We have all heard this joke before haven’t we?

A Chinese man and his Jewish friend are walking along one day when the Jewish man suddenly slugs the Chinese man in the mouth.

“What was that for?” the Chinese man asks.
“That was for Pearl Harbor!”

“Pearl Harbor? That was the Japanese. I’m Chinese.”

“Chinese, Japanese, what’s the difference?”

They continue walking in silence, then the Chinese man punches the Jew in the face.
“What’s that all about?” the Jew asks.

“That was for the Titanic!”

“The Titanic? That was an iceberg.”

“Iceberg, Goldberg,  what’s the difference?”.

Funny no? I thought so. Up until now.

Now in this post  “Zimmerman acquittal” world –  the difference is nothing short of humongous.

I am not going to get into the case itself. Nor am I going to share my thoughts on if he is guilty or not. He shot someone, end of story. What I will get into though is the fallout for us, as Jews.

How many Zimmerman’s do you know that aren’t Jewish? I bet you can’t think of any off the top of your head. I can – George Zimmerman of Sanford, Florida.

Yep, the very person who shot and killed Trayvon Martin is not Jewish.

Georgie boy, is in actual fact a Catholic of Peruvian descent. Sure his grandfather on his fathers side was (apparently) Jewish, but does that make him Jewish? Well, the short answer is no and that’s not because he killed someone and we dont want to admit to him. It is because to be Jewish, your mother needs to be Jewish.

But that little tidbit hasn’t stopped protestors across the nation from blaming Jews collectively for this murder. I know that we should be used to this kind of thing. After all, targeted hateful rhetoric of this kind has been something lobbed at us for a over two millennia.

The first to attack the Jews were the extremist Islamic Black Panthers. From there other protestors nationally have followed suit and now it is almost a given that Zimmerman wasn’t just a murderer but a blood thirsty murdering Jew. How long until that is morphed into – Jews are blood thirsty murderers?

The last time this kind of nonsense started it didn’t take long. I am sure you learned about it at school.

It was called Kristallnacht.

To refresh your memory about what happened, a Polish Jew was accused of killing Ernest Vom Rath. Spurred on by this short bloke with a funny looking moustache,  who considered himself to part of the downtrodden masses, street riots erupted on November 9 1938. Two days later, 91 Jews were dead. 30,000 Jews had been arrested and interned in camps. 1000 synagogues were burned and 7,500 Jewish businesses destroyed. Not long after this we were stitching special yellow “Star of David’s” onto our clothes. Shortly thereafter, numbers were tattooed onto our arms and 6million of us perished.

This odd well spoken short little man, who rallied people around his cause was called Adolph Hitler.

Is it a stretch to think that libelous, slanderous racial attacks like what these angry “Zimmerman protestors” are spouting could result in such a thing? Probably. But as long as the Black Panthers and their ilk are inciting prejudice in this way – there is a chance. And it is that infinitesimally small chance that I fear and why I am speaking out.

So when President Obama remarked today, that 35 years ago he could have been Trayvon. I thought yes – I agree – it’s true. Just like 75 years ago I could have been in the streets of Berlin and been shot too, or bashed or had my livelihood taken from me. The President then also went onto say:

…it’s important to recognize the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and history that doesn’t go away.

And he is right. The African American community has been downtrodden and mistreated. However, like him and the now ever flourishing African American community, I also look at this issue through experiences in history. But, I look through millions of shards of broken glass scattered throughout our history across thousands of years and I wonder. I wonder what statement will next explode the world into yet another Anti-Semitic tirade.

RIP Trayvon Martin. May your death not have been in vain.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

Robert Zimmerman (AKA Bob Dylan), make sure your home alarm works.

- written by Brett Chester