Obscure Diagnosis

Yes, we’re in flu season but that’s not the sort of disease to which I’m referring.  What I’m talking about is immune to any sort of preventive measures and has survived for thousands of years.  Antisemitism, the irrational hatred of the Jews, is a rising epidemic which is spreading around the world.

In Europe, the word “Jew” is used as a curse word.  Antisemitism in France has increased by 74% in the past year and just a few days ago at a carnival parade in Belgium, one of the floats depicted two giant Orthodox Jewish figures sitting on bags of money with two mice on their shoulders.  In the U.S. and around the world, there is an unprecedented rise in hate crimes directed at Jews.

According to a recent Gallup World Affairs survey, in the United States support for Israel among liberal Democrats is at its lowest level of only 43%.  There is a fine line between what constitutes antisemitic speech and mere criticism of Israel.  
Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and one of two newly elected Muslim women to the U.S. Congress, recently made statements that equated support for Israel to having a traitorous-like allegiance to a foreign country (as though one cannot be both pro-Israel and a patriotic American at the same).  America and Israel have always had a close relationship based on our shared Judeo-Christian values – something the three newly elected congresswomen, among other Democrats, would like to change.  What Omar is attempting to do is form an idea in the minds of those who buy into her rhetoric that it is treasonous to be an American Zionist. 

Very few people are aware of what the “cursed” Jews have contributed to America’s founding and continue to contribute today to making the world a better place.  A history lesson is in order here. 

Our sweet land of liberty owes a debt of gratitude to a little known and unsung Jewish hero named Haym Salomon.  Just what did he do that was so special that the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in his honor?  Almost singlehandedly, Haym Salomon gave the financial resources needed to finance the American Revolution and keep our new nation afloat.  In today’s dollars he gave the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars to the government which, at the time, did not have any power of taxation.  

Born in Poland, this 32 year old Jewish immigrant landed in New York in 1772 where he quickly set up shop as a merchant and trader in foreign securities.  George Washington was counted among his friends. In addition to financing the American Revolution, Salomon gave loans to many of our founding fathers to include Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James Madison and other prominent statesmen.  Some historical accounts say he charged no interest on these loans while others say he charged interest well below the market rate at that time.

Haym Salomon knew what it was like to be at the top of the mountain as well as at the bottom.  At one point the British confiscated all of his property and forced him to flee penniless.  Nevertheless, he recovered and went on to help lay the financial foundation upon which Robert Morris, under the direction of Congress in 1781, established the Bank of North America.  Salomon recruited other financiers to support the bank, he located purchasers for “government bills of exchange” which are similar to today’s Treasury Notes, and who even loaned their own money to the government.  

Jewish businessman Haym Salomon helped equip America’s soldiers and gave generously to military regimens.  He was never repaid the money he loaned to the government thus when he died in 1785, he was impoverished leaving his wife and four children with overwhelming debt.  Shortly before his passing, Mr. Salomon was responsible for having a “religious oath test” removed from the Pennsylvania state constitution which paved the way for non-Christians to hold public office.  I sincerely doubt our newly elected Muslim Congresswomen know this obscure fact of American history – that they owe their positions within the government of the United States to a JEW who was willing to take risks for the building of a nation which valued life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Not only do we owe a debt of gratitude to this marvelous Jewish patriot for his vital contribution in the founding and funding of our great nation, but we continue to owe the Jews a debt of gratitude for their many contributions today in science, technology, medicine and agriculture, making the world a better, safer and healthier place for us all.