A lie left unchallenged creates the illusion of truth – shame on you Kamala
By David E. Kaplan
“Wherever they burn books, in the end will also burn human beings,” foretold the Jewish German poet and essayist, Heidrich Heine.
Who would have thought in cultured Germany of the nineteenth century to take such words of warning seriously.
Less than a century after Heine died, they were doing just that – to Jews – in the crematoria of Europe.
Jews have learnt painfully to heed warnings and false accusations and at the first signs of Jew-bashing it cannot and should never go unchecked.
Hence no free pass to US Vice President Kamala Harris!
In a post Holocaust world with an alarming rise in antisemitism unseen since the Shoah, the US Vice President should not be surprised at the increasing criticism she is receiving not only for what she said but for more for what she did NOT say.
When Kamala stood before a Political Science class at Virginia’s George Mason University addressing the issue of voting rights, she did so not as a refreshing guest lecturer but as the country’s Vice President.
What she would say or not say “MATTERS” in the “woke” parlance of today.
And herein ‘lies’ – pun intended – the problem.
When a student, who identified herself of Yemeni and Iranian descent, stood up and slandered the Jewish state by accusing it of “ethnic genocide” that the Vice President did not refute this patent lie was unconscionable. She had no problem during the 2019 Democratic Party presidential debates to take issue with then candidate Joe Biden for his “very hurtful” comments about having worked with two segregationist senators. Recalling emotionally to a mega-million global television audience how sensitive this was to her as a black child over the issue of segregated bussing, 2-years later, the Vice President shows scant sensitivity when the Jewish state is subjected of the false accusation of “ethnic genocide”. Compounding her misconduct, this episode played out not in a vacuum but in a frightening climate of virulent and violent antisemitism in her own country.
She had only to again ‘recall’ but also reflect that in a state not too far from the Virginia campus where she failed to refute the antisemitic falsehood, in 2018, an armed man with an AR-15-style assault rifle shouting antisemitic slurs opened fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue in the state of Pennsylvania. It was on a Saturday morning – the Sabbath – and 11 congregants were massacred in cold blood.
If Biden’s past position was “hurtful” to the young Kamala schoolgirl, how “hurtful” was it to American Jews to hear their VP respond not by educating the student that her facts were dead wrong, hurtful and dangerous but instead, to greenlight that student’s toxic message by saying:
“your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth should not be suppressed.”
This is the “voice”, the “perspective”, the “truth” that Kamala Harris
feels “should not be suppressed”, in other words – should be HEARD?
Of course, the fallout was quick and Harris’ office went into rapid damage control mode over the student’s Israel “ethnic genocide” comment. The Vice President’s team reached out to prominent pro-Israel groups and members of Congress to “clarify” with the expected responses of those who work with her, assuring “I can personally attest to her strong and unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”
But how genuine is one’s “commitment to Israel’s security” when you permit accusations to go unanswered that falsely accuse Israel of “ethnic genocide”? If words “MATTER”, it is words like these that not only undermine the Jewish state but endanger Jews everywhere.
Is it thus surprising that Jewish congregations in the US are increasingly opting to deploy armed security personnel outside synogogues?
“For Jews, America was once exceptional. Now, antisemitism is as strong here as in Europe,” writes Joshua Safran an author, attorney and advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and the wrongfully imprisoned. A board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Portland, Oregon, he continues his 2020 opinion piece in USA TODAY:
“I was used to being harassed, abused and put in danger when I prayed in synagogues abroad. Never did I think America would become just as dangerous.”
“Is this the new normal?” he asked a rabbi friend, who nodded in response. Lamenting that “America might yet be a bastion of democracy, but for Jews, it is no longer truly exceptional.”
Taking to Twitter, David Wolpe the rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles took Kamala Harris to task. Named the most influential rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by The Jerusalem Post, he wrote:
“Madame Vice President, the idea that Israel has committed genocide against the Palestinians is not someone’s truth, it is someone’s lie, whether they know it or not. And it is pernicious, destructive and should not be elided or ignored by the highest officials in the land.”
Literally blooding Jewish history since the 12th century, has been the “Blood Libel” that falsely claimed that Jews engage in ritual murder. Leading to violent persecution and pogroms persisting through to the 20th century, the ‘blood libel’ reveals much about the way a lie becomes embedded in a society with lethal repercussions.
This is why the need to refute and never fuel a lie.
Kamala Harris should have known better. After all, when sheat George Mason University engaged that student class on voting rights, it was in the aftermath of the “Big Lie” that Trump had won the Presidential election and the dangers it could lead to.
Is it not ironic, that when the Vice President was engaging political science students – the leaders of tomorrow – to stand fast and safeguard against lies to protect democracy, she should fail so abysmally when the “Big Lie” was directed at the Jewish state.
While her office did put out a statement that “the vice president strongly disagrees with the student’s characterization of Israel,” it was like shutting the barn door once the horse had bolted. If the VP so disagreed with the student’s dangerous “characterisation”, what a perfect opportunity she had to set an example of defusing the student’s incendiary lie. Instead, with the stamp of the second highest office in the land, the Vice President gave legitimacy to the lie.
Shame on you Kamala!
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