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Monday, July 05, 2010

The Kennedy test

Forty-seven years ago last Saturday, President John F. Kennedy stood in front of the Berlin Wall and declared "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner). In that same speech, Kennedy espoused a test for whether Capitalism or Communism was the better way of living.
"There are many people in the world," Kennedy said, "who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world... There are some who say that Communism is the wave of the future... And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists...." OK. A major dilemma. Two world systems each claiming to be righteous and asserting the other to be evil. How to adjudicate between them? Kennedy did so with memorable eloquence. "Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us."
Writing in the Washington Post, Rabbi Shmuely Boteach argues that the World's treatment of Israel is - he is sad to admit - classic anti-Semitism. And he uses Kennedy's test to prove it.
I say the same thing to you. If Israel really is so terrible, if it's government is so evil, then let's put it to the Kennedy test. If all of Israel's most rabid critics were forced to choose to live either in Israel or under Hamas in Gaza, or under Assad in Syria, or under Ahmedenijad in Iran, or under Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, or even in Communist China, which would they choose? In Israel they would have the freedom to mercilessly assail their government on the radio, in print, and in public squares. In any of these other countries they would be locked up or worse midway through their inaugural speech. In Israel if they were female or gay they would enjoy absolutely full rights and equal protection under the law. In Iran or Saudi Arabia, if female they would be severely punished for not adhering to a certain dress codes, and if openly gay they would be lucky to escape with their lives.

Yet it is Israel which the world hates.

Go figure.

Or perhaps there is no need. This kind of hatred has a long and cruel precedent. It comes in many guises. Today it targets Israel but at its root it's just good old-fashioned, unbridled, unapologetic Jew-hatred. Ecclesiastes had it right. There is nothing new under the sun.


At 4:14 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There is nothing new under the sun.

The Palestinians are just an excuse. Their real target are the Jews.

And when they are in their candid moments, they make that very clear. Nothing Israel has done or can do will ever satisfy them.

Its time to call a spade a spade. They are anti-Semites.

At 7:31 AM, Blogger Jeff B's Blog said...

I worked in Israeli hospitals for a few years in the early 2000s. One of my jobs at Bikkur Cholim Hospital was to retrieve medical records for various clinic appointments, usually for the next day. Approximately 1/3 of those records were for Arab patients living in East Jerusalem. Funny thing about those Arabs of E J'lem preferred Israeli doctors, Jewish nurses, & pharmacists & other technicians instead of going to some dreadful clinic in their own neighborhood. How can that be? Certainly there are many quality Arab medical professionals. But when you need good treatment, Even the King of Jordan preferred to go to a "good hospital" in N.Y.C. than to one in his native country. This is not rocket science. But the few bad apples definitely spoil the bunch.


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