Thursday, August 17, 2017

Setting the Record Straight on General Pershing and the "50 bullets" myth

Surprisingly, President Trump revisited a myth regarding General Pershing's behavior during his tour as U.S. Governor of the Phillipines' Moro Province from 1909-1913 (following the Spanish American War).  President Trump actually used this same story in March of 2016 when running for president.  At the time, the myth was fully fact checked and debunked.

... yet if it were true, it would be even more disturbing, as it involves a mythic use of "pigs blood" as a weapon against muslims.  The kind of anti-muslim stereotype and bias involved in that story, is much like the "blood libel" in that it uses a religious symbol or taboo as the mechanism of attack.  It is a medieval bias in imagery which should never be permitted.

For those who missed it, here is the debunking.

 I post this in the wake of today's horrible attack in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, with the hope that - tweets notwithstanding - facts and analysis can rule the day.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

In the Wake of White Supremacist Violence in Virginia

In the Wake of White Supremacist Violence in Virginia 

Dear Friends,

The events of this week have taught us once again that the strength of our democracy lies in the freedom of speech accorded to every person of conscience, and that the greatest threat to our democracy comes when those words are used for hatred and violence.

What happened this week in Charlottesville, VA, was a cause for real concern, as neo-nazi groups united with other racists and "far right" fringe groups to join together and declare their hatred of all minorities ("non-whites"), and especially of Jews and African Americans.  The banding together is a troubling development, as such groups have acted in a much less cohesive fashion in the past.  The fruit of their labors was mayhem and murder, as dozens were hurt and one woman killed in riots and a terrorist attack on an intersection with an automobile.

Make no mistake:  the press only barely reported the Jew-hatred in the crowd.  Signs, shirts, slogans followed the rhetoric of the third reicht and Hitler.  Jews were blamed for all the stereotypes and conspiracies you can imagine, and more.  We were attacked.  You were attacked.

At this time, vigilance and education is the answer.  DEMAND that your elected leaders speak unequivocally and immediately in the face of white extremism, condemning it specifically and repeatedly.  LEARN about the groups involved.  And RESPOND to the threat in concrete ways.

Here are a few links that you should find helpful in learning and responding to this monstrosity.

The Conservative Movement’s Statement: 

The Southern Poverty Law Center:   tracks hate groups, has an excellent “hate map” to view this kind of activity nationwide, and a link to “ten things you can do to fight hate.”  

The National Council for Jewish Women:  Ways to ACT.

The JTA’s “A Guide to Far Right Groups” is a helpful learning link:

At this time, we know that the reasonable world in America still has the upper hand.  Make your voice heard and be certain to hold all elected officials accountable for their leadership at this critical time in our nation's history.


Rabbi Robert Tobin