Mitigated annoyances - Livre d'Or

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Mitigated annoyances
Saturday, 22 July 2006 at 07:10 pm

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First annoying thing: there was a big Palestine / Lebanon demo in town today, so we had to move the service because the Great Synagogue is too much of a visible target. I don't know who made that decision, whether the police or the community security people, and I don't know how genuine the threat was. I am sure most people involved in the demo would be horrified to know that the Jewish community felt so threatened by it that we had to move, but I expect that a minority of the protesters would jump at the opportunity to do us actual harm rather than putting us to inconvenience. After all, "we" (or rather the Israeli army, but hey, all Jews look alike and it's all a huge conspiracy anyway, right?) are currently making people homeless by bombing them and then firing missiles at the refugees... *sigh* Had the demo happened a few years ago I would have been taking part, rather than scurrying away to the other side of town and hiding or removing anything that would mark me as Jewish.

The mitigation is that one of the Orthodox communities let us borrow a room in their building, which is rather less obtrusive than the Great Synagogue and therefore deemed to be safer. And they were terribly friendly and welcoming. It's heartwarming to see the different communities working together and behaving like adults rather than squabbling over trivial details of liturgy. Besides, the interior of their synagogue was rescued from Nazi Germany and brought to Sweden in pieces and rebuilt inside another building, which is kind of cool. I'm glad I got the opportunity to see it even if I wish it had been in happier circumstances.

I have also discovered that there is something more annoying than Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: a self-styled Kabbalah version of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus... But I'm not spitting feathers because I discovered said unspeakably annoying propaganda in the course of spending a very pleasant shabbat afternoon with a friend from shul. I came out to her because it was relevant in the conversation we were having, and she asked my opinion of this idea that men and women are spiritually different and have complementary roles in Kabbalistic repair. Be impressed with how polite I was!

Whereaboooots: Adath Jeshurun, Stockholm, Sweden
Moooood: annoyedannoyed
Tuuuuune: Nirvana: All apologies
Discussion: 2 contributions | Contribute something

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pir_anha: default
Date:July 22nd, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
59 minutes after journal entry, 10:36 am (pir_anha's time)
i am sorry you felt threatened. maybe i should add that this here palestine supporter has never yet even remotely considered doing physical harm to a jew, not an israeli one nor any other -- the harming of others is the problem, not something i want to perpetuate, or condone perpetuating.

it doesn't accord with my view of sweden at all, so i am wondering what causes you to believe that that a minority of the protesters would jump at the opportunity to do us actual harm? i would only expect that from an occasional nutcase, not from even a minority of the protesters. but my impressions of sweden at 20 years old. have there been attacks on synagogues in a way that makes it look like they have an actual minority support?
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livredor: ewe
Date:July 22nd, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 07:03 pm (livredor's time)
Oh, I personally didn't feel threatened; I would hardly have registered that the demo existed except that when I tried to go to synagogue it was surrounded by police and security guards who told me to go to the other synagogue instead. I really don't know whether there was any call for that level of protection.

Thanks for speaking up as a non-antisemitic Palestine supporter; I hope I made it clear in my post that I do perfectly well know that such people exist and in fact are vastly more commonly encountered than the thugs. (I hadn't pegged you as the kind of person who would beat up random bystanders or vandalize synagogues in the name of a good cause, mind you!)

I am too much of an outsider to tell you whether there actually is anything to be scared of in Sweden. I am simply reporting that some people are scared. There have not been attacks on synagogues here, but people are really jumpy; I usually have to show my passport and answer a lot of questions in order to go into the synagogue building. And the police have "suggested" a number of security precautions that are way beyond anything in place in, say, Cambridge where in fact there have been (thankfully minor) attacks against synagogues in the past couple of years.

And I think we have a slight miscommunication about the word minority; I would use the term to mean occasional nutcase, I wasn't intending to imply 45% or something. The reason I believe that some people are using the pro-Palestine movement (and the anti-Iraq war movement and other related issues dear to the anti-establishment Left) as a cover for direct and sometimes violent antisemitism is quite simply that I've seen examples of that. I have mentioned before that a friend of my brother's was murdered for admitting he was Jewish in the context of what was billed as peace activists' conference in 2003. I very much hope and generally believe that it really is a tiny number of nutcases who are violent. So I absolutely don't judge the movement as a whole based on a few bad apples, but those few are enough to make me nervous of getting too close to something like a demo where there's the whole mob thing going on anyway.
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