Our Beacon Forum

“The Jew is a symbol of eternity” – Tolstoy
By:Tarek Fatah, Canada
Date: Thursday, 1 November 2018, 4:52 pm

> October 30, 2018
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> “The Jew is a symbol of eternity” – Tolstoy
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> Tarek Fatah
> The Toronto Sun
> http://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/fatah-pittsburgh-synagogue-slaughter-not-easily-explained
>
> The slaughter of Jews in Pittsburgh by an alleged anti-Semite cannot be easily explained. After centuries of studying the phenomenon of Jew hatred, few have come up with an answer as to why this tiny segment of our world community faces so much revulsion.
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> Every time there is an incident of violence against Jews, it adds one more ugly scar on the face of our common legacy.
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> The attack that killed 11 on Saturday in Pittsburgh’s vibrant Jewish community reminded me of the attack on a Jewish community centre in Mumbai, India, 10 years ago. Same target, different assassins.
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> How long will Jews be killed simply because they are too few? Just under 15 million in a world populated by 7 billion other souls.
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> Is it because Jews have contributed far more to humanity than they’ve taken back? Are the rest of us envious of their resilience and ability to survive horrendous discrimination in Christian Europe from medieval times to the Holocaust?
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> Yesterday, Lorrie Goldstein quoted British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ explanation of the irrationality and evil nature of Jew Hatred on these pages.

> “Before the Holocaust,” Rabbi Sacks notes, “Jews were hated because they were poor and because they were rich; because they were communists and because they were capitalists; because they kept to themselves and because they infiltrated everywhere; because they clung to ancient religious beliefs and because they were rootless cosmopolitans who believed nothing..”

> Something changed after the Holocaust. For the first time in a millennia, the Jewish state of Israel was founded in the ancient Jewish homeland of the Temple Mount from which Jews had been driven out many times. And that changed the very form of anti-Semitism. Jew hatred gave way to hating Israel.
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> And among the new anti-Semites came “the radical Islamists and others who deny Israel’s right to exist,” says Rabbi Sacks.
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> Today, Jew hatred is camouflaged under the guise of solidarity with Palestinians. There is hardly a university campus in North America where the left has not made common cause with right-wing Islamists. Instead of exposing themselves as the Jew haters that they are, they target Israel, not ordinary Jews.
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> It’s not Zimbabwe or China they focus on, and certainly not Saudi Arabia or Iran. No, the new Jew hatred is manifested in the targeting of Israel. A Palestinian state is not what they seek; it is the end of Israel as a Jewish state they desire.
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> For those of us who are not Jews, the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy has left us with a gem.
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> In 1891, Tolstoy wrote a short essay, “What is a Jew?” He asked, “What kind of a unique creature is this whom all the rulers and nations of the world have disgraced and crushed, expelled and destroyed, persecuted and drowned, who despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish?”

> Offering his own answer, Tolstoy proposes, “The Jew is the symbol of eternity … the one who is for so long guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear. The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity.”

> Let Tolstoy’s message sink into our minds. Let it shape our thoughts. Let’s adorn our hearts with Tolstoy’s message as we attempt to erase latent hatred of the other and appreciate the Jewish people and their Jewish state.