The Justification of Fear

2013-07-19 17.49.39I found this stuck on the windshield of my car a couple of weeks ago. When I read the title, I thought it was a joke. The ideas of “Militant” Jews seemed very funny and foreign. I work in the Midwood section of Brooklyn where many Jewish people live and for the most part they are seemingly sedate. I’ve many positive encounters and some not so nice ones over the years but nothing that would make me feel fearful around them. They’re people, human just like the rest of us. Beyond the title, this note is steeped in fear and it’s not funny at all.

I will not say that Antisemitism doesn’t exist. The would be like denying that racism no longer exist in America (There are people believe otherwise). These are very real problems in society, but I found that the call to action somewhat extreme. We have police to handle these things. Why is the Militant Jewish Defense Organization necessary? Why do we need more people on the streets with guns? With all the instances of gun violence in the recent past; the major debate of gun control being waged, I question this call to action. I can only imagine another incident like the case of Trayvon Martin. No matter how you feel about the verdict in that case, there is no denying that it was the suspicions of an ordinary citizen with a gun that lead to a confrontation that ended with the loss of life. What if I stop near a synagogue, I could be singled out because I look like I don’t belong and possibly lose my life due to someone being overzealous. It’s the fear that ad creates when I read beyond the very funny “Jews With Guts.” Should Jewish people be so fearful to need a call to arms?

I’m more sure of my answer this morning to the question above. New York State has ranked first in the nation for the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents. The Anti-Defamation League says NYC alone had 172 reported cases in 2012, and 87 of them were in Brooklyn. The numbers make me fearful for Jewish people in the city. It’s sad that they are a target of such terrible acts, yet I don’t see the need for a call to arms. Violent actions will only lead to more violence. Lets look at the numbers for what they are: numbers. How many of those incidents were violent in nature? How many were incidents of theft and Antisemitic graffiti? How much of it is attributed to Islamic Terrorist, Al Queda, or Neo-Nazis/KKK? I don’t have the answers to the questions, but I have the numbers; the numbers will justify the fear.

Fear is a killer. The world is full of fear and it leaves a path of destruction. Fear is violent and fighting violence with more of the same yields no victories. The people who commit Antisemitic acts are full of fear for Jewish people. Although we may not be able to change those fears, its worth a try. So I wish the paper in my windshield had read:

20130723_152513

A little wishful thinking on my part.

 

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