The Refugee Problem or why Racism is as unkosher as pork
You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourself been strangers in the land of Egypt. (Shemot 23:9)
“The Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us” (Shemot 1:9-10).
A video of extremely hostile looking anti-African demonstrators in South Tel Aviv has angered the Jewish world in the last days. It´s a tough topic, Jews and racism. It´s kinda like as if Louis Armstrong would say that his songs are nothing when compared to Justin Biebers. On the other hand the wrath of the residents has a reason, there are problems, just as in other cases as well, the problems aren´t caused only by the scapegoats. The root of this whole issue is actually something to be proud of: Israel is the only country in the region that takes in suffering non-Jewish African Refugees, who are endangered to get their organs traficked or even killed in the countries they have to pass on the way to the Jewish State. And Israel is also one of the most diverse countries worldwide, it´s ethnicity-wise a microcosm of the whole world.
But Israel wouldn´t be Israel, if the majority understood what is actually great about the country. The irrational, religious critics have the idea of gathering in only Jews, and the rational critics point out that Israel is not Western Europe and has enough demographic and economic struggles and cannot take in masses of unlearned refugees. Danny Danon, a member of the Knesset of the Likud Party wants them out, out, out. Do me a favor and google Danny Danon and picture search. American Psycho meets From Dusk till Dawn. People are not born that unsympathetic, one really needs to try for years on a daily basis to be a tremendously big asshole in order to reach that level. And of course it´s really fine to be one ugly mofo, happens to the best people, but you know if someone is in addition to that also a racist – geez, it´s really not me, nature itself wanted these comments in this article.
Can Judaism tell us something about the issue? In the Torah it is written that You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourself been strangers in the land of Egypt. (Shemot 23:9). But as it is with religious scripture, you can basically read anything out of this. Hitchhiker´s Guide to San Francisco, but also smart-ass apologetics like „not opressing the stranger who happens to be there is not the same as letting everyone in“.
I´m very sure that the Jewish people, including Israelis, do have a highly developed sense for universal justice. But it is a twilight product coming from the ideas of the Hebrew prophets of helping the widow and the orphan mixed with the avantgarde role emancipated Jews have played in Western societies. It´s not exactly what you think of when your biggest problem is expanding your settlements in order to get a bigger portion of land on some Judgement Day in the future. And yes, having non-Jewish African refugees in the country will lead to mixed marriages, so if this is an ideological problem for you or your demographic hopes for the year 6000, okay, I also don´t forbid Marilyn Manson to make music. I can even understand the fears. With all these hostile neighbors around one wants to solve his own shit before helping others, but I hope we can all agree that it is disgusting to the bone to see a march of Jewish racists. I mean, at least my uncles are Yitzhak Rabin and Leonard Cohen. One could say that the lesson from the holocaust is that lethal persecution like this should never again happen to US, but you can turn and flip it how you want, the next level is – that persecution should never again HAPPEN. Now we live in a world in which it is happening and will be happening. And we live in a world in which a growing number of people are hostile towards the Jewish State. Applying moral standards in politics always sounds naive. It kind of sounds as if some ancient tribe from some ancient book would suddenly re-create their ancient state in modern times, something that just wouldn´t happen…eh!?
Israel is at its best, when it bails out a kidnapped soldier, paying a high price in prisoner´s swaps. Israel is great when being among the first to send aid to regions of catastrophe such as Haiti. One may lose something with this, but the gain is paid in spirit, which is a hardass currency.
Once a friend told me he bought a nice hungarian-style salami. I asked whether it is kosher. He laughed and said „No, us Jews we have different strengths and achievements, making sausages is not one of them, others are better at this“. I wish to extend this notion to RACISM.
“Until the philosophy, which holds one man….”