Some in Hong Kong not immune to anti-Jewish racism

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 5:04am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 6:01am

On Sunday, July 13, there was a protest at Chater Garden against what has been going on in the Middle East, particularly the Gaza-Israel conflict.

I mourn the loss of life on all sides of the conflict. To see innocent men, women and children die in the region that taught the world about the sanctity of human life is heart-wrenching and we must find a way for it to stop.

I am not a mind reader but I am concerned that what truly drives such protests is not the basic concern for human life but something nefarious: the inability to accept a sovereign Jewish presence in any part of ancient or modern Israel. Indeed, similar protests around the globe have quickly turned anti-Jewish in words and deeds.

Signs at Sunday's protest show that some members of the Hong Kong community are not immune to anti-Jewish racism and are comfortable enough to display their offensive and ignorant hatred in public.

My concern is justified by the fact that daily there are countless more people dying in the myriad conflicts that torment innocent life and progress in the Middle East, yet it is only when Israel is involved that such protests are arranged. Like all armed conflicts, there is a human rights dimension to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but when it garners more attention than any other conflict in the world, one concludes that it is not a concern for human rights that inspires most protesters.

Put simply, much anti-Israel sentiment is simply the newest incarnation of that ancient scourge: illogical hatred for Judaism and the Jewish people.

The Israelis are in an impossible situation of having indiscriminate rocket fire showered down upon them from entities that shoot from civilian areas and under civilian cover. Despite this, Israel annually processes thousands of humanitarian entry permits for Palestinians to receive medical care in Israeli hospitals.

The fact that in this conflict the casualties are so low on the Israeli side is due to their technological investment and prowess - and does not automatically render them the aggressor. Last week, Israel accepted a ceasefire that would have guaranteed a reduction in the loss of innocent Palestinian life but, sadly, Hamas rejected it. Perhaps this Sunday we can look forward to the same people protesting the rejection of this ceasefire?

Rabbi Asher C. Oser, Ohel Leah Synagogue