The grisly and brutal massacre at Fort Hood earlier today should, of course, outrage all civilized people everywhere. The Jewish community, however, should be especially strong in its response — both by condemning the terror and standing against potential discrimination.
The suspect in the shooting is a US Army Major, Nadal Malik Hasan. It requires little imagination to see that Hasan’s name could potentially lead to a dark wave of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hysteria. Despite our often profound differences with the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities over the Middle East, members of the Jewish community should take this opportunity to insist that the crazed brutality of one person not lead to witch hunts, guilt-by-association, or ethnic demonization. Our community knows all-too-well how fears, libels and rumors can spiral out of control, and it is incumbent upon us to do all we can to prevent it from happening here. Jewish organizations throughout our nation and our city must speak out strongly and be vigilant against those who would use Fort Hood to divide us by religion or ethnicity.
By standing against terror and against prejudice, we can renew and strengthen the finest aspects of our tradition and demonstrate the true universality of Jewish values.
And a political/moral tactics point: standing with a threatened community before they ask is usually better than waiting for a request.
Maybe we can nip this in the bud. Maybe.