Cut Your Apron Strings

Cut Your Apron Strings

I am reading the Australian News from afar, through the lens of Australian media. And it shocks me to the core to read how Australian Jewish university students and community members are howling shrilly about being threatened by antisemitic behaviours and words.  I sense we are hanging onto the ‘parental’ apron-strings of police and government authorities, pleadingly seeking their goodwill and protection. Have we, over a mere two generations, adopted a real victim mentality? Have we become wimpish? Where is our backbone, pride, and courage? My father watched his parents and siblings executed by a Nazi officer. My father’s response: he fought them, sometimes hand to hand, as a partisan in the forests of Poland outside of Krakow. He didn’t appeal to others for protection! My mother-in-law was a four-years-in-Auschwitz survivor, and a Mengele experiment to boot, also surviving the ‘death march’. She fought the enemy tooth and nail, physically and spiritually, and throughout her subsequent life in Australia, never allowed a bit of antisemitism to frighten her in the least. She would tackle it head-on! In our family we were taught to stand tall and fight back, not wimp!

Bullies pick on the weak, those who cower and tremble at their sight. The weaker our public stance the more we allow ourselves to be bullied, and the ‘braver’ the bullies become! So how are we responding to a non-understanding public, riled up by a vocal local minority community of ‘palestinian’ sympathisers? By running to the to the authorities, lodging complaints, never daring to confront the ‘palestinian’ bullies and sympathisers in the streets. Where is the clear message that we can speak and act  for ourselves, that we can mix it with the worst. Am I advocating physical violence?  Of course not. Am I talking about making noise and standing tall in public, facing off with those who hate us, and courageously staring them down?  Yes, Yes, and Yes.

Band together.  Think strategically. Understand their psychology. Brace your posture from within. Learn to face-off. And even learn how to defend yourself if caught in a tight corner.  But don’t rely on others to come to your aid just because you are right, and the enemy is wrong. In the main, politicians are more dependent on their constituents’ votes than publicly voicing right from wrong, good from bad. It’s time the papers reported that our Jewish students and community members did not allow themselves to be overawed by a boisterous demonstration or screechy placard waving ‘palestinian’ supporters, or the epithet ‘thrown’ from the ‘brave’ antisemite driving down Balaclava Rd. Face them down. Admiration is earned, not debated, or paid for.

In my twenties I was already a Hillel Director on an American campus, one that had a nest of Nazi student supporters. I didn’t follow the advice of the New York Jewish establishment leaders who smilingly and condescendingly said to a young campus chaplain, ‘leave it with us – we have the contacts’. Some contacts!  Three months later a huge Nazi swastika flag ‘graced’ the central mall of the campus, staunchly defended by the university council, ruling that it accorded with the principle of ‘free speech’.  Only when I organised a 2000 strong demonstration, addressed by a very well-known, fiery, no-nonsense Jewish leader in his day, that the tide turned – to the degree that that the Nazi cell ‘disappeared’ from that campus.

So, I say to those with inner strength, energy, spiritual backbone, and belief in our Torah and peoplehood: Face the enemy head-on. Don’t wait for others to ‘fight wars’ for you. Tzahal is showing the lead with courage and daring. Stand tall! Cut the apron-strings!

(Yes, I know, I will get into trouble for writing this piece.)

One solitary Jewish student at Yale University, Netanel Crispe, stands tall right in the middle of ‘Palestinian’ demonstrators.

Watch the video of the demonstration: