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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Time Magazine's no better than the NY Times


"Time Magazine" has jumped on the bandwagon (or were they already there?) of the loud voices condemning Israel for just existing and surviving. In Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace, Karl Vick, instead of commending Israelis for continuing to thrive in the shadow of their enemies, under the specter of homicide bombs and missiles from Gaza, Mr. Vick chooses to take this as a "sign" that Israelis don't want peace. Israelis, Mr. Vick chooses to not understand, are weary of a "peace process" that leads only to emboldening their enemies and alienation their supposed allies. Phyllis Chesler, in her wonderful Arutz Sheva article TIME Magazine’s Latest Blood Libel About Israel points this out.

After reading her article, I was reminded of an article I myself wrote that was in the April 25, 2008 issue of the Jewish State, so I decided to reprint that article here:

I was talking to a gentile friend the other day, and I asked him how many Jews he thought there were in the world. He told me he thought there must be about 150 million or so.

I started laughing. I told him that there were only about 15 or so million Jews in the world. This surprised him. It also surprised him when I told him that Israel is smaller than New Jersey.

There's a message that seems to make the circuit around the Internet with a list of Jewish Nobel Prize winners and Muslim Nobel prize winners. Keep in mind, the Jews make of about 0.2 percent of the world's population. With 0.2 percent of the world's population, Jews make up almost 22 percent of the world's Nobel Prize winners. Muslims make up about 16 percent of the world's population but less than one percent of the world's Nobel Prize winners.

If you learn Jewish history, you learn about a long history of persecution. We were enslaved in Egypt, attacked by the Amalekites, oppressed, at various times, by the Philistines, the Moabites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans and many more. We were oppressed in England, France, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Germany, Ethiopia, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq -- you name it. And yet, throughout it all, whenever given even half a chance, Jews have risen to the top.

In Shakespeare's England it was well known that Jews were "money lenders". This was pretty much the only business open to Jews in England at the time. And Jews found a way to succeed at it. In Inquisition-era Spain, Don Yitzhak Abarbenel became an adviser to the king and queen and many other Jews rose to high offices, many had enough money to lend to the monarchs to help finance Columbus's voyage. In 19th Century Europe, Jews rose to high office, did well in business, generally showed the world what is possible. Three of the four most arguably influential 19th- early 20th century thinkers (Freud, Einstein, Marx, and Darwin) were Jewish (of the four, only Darwin wasn't). Benjamin Disraeli became Prime Minister of England in a time when Jews weren't permitted to hold office (he officially converted to Christianity, but never considered himself anything but Jewish).

In the United States, a place of relative freedom and equality for Jews, Jews permeate every aspect of life, despite making up only about two percent of the population. Jews are doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, professors, actors, directors, producers, politicians, baseball players, artists, etc. This is why many people overestimate the number of Jews in the world.

I don't quite understand why the Islamists are trying to destroy us, quite honestly. Instead of trying to kill us, they should be trying to copy us. They should be studying us and trying to find out why it is that wherever we go, wherever we live, whatever we do, we tend to succeed in life.

Yet, instead of studying us, instead of trying to copy us, instead of using our success as a blueprint for their own future success, they are trying to destroy us.

Part of the reason for this is corrupt governments. In most of the Arab and Muslim world, the people are ruled by immoral leaders who know that if the people realize the truth -- that the leaders are milking them for their own greed -- they will revolt and that will be the end of their cushy lives. These leaders would rather have the people believe that Israel and Jews are the enemies of the world than find out who is really keeping them in poverty.

I think one of the reasons Jews succeed in the world is that we are taught to question. We are taught that Avraham and Moshe argued with God. So it isn't unusual for Jews to look at things in ways no one has looked at them before. It isn't strange that someone would question capitalism or the human mind or accepted scientific beliefs.

But in fundamentalist Islamic culture such intellectual investigation is suppressed. Women are taught never to question men, especially their fathers. These lessons are often taught in a violent fashion. So it's no wonder that people raised in these societies don't question and don't discover new ways of doing things or thinking about things.

Which brings us back to the original question, or at least a solution. While I'm pretty certain that the people who really need to follow this advice won't see this article, at least we can learn from it. When you see something that works, don't try to destroy it. Try to copy it. And, in replicating success you may discover that you actually like the person who succeeds and has taught you how to succeed.

I think that, particularly at this time of year, during the High Holy Days, we should all remember that success, when done in a proper, legal, moral fashion, should be emulated. We should learn from others, not try to destroy them.

שנה טובה (Shana Tova) -- Happy New Year -- to all. May 5771 be much better than 5770 was.

Check out my other blogs:

Israel and it's Place in the World
Jewish Singles
Strong Jewish Women

Check out some of my squidoo lenses (articles):

Strong Biblical Women
Strong Biblical Women 2
Why Be Vegetarian
Vegetarianism: Getting Started 1
Vegetarianism: Getting Started 2
Why be Vegetarian?
Rosh Hashana
Quick Vegan Cooking
Creating new recipes from old
About the Jewish Calendar
Witches and Morality
Math Hints 1 -- Adding Fractions
Presidents1: George Washington

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