When I got into this activism mode a few months back, I did so to fight the enemies of the Jewish people. As I feel more and more like the debate is turning into Jew against Jew it becomes increasingly exhausting for me. I am by no means afraid to confront ANYONE, but I reserve the right to show more tolerance for Jews than I do for others sharing opinions I feel incorrect or even damaging to the Jewish people. We speak of 6 million dying at the hands of the Nazis. What would happen if we found out that 1.5 millions were so liberal and overly tolerant that they wanted to try to negotiate with Hitler. We know they’re wrong, but do we alter our discussion? Do we only truly mourn 4.5 million slaughtered Jews once we know this? As I love to do I quote these wonderful words by my father Rabbi Nardus Groen of Blessed Memory:
“We may in the course of it meet people who, for whatever it’s worth, may be portrayed as heroes, while others are cowards, pacifists, or activists.They are all the products of mankind. For them, there will always be a place under the sun (with the exception of the traitor). But being as we are a homogenous society, no one can ever be left out. And as it is by the very
inclination of the human race, the dark shadow of the wicked will play an overpowering role in leaving behind the marks in the way of scars brought upon them by society.
If the worst could ever be turned into good, the only lesson to be learned of that is, never ever forget. For in the past lay the present, and in the present the future. Without that, we will be repeating our mistakes and shortcomings, and as a result the world will not be the place it was created to be.
Whenever we pray to God for forgiveness we hope our worst actions will be understood as being a result of weakness or stupidity. We turn to God and hope he will accept the failings that coincide with our humanity. I am not saying we tolerate someone who puts us in clear and present danger, I am merely saying we allow the same courtesy to decent albeit misguided or weak people that we ourselves beg from God.
And as my father, a man who lived a good life till the age of 87, a man who worked against the Nazis in the Dutch resistance, saved the lives of innocent people, fought in the Dutch Marines and then served the Jewish community as a Rabbi for decades and was anything but naive once said, “In order to live, you still have to be able to somehow believe in the goodness of mankind.”
I’m all for standing up for one’s principles, but my first priority is to fight against those that want to do harm to the innocent and harm my people. I am not here to fight Jews. There are enough people who want to do that. I refuse to be one of them.
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