I reside in the New York City area, and rumors are that a new
National League baseball team will soon be playing in our city. The team is to
be called “The New York Yids,” and its uniforms will feature a Torah scroll
across the chest, with the team name emblazoned on it. Although none of the
players on the team roster are Jews, fans will be encouraged to do the “Diamond
Davin” to exhort the team to greater efforts. This bit of tradition will
consist of the fans rising to their feet, bending rapidly to and fro from the
waist, while mumbling rapidly to themselves. To make this bit of theater even
more “authentic,” the souvenir shops at the ballpark will feature for sale
brightly colored yarmulkes, as well as fringed tallises silk
screened with the team colors and logo. These tallises could serve double duty
as towels to be waved over the fans’ heads while “fraylakhs” and other
Klezmer-esque tunes blare from the loudspeakers. The scoreboard will naturally
have to be read right-to-left.
I believe the N.Y. Yids’ new stadium is to be called “the Wailing Wall.”
So have I.
If you feel in any way offended by the above fantasy, I imagine your outrage is
tempered by the certain knowledge that such events could NEVER come to pass; the
screams from the Jewish community would extend to the smallest nooks of our
nation’s capital. We Jews are particularly sensitive to such mockery of sacred
icons and ceremonies.
And yet the equivalent bashing of an entire race of people takes place on a
daily basis in several major American cities. Cleveland, Washington D.C.
(particularly ironic, no?), and the most annoying of all: Atlanta.
I sat through a three-game series between the Mets and Braves last week, and the
spectacle made me sick to my stomach. To be sure, there are other sports teams,
both collegiate and professional that use “Indians” either in their names, or as
mascots. The most insane of these has got to be the Washington Redskins, who,
despite vigorous protests have refused to relent and change either their name or
logo. The term “Redskin” equates with sheeny, kike, or Jew-boy. How would you
feel if there was a team called “The Buffalo Kikes?” It would certainly bother
me. Go to the Cleveland Indians official website and take a look at their
cartoon logo. Nice, isn’t it? Have you ever seen a Nazi depiction of a Jew? I
recall a few years back that the Braves had a tee-pee out in center field. In
this structure resided a character named Chief Nokahoma (say it out loud) who
would emerge when a Brave hit a home run and whoop and dance around like a
maniac. The Cleveland Indians had a fool on their payroll named Chief Wahoo, who
acted in similar fashion Nice, isn’t it?
Names and images aside, the fans in Atlanta have taken to other means of
demeaning Indian culture. They sit in the stands and engage in such “authentic
Indian practices” as “The Tomahawk chop; said ritual consisting of a chopping
motion made with an outstretched hand. This is done while moaning a particularly
idiotic piece of fake “Indian” music, to the encouraging accompaniment of the
stadium organist. For some reason I find this fake Indian “music” the most
annoyingly offensive of all.
Its not that Indian groups have not protested with lungs of brass, it’s simply
that the owners and fans of the clubs in question have disregarded the
objections. The Cleveland Indians’ response was that their use of often-sacred
Native American customs and icons was meant to “honor, not demean Indians.” I’m
sure this put the Indian groups’ objections to rest. I know that if my beloved
Mets were to parade a Torah around the sidelines during the seventh-inning
stretch on “Jewish Night,” I’d understand completely.
What in hell is WRONG with these people? When a person comes to you and tries to
express how some piddling bit of silly theater you may be engaged in is hurtful
to them, it is not up to you to enlighten them as to how WRONG they are, it is
simply up to you to stop the offensive behavior. Period.
Lest you think I have lost my mind and joined the ranks of the politically
correct, nothing could be farther from the truth. I have vented in the above
manner as a direct result of a recent letter to the editor that castigated those
Germans who abetted the Nazis during the Holocaust. I feel ambivalent about the
charge that any German who did nothing bears blame. If that charge is true, then
the Catholic Church is to blame as well, as is F.D.R. and those in his
administration who failed to give sanctuary to Jews fleeing Europe. In 1940, the
U.S. Congress defeated a bill to open Alaska to Jewish Refugees. Are all those
who Voted for F.D.R. responsible for the Holocaust?
The following is from the Internet. It is a brief timeline; a graphic
representation of how the world at large turned its back and looked the other
way while psychotics murdered innocent people at will:
1) 1940. U.S. Congress rejects Bill to open Alaska to Jewish refugees.
2) 1943. British Government rejects the appeal by the Archbishop of Canterbury
to abandon the quota system.
3) 1938. At Evian the nations of the world failed to agree on even a partial
"open door" policy for Jewish refugees. The Australian delegate told the
conference: "It will no doubt be appreciated that as we have no racial problem,
we are not desirous of importing one."
4) 1941. U.S. tightens quota system. Congress rejects proposal to admit 20 000
German Jewish children above the quota limits.
5) 1940. U.S. State Department rejects Swedish proposal for joint rescue of 20
000 Jewish children from Germany.
6) In 1917 Britain promised the Jews a "National Home" in Palestine. But in May
1939, following protests from Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and from the Muslims of
India, the British not only introduced severe restrictions on Jewish
immigration, but also put pressure on the German, Greek, Yugoslav, Bulgarian and
Turkish Governments not to allow "illegal" immigrants into Palestine. As a
result of this policy, tens of thousands of Jews lost the chance to reach
Palestine, a land in which the League of Nations had specifically given them the
right to buy land, to settle on waste land, to till the soil, and to contribute
by their own efforts to its economic prosperity. Many of those who were unable
to emigrate perished during the Nazi holocaust.
7) Birobidjan, the "Jewish Autonomous Region" of the Soviet Union, set up in
1934, but closed during the war to refugees from European Russia.
8) Shanghai accepted more Jewish refugees than those taken in by Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India combined.
9) The United States and Britain, while allowing in a fairly large number of
refugees, maintained strict quota systems which excluded many more.
10) 5000 visas issued by the Dominican Republic enabled many Jews to escape
death by using these visas elsewhere.
11) Jews deported by the British from Palestine while seeking "illegal entry."
They were allowed to enter Palestine in 1945.
12) 1933-1935. Unrestricted immigration to South Africa. Then almost no Jews
allowed in from 1936 to 1945.
13) Some 800 000 Jews, less than one in seven of the Jews murdered, were able to
escape from Nazi-dominated Europe or to find refuge in other lands. Their escape
was often hampered because no country would take them in. Many countries, some
like India, with large areas of empty land, refused to allow more than a few
families to enter.
14) 24 February 1942. The ship "Struma", with 769 Jewish refugees on board
having been refused permission by the British to enter Palestine, and being
forced back towards Bulgaria by the Turks, sank in the Bosphorus with the loss
of all but one passenger.
15) January 1939 Anglo-American suggestion that Jewish refugees go to Angola not
followed up for fear of offending Portugal.
16) 1939-1945. Jewish immigration to Peru limited to 300 a year.
17) May 1939. Cuban, Colombian, Chilean and U.S. governments refuse to admit 900
German Jewish refugees on the "St. Louis". They returned to Europe. Many later
perished in the Nazi death camps.
18) 1937. Severe refugee restrictions introduced in Mexico.
Most horrifying of all is the fact that many upper and middle class German Jews
supported Hitler in his lunacy, particularly since he (in the beginning at
least) limited his anti-Semitism to those poorer Jews who were immigrating from
the east. Who needed THAT rabble?
It seems the Nazis were merely doing what Hitler had laid out many years before
in “Mein Kampf.” What about the rest of the world? When they had a chance to
protest, to actually DO something to prevent those maniacs from implementing
their policies, they, WE, did next to nothing. Who is more to blame? Should all
people who voted for Roosevelt burn in hell?
Before we go looking for others to blame for the Holocaust, let’s examine our
own actions, or lack of action. I highly recommend a book entitled “Without
Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America,” a volume unequalled in its graphic
depiction of genocidal behavior by otherwise sane Americans. I absolutely
guarantee your eyes will be opened. If you should choose to read the hideous
thing, and look at the photos, do so between meals. I have yet to be able to
finish reading the introduction.
Yep, we ALL did this. We do it every day. I have never once written a letter to
one of the baseball teams mentioned above to complain about their stupidity, bad
manners, and casual bigotry. Mea Maxima Culpa. I fully intend to do so ASAP.
We permit a runaway and arrogant administration to trash our constitution, wage
an illegal and immoral war, and otherwise defile the sacrifices of patriots, and
we permit them to do so in our names. With our tax dollars. In the full light of
day. Who will the blame fall upon when the full story of this idiotic war, the
torture and abuse of prisoners, and the wasted Iraqi and American lives is
I sincerely hope to hear your thoughts on the subject. I think its an important
Thanks once more for your indulgence.