Sometimes it is difficult to write an essay, not because I have nothing to say, but because I have too much to say.
When I wrote Opening Jewish Eyes I was barely aware that the "Jewish Eyes" to which I referred, were my own.
In 1993, I began an 11 year experience working for the Department of Social Services. My first position involved placing clients on work programs in exchange for their welfare grants. If the client did not comply, in other words, if he did not attend his workfare program, his grant was reduced substantially. Most clients obeyed. Some of them ultimately opted to find a job and get out of the system. However, there was one group who did not need to comply.
The Hasidic Jewish men had their own set of rules. I was surprised to see that Social Services did the proverbial "back bend" to accommodate them. Since their religion forbade them to work on a site with women, special conditions were arranged. However, even so, they did not show up for their assignment.
The wife often would call. "My husband is too depressed to go."
Sometimes there was no call at all.
When a client was not complicit, we would go through a process of conciliation; a hearing involving two impartial witnesses. If the excuse was not adequate, the sanction process was instituted and the welfare grant would be cut accordingly. Most often the Hasidic men were subject to sanction.
"You are an anti-Semite", one man yelled at me.
"No," I responded. "You are not obeying the rules."
It was difficult to watch my other clients doing their workfare jobs. I saw too many overqualified minorities cleaning toilets at The Psychiatric Center because they could not get a job. I saw people pushing brooms to get their grants. There were supposedly no favorites in the organization, or so I thought. I soon learned differently.
The Commissioner of Social Services, upon hearing about the sanction of the Hasidic male, would inform my Supervisor to drop it. My Supervisor, a close friend of mine, was appalled. And, to make matters worse, he began to wear the label "anti-Semite" when he objected. It was unfair. It was unjust.
Years have elapsed since my experiences in Social Services and my knowledge of injustices has grown to intolerable proportions. As I mentioned in past essays, works such as The Hidden History of Zionism by Ralph Schoenman, the writings of Lenni Brennar and Prof. Norman Finkelstein have destroyed my previously held myths about the State of Israel and replaced them with images of slaughtered and starving Palestinians. Most recently, I listened in horror as Jennifer Dixon reported on present day Palestine, from her book The Holy Land Unveiled.
How many Americans are aware that there is a genocide of the Palestinian populace occurring? How many people care? How many people have "eyes to see" or are they too busily focused on their high definition television sets?
In November of 2005, I was invited on Hesham Tillawi's show, "Current Issues TV". Dr. Tillawi is a Palestinian American whose Internet show is an education that people will never receive in school.
Those who are familiar with me and my work know that I was scheduled to appear with David Duke. Despite clamoring from friends and foe alike, I kept my appointment.
At the time, I went in with the usual bias that most uneducated people have about David. A mere google of his name would reveal a sordid series of quotations. Many of them, I later learned, were untrue. In order to further smear him, he was often referred to a "former KKK member" David Duke. I did not realize that "former" meant over 30 years ago. I did not realize that David had not participated in any of the "made for TV" propaganda about The Klan. I did not realize that this would truly be the opening of my Jewish eyes.
Aside from some technical glitches, I began to learn about David Duke and even had a chance to ask him some questions that were preying on my mind. After the show, we began an email exchange and further issues became clarified.
Since there were those who consider David an anti-Semite, my mailbox became a clutter of Zionist invective. I even became the recipient of hate phone calls. Imagine that? There were people who were eager to terrorize me for my freedom of association. Ignorance and close mindedness are an unGodly duo.
And now, it is almost a year later. I have learned a great deal about the roots of anti Semitism from people like David Duke, who, by the way, is quick to distinguish the difference between the average righteous Jew and the Jewish Supremacists. Unfortunately, the average Jew will probably never listen to his show or read his work.
I have watched helplessly as people like Ernst Zundel, David Irving and Germar Rudolf were jailed merely because they dared to question certain details of World War 2. I have watched "freedom of speech" imprisoned along with these men. Questions are now a "hate crime" in many countries. (depending, of course, on WHAT one questions) The disease of supposed "hate crimes" is spreading faster than the "bird flu."
Brevity has always been my trademark and I know this is one topic in which brevity is difficult. And so, I urge you to listen to the speech of the courageous Ben Freedman. I urge you to read about the Chabad Lubavitch and the influence they are exerting, not only on this government but governments all over the world. I urge everyone to get informed.
Knowledge is power. And yet, once we have the knowledge, what are we going to do with it? My prayer is that we will have an informed populace of Jews, Muslims and Christians who will no longer allow themselves to be manipulated by a small insidious cabal? That is my dream. That is my hope. That is our only chance for saving this planet.