16th January, 2021
What the Nazis and the Jews Can
Teach Us About Police Violence
By Jonathan Bluestein
There were many historical reasons, as to why the Nazis chose to target the Jews. One of those reasons was, that Jewish social traditions were the complete antithesis to the Fascism the Nazis were promoting.
All real and genuine Jews, be they religious or not, believe in the idiom, that a society can be measured by how it treats its weakest members. The Nazis could not care less, and sought to exterminate those whom they deemed 'unworthy' and called 'free eaters'.
When I was growing up in Israel, every single bus had the same sticker, usually behind the driver's sit. It read: "MiPnei Seyva Takum" - 'You ought to rise before old age'. The sticker with its message, which was also widely taught in schools, was that you should always clear your sit in the presence of an older person, especially the elderly. One or two sits at the front of the bus were often even left empty by the other passengers, to ensure they are ready for any elderly person who might come aboard. Likewise, to this day, I often offer my aid in carrying the heavy load of an elderly person on the street, if I see that they are struggling.
In recent years and months, police violence has been surging worldwide. Recently, even the elderly had been targeted. I sent many people a video of such a person being ruthlessly pounded by two young policeman. The victim was likely in his 80s. By this I received a comment from a person close to me, who said: "But what if he refused an order? What if he provoked them? People who keep the laws do not get into such debacles".
I strongly and harshly admonished the person who uttered these terrible words. Although a Jew, he or she expressed a modality of thinking which is more in line with Nazis. There is absolutely no basis for a violent assault to be perpetrated against old people, under almost no circumstances whatsoever, aside from them wielding a weapon and being of imminent and serious danger to your well-being or that of someone else. To raise arms against the elderly is a mark of a society which is damn near the bottom of the moral pit - a place in which but a little nudge it all that is required, for ultimate organized violence against all to take hold.
I was a policeman for three years. During my service, within the ethical and professional norms and standards we abided by, a member of the force who would have hit an elderly person without a very good reason, would have been relieved from his duties immediately.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Israeli Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak set the standards for Israel's constitutional law. He is a Holocaust survivor. He famously wrote about the proper manner of conduct between people in Israeli society, and in all Democracies:
"A man to a man - humane. The State to a Citizen - an angel".
Meaning, that we all must retain our humanity in our interactions with other people, and such is the basis for all laws and civil behaviours. But when the State deals with the Citizen, it must be saintly - more benevolent, just and worthy than the average individual.
The Police is an arm of the Executive Branch. The Police is a part of the State. Based on the constitutional doctrines which I studied in Law School, and on my personal belief in the standards of Democracies, the Police must therefore serve the public with a measure of conduct which strives for supreme goodness - above and beyond what people would expect of each-other in everyday dealings. That a Police Force would betrary such a sacred duty in the name of orders issued by politicians, and propagate a contrarian approach, is indeed the mark of Fascism, and of the decline of civility among people.