Friday, November 28, 2008

Mumbai Massacre 2: A Lesson for Liberals, Especially Liberal American Jews

The Muslims who massacred 160 (and counting) innocents in Mumbai, India focused on foreigners; mainly Americans, Britons and as always with Islamic terrorists, Jews. Indeed, they had to go out of their way to find Jews. Although Jews have lived in India for over 2,500 years, they have never numbered more than a few tens of thousands, and today most Indian Jews and their descendents live in Israel. An estimated 5,000 Jews remained in India in 2006, or less than .05% of the total population of 1.1 billion.

By now most of you have probably heard about the story of the Chabad House in Mumbai where five hostages were found dead. Two of the confirmed dead are Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife. This is what they looked like:

They are easily identifiable as religious Jews, and thus the vast majority of American Jews - who are Reform or secular - can psychologically distance themselves from them. After all, if those liberal, enlightened, progressive, Obama-voting American Jews had been visiting India they would have integrated themselves with the local culture, not showing their Jewish faith or ethnicity openly.

That brings us to the two other American victims who have been identified thus far:

Alan Scherr and his daughter Naomi were the first American casualties to be identified in Mumbai. Alan Scherr was a former university professor who lived outside of Charlottesville, Virginia (home of UVA), and had found comfort in Buddhist-influenced meditation. In fact Scherr had lived at the Synchronicity Foundation Sanctuary since his 13 year-old daughter's birth. I can find no confirmation that this man was born Jewish, I'm relying on my "Jewdar." He looks Jewish, his last name is feasibly Jewish, his daughter's first name is Biblical (Jewish), he's a former professor, and his life is devoted to meditation. Why is the last point a clue to his Jewishness? It has been estimated that more than 20% of American converts to Buddhism are Jews. In other words they are ten times more likely to convert to Buddhism than the general population their 2% share of the US population would suggest.

Whether or not the man is actually Jewish, he is a symbol of secular Jews who disproportionately come under the sway of new-age, Buddhist, and secular/humanist expressions of spirituality. Like all liberals, they think that somehow their "tolerant" and "progressive" outlook will shield them from the violence of Islamic terrorists. In fact, liberals are loathe to even use the word "Islamic" to describe them. They are seen as misguided criminals who are suffering from the results of poverty, oppression, and Western imperialism. If only we'd sit down with them and talk, we could reach an understanding (excuse me while I roll my eyes).

The fate of Alan Scherr should be a sign to liberals, especially liberal Jews, that they are not immune from Islamic violence even if they completely separate themselves from the Jewish religion and people. The secular Jews of Western Europe thought they were fully assimilated "new men" who had transcended the crass notions of race of ethnicity. That was until Hitler taught them that one Jewish grandparent made them Jewish, and thus just as worthy of murder as any Orthodox Yeshiva-student.

Alan Scherr and his daughter were not visiting Israel, nor were they were attending a synagogue for religious services or a function for a recognizably Jewish cause; they were visiting Mumbai, India on a Buddhist-influenced spiritual journey. And yet, they are just as dead as the rabbi and his wife.


Buraq Osama said...

God bless these beautiful people. I have great grief for their loss.

I should not feel shame, but I do. I see the photos of the murderers and I see myself and my friends. College students with brown skin. How can they be so filled with hatred and so devoid of humanity that they can resort to this?

What monster put them up to this? Or was the monster born inside of them?

Was India's support for Israel the reason for this attack? I think not.

They sought out Americans and Brits and Jews as an excuse to gain support from other muslims for a blatant massacre of innocents. There was no global jihad here.

I have seen the liberals (including secular Jews) in Berkeley protesting for Palestinian "freedom." They have no idea who or what they are supporting. I was moved to tears to see the hulk of a blown-up Israeli bus in Berkeley where they had the nerve to protest dressed up like suicide bombers.

I fear this can happen here. It's too easy. I learned in R.O.T.C. how to conduct battle drills and it takes only 9 men to kill a lot of people in a well-planned attack.

The longer I live, the less I understand the world. Why must I have to fight these idiots?

Meg said...

Occidental, thank you for yet another beautiful entry. Unfortunately I was going through a bit of a needed seclusion from the news when the Mumbai attacks happened. I'd gotten so wrapped up in the news, so overwhelmed by it, that for my own sanity I just needed to step away. Now when I come back, I see the terrible things that happened in Mumbai. It's truly, truly disheartening.

But I specifically wanted to reply to Buraq. Buraq, thank you for your impassioned comment. Believe me, I feel for you. But if I may be so bold, may I please answer the question with which you ended your comment?
Why must you fight these idiots? Because you're one of the few who can see this dangerous idiocy for what it is. And because you've become aware, you're one of the few with the ability to fight it. For that reason alone, you must do what you can to stand up and change the world. I don't mean that because you're aware of the idiocy, you must therefore change the whole world by stopping all of the violence and making the entire world a better place. No, you can change the world by changing just one mind. Wake one more person up, open their eyes to what you see all around you every day. Teach that one person and you will have won the good fight. Teach peace, tolerance, but most of all, awareness! Do that for that one person and you will have accomplished so much. The joy you'll receive from that will embolden you to teach one more, then one more after that, and so on. It's tough work, but it's necessary, so very, very necessary. This isn't just a war with traditional front lines, trenches, and battle fronts for soldiers; so much as it is a war of thoughts, ideas, words and beliefs. We won't be receiving traditional draft papers, we probably won't even be dressing up in uniforms. But we're soldiers nonetheless, who have been drafted by our awareness of the harsh reality of terrorism and what it means. Because of that, it's our duty to fight any way we can. And right now, the way we fight is by teaching those around us, opening their hearts, minds, and eyes to reality. Judging by your comment, I think you're already well equipped to do just that. So get out there and do it! And remember there are so many people who are fighting along side you who are supporting you every step of the way!