Sunday, January 16, 2022

No sabbath peace

 In the early years of the twentieth century there was a garment worker who lived on the Lower East Side of New York.  Every Saturday night he would climb the five flights of stairs to his tiny apartment and sit in the kitchen reading the Dearborn Independent, while his wife cooked dinner and muttered to herself.  One night she could bear no more.  

"Sol!" she shouted.  "Why do you have to bring that rag into my house?  It's nothing but anti-Semitic dreck!"

"I know, I know," said her husband calmly.  "I just like reading about how much power they think we have."

Malik Faisal Akram must have thought the rabbi of a small congregation in suburban Colleyville, Texas, had the power to get Aafia Siddiqui released from a nearby federal prison, where she is serving a boggling 86 years for conspiracy to kill US military personnel in Afghanistan.  I can't imagine where he got that idea.  I doubt he was on Dave Bateman's mailing list, but the software tycoon's theories about Jews working to control the world through covid vaccines and the pope have received wide distribution.  Akram may have seen Marco Rubio's tweet about the "upscale liberals who control the media and Democrat party" just last week.  Perhaps he agreed with another member of Congress and her very serious theories about space lasers and the Rothschilds.  Maybe he read the interview last month where Trump lamented that Israel no longer has "absolute power over Congress" and that "the Jewish people" run the New York Times.  Maybe none of the above, maybe the tired old Protocols or some obscure London imam will be blamed for "radicalizing" him.  A Facebook post purportedly written by Akram's brother says he had "mental health issues."  Unfortunately it's no longer possible to find the line between madness and politics.

The eleven-hour siege ended as well as possible, I suppose, with the four hostages unharmed and Akram killed by the FBI.  Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker urges all congregations to hold "active-shooter and security courses."  Just like elementary schools.  An "extremist cleric" in the UK named Anjem Choudary promises to use the publicity to raise awareness of "Lady al-Qaeda's" case, while the rest of us are reminded that anti-Semitic incidents increase exponentially.  So everybody gets something out of yesterday, yes?

Nearly Akram's last words were "Either there's something wrong with me or there's something wrong with America."  Or maybe both.



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