The deep meaning of Goldie

I offered 10 notes on Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts in “In Larson’s garden.” The book tells the story of United States Ambassador William E. Dodd as he witnessed the rising terror of Hitler’s rule. Larson gives us Hitler and the Nazi regime through Dodd’s eyes in Berlin in mid-1933 when the future was an open question. In my tenth note I asked: if you had been an American in Berlin in 1933, what would you have seen? What would you have said? What would you have done? What conclusions would you have drawn?

Since the Hamas massacres of October 7 and the marches supporting them in the United States, the questions have hit closer to home. Yesterday, for example, an anti-Semitic mob screamed threats into Philadelphia’s “Jewish-owned falafel store” (as the Daily Mail describes it) Goldie.

Goldie describes itself on its About Us page:

Goldie is a vegan, Israeli-style falafel shop serving fresh-to-order falafel, French fries, and tehina shakes. Named for “baby Zahav” (“Zahav” is the Hebrew word for “gold”), the heart of Goldie’s menu is Chef Caitlin McMillan’s so-fresh-you-forget-it’s-fried falafel with tehina, Israeli salad, cabbage, optional amba, harissa, or schug condiments, all tucked inside delicious pita. Goldie has a “no toppings bar” ethos – we build each sandwich with our practiced hands. We also serve falafel salad, shawarma spiced French fries, and tehina shakes. Oh, and we’re Kosher!

Clearly this cannot stand. Led by the Philly Palestine Coalition, the mob marched at the Goldie restaurant in Philadelphia’s Center City chanting: “Goldie, Goldie you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.” The Daily Mail rounds up the news from Philadelphia (and there is more from the University of Pennsylvania) including the video below here.

Sam Harris reformulated my Garden of Beasts questions to fit current events in his November 7 podcast:

Incidentally, if you ever wondered how you might have behaved had you been a German on the morning after Kristallnacht—if you’ve ever wondered whether you would have just gone about your business or done something to resist the slide of your society into absolute depravity—more or less everyone on Earth is now getting the chance to see just that. There was a mob chanting “Gas the Jews” in front of the Sydney Opera House. We have Jewish students in Ivy League universities cowering behind locked doors in fear for their physical safety. All university administrators, and Diversity Equity and Inclusion geniuses, and Hollywood celebrities who rushed to sign open letters in support of the Palestinian cause, without taking a moment to understand what actually happened on October 7th, or understanding it and not caring, you are all now part of history.

History marches on.

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