Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Wall

Mr. Gorbachev: Tear down this wall!
-Ronald Reagan, June 12, 1987

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw...
-"The Trees", Rush (Hemispheres, 1978)

When G-D created the iron, the trees became very afraid, and they appealed to G-d: who will save us from the blade, now that you have created the iron? And G-d told them: The iron cannot harm you unless you give it a handle yourselves.
-Midrash Rabbah, Bereishis 5:9

As we’re speaking, rockets are falling into Israel by the dozens. After years and years of begging, pleading and caving in to their Arab brothers for peace, after giving in to demand after demand, it seems that they are finally learning the hard way that there is no pact with the devil. If it weren’t an utterly disgusting comparison, I’d venture to say that it reminds of how Stalin was stabbed in the back by Hitler. But slapped in the face they were, again and again by those with whom they dreamed to co-exist in peace and harmony. As a side note, I’d like to make the observation that the Hebrew term for coexistence, “du-kiyum”, translates literally into double-existence. And double-exist they must, on two sides of a wall truncating the frail country in its middle. A wall which cannot prevent Kassam rockets from flying above it, but at least sixteen year old boys with explosive belts can’t cross it (except where the Wall is missing due to violations of an olive tree’s human rights).

There is another wall, which proved far more durable and more effective, as it does not prevent prayers from flying above it to their intended destination. That is where rivers of tears have been shed for salvation, both personal and communal, and that is where now thousands of Jews gather to pray for their brothers’ and their own peace and salvation. That is where in tragic times Jews of all affiliation pray side by side. And the mere fact that Jews unite only when struck by tragedy is a tragedy – Jews should always pray together, and there should never be schism or separate communes.

Yet another wall, in its embryonic stage, is planned along the Mexican-American border. Its construction is not anymore a question of if but where. That wall would keep out drug smugglers, arms and gang contraband, infiltration by terrorists, and illegal invaders. You may raise an eyebrow at the definition, but the not-so concealed objective of the Mexican leadership

is to re-establish their alleged ancestral homeland of Aztlan, ancient site of the Incas and Aztecs, which, according to Mexican nationalists, spread from current day Mexico’s southern border to the northern borders of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. A good third of the USA. But we need no electrolysis to separate myth from history, and we can reassure you with utmost confidence that the Mexicans’ ancestral land is not Aztlan, but traditionally anti-Semitic and Hitler’s WWII ally, Spain. To their credit we will not hide from you that despite their alliance with Hitler, the ancestral home of the Inquisition actually hosted a large number of Jewish refugees during the war. But today they are at the forefront of the EU’s anti-Israel incite-media, and host to some of the most vile Der Stürmer-esque cartoons. And the Mexican immigration advocacy groups are ferociously anti-Semitic, and dead serious about taking back what they claim is theirs. As serious as the Palestinians. The people behind this ideology are not mere fringe loons; prominent politicians, professors, councilmen and local officials who make little effort to hide their nationalistic aspirations.

The Minutemen who initiated the projects to build the wall, and effectively brought its urgency to Congress and Senate, are still trying to rally more people to support their clause. And the spontaneous spur of websites, Internet groups and nationwide protests indicates that the American public is indeed very concerned about out of control immigration. Yet flying in the face of the hostile mainstream media and political environment is not easy – the proposition to build the wall was struck down at the Senate level. Unfortunately, the Minutemen leadership left out maybe the most important component from their struggle: unity. A good example is the “portgate” affair, wherein several major US ports’ management was offered for sale to a Dubai company. But as soon as the news came out, an unprecedented roar of opposition rose in unity, in spite of president Bush’s strong desire to complete the sale. For the first time in history, Rush Limbaugh disagreed with Bush, Michael Savage didn’t call anyone names, David Horowitz and Patrick Buchanan didn’t write articles against each other; - the alternative media unanimously condemned the sale. Republicans and Democrats opposed the sale as one; and though one might argue that the Democrats did so only to score points against Bush, their fervent opposition to close the border and approval of Bush’s call for amnesty indicates that that may not always be the case. Even the usually pro-Arab, anti-nationalist mainstream media reported unfavorably about the proposed sale. All either understood the potential dangers of letting such sensitive national assets in the hands of a company from hostile nations, or understood that the American public is so opposed to the sale that approving it would mean political or business suicide.

Unfortunately, the wall does not enjoy such widespread patronage. Albeit many talk show hosts pretend to endorse it, they de-facto prevent it, by refraining from forming similar unity. They all complained about the Senate sabotage of the wall – the day after the vote. But where were their rallying voices, calls for action and sanctioning the senate bill before the vote? Unfortunately, the patriotic right wing has again failed to unite by each individual putting his own gain before that of his country. With just a bit of collaboration, Simcox, Tancredo, and Co. could easily establish a highly effective web-based collaboration system that would keep all anti-immigration sites connected and informed, and in turn inform the common people about activities in their areas as well as Congress/Senate activities. Sadly, they have failed –or refused- to do so.

Even more sad is that the Jewish community seems to be totally silent and in complete denial of the issue. Not only because it is an urgent matter of national security, but because Jews are affected by immigration more than anyone else. The terrorists coming in from Mexico target Jews primarily. The Mexican Reconquista movement is ferociously anti-Semitic, and the vast majority of Jews are unarmed. The growing immigrant population will soon outweigh the political importance of the Jewish community. The immigrants are sucking up the social services faster and faster, and at a certain point there won’t be enough for everyone – you figure out who will be dropped first. And if that wall isn’t built soon enough, it will have to be built much further north, along the northern borders of California, Nevada, Utah, etc. Losing a third of our territory would be a severe national disaster, and what would happen to the residents -especially the Jewish communities- in newly re-conquered Aztlan is anyone’s guess. And the ensuing nationwide unrest wouldn’t benefit the Jews either. We need look no further than Israel, and what happened immediately after the withdrawals from Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Lebanon. Walls have to be built before losing territory. But retaining territory and building a wall require will. And I fear we don’t have it.

I wonder whether the various Jewish organizations attending the Annual Glatt Kosher Dinner in Shushangton, D.C. ever bring up subjects of general, national interest, or the stuffed-turkey face-stuffing is invariably followed by pocket-stuffing only? For just as Congress and Senate represent the interests of their direct constituents far more than the collective good of the American people, so too these Jewish organizations cater first and foremost to the groups who sent them, rather than the collective good of the Jewish people - and this is a very cautious and euphemistic way to put it. Perhaps if we would demand more of them - higher national security, lower taxes, push for the voucher program etc., we’d see better results. Maybe we’d be better off making sure that our delegates care for our well-being. Maybe we’d be better off taking our heads out of the sand. Maybe instead of schnorring another jar of peanut butter for our Yeshivas and a few more dollars of foreign aid to Israel -who must learn to stand on its own feet and boot its oppressive Stalinist government- we should demand more security, less taxes and less immigrants.

And more leadership in the Jewish community.