Well, here’s a shocker. Our thin-skinned president-of-only-his-own-fans held the annual White House Hanukkah party a few days ago. Every president before him has made this a nonpartisan event, but not this time. This time, only the “good Jews” got to go. No Democrats were invited, Jewish or otherwise. No heads of major Jewish congregations who’d dared criticize him or his administration. Two Jewish Republicans were invited and should be ashamed of themselves for having attended.
I guess it shouldn’t bother me so much. After all, none of the black members of the House or Senate were invited. No gay people were invited. The Hanukkah celebration of eternal flame, representing goodness, charity, faith, and victory over the oppressor, was turned into something entirely different. Something divisive. Something petty. Something so childish, it beggars belief.
Or maybe I’m reading too much into this? Maybe he didn’t want to invite anyone who might turn him down? No, I don’t think it’s possible for a narcissist of this order to imagine being turned down. Certainly not by a woman, let alone a politician who might need him someday. Remember those inauguration day figures? Unimaginable, that he wouldn’t have the biggest crowds ever.
And then, the follow-up. He declares Jerusalem the capital of Israel. No, wait, someone must have explained that he can’t do that. Instead, he declares we’re going to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Never mind that no other embassy is in Jerusalem. Read that again. Of the 86 embassies in Israel, 86 are in Tel Aviv. Jerusalem has only consulates ― important, yes, but not embassies.
It’s a puzzle, this. Why do it? To satisfy Kushner, who seems to believe that not working on Sabbath and keeping kosher make him a good Jew? To satisfy his base, who say “Look! He’s keeping his promises!” while conveniently forgetting that little “drain the swamp” thing? Or could it be as simple as that the incredibly disorganized, incompetent White House staff failed to remind him that every president since Carter has signed a waiver, twice a year, that prevented the embassy being moved ― and he missed the deadline?
Hmm. Could it be that the evangelical Christians who support him, Pence among them, truly believe that until Jerusalem “belongs” to Jews, the end-times will not come? and that once Jerusalem is Jewish, all of us Jews will finally see the light and accept Jesus as the Messiah, bringing about world peace ― so the Rapture can finally begin? Hey, I live in the South, in a hotbed of evangelical Christianity. Some people really do believe that.
It would certainly make Pence happy. Just as the complete disruption of any marginal peace in the Middle East, complete with riots, will make Trump happy. That boy likes nothing better than to point a finger at protesters and say, “Look. I was right. This is what ‘they’ are really like. You don’t see ME rioting, do you?”
No, you don’t. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A riot is the language of the unheard,” and wealthy old white men have always been heard. By other wealthy old white men. By people hoping to get close to power and money. By women who earn a marital estate on their backs, by the impoverished who vote for and support these politicians in the hope that they, too, will someday be lifted up. By the ignorant who believe they’ve been cast aside in favor of immigrants who’ve “stolen” the jobs they refuse to do. By young white men who insist they should be a “protected class” because affirmative action has destroyed their way of life. For every “good Jew” there’s a “good black” and a “good queer” ― someone willing to sacrifice their morals on the chance that they’ll get a crumb from the cake.
The saddest thing about that is, most of them aren’t even close to starving. They’ve got plenty of cake. They just don’t like the flavor.
I have recently been told that because I’m Jewish, I should be happy about this. Let me set that record straight: I am not happy about it. Only a fanatic would be happy about this, and a Jewish zealot is just as bad as any other fanatic. Furthermore, I resent the concept that in order for there to be world peace, I have to convert to another religion. I think it’s the height of arrogance to proselytize and assume your religion is the only religion God accepts. If that were true, He wouldn’t have invented so many.
Let me clear something up. It means nothing that Trump “declared” Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Nothing. He doesn’t have that power. It got him a lot of headlines, it made him look friendly toward Israel, and it enraged much of the Middle East ― including many Israelis.
Jerusalem has a long history with at least three of the world’s largest religions ― the Abrahamic religions. Jewish, Muslim, Christian. A lot of terrible things have happened there, and not a single religion can deny its part in them. A lot of wonderful things have happened there, and every religion concerned should be proud of those things. The city of Jerusalem has immense historical importance to those religious groups, and it should belong to all of them. Slam me for that if you like, but Jerusalem should be open to all religions, and it should be seen to be welcoming of all religions, provided they come in peace.
(Please don’t start with “but ISIS” or “but the Muslims.” I could just as easily say “but the Crusaders.” Do you really think all this anger started last century?)
If this administration really cared about Israel ― let alone any world religion ― it would be brokering peace accords. It would be working actively to help defuse the fanaticism on all sides. Instead, it’s working actively to divide everyone.
Just as it’s doing to us in America.
Being a good Jew, good Muslim, good Christian, has NOTHING to do with following rules about what you can eat, stopping work on a certain day, attending religious services, or any other rule dreamed up to keep people in line. Being a good Jew, Muslim, Christian has to do with being a good PERSON. Period.
Treat others as you would be treated. It’s that simple.