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The Gantseh Megillah

The Outspeaker

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.”

Had enough?

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 finally told?

I sincerely hope to hear your thoughts on the subject. I think its an important one.

Thanks once more for your indulgence.

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