Monday, February 24, 2014

He will KILL US ALL!!!

In the last Bet Shemesh elections, Mayor Moshe Abutbul ran an ad projecting a message that challenger Eli Cohen, a traditional Jew, wants to send charedi children to concentration camps.

Now that there are elections again (due to the previous one being disqualified because of widespread systematic fraud), Mayor Abutbul's campaign is warning the charedi community that Eli Cohen has even more nefarious plans:

Like the Jews in Shushan, we must struggle for our very lives!

Unfortunately, this strategy is commonplace. Every action by non-charedim, whether it's rallying in support of a school being bullied by extremists, or attempting to bring people into the workforce, or simply trying to make a city professionally run and equally catering to people of all stripes, is portrayed as part of some dastardly anti-charedi scheme stemming from hatred of Torah. This "siege mentality," which results in vicious slander, is deeply tragic.

21 comments:

  1. I wonder if there's a source for this notion of "siege mentality" in the Torah itself. (It may or may not even be a rationalist position to hold that it must be in there.)

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  2. Fortunately just as in days of old, influential Jews have allowed the Charedim access to weapons and training so that they can defend themselves against Cohen's perfidious attack. I look forward to them joining the army in self defense.

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  3. Presenter-
    The source for this attitude is what we call a "galut mentality". This is a feeling that a community is constantly surrounded by enemies who are conspiring to destroy that community. Although sometimes there is justification for feeling this way, it has been exploited by regimes and communities that fear losing control of their people and who feed these feelings of being under siege, even if it is not true.
    A democratic country and communities living in one which feels secure in itself does
    not need to maintain mobilization against imaginary threats. Unfortunately, the United States in the 1940's and 1950's while facing a real threat from the USSR and the Communist ideology went far beyond this and gave birth to McCarthyism in which people were unjustifiably coming under suspicion, leading to nonsensicle things like "loyalty oaths" and witchhunts.

    Feeding unjustifiable feelings of persecution and fear causes immense psychological damage in people and so those who are promoting these things are doing a major disservice to the people they claim they are "protecting".

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  4. I must be missing something. The poster says, "This is not politics. This has to do with our lives." The poster is not insinuating that lives are in physical danger.

    We're does it say in the poster, "He will KILL US ALL!"?

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  5. Really, that is how you understood the posters? I saw them dozens of times, yet when I saw the headline "He will KILL US ALL!" I had no idea what you were referring to until I read the article. Obviously "חיים" was not meant to be understood literally.

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  6. The point is the quote from Megillas Esther - "לְהִקָּהֵל וְלַעֲמֹד עַל נַפְשָׁם" - from the passuk:

    אֲשֶׁר נָתַן הַמֶּלֶךְ לַיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר בְּכָל עִיר וָעִיר לְהִקָּהֵל וְלַעֲמֹד עַל נַפְשָׁם לְהַשְׁמִיד וְלַהֲרֹג וּלְאַבֵּד אֶת כָּל חֵיל עַם וּמְדִינָה הַצָּרִים אֹתָם טַף וְנָשִׁים וּשְׁלָלָם לָבוֹז

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  7. Obviously they are not literally claiming that Eli Cohen will kill them, just as they were not literally claiming that Eli Cohen send their children to concentration camps. The point is that they are using sick imagery to exaggerate their case and to demonize him.

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  8. In that case, the poster is incitement to kill because the pasuk is referring to the Jews killing their enemies who would like to kill them! So the imagery that Abutbul is using is one of fighting to the death if necessary against Eli Cohen.

    To me, the poster did not summon these images at all. When I saw, "להקהל על נפשם" I understood it to mean that they should assemble to protect their way of life.

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  9. Come on. Imagine if it used a famous quote from Jews heading into Auschwitz. Would you still say that it's not trying to conjure up nefarious imagery?

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  10. Auschwitz touches a very raw nerve because many of us have relatives who were murdered there. It's too close us. And of course because of that, anyone who uses it is obviously trying to "conjure up nefarious imagery" (nice choice of words.)

    The Megilla story on the other hand, is totally different. It doesn't hit us emotionally the same way as the Holocaust does.

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  11. But the point is to summon the imagery/emotions of the context of the phrase being quoted. And the context is one of annihilation.

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  12. The posters are an even bigger shame because living among us/them are survivors of an actual attempted genocide! (Multiple if you include attempts in '48, '67 and '73 in addition to WWII).

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  13. Y Ben-David, although you define siege mentality perfectly, there's no need to give it a specifically Jewish name (galut mentality) since countless people of all religions and political views are susceptible to that mentality. Anyway, I was hoping to find an episode in the Torah that hints to this mentality, and perhaps even offers a remedy.

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  14. Hmmm, I may have found a source. Vayikra 26:36 וְהַנִּשְׁאָרִים בָּכֶם--וְהֵבֵאתִי מֹרֶךְ בִּלְבָבָם, בְּאַרְצֹת אֹיְבֵיהֶם; וְרָדַף אֹתָם, קוֹל עָלֶה נִדָּף, וְנָסוּ מְנֻסַת-חֶרֶב וְנָפְלוּ, וְאֵין רֹדֵף.

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  15. The way you phrased your headline is just as much an exaggeration as the ad itself.

    Anyway, it doesn't matter. In the United States we routinely see democrat ads accusing the republicans of "shredding the constitutions", wanting to bring back slavery [never mind it was the GOP that opposed it] and similar such nonsense. It shows that they think their voters are dumb enough to believe it. Same thing here. It's just free speech. The alternative, imposing some sort of body to oversee the "fairness": of election ads is much worse.

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  16. DF: The appropriate punishment for running ads like that is for voters to vote for the candidate's opponent. No regulation required.

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  17. Presenter and DF-
    When I became observant back in my university days, I lived in Southern California, so I little ongong contact with religious Jews. What I knew was based on reading so I was under the impression that religious Jews were supposed to have more exalted values and to be on a higher plane than everyone else (not "superior" but with more stringent obligations and self-criticism). To tell me that religious Jews are just like everyone else is a comedown for me that I have not really come to terms with years later. Was I being naive?

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  18. Dear Y. Ben David

    It is a Chillul Hashem when religious Jews act like everyone else.

    We have to be more considerate drivers, more honest politicians, and run more efficient non-profits.

    That is the goal.

    Sometimes, we don't reach it.

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  19. I think the poster means that we all have to go to the Israeli army in order to learn how to defend ourselves.

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  20. To "Presenter": There is such a notion of "siege mentality" in the Torah. This is one of the curses mentioned in several places, e.g., "And they shall stumble one upon another, as it were before the sword, when none pursueth...".

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  21. Not exactly widespread.
    http://www.nrg.co.il/app/index.php?do=blog&encr_id=79974780b5e0d394fddbd1a00f4f21d3&id=4899

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