Monday, September 29, 2008

Trouble in the 'hood

I've been having interfaith meetings for months, quietly, at my home. It all started with a chanukah party and then grew into a full-fledged proper interfaith group.

The last time I announced on the local email group list that this week's meeting was going to be on Wednesday instead of Thursday (as seeing Paul McCartney took precedence), a very frightened woman emailed the 1,000 member group as follows:

"'Jerusalem Gypsy' is asking people to come to her house for an interfaith meeting with Arabs from Abu Dis. Meeting with Arabs will only encourage their
welcome to move to our city. We already have some Arabs living here, but
encouraging more to come by these welcome meetings, will change our city from being a safe neighborhood to a French Hill or Pizgat Ze'ev where the Arabs that moved there,(Piz'gat Ze'ev has 100 Arab familes and French Hill has a larger influx of Arab familes and growing daily. Jews won't buy there now.). This influx of Arabs
which started slowly and increased only brought terror. Terror with Arab gangs
fighting Jews in the streets, terror in car thefts etc. Do we need to encourage this
on the Chatline?"

I then received a whole slew of emails from frightened people asking me to stop my meetings and have them instead in Jerusalem or somewhere else.

I then wrote back to the entire group telling them that "many antagonizing and marginilizing attitudes are those that, in fact, encourage terror, while attitudes that build mutual respect (like ours) eliminate the roots of terror (you can not terrorize someone you do not hate and you think is human and you care for)." which only brought even more bizarre responses.

Some emails were totally retarded - people screaming at me in all caps that they had always felt safe in the city and now that I am inviting Arabs, all hell will break loose. Some were one sentences "Neville Chamberlain thought the same in 1939", one blamed me for causing strife among the Jewish people in our community, and some were totally against this but were willing to dialogue with me. One said I'll lose my friends, not knowing I have no friends to begin with - so it really doesn't matter :-)

My major point to them in individual emails was this: if our community allows in daily hundreds of arab workers for construction, gardening, garbage collection, municipal workers, house cleaners - every day from 6:00 - 3:00 pm, then WHY is a once-a-month meeting of 1 1/2hours with five educated professional men who happen to be Arab Moslems, who have the necessary permits to enter, causing such a ruckus?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

you can tell that one poster that we just sold my dad's apt in French Hill to some very religious Jews - and you can check with the realtor for even more statistics.

and not true you haven't any friends!!!!!

Klara

rabbi lars shalom said...

I spent the whole of yesterday praying for the palestinians, I hope there is a irse and a change of Israelis...