Commenting on the bloody attack on worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue last Shabbat, and some of the reactions to it, John Podhoretz writes:
In a classic act of anti-Semitic violence, which is what this was, Jews hear the echoes of every violent anti-Semitic act that has preceded it in history. And we hear those echoes because they are there. That which motivates hatred of Jews today is what has motivated it from time immemorial—the poisonously attractive idea that Jews need to be extirpated because our existence is an offense or a threat to an existing larger order.
The blessing of Jewish life in America is that this notion has largely been consigned to the dregs from which today’s human malignancy rose. Despite the fact that most hate crimes in America are aimed at Jews, the actual number is vanishingly small—especially compared with France, from which Jews are now fleeing, and England, whose Labor party is in the hands of an actual Jew-hater. . . .
To those who object to the notion that more American synagogues ought to consider having armed guards, Podhoretz adds:
There are armed guards inside and around synagogues and Jewish institutions all over the place. Jewish day schools have armed guards. Besides which, many of us go to work in buildings with armed guards. Is it a wonderful or healthy thing that this is necessary? No. But the act of saying that it might be a good idea because there are lunatics who might otherwise do terrible things should be unobjectionable. . . .
In a time of horror, we should all look to the blessings of wisdom to save us from the moral idiocy into which we can fall, all too easily. “The wise will inherit honor,” says Proverbs. “Fools display dishonor.”