-HEROISM AND COURAGE at Chabad: Neighbours killed trying to protect the Centre

EDITORIAL COMMENT

How Rabbi and Rebbetzin Holtzberg’s neighbours tried to protect Chabad House from the terrorists.

DECEMBER 9, 2008 –  A remarkable story written by Julian Kossoff appeared last Friday in The Daily Telegraph’s on-line edition.

Julian Kossoff is night editor of Telegraph.co.uk. He has written extensively on race and religion.

He writes about the “heroism and courage that emerged from Mumbai.” And how “neighbours had tried to protect the (Chabad) house as armed gunmen seized it Wednesday night.’

Residents tried to protect the centre, clashing with the gunmen and throwing rocks at them in an effort to drive the militants away.

The crowd eventually retreated under fire from the gunmen, who wounded one man, killed three others and threw several hand grenades.

“They shot indiscriminately into the crowd,” said Puran Doshi, a local businessman who lives nearby.”

The image of these ordinary people, armed only with stones and righteous defiance, clashing with the Mumbai killers, is noble and uplifting.

The humanity exhibited by these have-a-go-heroes (I fear I would have locked the doors and waited for the polices to arrive) is an antidote to the cruel deeds of the attackers.

Kossoff adds:

During the Holocaust Poles, Hungarians, Lithuanians etc were easily abandoned and betrayed by their lifelong neighbours because they were Jews; in Mumbai the anonymous Indian neighbours leapt to the defence of the recently arrived, foreign, pale, bearded Jews, without a second thought.

Sadly, The Mumbai murders of five religious Jews – including a rabbi, his pregnant wife and a man from a sect fervently opposed to the State of Israel – is the latest blood stain on a conflict centred on Israel/Palestine, which went global when Palestinian militants conceived that terrorising civilian Jewish targets outside Israel was the easy option when it came to propaganda by violent deed.

Since the early seventies there have been countless attacks on bastions of “Zionist aggression” that have included in synagogues, schools, restaurants, social clubs and hotels. Probably the worst episodes was in July 1994 when the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires was bombed, killing 85 people and wounding over 2000.

Now, the Mumbai murders will stand out on that long roster of hate – remarkable for the added obscenity of torturing the victims before killing them.

Kossoff concludes by saying:

More thoughtful anti-Zionists might recognise that this event will only harden the will of opponents of peace and reconciliation within Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.

The pro-Israel hardcore who darkly dismiss Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims as incapable of making peace, of being natural born killers who only respect raw power, will feel vindicated by the atrocities in Mumbai.

Others will make an impressionistic link between the abattoir at the Nariman Building, and Iran’s President Ahmadinejad’s repellent Holocaust denial, gnomic threats to Israel’s existence and his desire to gain nuclear weapons.

Indeed, as Jewish families sit down for their Shabbat meal in coming weeks the conversation will turn to world affairs and the Mumbai attacks, and someone will ask: “What would happen if Israel were to lose a war – had been defeated in 1948, or 1967 or ’73? How would millions of Jews have been treated by the victorious Arab armies and their fellow travellers?

The above story can be read in its entirety at:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/julian_kossoff/blog/2008/12/05/

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