Intracommunity Disputes

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk



Jew Against Jew

Jew vs. Jew is the name of a book written by Samuel G. Freedman. This book deals with the endless strife among American Jews during the past twenty years. One example concerns the Jewish community of Cleveland, Ohio. Freedman tells us about a Cleveland suburb called Beachwood, which is 80% Jewish and has an entirely Jewish city council.

The first Jews to move there were mainly Reform or Conservative Jews. They built synagogues and a new Jewish Community Center in Beachwood. As  the population increased, orthodox Jews also moved there and bought some land so as to build their “shul” and a school on that property.

They applied for a building  permit from the Village of Beachwood but were refused because the majority on the council “did not want those black hats running around here.” Thereupon the orthodox Jews hired a lawyer and the case came before a Catholic judge who told the Beachwood Jews that this country guarantees freedom of religion as shown in the first amendment to the Constitution. He allowed the orthodox to build a school and a “shul” on their property. They are there now. I saw both buildings.

Now if you believe that the Beachwood bigotry is the only place where Jews fight Jews you haven’t read Freedman’s book.

All  of our history is riddled with such fights. In fact, the great Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote The Jewish War in the first century BCE, describes how the Romans invaded Israel and attempted to destroy Jerusalem. For three years they were unable to break down the walls. Then, however, the Jews inside began to fight each other. They killed and assaulted one another over numerous issues and neglected to stand together against the Romans. The result was the destruction of the second Temple in 70 CE and the dispersion of the Jewish people all over the world until 1948.

Beginning on January 31, 1933, when Hitler became dictator of Germany, there were in that country 580,000 Jews amidst a population of 62 million (Today Germany has 82 million and 105,000 Jews). The German Jews became more and more desperate as 145 anti-Jewish decrees destroyed their lives. They begged the American Jewish community for help and a few American Jews did help. The vast majority of our brethren, including the large Jewish community organizations, found innumerable reasons not to help. They were busy denouncing German Jews as arrogant and unwilling to accommodate the Eastern European Jews of the nineteenth century. Indeed, much money was collected in behalf of the German Jews before we entered the Second World War on December 7,1941. But that money went for conferences, travel expenses and big salaries for “executive directors”, etc. As a result, only 130,000 German Jews were able to enter here. The others were gassed to death, although a few escaped to South America, to Singapore and to Australia. A tiny number even made it to pre-independence Israel.

Now we are once more faced with a test to see if Israel will survive in face of a terrible threat from Iran, whose sycophants, Hezbollah, recently attacked Israel with innumerable rockets.

Unlike all other U.S. presidents before him, George W. Bush stood by Israel during that unprovoked attack and saw to it that Israel was given the means to defend itself. Unlike every president from that arch Jew baiter Franklin D. Roosevelt through Clinton, the lover of Arafat, George W. Bush repeatedly denounced Iran and the Arab terrorists, and declared that this country will stick with Israel, whom he called our friend.

That is of course not the view of the Democrats in and out of Congress. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader, refused to sign a resolution by the House supporting Israel against Hezbollah. John Kerry, erstwhile candidate for the presidency, spoke to the Arab-American caucus about the plight of the Palestinians while Sen. Hilary Clinton went to Israel and kissed Mrs. Arafat for claiming in a speech that “the Jews are poisoning the drinking water with radioactive material.”

In view of the election about to take place, we must therefore decide whether we want to once more abandon our brethren in Israel or whether we want to elect Republicans, who are not afraid to confront the terrorists who seek the end of the Jewish people, of Israel and of this country.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including The Restoration of Israel (2006).

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