By Aaron Zelman
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
“What I have never understood, as a medical lawyer, as a historian, and as a woman ... is why anyone should intentionally choose to be a victim.”
Dr. Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Esq., physician, attorney
Your rabbi is beaten up by thugs on the sidewalk outside your synagogue.
You wake up one morning to discover that someone has spray-painted swastikas and the words "Jew vermin must die" on your house.
Your grandmother's headstone is kicked over and the vandal defecates on her grave before he and his gang move on to destroy the rest of the cemetary.
Your son comes home from college bruised and bloody, having been kicked by pro-Palenstinian demonstrators. When you protest to school administrators, you discover that Jews are becoming an unpopular minority on campuses all around the United States.
You download your e-mail and read a calm, rational-sounding news article that claims Jews, not Arabs, masterminded the horrors of September 11.
You click on a Web site and watch ghastly video footage of terrorists cutting off a Wall Street Journal reporter's head, just because the reporter is Jewish.
You turn on the nightly news, and words like these vomit out at you:
You are wicked deceivers of the American people. You have sucked their blood. ... You are the synagogue of Satan, and you have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell.1
The Jews are the Jews. There never was among them a supporter of peace. They are all liars. They are terrorists. Therefore it is necessary to slaughter them and murder them, according to the words of Allah. Kill the Jews and those Americans that are like them.2
Wake up, my fellow Jews! These aren't the long-past, discredited words and deeds of Nazi Germany. These are your reality—now! Today! These examples are taken from the daily newspapers or the nightly news of our world, our era. They scream a warning of our danger—and of renewed danger to our religion, our heritage, our families, our traditions, our safety, and our very life.
You might have naively imagined that the murderous beast of anti-Semitism was slaughtered back in 1945. You might have thought it had slunk away forever in shame from images of the Nazi death camps. You might have hoped it had suffocated in the blood of six million dead Jews. You might reassure yourself that those today who rant about "Jewish conspiracies" or blame Jews for their personal failures are ignorant, unstable—and certainly a tiny minority.
But if so, you are wrong. And if you want to live—and want Judaism to live—you'd better understand that fact. Because today we face not merely one nation of Europeans out to destroy us. We face an estimated 100,000,000 Muslims around the world who either support or are active in the jihad. To put that another way: One out of 10 Muslims in the world believe their god has ordered them to slaughter us to the last man, woman, and child. Just as bad, the homicidal loathing of Islamic fundamentalists has helped breathe new life into anti-Semitism everywhere, from political parties in Europe to college campuses in the United States.
What will it take for Jews to wake up? Will you "get it" the next time the United Nations votes that Zionism is racist? Will you get it when suicide bombers begin targeting young, innocent people in the United States, as they do in Israel? Or will it take something even worse? Another Kristallnacht? A pogrom? A Babi Yar? Some other horror of mass slaughter and cultural destruction? That's what will come if we don't prevent it. If September 11 taught us nothing else, surely it taught us that even America isn't a safe and invinciple haven for Jews.
But the real question is, what are we, as Jews and fair-minded people, going to do about it? Whine like weaklings? Send money to groups that will uselessly complain, as usual, on our behalf while doing nothing effective to dam the poisonous river of Jew hatred? Huddle helplessly inside our homes while vandals stalk our neighborhoods? Demand that the government protect us 24 hours a day? Or demand that the government uselessly ban weapons that evil people might use against us—weapons evil people will get and use regardless of any law Jews beg for?
What is this suicidal gas-chamber mentality? This ghetto mentality? This mentality of helplessness and absolute failure? Your leaders -- who wimper and complain and demand laws that make it illegal for you to defend yourself against those who hate you -- are leading you into destruction! They are ensuring your destruction as surely as the Judenrat , the Jewish community leaders, doomed the Jews of Europe in their fatally foolish attempts to appease Hitler.
You are being used by your own leaders. You are also being used by non-Jewish leaders in the "gun control" movement. They imply that those who advocate self-defense are anti-Semitic, and that all "good Jews" favor disarmament. They have prostituted you in their cause. They have driven a wedge between Jews and potential friends who want us to be able to take care of ourselves.
Our martyrdom served no purpose in Hitler's Germany. It taught the world nothing—except that Jews are weak, and that it's easy and safe to abuse us. And what did martyrdom teach us Jews? Did it merely teach us to shout "Never again!" and erect sad memorials to our victimhood—a victimhood we wear as though it were some badge of honor?
If you are a Jew, or a friend to Jews, I challenge you to do something far more serious and far more effective than kvetch (complain) and wring your hands over anti-Semitism. This is something you can do yourself. You don't have to wait for any self-serving "leader" to take you by the hand. You don't have to beg any Machiavellian politician to step in and save you.
Here is what you must do.
Prepare to defend yourself. Prepare to fight back against anyone who turns Hitler's—and history's—beast loose on the world again.
FIVE STEPS TO SELF-DEFENSE
Judiasm tells us to "choose life." But we can't choose life if we're dead. That's obvious. We haven't even tried to choose life if we allow ourselves to be feeble, helpless, flaccid targets for those who hate us enough to kill us.
You CANNOT stop a vicious enemy by being nice to him, by reasoning with him, by appeasing him, by understanding him, or by catering to his desires. Reasonable tactics DO NOT WORK with unreasonable people.
You must be as tough as your enemy. You must be as ready to use violence as he is—although only in the cause of self-defense. Bullies can sense weakness; they single out the weak for attack. But bullies are also cowards who avoid strong targets. In this perilous world, we Jews are already targets. We must show that we are dangerous targets to attack.
Some say that meeting aggressive violence with defensive violence "lowers us to the level of our enemies." The opposite is true: If taking innocent life is one of the worst possible crimes (and sins), then saving innocent lives is surely one of the greatest virtues.
If you are a Jew who values life, you should take five specific steps to prepare for self-defense:
1. Understand that police are under no legal obligation to protect you. Then take responsibility for your own defense.
2. Learn to shoot, and teach your family members to shoot.
3. Study Jewish law and traditions on self-defense.
4. Learn the history of "gun control," and remember what happens to Jews when self-defense is against the law or when they put too much trust in government.
5. Urge Jewish leaders to follow your example. Ask them to encourage all Jews to defend themselves against those who would beat us, burn our synagogues, torture our children, or kill us.
POLICE CAN'T PROTECT YOU
As a simple, practical matter, the police can't protect you. They're almost never there when a crime is being committed. They arrive on the scene only afterward.
That should be obvious. What's more shocking is that U.S. courts have decreed time and again that police have no legal obligation to protect you. Even if you've called 911, even if they've promised to send an officer, even if the police dispatcher has told you to take certain actions that end up leaving you vulnerable to the criminal—if you die or are savagely tormented at the hands of an attacker, the police take no responsibility, and the courts cover for them.
In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark DeShaney decision.3 That judgment said that state and local governments are under no constitutional obligation to keep us from harm. This applies even when the government itself has put us in danger or failed to come to our aid when we "did everything right" and called 911.
Picture yourself in these incidents that have actually occurred in real life, as documented in the book Dial 911 and Die.4
- You're a young New York City woman whose ex-boyfriend has threatened, "If I can't have you, no one else will, and when I get through with you, I'll make sure nobody else wants you." You've repeatedly called the police, but you've gotten ... nothing. They won't help. City laws forbid you from owning a gun to protect yourself. One day your tormenter tauntingly tells you his attack is coming very, very soon. You beg the police to guard you. They refuse—and the very next day, a hired thug throws lye in your face, blinding one eye and disfiguring you forever. And the New York Court of Appeals rules that you can't sue the city because you have no legal right to police protection—even after the city denies you the right to protect yourself.
- You're a man walking with a friend on a Chicago street. Suddenly a thug jumps both of you. Your friend is badly injured and rushed to the hospital, but you're able to follow your attacker to a spot where he joins friends. You flag down a passing police car. The officers arrest the perpetrator. But while they're making the arrest, the thug's friends threaten and abuse you for busting their pal. You plead with the officers not to leave you alone with these hostile people. You ask for a ride to the station house so you can file your complaint. The police tell you to get there on your own—and as soon as they leave, the thug's pals beat you. Negligent? Outrageous? Not according to the law. The Illinois appellate court later rules that you can't sue because the police have no duty to protect you, even if they know you're in danger.
These are tragic incidents. But they are not unusual. It is normal, legal, and traditional, for the courts to deny that you have right to police protection—even at the same time your leaders urge you disarm and rely on 911 for your only defense against violence!
This is the fact: Legally and morally, you are your own first line of defense. If you wish to survive as a human being and a Jew in these terrifying times, you must accept that self-defense is not only an intelligent choice but a mitzvah (a good deed).
LEARN TO SHOOT
If you don't already know how to shoot, learn. If you don't already own weapons suitable for self-defense, buy them.
Don't just learn to target shoot. Learn and practice practical skills of self-defense.
There are probably schools in your area that can teach you. In addition, there are many famous national schools like the Front Sight Training Institute (1-800-987-7719), Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, and the Lethal Force Institute, as well as famous trainers who will come to your location to teach classes. (Here is one list of such schools.)
For life's sake, think before you lock your weapons away, empty and useless, in the name of "safety." True safety lies in knowing how to handle a loaded weapon and teaching your children to respect, not mindlessly fear, the power of a firearm. True safety also lies in being able to use your defensive weapons in that horrifying moment when the window shatters, or the boot kicks in the door at midnight, or a gang of thugs leaps upon you, drunkenly screaming that you're "vermin" or "the spawn of Satan."
JEWISH LAW AND TRADITION SAYS: DEFEND LIFE
Please understand: I do not advocate preemptive violence. Violence must be used only in the gravest extreme, when an enemy attacks.
In the vast majority of cases, the cowards who want to smash you will be frightened off by the very fact that you possess arms and have the determination to use them. But if villains know you will not, and cannot, defend yourself, then all the reasonableness and all the fundraising by all the "humanitarian" organizations in the world won't stop them. Your enemies will trample you. Just as Hitler and his goons did sixty-some years ago.
Modern Jewish leaders like to call my attitude "extremist." They are wrong. Self-defense is required under Jewish law.
The Talmud, the code of Jewish law, states: "If someone comes to kill you, arise quickly and kill him."(Tractate Barachot, pages 58A and 62B).
The Sixth Commandment, as properly translated from the Hebrew, says, "You shall not commit murder." It does not forbid the righteous taking of life.
The Book of Exodus verse 22:1 (22:2 in some translations) tells us, "If a burglar is caught in the act of breaking in, and is struck and killed, it is not considered an act of murder."
In Genesis 14:11-24, Abraham (Abram), rescues his nephew Lot, held captive by four kings, by arming 318 servants and hunting down, violently attacking, and dispersing Lot's royal captors.
American Jews historically understood these traditions and honored them by giving great service against violent foes. (You can find examples of their heroism in my article, "Do Jewish Leaders Want Us All to Be Victims?"
Rabbi Dr. Gideon M. Goldenholz commented, "It is the innocent who become victims of violence and terror. Jewish tradition teaches: 'Hakam lehargecha hashkem lehargo' which means 'if someone is coming to murder you, be prepared and defend yourself.' It [is] very clear to me that the wisdom of our tradition needs to be learned and relearned by all people. If innocent people can defend themselves from evil designs then genocide, tyranny, oppression and slaughter of innocents can be averted."
"GUN CONTROL" AND GOVERNMENTS KILL JEWS
Part of the past that we must always remember is that we Jews have suffered our worst horrors at the hands of governments—from Pharoah to Hitler. I find it incomprehensible that Jews and their leaders put such extreme trust in government today when the most cursory look at history shows what catastophes befall us in the face of such trust.
Our history of abuse at the hands of governments (and other powerful institutions) is a subject for another article. Space doesn't permit delving deeply into it here. But we Jews are not alone in being savaged mercilessly by the very institutions that claim to protect us. No force in all of history is more dangerous than a government gone bad.
I refer you to the film "Innocents Betrayed". Graphically, gut-wrenchingly, intelligently, factually, it details many recent genocides—of which the Holocaust is only one, and not even the largest one. In Cambodia, the Soviet Union, Rwanda, China ... all around the world the helpless and unpopular die at the hands of governments.
Furthermore, the film shows that, to set the stage before the slaughter, governments nearly always pass the very same "reasonable gun control" laws advocated by so many American Jews and Jewish leaders today. To kill masses of people, they must first disarm them, both literally and psychologically.
Rather than give you my viewpoint on the film (since, as one of the producers, I'm biased), listen to the words of Dr. Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Esq., physician, attorney, and reviewer of Innocents Betrayed.
The usual reaction after a Holocaust film runs the gamut: "How could this happen? What was wrong with that culture? Never again!" But Innocents Betrayed demonstrates that the horrors cross cultures and skin colors and have one common theme: disarmament of proud people transforms them to vulnerable victims.
I was a Jewish child during World War II. It became plain to me that self-defense included learning languages, learning shooting, and learning vigilance. It was not stranger for me to learn to use rifles and pistols than to learn ballet or elocution or piano. What I have never understood, as a medical lawyer, as a historian, and as a woman, however, is why anyone should intentionally choose to be a victim. ...
I think you are on to something important in your brief hint in the film that people who are weaponless act more weak and vulnerable than in fact they are. Having no weapon makes one subliminally collaborate with the enemy. Maybe that is a survival technique on the order of "I will cooperate and maybe he will be kinder," or "I shall cooperate so he will not kill me now and maybe help will come to liberate me later." I fear that the problem goes deeper, on the order of: "I am not worthy to live. I have had the good life. He now had the intelligence to get the weapons and deserves to take what I have. If that includes my life, so be it."
A CHALLENGE TO JEWISH LEADERS
My fellow Jews: Challenge your leaders to follow your example. Get armed. Develop plans to defend Jewish families, homes, scriptures, institutions, and neighborhoods. Stand tall for what you value and what you love.
Let me start the effort to lead our leaders on the path of self-defense. Tell every Jewish leader this: I, Aaron Zelman, will give the leader of every nationally recognized anti-gun Jewish group, and that leader's spouse, free certificates for two-day defensive rifle, pistol, or shotgun classes at the Front Sight Training Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada. These certificates are worth $600 apiece and were provided to us by Dr. Ignatius Piazza. Dr. Piazza, the largest financial contributor to our film Innocents Betrayed, donated these certificates because he doesn't want people to live in fear of those who hate them.
I offer every nationally recognized anti-gun Jewish leader this $1,200 gift with no strings attached. All they must do in exchange is pay for their own trip to Las Vegas and learn how to shoot in self-defense. The gift of self defense is worth far more than $1,200. It is valuable beyond measure.
How many leaders will accept? How many prefer to remain ignorant and helpless—and to urge ignorance and helplessness on their fellow Jews?
Enough is enough. Next time we cry "never again," let us have the tools and the mind-set to ensure that we mean it. Let us "never again" shuffle meekly under the orders of those whose desire our total destruction.
Be a Jew. Be strong. Preserve life when hatred and violence come to take life away.
1. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, quoted in Kupelian, David, "Anatomy of an Anti-Semite." WorldNetDaily.com. October 24, 2003.
2. Gaza prayer leader Dr. Ahmen Yusuf Abu Halabiya in a statement broadcast July 28, 2000 by the Palestinian Authority. Quoted in Timmerman, Kenneth R., "The Preachers of Hate." NewsMax.com, October 23, 2003.
3. DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, 489 U.S. 189, 109 S. Ct. 998, 103 L. Ed. 2nd.2d 249 (1989).
4. Stevens, Richard W., Dial 911 and Die. Mazel Freedom Press. Hartford, Wisconsin. 1999.