Who would believe such a dialogue
by Michael Santomauro
On October 11, 2003, I had one of the most unbelievable experiences. I was
the children's playground in Central Park, in New York City. Where I live.
I was talking to a professor who taught at Long Island Aeronautics and has
Ph.D. in engineer.
His name is George. I was in total agreement with him on our perverse
immigration policy that is hurting us.
"There's an Irishman, who is the president of the school, instead of
me the dean position, he gets a woman from India."
I then asked him if it was to reflect the student body. "Because I
that 55% of the engineering students in America are foreigners."
"No," he said, "it has to do with quotas, for woman and
people of color are
favored in this country."
I then told him, "I have no problem with women of color getting these
positions as long as they are American and competent."
I then explained to him how I thought taking talent from other countries
brain drain for the nation they are coming from. Also it hurts the workers
o are born in the U.S.
I asked him if he agreed with a moratorium on immigrants coming to
until we can clean house amongst ourselves.
His mind shifted to something totally unrelated.
"The Arabs are causing all the problems in the world."
"I wouldn't go that far," I told him, "we do have a
lopsided foreign policy
in the Middle East."
His mind was very jumpy.
He asked, "How many Arabs live in Israel?" I told him,
20% of the country."
He continued, "There's no Jews living in Arab countries, why can't
who live in Israel move to the Arab countries?"
"There are Jews living in Arab countries," I told him softly.
I didn't realize I was talking to a Jewish-Zionist extremist.
He gets emotional and says to me, "Only an anti-Semite, would say
Jews who live in Arab countries."
"But Jews do live in Arab countries."
"Impossible," he yells. "Now? Today? You think there are
Jews living in Arab
"Yes, what's so amazing about that?"
"Anyone who says that there are Jews who live in Arab countries is an
I was so mindboggled.
After all this dialogue, he decides to ask if I'm Jewish.
"No," I answered him, "but he's an Arab-Jew." Pointing
to an elderly man
sitting next to me on the same park bench. I had struck a conversation
old man sitting beside me, before I met this George.
The old man wants to correct me, "I am a Moroccan-Jew."
So I asked him how many Jews live in Morocco. "Now?" the old man
asked me. I
shook my head yes. "Maybe 5,000, but when I left in 1967 there were
George then orally lashes out at the old Arab-Jew and accuses him of
"Why would he lie?" I asked rhetorically.
This George was having an emotional breakdown over the fact that Jews
live in Arab countries. I was perplexed.
I then asked the old Moroccan-Jew if the 1967 war which Israel started was
the reason for the exodus, "One of the reasons," he said. He
left for France and
settled in Paris. He explained to us why he left Paris 3 years ago,
too much anti-Semitism."
George, now accuses the old man of not knowing what he is talking about.
I asked George, "Who are you or me to say, that he did not experience
anti-Semitism in Paris. Why would he lie to us about that?"
"It's only in dictatorships that Jews suffer from real
He continued, "Like Argentina in the 1970s."
Now I started to understand his thought process. "What are you taking
There were more Jews living in Argentina in the 1970's and 80's then now.
that Argentina is no longer a dictatorship Jews are leaving. They are
in droves for economic reasons. And Sharon is luring them with money and
benefits to leave for Israel."
He asked, what I did for a living. That trigged something. I forgot for
moment that most of my clients from Arab countries are Jewish. Their
have successful ventures. These families have no intention of leaving. I
explain this to him.
He then accuses me of anti-Semitism, for stating these simple facts.
He stands up from the park bench waving his arms, "What are we
Some token Jews that are 90 years old."
Then I asked if he knew there are synagogues in Arab countries, with
communities and a chief rabbi.
He then went ballistic, and he never heard of a such a thing in the year
"I don't want to sit next to an anti-Semite" and he walks away.
The old man and I looked at each other and I said to him, "This
George has a
Ph.D." The old man shrugs his shoulders.
Never in a million years would I ever think that someone, would say to me:
"Only an anti-Semite would say Jews live in Arab countries."
I was lucky to have sat next to a Moroccan Jew who I just met a few
before. Later, he would be my witness to tell my wife what just happened.
was a lonely recipient to this, I would not have written about this
Who would believe such a dialogue could happen?
My walk in the park has taught me that being educated does not make one
intelligent or wise.
253 West 72nd street #1711
New York, NY 10023
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it
violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident.
-- Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher, 1788-1860
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