It has been said that perception is often more powerful than truth, and this is certainly the case in the war on terror.
Israel and America have been cast as aggressor bullies by what some refer to as the â€śdrive-byâ€ť media, while homicide bombers are continuously portrayed as valiant freedom fighters or brave insurgents attempting to throw off an oppressive yoke imposed by the great Satan â€śAmericaâ€ť and the little Satan â€śIsrael.â€ť
â€śWhen I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful, and the most tragic problem â€“ is silence. A great people which had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality, and in the face of mass murder.â€ťSilence, we are reminded, is golden; but silence is also consent. The Klan could not have operated openly in the South, nor could Emperor Hirohito of Japan, Il Duce Mussolini or Der Fuhrer have ravaged the world without an extremely important element â€“ silence â€“ the tacit approval of â€śthe good people.â€ť Hitler could not have killed six million Jews without the silence, the collaboration, of the moderates â€“ â€śthe good people.â€ť They protest, â€śWe did not collaborate!â€ť But did they speak up? If you lived near a huge something or other where trainloads of people came in but none went out, and smokestacks belched black smoke from furnaces 24 hours a day, wouldnâ€™t you wonder what went on there? Did not these moderates, â€śthe good peopleâ€ť of Germany, wonder what happened to their Jewish neighbors who suddenly disappeared? Did they ask? During the slave era in America, every white American was not a racist or slave owner; in the Civil War, more than 360,000 Union soldiers died as testimony to that truth. Every white person did not participate in lynchings; every German citizen did not help gas Jews; every Russian did not participate in the pogroms nor every Chinese in the communist purges of Chairman Mao; yet evil reigned supreme. Why? The moderates, the pacifists, â€śthe good peopleâ€ť may not have participated in this evil. They may have even had passionate discussions about it among themselves. In private, they may have been adamantly opposed to it, but their failure to vigorously and publicly oppose it withÂ wordsÂ and actionsÂ ultimately allowed evil to triumph.