Tuesday, February 16, 2010

That man Martin, his pending execution, and the RW Jewish response

Unless Republican Governor Charlie Christ inteferes the state of Florida will execute Martin Grossman tonight. Grossman is a Jew, the son of a Jewish mother. As a result, objections to his execution have been raised from some unexpected RW Jewish quarters. YWN, for example, has been running editorial after editorial calling for clemency; Rabbis who use the word shvartze with impunity are calling for tehillim and staging protest rallies; and emails and online poetitions are being passed around by Jews who, at other times, are firmly pro-death penalty.

Though I'm pleased to see so many RW Jews have converted to the anti-death penalty position something about the sea change in attitude troubles me. What do we make of YWN use of old-fasioned liberal arguments such as "He had a rough childhood" or "he was on drugs at the time" or "He has a low IQ" (see their editorial on February 10) Should I be appaled to see these arguments used cynically, or should it please me to see that, on some level at least, YWN is conceding they have merit?

The same might be asked about the protesters and the petition passers; also, where were they until now? Had GOP Jews woken up to the injustice of the death penalty years ago, and made their protests and passed their petitions every single time a man was sent to death row, perhaps a Jew wouldn't today be in that precarrious position himself.

I understand tribalism. I care more for my family then I do for my neighbors, and more for the members of my shul than I do for the members of your shul. Like you, I have my teams, and I recognize that there's something elemental and pure and dare I say holy about standing up for your teamate. Martin Grossman, assuredly, is our teamamte. We should stand up for him.  But, he's also a convicted murderer. If it has always been your position that the death penalty is just, and that convicted murderers ought to executed, how can you now trot out positions and arguments you've previously mocked and dismissed? If the state, in your view, has the power to execute someone, why doesn't it have the power to execute Martin? And if all you care about is that a Jew is in danger - regardless of the facts - what will you do when  this case is over? Whether Martin is executed or granted clemency, how can you go back to supporting the death penalty when its only a matter of time before another Jew finds himself threatened by it?

Search for more information about RW Jewish hypocricy at 4torah.com.

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