Best for the Jews?

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - Mod­ern lib­eral so­ci­eties still

The won­der­ful at­ten­tion he re­ceived from the car­ers and man­age­ment staff was ex­em­plary. With­out these car­ers his last few months would not have been as mean­ing­ful and ful­fill­ing as it was.

It was just amaz­ing how they all got on like one big happy fam­ily. Two of the car­ers on their day off even made the schlap to Rain­ham for his fu­neral.

We will al­ways be thank­ful to Jewish Care for pro­vid­ing the warmth and care to all res­i­dents. Tony de Swarte and Avril Mil­ner,

El­stree, Herts Jef­frey Nakar, Sur­rey KT5

I am some­what puz­zled by Prof Ye­huda Bauer’s as­ser­tions that “An­tisemitism grows in monothe­is­tic so­ci­eties only… and Jews can live peace­fully only in rel­a­tively lib­eral so­ci­eties.” (JC, March 24). The re­al­i­ties are surely more com­plex. have pre­dom­i­nantly monothe­is­tic re­li­gions and cul­tures. And is it cor­rect that poly­the­is­tic so­ci­eties have been more tol­er­ant to Jews? Cer­tainly some have, but these have had mi­nus­cule Jewish pop­u­la­tions rel­a­tive to the in­dige­nous ones, for ex­am­ple, of China and In­dia, while the poly­the­is­tic so­ci­eties of an­cient Per­sia, Greece and Rome were hardly be­nign land­lords of Judea. In ad­di­tion, how “lib­eral” were these poly­theisms to the en­slave­ment of their own and other peo­ples?

As to Western lib­eral so­ci­eties “striv­ing to­wards democ­racy” they fes­tered some of the most per­sis­tent an­tisemitism in Jewish his­tory. While, to the con­trary, the mid­dle pe­riod in monothe­is­tic Is­lamic his­tory gave the Jews, al­beit as sec­ond­class cit­i­zens, great se­cu­rity and un­ri­valled op­por­tu­ni­ties for the pe­riod.

Iron­i­cally, while Western lib­eral demo­cratic so­ci­eties were ag­o­nis­ing how to keep as many Jews out of their coun­tries as pos­si­ble, to­tal­i­tar­ian Ja­pan, for its own rea­sons, was mak­ing the strong­est pro­pos­als to wel­come Jewish refugees in from Nazi Ger­many. They pro­tected their own Jews, with cru­cial help from their Chief Rabbi, from Nazi de­mands for their ex­ter­mi­na­tion. But in to­day’s lib­eral demo­cratic Ja­pan we find a sur­pris­ing amount of an­tisemitic lit­er­a­ture.

De­spite its many blem­ishes it has been the slow growth in tol­er­ance of an in­clu­sive An­glo-Saxon monothe­ism that has given the great­est free­dom to Jewish life. The He­brew Bi­ble has long punc­tu­ated its his­tory, from King Al­fred, to the Magna Carta, to the Protes­tant Rev­o­lu­tion, to the re-en­try of Jews in Cromwell’s Eng­land, and to the “new Is­raelites” sail­ing out to the “new Promised Land” of the nascent USA. Stan­ley Ja­cobs,

Lon­don SW1

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