Way back when I was first attending religious and Hebrew school we were told how lucky Jews were today because anti-Semitism had finally been eradicated once and for all and how the Holocaust made the return of anti-Semitism impossible. Unfortunately those people were so very, very wrong. Anti-Semitism has not only returned but has once again began to pick up steam and spread like an epidemic. I began warning people, originally mostly other Jews, that I saw anti-Semitism starting to sprout and feared the day when it would catch on and become the undeterred undercurrent which would once again take society beyond the cusp and into complete insanity. Watching the news of late, it appears we have almost arrived at the point where reason dies and base hatreds take the day. And it is not solely a problem within the Arab or Muslim societies, it has once again tainted every group even to the point of infecting some Jews who now work to the detriment of their fellow Jews, and that is the exact detail I wish to condemn.
There exists a new target for anti-Semites which has been designated as proper and even given a cover of respectability, hatred of all things Israel. This phobia has found a nurturing home in many of the governments throughout Europe and is rife in the European Union and the United Nations and all the NGO’s spawned by these governments. Many are disguised as human rights groups, others call themselves protectors of the poor and unfortunate Palestinians, and there are those which claim they are simply pursuing the enforcement of International Laws. The true culprits are easy to decipher as they will aim the vast majority of their vitriol and accusations towards Israel while ignoring or finding excuses for much more flagrant violators. One such example from this week’s meetings of the European Union was provided by their Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton when she stated that Iran’s nuclear weapons program and Syria’s documented massacre of men, women and children by the Assad regime, took the back seat to the regions’ most serious problem that must be settled immediately, the Israeli intransigence to the founding of a state for the Palestinians. One must remember that this comes from the person who has been given the lead position in the negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program.
If this was but the sole example of the lunacy one might be able to excuse it as a lone act of a world gone mad. But we have another example where even the appearance of actually caring was nonexistent. This time we take a stroll over to Norway where an act of barbarism was pretty much ignored. During an Oslo High School barbecue one of the students took a coin and heated it until it was red-hot and then branded a Jewish student on the back of his neck. Where such an act might be dismissed as simple prank falling under the boys-will-be-boys category, this same student had previously been subject to being shouted down with hateful degradations such as “Jewish pigs” and “Jewish Satan” as well as having received numerous death threats. But even this is not the end of the appalling behavior accompanying this incident. After the Jewish student had been branded with a fire-hot coin there was no reprimand for the miscreant and there also was no need to inform the student’s mother or other relative. An Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper queried, “Just what else must take place before school authorities stand up for rights of a Jewish child in a Norwegian school? We demand that authorities hold accountable the perpetrators of this hate crime and those in charge of educating Norway’s school children offer a safe environment for every student-including Jewish kids,” Yes, indeed, what would it take before action or even the first act of human decency would be shown. It begs the question of how such a horrid deed simply went without any apparent notice. Well, to be honest, there was a response to the fire branding at the barbecue by a teacher who told the Norwegian-born attacker, “You’re mad.” Well, that should take care of such barbarity and assure that it does not reoccur. According to the student’s mother, after constant harassment of her son two years ago, the school did nothing to intervene. In a previous interview with the NRK broadcasting system in 2010 she was quoted saying, “I see this avoidance as a dangerous development among both ethnic Norwegian and immigrant groups. And that nobody, neither teachers nor principals, intervene in this matter.”
This week had other news items where Jews or Israel were the target of derogatory remarks, violent actions, and other acts singling Jews out for victimization. The Swedish Twitter account was utilized this week during what was supposed to be a drive to promote tourism to post pejorative comments about Jews. The Egyptian campaign for President has included anti-Israel themes as one of the largest and most mentioned subjects. Protesters from the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) movement demanded that Queen Elizabeth decline the 35.6 karat diamond placed in the Tower of London to mark her 60 years on the throne because of its affiliation with the Steinmetz family, staunch supporters of Israeli soldiers. And there were the usual notes in the news that things in Syria could take a turn for the worse and expand to include Israel. The originating story behind the Israel theme was the fact that Minister of the Knesset Kara stated that Israel was willing to treat civilians from Syria who might seek medical attention at the Israel-Syria border. Minister Kara is a Druse Arab and has many contacts with the Druze villagers who reside on both sides of the border. Minister Kara also received numerous pictures and other evidence of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad forces.
These are simply examples from this past week. The reality of the problem is that this was an average week and such news items can be easily documented almost every week of the year, and all too often such lists would be considerably longer. One has to wonder if the hatred of Jews will ever become unacceptable for all of humankind. I often wonder exactly what it would take to finally end anti-Semitism as it has become obvious that the sacrifice of approximately six million Jewish lives in the Holocaust was insufficient a shock to put anti-Semitism to an end. So, I ask, what will it take short of the coming of the Messiah to allow the Jewish people, a small, almost insignificant number of people who make up less than one-quarter-of-one-percent of the world’s people, the chance to live in peace and tranquility and not have to constantly look over their shoulder for a mob carrying pitchforks and always to keep one suitcase with the most meager of items necessary to restart life once driven from their homes. That has been exactly what follows as night follows day and fall follows summer throughout the past five millennium of their existence. What will it take?
Beyond the Cusp