Saturday, December 22, 2007

It's hard out here for a Yid

Over at Westbankmama, she's linking to a blog on a recent news story about some young Jewish guys who got jumped on a train in NYC after they yelled "Happy Hanukkah!" to some guys who were shouting "Merry Christmas".

West Bank Mama writes: "Any new immigrants to Israel having some second thoughts? Here is a reminder of at least one of the reasons you are here..."

Interesting, how Israelis blogging on this incident see it. Jameel is fascinated that the bystander who came to the Jews' aid was a Muslim.

As an American Jew, here's my take: As far as a a certain diverse and unpleasantly well-armed chunk of the world population is concerned, I got a target on my back. And as far as a certain diverse and unpleasantly self-righteous chunk of the world population is concerned, I should be understanding about this, and feel rachmones for people who want to kill me. In the wonderful, extremely graphic comic strip Hothead Paisan, a character named Sharquee, identifies herself as female, black, a lesbian and a prostitute, and comments, "I turn up dead all day long".

Is this a reason to make aliyah? Heck, no. The United States is not, relatively speaking, an unsafe place to be a Jew. (There are no absolutely safe places to be a Jew.) If you go from the States to Israel, go for a better reason (and there are lots) than that there are no drunk anti-Semites on the subway. (I don't know if there are even any subways. But the anti-Semites are often literally rather than figuratively explosive in the Middle East. Reality check. This isn't about physical safety.) And anti-Semites do not stop hating you just because you're living in Ramat Gan.

I'm not at all opposed to people making aliyah, I think it's wonderful, and would encourage anyone who wishes to do so to make it happen for themselves. Me, I just hope to visit one of these days, and maybe then I'll see why I need to live in Israel. But I have an odd knee-jerk reflex to some of the reasons offered me to make the move. It's hard to be a Jew. For all kinds of reasons. But I am not going to let a pack of morons on the subway become some kind of lasting stain on the glory that New York City has been for the Jewish people.

We rock. They do not.


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hey Balabusta...

As you wrote, I found the story interesting, but wouldn't make it a reason to make aliya.

Aliya should be a positive experience (IMHO) -- Jews should want to move to Israel because of it being our ultimate national destiny and it's centrality to our religion.

I hold no ill-will to the USA, and I think it was a great place for me to grow up. Ben-Chorin has a great piece about it here...

Anonymous said...

FYI - The orginal news story reports that a Muslim guy jumped into the fray to help the Jews. As for these anti-Semites, book 'em all the lousy punks!