Jew-hate Junction

05-05-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Jew-hatred is the oldest bigotry on the books. As one author said, "all bigotries meet at Jew-hate Junction". The NY Times recently published a neo-Nazi cartoon in its international edition and the editors want you to believe that there would be peace in the Middle East if it weren't for the Jews. Likewise, the media outlet, Politico wants you to believe that Trump would be in jail if it weren't for the Jews who control him. Congresswoman IIhan Omar cast aspersions upon the Jews with one of the oldest Jew-hate tropes, "for Jews", she said, "it's all about the Benjamins". And when the House of Representatives tried to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, it couldn't muster the votes and instead just condemned all forms of hatred and bigotry. One thing is for sure: when the alt-right with its neo-Nazi obsessions and its anti-Semitism and the alt-left with its penchant for defending Islamo-fascists and its anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism, are on the rise, Jews die.

But what the Congress missed with its watered-down resolution was that Jew-hatred is not just one form of hate among others, it is the hate that paves the way for all other hates and bigotries. Amazingly it wasn't that long ago, recent memory really, when the world saw where Jew-hatred leads. For the members of the House of Representatives and its leader apparently the lessons of the Holocaust have yet to penetrate their politicized hearts. It surprised me to see Speaker Pelosi lose control of her caucus and be unable to stop the Jew-haters from gaining control. I guess for her past performance is no guarantee of future results.

After 9/11 I said that if we did not respond with quick and overwhelming force we would become like Israel, a security state constantly fending off terrorism in one form or another. So, it has happened. At the synagogue in Poway, there was one Israeli tourist, who had witnessed many shooting and bombings in his homeland and had been under fire there as well. He was shot in the leg as he attended synagogue, not in Tel Aviv but at the Chabad in Poway, California as he ushered the children into safety. Whether it's a synagogue in Israel or in the US or a Church in Sri Lanka or a Mosque in New Zealand, Jew hatred and terrorism is getting the upper hand.

This latest synagogue shooting along with the one in Pittsburgh as well as the Holocaust should teach us, once again, that no amount of dead Jews will bring about peace on earth. That no amount of dead Jews will get Trump out of office, that no amount of dead Jews will make socialism work, that no amount of dead Jews will stop the Islamists from carrying out their acts of terror, that no amount of dead Jews will make the financial systems of the world even and fair to everyone, that no amount of dead Jews will end the global conspiracies about Jews controlling the levers of power. Pharaoh learned long ago that no amount of dead Jews would make him a god or secure his power. Our world seems to have to repeatedly relearn the lesson.

The shooting in the synagogue in California happened at the only Orthodox Synagogue in the area. And it was the last night of Passover. After Passover, Moses parted the sea and the people escaped death in Egypt to find life in the Promised Land. Ironically when the shooter opened fire in that synagogue the people there were expecting death but because of a good guy with a gun they kept their lives, save but one. Just as God used the sea waters to stop Pharaoh from killing the lives of the Jews, God used one person again to save the lives of these Jews.

Rabbi Goldstein, who was leading the congregation that day, ironically in the Mourners Prayer for the Dead, had his index finger shot off and said, "You know, with the loss of my index finger, it's going to be a scar for the rest of my life – to both – to remind us of literally how vulnerable we are, but also how brave we need to be. Everyone needs to be a hero. Everyone needs to step up and do something in the face of terror". Good advice, Rabbi. Baruch Hashem.

Fr. John B.

P.S. This week, Monday - Thursday afternoon all the Priests of the Diocese will be at our Convocation with the Bishop. The Convocation was scheduled for September but in light of the recent scandals in the Church, was moved up to May. Pray for the priests that we can respond to the challenges our Church faces with the light of the Holy Spirit. As a result, there will be no morning Masses on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. A Deacon will lead a Prayer Service instead.