As a Jew, Trump’s travel ban is reminding me of other days.
Visualize, if you will - it is 1945, and you are a Jew in Palestine. Maybe you escaped the camps, maybe you have arrived on a boat a couple of decades earlier. In any case, you are in a state of complete shock. The aftermath of WWII is beginning to reveal – and the magnitude of the tragedy for the Jewish people is proving to be impossible to fathom.
Yes, Jews are used to be persecuted. And yet this was different; this time, the ever-palpable spark of Antisemitism that continuously permeated in Europe and the Middle East has turned into an actual Inferno, hell on earth; this time, the Jews became closer than ever to total extinction.
Over a million children have been systematically exterminated. Complete generations of scholars, artists, philosophers and artisans have vanished as if never existed. The horror stories are so surreal, so impossible to comprehend, that some simply refused to believe the news, escaping into denial. And yet, as time went by, reality sunk in, and with it, the realization that it will never stop. Their only hope - to establish their own country, a place that will “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex” (from Israel’s declaration of Independence)”.
How well Israel is doing is debatable; and yet its founding fathers chose these words because they knew that the inferno of the Holocaust started with the tiny sparks of fascism and discrimination. A legal limitation here. Denial. A travel restriction there. Still denial. Sweeping economic sanctions. More denial.
Fascism is fascism, period. Preventing the holder of a valid visa from entering the United States just because of their nationality, religion or race is that spark of anti-Semitism. Separation never brings unity, only more separation, just as fear always breeds more fear. Fear, as Israelis are reminded daily, is the most potent fuel for the fire of discrimination. It is exponential. With the right conditions, a spark becomes an inferno. Humanity has been there before.
No more denial. Those who suffered know. Israelis must stand against all forms of discrimination – even as the dark shadow of radical Islam is threatening their very existence. Israel must denounce Trump’s Immigration ban – not because of good or bad politics; regardless of right or left sides of the isle; this issue transcends these planes. It is an issue of identity. Of Justice. Of the horrors of history. Of being human. A Jew knows the spark of discrimination well. He knows what it is capable to breed. He knows that that the moment we deepen our differences instead of celebrating them, hatred is born. And he knows what hatred is capable of. An inferno.
A seed contains the potential of an entire tree – and therefor a forest - in its tiny shell. The ban instated by Trump holds within the potential of all that have caused the horrors of the previous century. Leave it in the ground and it will grow on its own.
All you need to do is stand, watch and do nothing.