One of the worst things you can be accused of today is hate. There is a whole host of races, genders, and religious and ethnic groups, that if you express any kind of distaste for them you are considered a racist or phobic person. Careers have been destroyed at the mere suggestion of a hateful remark or what may now be considered an offensive picture, even if the photo was taken decades ago when such a pose was not considered hateful at that time.
In order to claim to be offended, you need to be sure you are in the protected species and not in a species that one is permitted to hate. In order not to be considered bigoted myself, I will not specify the protected species, but I think we all know who they are. Allow me then to list who are not considered protected from hate speech.
Catholics: Routinely, Catholics are chided for their religious beliefs, since many of those beliefs run contrary to cotemporary liberal teachings. Years ago, bags of blood were spilled in major churches in the New York Area to protest their teachings on homosexuality. No horror was expressed at the time. In fact, the movement picked up steam from there. During the Giuliani years, art depicting some of the Catholic iconic religious symbols smeared with human feces and urine featured in the Brooklyn Museum was considered a legitimate artful expression. When Mayor Giuliani threatened to withhold city funding from the museum, he was roundly condemned as an anti-art reactionary. Do you think such art would be tolerated if done against a religion that’s a protected species? Heads would be rolling... literally. The hate directed against the Catholic religion continues unchallenged to this day.
Conservatives: Imagine people of a political belief different from yours who sat down in a restaurant and were hounded by opponents of that belief to the point that they had to pick up with their friends and family and leave the restaurant. Or imagine if you were a female spokeswoman for a politician who was opposite your belief, and you were made fun of because of your physical features. If you are representing a conservative ideology, that will fly. If representing a “tolerant” liberal and you are subject to such abuse, you’re toast. Career over.
If you are a politician or entertainer and encourage violence against a conservative politician, even a president of the United States, you are defended for practicing free speech. Try it against a non-conservative and see what happens in the media, and perhaps in court.
Asians: Due to a hard work ethic, and perhaps to good genes, Asians excel at school. Yet they are openly discriminated against in high school and Ivy League universities that feel that they must limit the number of qualified Asians into their schools as it is unfair to others that do not excel as they do. Although the Asians protest about this loudly, no one cares. They are not in a protected class.
Orthodox Jews: It has become acceptable to denounce Orthodox Jewry with impunity. Townships in upstate New York frequently hold town hall meetings to denounce the growth of the Orthodox community in Rockland County. The remarks by Jew and Gentile alike are almost reminiscent of pre-War Germany. The media has no restraints when condemning Orthodox Jewry. Perhaps most disturbing: In the Israeli elections, the Blue and White party urged Tel-Avivians to come out and vote in big numbers to stem the tide of Bnei Brak. When Netanyahu in the last election warned of busloads of Arabs voting for the left-wing parties, he was strongly condemned in Israel and throughout the world for being racist. Against chareidim? No problem. And think of this: Avigdor Liberman is a right-wing politician who obviously holds with Netanyahu in principle as to how Israel should conduct itself in dealing with the Arabs. Yet he refuses to join in a coalition with Netanyahu if chareidim will be a part of that coalition. In other words, he hates chareidim more than he loves his country. Awful.
Jews: We need not dwell on this one. Jews are now commonly being discriminated against by college professors and being beaten in the streets – in Brooklyn, and throughout Europe and other parts of the world. Did you see that awful picture of an 11-year-old Jewish boy in Australia forced by bullies to kiss the feet of a Muslim kid in his class? Australian reaction? It happened outside of school so there is nothing we can do about it. World reaction? Yawn!
A member in our shul told me that his 15-year-old grandson is fond of collecting autographs from famous athletes. He has all kinds of signed memorabilia from baseball, football, basketball, and hockey stars. Towards the end of the US Open last month in Flushing, this young man approached a tennis player from Australia. (I know the name of the player but was asked not to mention it.) The youngster went over to the player and asked him for his autograph. The player looked at this boy with his yarmulke and said, “I don’t sign for Kikes!” Can you imagine him freely saying that against any other ethnic group?
Well, it so happens that a security guard saw the incident and advised the kid to tell it to the head of security, which he did. But the guard begged him not to mention his name or he might get in trouble. The result? The player was suspended for a game. Wow, what a mighty blow.
The worst part is that the guard was afraid to let the word out that he took action. Had this been against almost any other group, the guard would have been hailed a hero.
So when you read and hear that society, especially leftist society, is fighting against hatred, don’t believe a word of it. If you are fortunate to be aligned with their way of thinking, they will hate the haters. But if you are not in their protected class, Heaven help you.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.