Monday, December 01, 2014
Gordis' Vision: Rabbi Knocks It Out of the Park
Restoring a golden era - Rabbi Daniel Gordis
Even in the darkness of these past few weeks, I believe the golden era can return. Perhaps it’s because I remember a world that not long ago was very different.
When I was in high school and college in the 1970s and early ’80s, American Jewry was, in many respects, in its prime. Jews were moving to the suburbs, getting rich, building enormous synagogues, feeling at home in America in a way their grandparents could not have anticipated.
Yasser Arafat was despised almost everywhere as the murderous inventor of international terror. The notion that the Palestinians would be given a state without making peace with Israel would have been laughable.
Today Europe has turned and anti-Semitism is back in vogue. In our Jerusalem neighborhood, one hears more French with every passing week. On one recent Shabbat afternoon, I stopped a family I’d never seen before and asked them why they came now. They said their kids were getting beaten up in France, so they actually went to the police. But the policeman was a Muslim and he literally refused to take a report. The next week they were here.
Parts of London are too dangerous for Jews to walk in.
And in the Middle East, the West has still not decided to destroy what is clearly the greatest threat to Western civilization since Nazism. The US has put on the ground troops whose number, I assume, is roughly equivalent to the number of police who guard Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day.
Palestinians continue to slaughter, and Europe rewards them by recognizing a state that does not exist.
Boko Haram kidnaps girls, rapes them and sells them into sexual slavery, and a pouting Michelle Obama holds up a sign that reads #BringBackOurGirls.
A deal with Iran is nowhere in sight, but Secretary of State John Kerry announces nonetheless that his goal is to eliminate sanctions. In large swaths of the Middle East, Islamic State still roams free, like the beef American now like to eat.
How many Americans understand that Boko Haram, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic State are just different forms of the very same cancer that day will strike them, too? BUT I actually remain optimistic.
I do not believe the French will really let hundreds of years of French literature, art, music and philosophy be strangled by Shari’a. One day, the French will hear that yet another town has caved in to Muslim demands, and when they sense that Paris is next, they’ll act. They’ll take France back.
It’ll be very late, and the cost will be high, but the rest of Europe will heave a sigh of relief and follow suit. Does anyone really think Europe will commit suicide? I don’t.
And one day, al-Qaida or Islamic State will hit the US.
Then, somehow, a new leader like FDR or Churchill will find the will to fight back. When Churchill said to Congress in 1943, speaking of Japan’s cities, “in ashes they must surely lie before peace comes back to the world,” he understood that as long as unmitigated evil is permitted to persist, the West is in mortal danger.
He received a standing ovation.
One day, the West will remember that it was values that made our civilization great. It will say to radical Islam: 'We do not plan to die, because we believe our values are better than yours. Your worldview, we believe, is a medieval cancer. You can join the modern world, stop oppressing women, stop killing gays and lesbians, respect a free press and the right of assembly, celebrate difference of opinion and free inquiry and erase the notion of the infidel from your lexicon.'
'Or we will kill you – as many of you as it takes – until the values that we believe make life worth living are no longer under threat.'
When the West returns to its senses, those kids who today cannot fathom what many of us are mourning will finally see what a golden era looks like.
We may not live to see it happen, but still, our duty is to do whatever we can to draw it near, “speedily in our day.” ■