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Monday, February 18, 2013

Gee, I Guess I'm A Racist.

ח' לחודש השנים עשר תשע"ג

Last summer, I was in the shuq (open market), looking for fresh spinach, which I had not been able to find in years.  I asked one of fruit and vegetable sellers I recognized if he had any.  He said no, and pointed to another part of the shuq where I should look.  I asked if he knew of any Jewish vendors who sold spinach.  He said no, that would have to ask the "Amaleqim."

Although I do not know that I agree with his assessment that Arabs have the din (status) of Amaleq, it is interesting to note that on this Shabbath, Shabbath Zakhor, the Shabbath preceding Purim, we will be including the following in our reading of the Torah:

דברים כה
יז  זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק, בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם. יח  אֲשֶׁר קָרְךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ, וַיְזַנֵּב בְּךָ כָּל-הַנֶּחֱשָׁלִים אַחֲרֶיךָ--וְאַתָּה, עָיֵף וְיָגֵעַ; וְלֹא יָרֵא, אֱלֹהִים.יט  וְהָיָה בְּהָנִיחַ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְךָ מִכָּל-אֹיְבֶיךָ מִסָּבִיב, בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה-אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ--תִּמְחֶה אֶת-זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק, מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם; לֹא, תִּשְׁכָּח.

Deuteronomy 25
17 Remember what Amaleq did to you by the way as you came out of Egypt;  18 how he met you by the way, and struck those of you trailing, all who were weak in your rear, when you were faint and weary; and he did not God. 19 Therefore it will be, when the LORD your God has given you rest from all of your surrounding enemies, in the land which the LORD your God gives to you for an inheritance to possess it, that you will blot out the memory of Amaleq from under heaven; you shall not forget.

One evening, I was in the center of town with some friends.  All of a sudden, we saw a Jewish kid chasing after an Arab kid.  Their path took them past a policewoman.  Someone asked what was happening.  The officer casually suggested that the Arab had probably stolen something, and the Jew was chasing after him to get it back.  I sarcastically suggested that was a racist comment.  The policewoman stared me down, and made "pppfff" sound.

One day, I was in the post office for work.  Two of the regular clerks with whom usually I work were talking.  "Michal," a Moroccan Jew, was telling "Yoni," a Kurdish Jew, about the trouble the Arabs were causing in her neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev"Yoni's" response was, "What do you expect?"

I recently found out that "Michal" was an Arabic speaker, seeing that she was assisting a customer in Arabic.  And, by the way, she was friendly, and did not make any faces or comments after this customer left.  I commented to her that I didn't know she spoke Arabic.  She smiled and said, "Well, now you know."

I said I thought that was cool, and that we were all going to have to speak Arabic eventually.  She just nodded and shrugged her shoulders.

It is also interesting to note that none of the Jews mentioned above were Ashkenazim (of European decent).  They were from North Africa or Iraq.

In other words, they know better.

A Beitar Jerusalem soccer team fan was recently quoted as saying, "I'm not a racist.  I just don't like Arabs."

I don't dislike Arabs, though.  I just hate enemies of the Jewish People.

I'm not a racist.  Neither are any of the Jews mentioned above.

We're realists.

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