A few weeks back an organization called the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (Tapps) told Beren Academy, an Orthodox Jewish school, that its team could either play its state semi-final game on Shabbat or it could forfeit.
Despite pleas from the mayor of Houston and NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy – coupled with a willingness by other teams to re-schedule – Tapps stood firm. Only under threat of a lawsuit did it rescind the decision.
About a year before this incident occurred an Islamic school applied to join the association. This was the reply it received from Tapps:
Tapps also surveyed its membership about admitting Islamic schools and 63 out of 83 members rejected that possibility.
“It is our understanding that the Koran tells you not to mix with (and even eliminate) the infidels. Christians and Jews fall into that category. Why do you wish to join an organization whose membership is in disagreement with your religious beliefs?” It also asked: “What is your attitude about the spread of Islam in America?”
So how, given Tapps’ record, could Beren Academy or anyone else be surprised at its treatment? Was it not made aware that Tapps had a discriminatory streak when the Islamic issue was raised? Or does the Jewish school only oppose discriminatory behavior when it’s directed at others?
I have no idea how the Jewish school voted on the Islamic school, but unlike another Tapps school, they voiced no protest.
Too many Jews in this country, especially those on the religious and political right, are getting comfortable with the increased acceptance of Jews and forgetting what it means to be on the other side. Maybe this will be a wake up call to remind them that where anyone is treated this way, everyone is at risk.
But I doubt it.