Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Lies, Lies, Lies

by Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

A newspaper’s duty is to report the news, to be an organ of information and enlightenment. To state that we live in an “Almah D’shikra” does not qualify as news; it is stating the obvious. Yet some truths bear repeating. Sometimes we forget the way the world really works and imagine that things have changed. A small reminder every once in a while may open our eyes.

In this week’s parsha of Toldos, we read about the father of Redifas Yehudim. The father of Retzichas Yehudim. The father of Sinas Yehudim. The father of hatred of Yaakov. This arch-foe cloaked himself in the garment of false piety. The cunning Eisav hid behind the mantle of righteousness with his deceptive halachic sheilohs of how one takes ma’aser from straw, and how one tithes salt. The Torah teaches us that our mortal and eternal enemies will, like Eisav, disguise their true selves in the cloak of sheker. “Yecharsemenah Chazir M’Yar. The swine will show its ‘kosher feet.’”

Dear readers, we live in a world of sheker and lies. And those lies shroud the evil deeds of the wicked, shielding them from the light of truth. The wicked mask their perfidy with the split hooves of the swine, smiling to the world as they innocently ask, “How do we ma’aser the straw?”Let’s examine some recent developments that illustrate this ongoing charade.

Yassir Arafat spent his life killing people, robbing and extorting on a scale that defies the imagination. He invented the fiction of a Palestinian people. He foisted upon the world the lie that this fictitious people has a right to self determination and has superseding rights to the land of Israel. As the father of modern terrorism, his victims were mostly Jews, but he had no qualms about targeting Christians and Arabs, too, when that helped promote his agenda of destroying Israel.

Despite his villainy, he is celebrated as a statesman. The arch-murderer received a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. He was invited to the White House under former President Clinton more times than any other world leader.

You turn on the radio or glance at a paper and read about him as if he were one of the world’s leading statesmen. Jimmy Carter let it be known last week that he would be at Arafat’s funeral; Chirac of France sent a private plane to bring him to France and paid him a special visit.

Good riddance to a base and despicable creature as he lays brain dead in a Paris hospital amid the world’s game of make-believe that he is ill with a mysterious illness and may soon recuperate. The world media plays along with the Palestinians as they scramble to settle scores before the death is official, and report lies as if they were the truth.

There is an old saying: If you repeat a lie often enough people begin to believe it. We think we are immune. But in the next few weeks, wherever we turn in the secular world, we are going to hear the most inflated and grandiose lies about Arafat. The darling of the left-wingers, he will be portrayed in the most complimentary light. His gruesome acts of terror will be reinvented as acts of desperation and liberation, ad nauseum. We will meet people, even Jews, who have no moral conviction, who sway like leaves in a fall wind. They will parrot what the anti-Semitic anchors of the media want them to believe. And they will swallow those lies wholesale and retell them to you. They will say now is a perfect time for peace.
Cold-Blooded Killer

As a newspaper, we have a job to tell the truth.

So let’s repeat: Arafat is a cold-blooded killer. He devised a new way of murdering innocent civilians en masse which is being copied today by Zarqawi and bin Laden, and legions of like-minded barbarians who are beyond the pale of civilization.
He was a creative killer. He was the first to attack sportsmen; his 1972 Munich Olympics massacre left 11 Israeli athletes dead. The world was actually stunned for a few moments. He was the first to choose diplomats as targets — the 1973 murder of American diplomats in Khartoum. He was the first to choose innocent school children as targets — the 1974 massacre of schoolchildren in Ma’alot. He was the first to hijack airplanes and he also invented suicide bombing. Then he began using children as suicide bombers while the list of inhuman attacks against Yidden and humanity keeps on growing.

This Nobel Prize winner and partner in peace with Rabin and Peres is the child of Yishmael as well as Amelek. His crimes against humanity surpassed in evil the worst crimes contemplated in the Geneva accords. The suffering he inflicted on innocent Jews is incalculable. The September 11th attacks were all outgrowths of his evil.
Yet, as his atrocities multiplied, Arafat’s political star rose. In part, this had to do with European cravenness in the face of an implied Muslim threat; partly with the Left’s secret infatuation with the authentic man of anarchy. Whatever the case, by 1980 Europe had recognized the PLO, with Arafat as its leader, as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people. The U.S. held out for another decade, but eventually it too caved in to international pressure under the first Bush administration.

The present President Bush, to his great credit, refused to deal with him, unlike his predecessor who treated him as a great statesman. Very few others stood up to Arafat against the railings of left-wing politics.

All the people who now jostle to fill his place are terrorists. They all cut their teeth under Arafat. Every one of them, now portrayed as moderates, has overseen terror attacks and has cheered on others.

Each one of the would-be inheritors of the mantle is committed to the destruction of Israel; each one of them is a murderer, their hate fastened upon every Jewish soul – right, left, religious and secular. Even the wild-eyed Jewish maniacs who march alongside Arafat’s henchmen in the misguided notion they will be spared the terrorists’ hatred by currying favor with them must be regarded as murderers’ accomplices. Yet the world stands united in seeing the passing of Arafat as an opportunity to pressure Israel into negotiating with, and capitulating to, terrorist murderers.

British PM Tony Blair who stood with President Bush facing down Saddam Hussein is trying to convince Bush that the time is ripe to force Israel to set up a terror state within its miniscule borders.

No less an American hero than John McCain is in the European Amen corner as well. He said pushing Israel into a so-called peace deal would go a long way towards restoring European friendships.

“I know the president believes that this is an opportunity,” McCain said. “If we can bring about a peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, it will have a huge effect on the European public opinion.”
Lies, lies, lies.

We are so used to it, we say nothing. We shrug our shoulders say “almah d’shikrah” and move on.

But the lies don’t begin and end with promoting the gruesome deeds of murderers. They have the effect of skewing society’s morals and re-defining the norms of civilization.

Last week’s presidential election was another case in point. The Democrats really had themselves convinced they were going to win this time. They read the polls in the compliant media; they read the newspapers of record that were sympathetic to Kerry; they believed the fictionalized documentaries. The country hated Bush and couldn’t wait to rid itself of him, they were told. They viewed him as an anachronistic caricature of the old-world. His values for normal family life were not in tune with America’s new-found acceptance of depravity.

But they masked their agenda in self righteousness. “Bush was the most divisive figure in American politics,” they said. “Americans couldn’t wait for the opportunity to send him back to Crawford Texas for life.”

“The Republicans are so out of touch,” we were repeatedly told. “They are religious and even worse, they hew to an old moral code. They advocate enshrining in law traditional family values. There is no way they can win the election. Come November 2nd and it will be Kerry time.”

But, contrary to the Left’s wishful thinking and blatant lies, most Americans do care about moral values. Most Americans still care about moral decency. The election results drove home the message that moral depravity has not yet been accepted and enshrined as the “new normal.”
It is bad enough when we must counter the lies of people with whom we know we are at opposite ends of the pole religiously and morally. But what happens when people with features similar to many of us and our friends and relatives promulgate lies to the entire world?

As newspapers were reporting on Arafat’s stay in the French military hospital, several chose to publish a picture of a “Rabbi arriving with a bouquet of flowers to the Percy Military Hospital.”

How can you not be revolted?

How can you not be aghast when seeing the picture of someone described by Reuters as a rabbi bringing flowers to the deathbed of one of the deadliest enemies of the Jewish people?

How can you not be offended when pictures are splashed around the world of religious Jews celebrating the man who was personally responsible for the murder of more Jews than anyone since Hitler?

What more do they have to do to be totally ostracized? Why do we let them cross our doorstep when they come to our homes to raise money to enable them to continue their missions of hate?

Some of those same people who protested a 91 year-old living Sefer Torah flew off to Paris to kneel at candles (a custom cherished by admirers of saints and other Christian icons) lit by supporters of one of the most notorious Jew-killers of our time.

They refer to themselves as Kanoim. That is a lie. They are not Kanoim. They are Rodfim. And they should be treated as such. Kana’us when applied properly is a most treasured midah. Redifah is a repulsive and despicable act that must be expunged from our midst.

People who stand with them and support them in their wretched ways are equally culpable. People who proudly participated in and supported a noisy protest of an Asifas Chizuk led by an aged and venerated Gadol Hador are not Kanoim. The Gemorah in Sanhedrin 99b makes this absolutely clear.

Chazal teach us that in the time of Moshiach, Chutzpah will become strong, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it and be resigned to it. That doesn’t mean we should sit idly by and not protest their brazen Chutzpah; that doesn’t mean we should be quiet.

Yes, we live in an Almah D’Shikrah, but we have to recognize truth from fallacy; we have to remain loyal to the truth. We shouldn’t be cowed into playing along. We should not become like those who suppress the truth for ulterior motives.

As children of Yaakov we have to live a life of truth. We have to remember that there is no truth like Torah. There is no respect like the reverence we display for Talmidei Chachomim.

In the Almah D’Shikrah we only celebrate people after their death. People find it easier to pay respect to the dead than the living. Let us break that pattern. Let us resolve to fight for the honor of living Talmidei Chachomim and against anyone who attempts to belittle them with the same passion that we honor the memories of Talmidei Chachomim who have passed away.

Chushim ben Dan was deaf to the arguments of his evil uncle Eisav who claimed the Meoras Hamachpelah as his own. He did not involve himself in nit-picking arguments nor did he compromise his holy mesorah by affording Eisav the chance to protest.

It is time to take a public stand against purveyors of hate, whether they come to cheer on Palestinian conventions in North Carolina; visit murderers in France or travel in busses to Boro Park to harass Gedolei Yisroel who came to America to be mechazeik thousands of B’nei Torah.

Let us not be afraid to stand firm against the detractors and purveyors of lies, whether they come in the name of humanistic moralism, or lehavdil in the name of Hashem.

Let us not be influenced by the dominant lies of the day. Let us use the yardstick of Torah to assess the prevailing trends around us and find the moral courage to stand up for the truth, no matter how unpopular it may be. Let us purify ourselves so that we are worthy to live lives of truth.

Vetaheir Libeinu L’Avdechah B’Emes.


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