sweet water mellowed with honey, grew up in the Greater Boston area. He was a deeply devoted Zionist, and I once had the honor of meeting him when I spoke for the Zionist Organization of America in Los Angeles. He sat with my beloved Ellen of blessed memory and me, and he described how he and two of his four brothers would have to walk through a tough non-Jewish ethnic neighborhood on the way to school. Because the Ames (originally Eurich) boys were the only Jews, the ethnics knew them and occasionally beat them up as they walked by. So the Jewish brothers learned to fight and started to beat up the ethnics. Ed told us that his experience in beating up anti-Semites stood him well as he was selected to play the Big Indian Chief in the Broadway production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” That role helped him land the spot that made him famous as “Mingo” in Fess Parker’s Daniel Boone. (Ames next learned to throw a tomahawk, which led to his most famous moment, the “bris” on the Johnny Carson show.) Not surprisingly, he was a MAGA Republican.
When you have been pummeled with anti-Semitism — whether on the subways, the ethnic streets, or in the mass media by celebrities and nations of the world who feel Arab pressure — you come out one of two ways: either as a wuss who begs others for protection or, if you punch back a few times, as someone vaccinated against anti-Semitism.
When Emanuel Macron of France, Antony Blinken of Biden, and Obama come out with statements saying they are concerned about civilians in Gaza, other Jews react by wringing their hands. “Oh no,” they whine, “Obama is against us. France is against us. What can we do?”
I am vaccinated. My reaction is: “Israel: keep bombing. Keep crushing Hamas. Do not agree to a ‘humanitarian pause’ until Hamas agrees to a humanitarian release of the 240 hostages. Do not agree to a ‘ceasefire’ until Hamas surrenders unconditionally, and its remaining living leaders — now that so many have been rubbed out — submit themselves to be tried in Israel for Crimes Against Humanity.”
Having canceled my subscription to the anti-Semitic New York Times
years ago, I read the daily Washington Post
instead. It’s just as bad. Every day they run one after another article moaning about the “innocent Palestinians.” I am immunized. First, there is no such thing as “Palestine” or “Palestinians.” Rather, they are “Arabs of Gaza” and “Arabs of Judea and Samaria.” Second, they are not innocent. I saw them dancing and celebrating when 9/11 happened. I saw them dancing and celebrating over the Shabbat Shmini Atzeret Massacre of October 7 when Hamas slaughtered and raped young peace activists at a Trance Dance Rave festival, then went on an orgy of murder, slaughtering families, chopping off heads, beheading babies, placing them in ovens and burning them alive, cutting fetuses out of pregnant women and stabbing the fetuses and the mothers. The “innocents” of Gaza were among those who broke into Israel and engaged in that very orgy of slaughter and were among those celebrating and dancing when Jewish corpses were trucked into Gaza for display and added humiliation.
Those “innocents” elected and reelected Hamas. They stand with Hamas. They knew Hamas was building tunnels under their homes and storing rockets and drones in their residential apartment buildings, outside their schools and inside and under their hospitals. Of course they all knew. Hamas dispatches the hospital personnel to pick up “humanitarian” fuel, food, and water — and all of that gets transferred from the hospitals to Hamas to power their tunnel ventilation and feed and quench them.
So I am vaccinated. I read the papers, see the TV scenes of rubble and destruction, and my reaction is: “No hostages freed? Keep bombing their tunnels and wherever they may be hiding. No surrender? Dresden them.”
And, meanwhile, back on the campuses, fight back. If Ron DeSantis could ban the pro-Hamas “Students for Justice in Palestine” (SJP) in Florida’s state universities, then Jews should demand that every other governor follow suit. Sit-in. Demand it. And if two billionaires convinced Columbia to ban SJP, then Jews at every other Ivy should be demanding that their campuses ban SJP. Sit-in, just as everyone else but nice Jews do. Stop being Nice Jews. Be mean. Don’t whine, but instead demand.
A huge number of students making trouble at the campuses are not even Americans but foreign students. G-d alone knows how many of them are here illegally as “Dreamers.” The Jews are full American citizens. They should demand. Martin Luther King sat-in and got arrested; we have a national holiday honoring him. Jews need to sit-in at their university presidents’ offices if that is what it takes to gain equal rights. Sit-in like Martin Luther King in the offices of the racist anti-White and anti-Semitic DEI directors and demand the DEI departments be closed.
As I have written before, Columbia University’s “College Walk” is not Dachau, and Harvard Yard is not Auschwitz. Jews need to fight back. Lambs to the slaughter? Never again.