In the words of an old country song, “Everybody wants to go Heaven, but nobody wants to go now.” For all of our well-validated concerns of a dangerous world, nobody wants to go to Heaven just yet. The world seems “unformed and void, darkness over the deep,” but the verse in Genesis continues, “the spirit of God hovers over the waters.” There is light, not at the end of the tunnel, but just one verse away.
With the exception of the glorious weather, the summer of 2014 was deeply depressing. There was the collapse of the Mideast peace talks. Then came seven weeks of war in Gaza with much of the world seemingly more critical of Israel for aggressively defending itself than of Hamas for initiating, prolonging and expanding the conflict. Hamas fired from within civilian areas and encouraged their citizens to stay put rather than escape from Israeli-targeted buildings. Yet the onus of a United Nations commission on human rights violations no doubt will highlight alleged Israeli violations, once more equating the arsonist and the fireman.
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights rightly condemns “beastilization,” the likening of Jews to barnyard animals, as a form of anti-Semitism (“From BDS To Beastilization,” Aug. 29). For the same reason, we should avoid likening Muslims and Christians to grass, or killing them to “mowing the lawn.”
As Israel’s cease-fire with Hamas enters its third week, the war is just beginning on college campuses across North America. With classes barely underway, we are learning of isolated incidents reflecting angry reaction to the summer war in Gaza. A Jewish student at Temple University is punched in the face and subjected to anti-Semitic slurs. A professor at Binghamton writes an opinion piece titled “Renounce, Divest and Sanction Israel.” A senior at Brandeis is confronted by a Palestinian flag in the common area of her suite (it was subsequently taken down.)
In 1903 the British offered Zionists a Jewish state — in Uganda. At a time of pogroms and persecution, Uganda could be a needed refuge. After much debate, the offer was rejected. After all, Zionism was not just a political dream but also a spiritual state of mind, a yearning for a return to our indigenous, biblical, spiritual home.