Beyond the Cusp

May 4, 2018

The Death of “Never Again”

 

After the Shoah, the Holocaust, the Jewish People made a promise to one another of, “Never Again.” The world echoed the call, “Never Again.” Most notably, Europe and particularly Germany echoed the call, “Never Again.” Now the world stands at the brink which they will break their promise of, “Never Again.” One need merely search the news to see the ever-increasing rate of attacks upon Jews simply because they are Jews. European leaders speak of their increased efforts to address anti-Semitism after each attack. France has placed military personnel to guard Jewish daycares, preschools, education centers, Synagogues and events throughout France. Britain and Germany have declared they are taking steps to fight against anti-Semitism with Germany appointing Dr. Felix Klein to take charge of the efforts at education and other means of fighting anti-Semitism. Dr. Klein will take his position sometime this month. There have been warnings sent initially through delicate warnings requesting that Jews not affix Mezuzahs on their doors as such identifiers upon their homes could make them targets. This proved to be insufficient; so then, they made the next demand less delicately advising Jews to stop wearing their Kippahs. For some Jews, that proved a demand too far as they refused to uncover their heads. This meant that they had to limit their lives by remaining only in what they thought to be “safe areas,” some of which proved not to be sufficiently safe.

 

Never Again!

 

For Jews these events, though difficult, are not something new to the Jewish People as we can look back across our history and find all too numerous similarities with which to compare these events. During the Spanish Inquisition the Jews were forced to convert to Christianity, but some refused to forsake their traditional religion and practiced Judaism in silence and well-concealed in order to avoid detection and a tortured and horrible end. These Jews were to become known as Marranos. Throughout the world, there are instances where the Jews were forced to profess faith in other religions while conforming to their Judaism privately and in complete secrecy. Sometimes these Jews would form groups with ten men so they could have a minyan making their prayers more complete as some prayers require ten men in order to perform and reading of Torah also requires a minyan. This would obviously cause these members to be more readily caught by the authorities but they believed that on certain holy days the risk was worth the reward they would receive from being able to perform a complete service with a Torah reading making it all the more satisfying. These conditions of forced conversions and secretive practice of their Judaism were more universal than many historians have recorded both in Christian and Islamic world and before either when the Jews resided under foreign exile or occupation including the Roman, Greek, Persian and Babylonian to name a few. \

 

“Never Again” was intended to mean that the Jewish People were never to be made embarrassed, harassed or intimidated into hiding their Judaism as a requirement for their safety. Never Again was supposed to provide a conscience in the world such that after thirty-five-hundred-years Jews would finally be safe within the world. Israel took in the approximate million Jews who were forced from the Arab and Muslim world providing them with assured safety from the anti-Semitism which has never been purged from the Islamic world or from the Quran and the preaching of Imams. Now there is rising anti-Semitism, both from Islamic refugees, extreme right wing anti-Semitism and leftist anti-Semitism are combining making the roughly one and a half million Jews of Europe becoming endangered. They have a refuge they can take in Israel and increasing numbers have begun to do exactly that. There are also troubling signs across the Atlantic Ocean in the United States and Canada which are also at the very leading edge of increasing anti-Semitism. The problem is far from as obvious as it is in Europe, but it has become troubling to those who follow such trends as they are witnessing the same numbers as were present in Europe starting about three decades past.

 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has released a worldwide survey of the state of anti-Semitism in 2014 with a partial update showing anti-Semitism in 2015 in easily seen maps and tables. There is even a page where one can compare nation to nation using it to see where your country stands compared to others or any other comparison one would care to see. The one problem with the ADL surveys are they have rapidly become dated as a measure where Europe and even the United States and Canada are concerned, as the increases in these areas of the developed world have been quite distressing. Of course, we cannot expect that the ADL will be performing another survey in the near future, though we would love for them to do so for 2020 and make it as easily accessed as their 2014 and 2015 versions have been made. The ADL might refrain from doing such as they likely would be hesitant to actually recognize exactly how sad the situation is becoming. What is really sad is how fast Germany and the nations which were willing, or somewhat less than willingly, under the rule of the Third Reich have fallen back so severely despite their joining in the concept of “Never Again” and have permitted the pernicious hatred that is anti-Semitism returning in such strength, especially with the youth of today. Where did the leadership go wrong and divert from the path returning to their old hatreds and habits including anti-Semitism. Perhaps we should try and suggest some reasons.

 

Perhaps the greatest mishandling of the problem has been the selling of the concept of “Never Again” as the answer to prevent the singular event of the Shoah, the Holocaust, of ever reoccurring. “Never Again” is not an answer to just the Shoah but to every attempt through the ages to kill off the Jewish People. These attempts began in Egypt over thirty-five-hundred-years ago and continued through with, but not limited to, the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Spanish Inquisition, the Caliphate and the Nazis. They have not taught that the Jewish People and their rules and codes became some of the founding principles of the current European and modern world governance. Much of human rights are based on the Judeo-Christian ethics which are all based in Jewish thought. Continued Jewish thought and culture continued to add to the humanity of man and to the sciences, culture, society and every aspect of human existence. There has been almost no mention of how much poorer humanity would be without what the Jews have contributed to all aspects of human existence. Even boxing would have been lees the art it has become in sports without the contribution of a Jewish man called Daniel Mendoza. He was credited with introducing the scientific art of boxing. Then there are the somewhat more famous and well-known Jews such as Sigmund Freud, Niels Bohr, Baruch de Spinoza, Albert Einstein, Sandy Koufax, Groucho Marx, Gene Simmons, Franz Kafka, Peter Sellers, Joan Rivers, Marc Chagall, George Gershwin, Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin, Hank Greenberg, Max Baer, Benny Leonard, Lyle Alzado, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. We could continue with a long list of scientists, entertainers, musicians, artists, philosophers, comediennes and religious scholars.

 

Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons

 

Perhaps a lesson in middle school where the contributions of Jews throughout history to virtually every field of endeavor would make an impression, especially with lists of Jews in such fields as music, sports, entertainment and other fields with which Jews are not always associated. Also showcasing the contributions throughout history where they often made contributions which are not well known today such as Haym Salomon who was a Polish-born American Jewish businessman and personally backed loans from France to finance the American Revolution from which he ended up bankrupt. And, of course, there is the reality that without Judaism there would be no Christianity or Islam as both trace back to Judaism as their roots and being Abrahamic faiths. These ideas would not eradicate anti-Semitism, but perhaps a realization that the Jewish People have contributed quite a great deal to humanity throughout the ages in virtually every field of endeavor might give some pause to reconsider their opinion of Jews. Anti-Semitism will never completely disappear, as there are records of anti-Semitism existing in towns, villages and even cities where people have never met a Jew and some where no Jew has ever been recorded to have lived. But if we can change some people’s thoughts on the Jewish People and as much of anti-Semitism is handed down within families, neighborhoods, societal norms and other means, every person turned from anti-Semitism could have an ever-widening effect over time. If nothing is done, what will the world be like once every nation has rid themselves of their Jews and Jews only reside in Israel? Oddly enough, even then the world will have its share of anti-Semitism and there will be efforts to destroy Israel if only to be rid of the imagined effect the Jews have on life around the globe. How can we know this? Well, because anti-Semitism has existed in places around the world before the Jewish People had been spread around the world by conquering empires with the best known being the Roman dispersion intended to wipe out Judaism from the world as punishment for revolting against Roman rule just a little too efficiently. It is that exile which the Jewish People are finally returning home to Israel after almost two-thousand-years.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

    Like

    Comment by OyiaBrown — May 8, 2018 @ 4:12 AM | Reply


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