Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Fourth of July 2024 and a Return to America’s Foundations


Fourth of July   2024 and a Return to America’s Foundations


This was an exceptional nation!

Certainly, at the beginning of our history, we were seen as such by not only ourselves, but by foreign observers. This was a nation different, not because it was a democracy (there had been others before) but because it differed greatly from the commonly accepted concept of a  nation, an entity created by one king or emperor forcing other ethnic groups by conquest into his domain, or an entity composed of people of some common language, religion, blood and long standing history of a land.  This would be a nation created out of a common set of laws, by the people, for the people, of the people.  

For us, as Jews, this was an exceptional nation, as never before seen in history.

It would take many years, tears  and bloodshed to enlarge this vision to  erase the shame of slavery and to include the descendants of the  African slaves as well as the  native American Indians. Germans, Irish, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, Latin Americans, all seen in their day as aliens who would never be absorbed, became part and parcel of the fabric of this nation. It is a work in progress.


It should be very disturbing to us, then, that for many young people today, they are being told that Jews are legitimate targets to blame for a myriad of ills:



“A Columbia student and self-proclaimed leader of the pro-Palestinian movement there, Khymani James, was finally suspended for saying that “Zionists don’t deserve to live.”

“I think that taking someone’s life in certain case scenarios is necessary and better for the overall world,” he said matter of factly. “Be glad, be grateful that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists…. So yes, I feel very comfortable calling for those people to die.” It only took four months to suspend James — “temporarily” — after he posted the disgusting video publicly.”

At George Washington University protesters held signs advocating for a “FINAL SOLUTION” — a grotesque callback to Hitler’s plan for exterminating Jews.

And on campuses all over the country protesters have been spotted wearing Hamas headbands, calling for “Intifada,” proudly flying Hezbollah terror flags, and shouting “We are Hamas!” and “Go back to Poland!”


In response to the violent attack on  synagogue attendees at Adas  Torah on Pico this past Sunday, one videographer defended the attackers:


The story, a repost of a message written by Vishal P. Singh, a videographer who works on Netflix documentaries, illustrates the stark difference in perspectives on the Israel-Gaza conflict.

“Think about what happened today in Los Angeles. A real estate event to sell stolen Palestinian land cannot be protested or fascists will try to kill you,” Singh wrote. “LAPD threatening to execute pro-Palestine protestors at gun point. Zionists getting away with terrorist violence with impunity. We are in a cold civil war that is heating up rapidly. Prepare accordingly. Take a stop the bleed class. Learn how to use weapons safely. Save up for bullet proof armor. The genocide is not far away. It’s here. The heart of the empire is here. It’s our duty to fight and stop it by any means necessary.”

CAIR, which is supposed to combat Islamophobia, defended the attack:

Hussam Ayloush, director of the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, defended the protest, which was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement. “The demonstration in front of the Adas Torah synagogue over the weekend was in response to the blatant violations of both international law and human rights from [real estate] agencies that seek to make a profit selling brutally stolen Palestinian land as the Israeli government continues its eight-month-long genocidal campaign and ethnic cleansing in Gaza,” he said.

Both groups were promoting a lie. The Real Estate event advertising said nothing about real estate on stolen land. Except that for CAIR, Code Pink, and all the other groups involved, the very existence of Israel is on stolen land, and Israel must be destroyed, its Jews sent back to Poland!

We can’t even defend ourselves in the public forum: https://www.cnn.com/2024/06/19/media/wikipedia-adl/index.html


Wikipedia’s editors declared that the Anti-Defamation League cannot be trusted to give reliable information on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and they overwhelmingly said the ADL is an unreliable source on antisemitism. It’s a stunning rebuke to one of the world’s preeminent authorities on anti-Jewish hate and a significant advocate for the rights and causes of American Jews.

The editors, a group of volunteer moderators for one of the world’s most popular information websites, voted last week to label the ADL as a “generally unreliable” source on the Israel-Palestine conflict. That means that the ADL should usually not be cited in Wikipedia articles on that topic except for extraordinary circumstances. Other generally unreliable sources, according to Wikipedia editors, include Russian state media, Fox News’ political coverage and Amazon reviews.

That the head, Jonathan Greenblat, was a special assistant to President Obama does not make him Kosher enough for the geniuses at Wikipedia. Wikipedia is repeating Stalin’s historic erasure of people standing next to him on official photographs!




It is exceptionally bitter for us, as Jews, because America’s Muslims, just as with any other religious minority, have civil rights that were earned by Jews who struggled to demand it from the time of the first colonies!

So, On this Fourth of July, I want to get back to the spirit of this country that shaped the world’s ideals of freedom and democracy.

Here are some select readings to motivate you this 4th:


George Washington wrote these words to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island in 1790, when Freedom of Religion was still  a new concept entered into the Constitution:

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

— G. Washington


It still took decades of struggle to guarantee Jews the right to sit in government positions and be protected against executive orders that singled us out.


 A  foreigner looks at us: Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749–1832), one of the greatest creative minds of German civilization:

(Amerika du hast es besser)

America, you are better off
Than our ancient continent.
You have no tumbledown castles
And no basalt deposits.
Your inner lives are not disturbed by
Useless memories and vain strife.
Use your time with confidence!
And if your children write poetry,
May a kindly fate guard them from writing
Stories of knights, robbers and ghosts.

A  century later and Europe would be torn apart in two world wars inspired by ancient myths of knights, robbers and ghosts. Are we now being contaminated by people bringing their robbers and ghosts into American civil society?


 A Nation’ Strength    Ralph Waldo Emerson

What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.
Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly...
They build a nation’s pillars deep    And lift them to the sky.

Are we still a nation of brave innovators who dare to fly?


I Hear America Singing     Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass 1867

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat—the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench—the hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter’s song—the ploughboy’s, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother—or of the young wife at work—or of the girl sewing or washing—
Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day—
At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

Only a few years after the terrible and bloody Civil War tore this nation apart, Walt Whitman could dream of a nation varied and at singing each his or her own song. Are we now teaching our youth that the system is out to oppress them? Can we still give voice to that hope and expectation?




Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.    I Have a Dream  1963

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." . . .

I have a dream today! . . .

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!


No need to say more than, “Amen.”