One of the saddest aspects of modern American Jewry is our near universal ignorance of our own past. Many of us are children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of people who fled places like Odessa and Kiev. And why? Because of stuff like this:
Odessa’s Jews are prepared to evacuate should the violence in the western Ukrainian city get significantly worse, several community leaders told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
Odessa’s Jewish community numbers some 30,000, down from nearly 40 percent of the city’s population before the Holocaust.
The Odessa bloodshed came on the same day that Kiev launched its biggest push yet to reassert its control over separatist areas in the east, hundreds of kilometers away, where armed pro-Russian rebels have proclaimed a “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”
While Jewish community leaders are unanimous in asserting that the violence is unconnected to the Jewish community and that they do not feel specially targeted, they agreed that, should the situation deteriorate, it would be easy for the spillover to affect their constituents.
According to Rabbi Refael Kruskal – the head of the Tikva organization, which runs a network of orphanages and schools and provides social services to the city’s elderly – several of the wounded from Friday’s clashes were Jews, and the community is taking all necessary precautions.
And how will they evacuate? And where?
“Over the weekend we closed the [Great Choral] Synagogue,” Kruskal said. “We took all the students out of the center of the city where the violence was, because we were worried it was going to spread. We sent a text message to everybody in the community on WhatsApp that they should stay at home over the weekend.”
While the synagogue, which is located close to the site of Friday’s clashes, was reopened Sunday morning, Kruskal said he planned on closing it again later in the day.
The Jewish community, he added, is hunkering down and trying to ride out the storm.
“When there is shooting in the streets, the first plan is to take [the children] out of the center of the city,” Kruskal said. “If it gets worse, then we’ll take them out of the city. We have plans to take them both out of the city and even to a different country if necessary, plans which we prefer not to talk about which we have in place.”
Fearful of further “provocations” on Friday, which marks the anniversary of Soviet Russia’s victory over Germany in the Second World War, Kruskal said that he was considering renting a holiday camp to house 600 Jews away from the fighting he expects next week.
“The next weekend is going to be very violent,” he said.
They have apparently rented busses and they are fueled up and waiting in parking lots. (This reminds me of Hurricane Katrina… but in Katrina we didn’t see competent community leaders.)
And this is truly horrifying:
The Jewish community, together with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, has prepared a fleet of 70 buses, fueled and ready to go, “if, God forbid, we have to evacuate” the community’s children and any adults who want to leave, he said.
During Friday’s clashes, 20 buses were parked outside of Chabad’s school, but went unused.
There are a number of evacuation plans, ranging from relocating within the city to sending community members to Kishinev, two-and-a-half hours away in neighboring Moldova.
What is so horrifying about Kishinev? This. Many, many American Jews are here because of the pogroms in Kishinev. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a book of forged documents claiming Jewish plans to rule the world, was first published by the local newspaper in Kishinev. And, according to some linguistic research out of Stanford, that editor was actually the author. The Protocols is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews, was required reading in classrooms in Nazi Germany, and is widely read in the Muslim world today. It was even made into a 40something part television series in Egypt a few years ago, and ran every night during Ramadan. So the safety plan is running to Kishinev?
I can honestly say that I am sick. The American Jewish community overwhelmingly voted for Obama – twice. We voted, knowingly voted, for foreign policy weakness. We chose Neville Chamberlain. We are such dolts.