Is American blood “redder”?

In Editorial on September 14, 2011 at 12:05 am

The Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines has their tallitot (prayer shawls) in a twist because there was no American flag at the “Common Ground” prayer service commemorating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks

The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa got it right…no flag.  It was a prayer service and not just another over-the-top homage to all things American…and worshiping its military and police.

For readers whose undies just got intimate with their…errr…nether regions, here is a breakdown of the nationalities of those who perished in the attack:

Argentina   4,   Australia 11, Bangladesh 6, Belarus 1, Belgium 1, Brazil 3, Canada 24, Chile 3, China 3, Cote d’voire 1, Columbia 17, Congo 2, Dominican Republic 47, El Salvador 2, Ecuador 3, Ethiopia 2, France 3, Germany 11, Ghana 2, Guyana 3, Haiti 2, Honduras 1, India 41, Indonesia 1, Ireland 6, Israel 5, Italy 10, Jamaica 16, Japan 24, Jordan 2, Lebanon 3, Lithuania 1, Malaysia 3, Mexico 16, Moldova 1, Netherlands 1, New Zealand 2, Nigeria 1, Pakistan 8, Peru 5, Philippines 16, Portugal 5, Poland 6, Romania 3, Russia 1, South Africa 2, South Korea 28, Spain 1, Sweden 1, Switzerland 2, Republic of China 1, Trinidad and Tobago 15, Ukraine 1, Uzbekistan 1, United Kingdom 68, Bermuda 2, Venezuela 1.

Nearly everyone, Jew and gentile, is familiar with the Talmudic teaching of “Who saves a life, is as though they save an entire world”.  The flip-side is, “Who takes a life is as though they killed an entire world.”  The butcher’s bill for the attack was 2,977.  They are all dead…murdered…and so are the generations the dead would have given rise to.

More important, for Mark Finkelstein (the federation spokesman who left the event “in protest”) to remember is also from the Talmud, “Why is your blood redder? Perhaps the blood of another is redder.”  372 foreign nationals lost their lives on that terrible day.  Who are we to say American blood is “redder” than theirs with the self-absorbed ostentation of a singly displayed American flag?

Jews should understand this concept with perfect clarity.

2977 of our fellow human beings perished in the cowardly attack.  It is irrelevant if they were police, firefighters, EMTs, janitors, cooks, lawyers, or candle-stick makers.  Jews, Christians, non-Christian gentiles, atheists, agnostics, Wiccans, etc. all perished on that day.  Despite the statist, emotional rhetoric, not every victim wore a uniform.  Not every victim was an American.

They were, however, just “people”…like you and me.  They had hopes and fears.  They had payments.  They loved and they were loved.  Many were just looking forward to tomorrow.

It is a “shanda” (shame) that the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines failed to see the attack for what it was, a horrific attack on civilized humanity, rather than an attack on United States citizens and its uniformed priesthood.  By fleeing the event “in protest” Finkelstein dishonored the Jewish community that stands firm in its traditional belief that murder is murder.  It makes no difference whose flag the victims lived (and died) under on that awful day.

The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa “got it right”. It was a prayer service dedicated to a terrible day.  It said…

…”May G-d comfort all who mourn.”  That…was the “Common Ground” the alliance was seeking.

Too bad Finkelstein did not understand.


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