Harry Zeitlin 58.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The smoke has cleared and the good guys won, but rather than having any sense of
seing justice done or witnessing a victory over evil, I’m tense, depressed and
waiting for the other shoe to fall. In case you missed the news, the
anti-Semitic “Israeli War Crimes” bus billboards were pulled just a few days
before they were scheduled to debut here in Seattle.
Seattle is one of
the most liberal cities in America, with almost limitless tolerance.
goes out of its way to be inoffensive. It surely tops 11 on the pc-o-meter. If
you hadn’t already read about it, it was deliberately chosen (along with
Albuquerque, Houston and several other cities) as a test market, purchasing
side-of-bus and freestanding billboards depicting a presumably wardemolished
building and terrified Palestinian children, along with the accusation that
Israel receives $30 billion of US taxpayers’ money to commit war
SEATTLE, JUST because it is a bastion of free speech and
relativism, seemed a perfect place to try to sneak vile hate-speech under the
radar of those “freedoms.”
Although the county bus authority finally
showed the courage to pull these ads, the episode revealed a level of hate I,
naively, never imagined was possible in postwar, post-Civil Rights Act
That it was ever even conceived of as acceptable has been one of
my life’s most painful moments.
Several good-hearted county council
members had the courage to denounce these ads for what they were, but the
decision to pull them only came when the threat of inciting local violence was
If, like all of us, you have a short memory, it was only a
couple years ago that a local terrorist decided to kill some Jews and broke into
the local federation office and started shooting, killing one woman and wounding
I’m scared and depressed, unable to transform this
article into something positive, as is my wont.
I’m shocked that any
American entertained for even a moment the idea that this kind of public hate
speech is okay. That this was initially approved, not to mention cancelled for
any reason other than it was just plain unacceptable terrifies me. It’s only a
matter of time until this sort of message pops up again and becomes acceptable
as “a valid narrative.”
This, of course, is the reason a city like
Seattle is such fertile ground. Going out of our way to be nonjudgmental, as
radical philosophy dictates, there is no longer any such thing as Truth, only
Once you are able to camouflage your agenda as a
narrative, it becomes equal to all other narratives.
It all sounds so
polite, until you remember the ancient Jewish wisdom: “He who is kind to the
cruel is cruel to the kind.”
Maybe not yet, thank God, but tomorrow our
villainization will become an acceptable narrative, even here in
The writer is an independent Orthodox rabbi living in Seattle.