I saw the face of evil, today. On my street. In a rural area of Ontario. He was going for a walk with his daughter. He lives in a tiny, beautiful village, five minutes away.
I was walking my dog and heard this conversation about education. And as I am wont to do, I went over and started talking. I love to talk to all the different people who come by here. All races, colours, creeds and I assume sexual orientation.
As we got to talking, my antenna started to poke up on the back of my head. This conversation was turning to a place I knew was not going to be good. He didn’t. Now, the face of evil is tricky. Because evil can hide behind any face, anywhere, at any time. And sadly, we rarely realize we are standing beside evil as it happens.
We started talking about the Bible and he told me his views about people who believe the Bible, and we joked about the Ark that has been built as a replica from the Biblical description. I was joking with him about God being behind the Big Bang. But I knew this was going south.
He proudly shared his views about the west. Not fond of western values. Thinks the west is terrible-oppressors and all. And slowly it turned to…Israel. The Zionists. Those oppressors. Now, I am well trained in the facts about Israel. I write about Israel all the time. I am on the board of Hasbara. But, so what. When you stand beside evil, facts don’t matter. Ever. And perhaps that is what we forget. Evil has no need for facts.
He went on about Trump, that Zionist. He attacked Christian Zionists for standing with Israel. There was venom in the air. A serpent had risen.
It was at that point that I mentioned that I am a Zionist. Well, that went well. Often, mentioning that I am Jewish tones down the discussion. Not this man. This pale, grey haired man. The flood gates were open. And he knows because he has friends in Israel. I heard all about those poor Palestinians living there for thousands of years. And the Zionists took over. That the Mosque is on top of two Temples has nothing to do with it. Those evil Jews expelled 800, 000 Palestinians. That it happened because of a war started by 5 Arab states-who cares. And that they lost. What about the 850,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries. Hmm. Don’t think he knew that. But, again, so what.
I explained that the Jews are not allowed on the Temple Mount-that is the apartheid in Israel. How dare the Jews go up there! And that Netanyahu- a Nazi. And the Jews are treating the Palestinians like Canada treats its indigenous. Because he knows that Jews are interlopers.
All this coming from an older man, with greying hair, glasses and relatively soft spoken, until he gets to the nitty gritty. Oh, did I mention he doesn’t mind Jews-it’s those Zionists. Those Nazis. Who would have guessed by looking at him? And his daughter. Look what she is learning.
I eventually lost it. I regret that. But sometimes you have to raise your voice. And I told his lovely daughter do not listen to your father. He is evil. And I called him a racist, a Nazi. An abuse of the word, today.
Nazi no longer carries the Evil within it. It has been used and abused by Holocaust deniers and anyone who is upset on Twitter. And when we accept the equating of Jews with Nazis, what is left?
Despite the fact that I rarely raise my voice in arguments, because I always thought it pointless, I raised mine. Because facts don’t matter, today. It is who is the loudest. And not who is right.
What did I learn today? I was reminded about something I have known for a long time. The Jews are the perpetual scapegoat. We are the problem in the world.
But what this man does not know is that we are no longer hiding and ducking and appeasing. No more.
We must raise our voices when we stand next to Evil.
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”