- - Tuesday, October 27, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION

Deafening anti-Second Amendment cries have emanated from high-profile American Jews like Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, among others. In fact, Mrs. Feinstein has been quoted as saying, “If I could have banned them all — ‘Mr. and Mrs. America turn in your guns’ — I would have!”

It seems very strange that a people who had over two thirds of their population disarmed and then murdered in Europe would be against one’s right to protect themselves, but that is precisely what is happening in the U.S. Whether Holocaust memories resulted in a knee-jerk reaction or some form of unrealistic utopian goal, one thing is clear: Those American Jews against the Second Amendment are extremely vocal.

But what of those Jews that fought for America and passed down this tradition of self-reliance throughout the years, and those that are vocal but not heard? Many do not know that half of the American Jewish male population of fighting age (18 to 50 years old) enlisted and took to arms to fight in the Second World War regardless of where they were to be stationed.

In more modern times, a group known as Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (jpfo.org) has been operating since 1989. JPFO’s rabbinic director, Rabbi Dovid Bendory, openly acknowledges that his predecessor, the late Aaron Zelman, realized over 25 years ago “that someone had to speak up and speak out effectively against Jewish involvement in so-called gun control,” a mission that continues today.

Rabbi Bendory is orthodox, has a beard and wears a kippa/yarmulka (traditional skullcap). For some, this seems almost paradoxical. But Rabbi Bendory applies his knowledge to speak out against the “far too many Jews” defining and expanding gun control in America.

And there are those who are not so religious but proudly Jewish, such as former Marine Sergeant George Rumelt. Mr. Rumelt of New York enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1947 and continued to serve during the Korean War. Inspired by his uncle, he joined the Marine cadets and later claimed to be older than he was to join the New York State Guard, serving with the 13th Infantry regiment while still a high school student. Mr. Rumelt’s uncle, Michael Grossman, fought in the famous Battle of Belleau Wood during World War I and then later rejoined the corps, being assigned to military police duties at Lakehurst, New Jersey, during World War II.

Today, Mr. Rumelt is a docent at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum Complex on the Hudson River, where he educates visitors and talks about military history.

“Many of my friends are not Jewish, but they know where I stand on the matter of increased gun control,” he recently said. “I am nonpartisan but think it is just a shame to see so many people — and, in this case, Jews — simply vote based on party lines, especially when doing so is actively disarming the law-abiding citizens of our country. Maybe it would be different if they read Stephen Halbrook’s ‘Gun Control in the Third Reich,’” a work that describes how the Nazi state effectively used political power to restrict Jewish Germans of their lawful rights to own firearms in the lead-up to Hitler’s pogroms.

Interestingly, the book’s subtitle is “Disarming the Jews and ‘Enemies of the State.’”

Despite such exhortations as those of Mr. Rumelt, most of the attention brought to bear on the subject of firearms and Jewish Americans has focused solely on anti-Second Amendment efforts but not the reverse.

Former Sergeant Rumelt added: “I hope that my fellow supporters of the Second Amendment in this country continue to support our cause and help amplify the ignored voices of Jews that fight alongside you to preserve our rights. Semper fidelis.”

Growing up anywhere limits and biases the way we perceive the world. Growing up in New York City, I am appreciative to have been afforded the luxury of an educated difference of opinion from what the majority of my peers, friends and family believe on the subject of gun control.

Thank you, Grandpa George Rumelt, for teaching and providing me with a perspective I would not have learned without you.

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