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First they came…but here in America??

November 4, 2011

Am I really hearing this in America?  Go to YouTube and type in “anti-semitism and occupy wall street” and hear what I heard.

I’m Jewish.  I have never, in my lifetime, worried about Nazi Germany being repeated.

Until now.

Occupy Wall Street.  What does that have to do with the Jews?  Well, of course, let’s resurrect the idea that if there is money, it must be the Jews who manage it.  Oh, and let’s not forget that “my people” manage and own the media too – so “we” control what you hear and read in the press.

Is this really my country?  Am I really hearing people yelling about how the Jews should go back to Israel?  Am I really hearing about how the fault of the economy can be laid at the feet of the Jews?

How far is this from Nazi Germany?  As I recall my history, Hitler turned an entire population against the Jews, the gay people and the gypsies by blaming them for the economic situation in Germany.

One of the most compelling statements I know, “First they came…” attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) is about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

Mindful of what happens when we “allow” violations of anyone’s human rights, I have sounded the alert when “ministers” from our country went on an anti-gay tour that resulted in the death penalty for being a homosexual in Uganda.  I have joined my colleagues in sounding the alarm when women in our country and abroad were stripped of their rights.  I have sounded alarm after alarm.

I have sounded those alarms because I AM all of those people, by virtue of my humanity.  I have sounded those alarms without concern for myself because I am priviledged.  The fact that I am Jewish has never worried me as I have spoken out again and again.

Until I heard “IT’S THE JEWS!” from protestors in Occupy Wall Street.  And then I remembered my grandmother’s concern about my last name – “Levy” – because she always believed if something happens once it can happen again.

But we have said “Never again!” about the Nazi Holocaust, haven’t we?  And while we have born witness to holocausts in other countries, I live here – here in the United States – and here we say “never again.”

Is it time for “again” already?

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