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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

When the British jailed shofar-blowers

In my travels through the Palestine Post archives today, I found something astounding (to me, at least.) I saw that someone was arrested for blowing a shofar at the Western Wall at the conclusion of Yom Kippur:



What was this all about? Why should it be illegal for Jews to do a simple and important religious ceremony?



Throughout the '30s I kept seeing similar stories printed.



And it was only at the Wall, not in synagogues or anything like that. So what the hell was going on?


And the penalty - 6 months in prison for blowing a shofar?

Something was seriously wrong, and soon it became apparent what the problem was.



Ah, now it becomes clear.

A Jew does something that is a religious requirement, that takes a couple of seconds, that disturbs nobody - and Arabs rioted in 1929.

Not just rioted, but they murdered 135 Jews, expelling Jews from communities (like Hebron) that they had lived in for centuries.

And the British blamed the Jews. Because one of the riots started in 1929 after a Jew blowed a Shofar at the Kotel.

In the bizarre logic of genteel anti-semitism, Jews must be punished for the murderous actions of Arabs. And the ironic flip-side of such an attitude is that Arabs are treated like savages who cannot be expected to control themselves.

This is a role that we have seen time and time again the Arabs take advantage of - they themselves have now brought up generations that believe that the Arab world has no responsibility for their actions. The gullible West, wracked with guilt over crimes of colonialism and liberal angst that favors the underdog no matter how deadly they are, do not hold them accountable for their actions.

So we have riots in 1929 that were the fault of a Jewish shofar blower, we have an intifada in 2001 that is the fault of a politician taking a walk on a Jewish holy site nearby, we have deadly demonstrations for the supposed desecration of a printed book.

And who can blame Arabs for acting this way? It has been shown to be a successful strategy! The Western fear of the mythical Arab street has fueled brain-dead decisions like the British made in the 1930s. Arabs daily threaten the West with the "power" of their people who can be whipped up into a frenzy with a single word from a sheikh. And the West slavishly decides, whoa, we cannot risk the wrath of a billion Arabs, we'd better force the Jews do make more concessions instead, because Jews are intelligent and can see reason, unlike the Arab savages whom we are scared of.

It is a winning formula. The 1921 riots, the 1929 riots, the 1936 strike and violence, the 1989 intifada, the 2001 intifada - all are cases where violence by Arabs are rewarded by the West rather than punished. And as long as terror and violence is rewarded and the victims perversely blamed, it is a formula that is guaranteed to be repeated far into the future.

The only ray of hope are the people who truly know the difference between good and evil and who will fight for good no matter what the conventional wisdom is. People like those who, every year in the 1930s and after, made sure that the shofar was still blown at the Kotel.

Those are the heroes.