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Raw DS Article: Yellow STar: Reasons Behind Support

October 31, 2009

This past weekend, I came to encounter a new travel experience. Instead of paying an ungodly amount of money flying out of Grand Forks, I ended up saving nearly $400 by flying out of Thief River Falls, MN.

A somewhat-smart move on my part (for a similar drive-time to Fargo, I didn’t have to pay for parking; then again, I had to fly on a 30 seat airplane with an extra stop in Hibbing, MN), this trip turned into a trip from hell very quickly, with delays, an extra stop in Atlanta, and a return to Minneapolis on Sunday night with a maintenance issue that required an aircraft change.

With me on the flight to Hibbing were a group of about seven older ladies in their 50s, 60s and 70s. What caught my eye while waiting in the gate area in Minneapolis was not their typical Minnesota demeanor or even their incredibly loud laughter that could be heard from several feet away. Instead, my eye was drawn toward a small but noticeable yellow Star of David sticker stuck to their lapels.

At first, it looked like an innocuous name tag or group designation from a large meeting. I myself was returning from something similar, where I wore a color coded nametag to identify myself as part of a group. On second glance, these stickers resembled something much different, and something that now, even four days later has me confused and unsure of what to think. These little yellow stars were almost exact representations of those that the Nazis made the Jews wear in public during the early years of the Holocaust.

I finally built up the courage to ask one of the ladies on the flight why, exactly she was wearing a symbol that has largely come to represent so many negative aspects of my life and the lives of my fellow Jews in our tumultuous history. Her response, put as nicely as possible, was that “there is a lot of anti-Semitism out there” and that “we (her group of friends) got these to wear at a Christian conference to show solidarity with the Jewish people.” At that point in time, the engines of the airplane started and we were unable to continue our conversation.

As a Jew, I appreciate the efforts of those who stand up to anti-Semitism in their communities, in our country and around the world. In the summer of 2008, I had the opportunity to spend 12 days traveling almost non-stop through Israel, where I was able to put a personal façade on a country that has been vilified on the international stage since its creation in 1948. Most Americans support the right for Israel to exist and support it politically and fiscally, something many of its Arab neighbors refuse to do. The country itself is a beautiful place with amazing people. Visiting Jerusalem is an out-of-this-world experience of history, where I was able to walk in the footsteps of the Jewish people, the Christians and Muslims, all within a few miles.

The support the Jewish people and the nation of Israel receive from evangelical Christian groups like the one these ladies likely originated is the cause of much consternation from Jewish groups. The reasoning behind this support is often not simply because they care about the history of the place or the fact that supporting those who might need help is the right thing to do.

Their reasoning is much more self-serving, and quite a bit more biblical-in the Book of Revelations end-of-the-world sense.

Some interpretations of this book say that the only way Jesus can return to Earth is when the Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt and there are 10,000 Jews in a holy land of Israel. By supporting Israel, these groups hope to facilitate the second coming of Christ.

Yes, Israel needs support. The kind of support offered monetarily, or through the use of yellow Stars of David calls into question the ethics and potential issues of this murky problem.

Conservative Christian groups do this not because they are supporting a minority, but because they see it as their ticket to heaven and salvation. I’d especially like to see a group like this come out in similar support of gays and lesbians by wearing pink triangles, much like the Nazis did during the 1940s. I think you’d see a different response from these same groups.

When it comes down to it, I’d ask that these ladies leave their yellow stars at home. Stickers can be removed easily depending on the situation. Words and actions speak much louder and more effectively when you stand behind me.

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