Today was Yom HaShoah here in Israel where the nation comes to a halt at ten in the morning and the nation stands while the sirens blare. It is a moment of reflection and solemn meditation as well as remembrance both of those who perished and those who survived scarred for life and those who survived and partly due to that adversity not merely survived but thrived. There was one thing I noted from the limited numbers of Holocaust survivors that I was privileged to know or meet, the most successful were slim, fit individuals with great amounts of energy and others were more lethargic and usually heavier than most as if they were eating to make up for the near starvation they faced in the camps. It was as if the experience in both left them with a hunger, one group for the thing they hungered for in the camps, food, the others for life and engaging in everything they did with a ferocity that seemed to eat up every morsel of life as if it needed to be savored before heading to the next. Both were reacting to the same deprivations and horrors in very different ways and are significant as the same dichotomy exists in how most Jews face anti-Semitism even when it is staring them in the face.
The majority of Jews remaining in Europe and the United States are those whose first, second and even third reaction to increasing anti-Semitism is to dismiss it as either irrelevant or as happening to those other Jews, not to the kind of Jews I know who are comfortable and integrated and of course accepted as equals in the society and not seen as anything different. They keep sticking to an old Jewish belief when struck upside the head with anti-Semitic hatreds thinking that “It can’t happen here. Not to me or those I know. We are all assimilated and no different than anybody else. We are accepted. We are safe.” Others feel even more threatened than is warranted as they read a single article and they start using their dead-bolt, read a second article and keep their window shades drawn and the windows locked, another article and they get extra latches for the windows and a second dead-bolt in every door. Eventually they start seeing shadows behind every object and have paranoid feelings that they are being targeted and jump if touched out in public at the grocery store or the bank or wherever.
The reality for both is somewhere inbetween as extra precautions are always a good idea these days even if one is not Jewish and a healthy awareness of surroundings is advised for all, but paranoia to the point of stark terror if outside at night is something beyond reasonable. Of course there are those places where the stark terrifying paranoia is warranted such as Sweden, Malmo in particular, and in France and soon to be areas in Britain and eventually throughout Europe. The answer for the growing anti-Semitic hatreds growing across Europe both emanating from the immigrant communities coming from countries where anti-Semitism is infused into the blood and Jews have become an extinct people or very close to so with perhaps a dozen or two very old Jews who refused to heed the signs and even the forced evictions, some even resorting to residing in their Synagogue where the authorities left them seeing them as harmless and a foil they could trot out as the happy Jews still living the good life, in the shadows trembling, in their fair and multi-cultural nation. Many of these same nations have a small and vulnerable Christian community which is an empty shell of its former self and equally endangered. When facing excessive threats, one is usually facing leaving; but the question is always where to flee. Should one flee to the United States where things are so different or to Israel where we will need to stand no matter the threat. Fleeing to Israel always has seemed like the place of last resort and if one is more an assimilated Jew, Israel becomes a threat in some manner as it is viewed as being too Jewish and is under threat more so than anywhere else; they are just more adapted and capable of minimizing most threats. The United States has always been the nation for those huddled masses yearning to be free, which these Jews honestly believe this includes freedom from anti-Semitism. Unfortunately they would be wrong as the ugly face of anti-Semitism has been lifting its head and snapping at the easiest targets. The latest was a graffiti spree where anti-Semitic phrases and references including swastikas were drawn on a pair of buildings, one being a school, in Rockville, Maryland about ten minutes outside of Washington D.C. on Wisconsin Avenue/Rockville Pike. This is in the middle of a number of heavily Jewish neighborhoods and from what we have gathered has been hushed up in the Capital City area likely not to upset the Jewish communities or blemish the nation’s Capital with such events being publicized.
Europe, on the other hand, had had a rising and bordering on vicious wave after wave of ever increasing anti-Semitism with France, Britain, Belgium, Sweden, Norway and others growing more antagonistic each and every day. The current spate of Ministers, former Minister, former Mayors and the head of the Labor Party all coming under suspicions of anti-Semitic outbursts leading to the suspension of around a half dozen pending hearings could eject them from their positions as Ministers and possibly from membership in the Party itself. These have simply been the most flagrant episodes which lie just sufficiently under the radar to be ignored by the media. Still, many Jewish neighborhoods have become aware and sensitive to the threats being faced and have already had the initial emigrations with half heading across the Atlantic to the United States with the remainder heading straight to Israel. Those heading to the United States may have chosen well, but time will tell. Those moving to Israel are very likely more traditional orthodox or religious and secular Zionists. The secular Zionists are most likely to take up residence in one of the various communities in and around Tel Aviv most likely to choose one fairly close to their new employment or in a neighborhood where the majority speak their native language. Perhaps those choosing Israel were fully aware of the statistics which combines terrorism with normative criminal activities giving a complete view of the dangers of each society, those in Israel against those in the United States. The immediate result between the two which becomes obvious was that in either nation one can avoid criminal victimhood one need only avoid certain areas where criminal activity is the highest. What surprises many people is that even with the terror statistics included, an individual is measurably safer in Israel.
The growing levels of anti-Semitism are notable in two main streams. The first is the same type of hatreds as has been seen over the centuries. This is largely the type of anti-Semitism as found in the developing nations. The second type of anti-Semitism is evidenced in Europe and the rest of the modern world and has spread to the rest of the world due to its apparent acceptance in the modern industrial nations, and that is anti-Israelism and anti-Zionism. This style of anti-Semitism basically stated claims that the Jew does not need their own nation as they can be a Jew anywhere they choose just as they have for centuries. The claim is that only the Jew may not have a nation they may call their own. The argument often goes that no other religious groups have their own nation. This ignores all the Islamic nations, Christian nations, Buddhist nations and targets solely Israel. It also ignores that every other religion has at least one nation where they are the majority peoples of the main religions and even Shinto has the Japanese Isles. This demand that only the Jew be forced to reside throughout the world an accursed minority and be denied a nation of their own is simply anti-Semitism. The claim that only the Jew be seen as never having existed as having their own nation ignores the nation of Judea which was the last independent Jewish state, and many well point out that the Jews came exactly from Judea and that before the split into Israel and Judea there was no Jew goes that last step in realizing that the Jew is really a Judean with it shortened to one syllable for lazy convenience. Still, whether we wish to call anti-Semitism what it is because it denies Jews their own state as Israelites, of which the Judeans were but one tribe’s worth, or demands that any and all former Israelites be forced to live dispersed as they are the true people damned by Hashem to forever walk nationless accursed amongst the peoples of the earth, either way it is anti-Semitism and holds the Jew as separate and reserved for hatred, lack of acceptance and scorn.
Lastly, how does the Shoah, the Holocaust fit into anti-Semitism. The manner in which the Shoah fits into modern anti-Semitism is when it is claimed that the only reason the Jews received their state of Israel was because of the Shoah and due to the guilt felt by Europe who punished the Arabs, later becoming the Palestinians, for the evils in Europe. This claim also ignores that half of Israeli Jewish population are Arab Jews from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and arrived in Israel as a direct result of anti-Semitic pogroms. Then there are the classic anti-Semitic tropes where Israel is directly threatened in a manner of claiming that the Holocaust never existed and that there will be another Holocaust when Israel is to be wiped from the map. How you can have another Holocaust while denying the former Holocaust is beyond logic. These Holocaust deniers who promise another Holocaust are a truly frightening sort as they claim there is no break in their logic and at the same instance claim that if only the Nazis had completed the task and followed through on their promises to the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Hussein there would be no need for another holocaust.
Those claiming to be the final hand against the Jew further demand that they are serving the same deity as do Christian and Jews despite their name of Allah. Their claim goes even further astray in that they claim they follow the god of Abraham, Ishmael and Mohammad and of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Where they claim to be an Abrahamic religion, which is undeniable, their matron was not Sarah making theirs a separate Abrahamic religion not of the same lineage of Christianity and Judaism. This places the Islamic anti-Semitism on a different track of all other forms of anti-Semitism in that it claims the branch of Abrahamic religions as impure to be those from the lineage from Sarah and that the chosen religion comes from Abraham through Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden. This would further make Christianity as false a religion as Judaism and we see that Islam does hold Christianity as a false religion just as it does Judaism. This should give pause to all the Christian groups who saddle up next to the Muslims as they see them as allies against the Jews but ignore their near equal hatred of Christianity. The one other note that both Christianity and Judaism need take of Islam is their current claims that Moses, Jesus and all the other main pillars and greats throughout the ages after Abraham as their prophets as well and their love of them is a matter of convenience and a method through which they hope to coopt both religions and take from them the weaker and less knowledgeable and plan that once they have eradicated the Jews and later the Christians they will drop these prophets of convenience and claim those believing in these as actual prophets of Islam to be heretics and apostates who need to be crushed and put to the sword and that will be their final treatment of the false Jews and Christians whose faith was so weak they gave up their rightful religions for the protection, temporary as it will be, of those who never wished their company but accepted it as a convenience when it was necessary. The Jews should recognize such as we have seen it time and time again be it the Hellenistic Jews to Jews for Jesus. But history has taught that there is no anti-Semite as hateful as the former Jew coopting Judaism in order to save their lives at the expense of their brethren Jews. That is truly the world’s worst and most persistent and second oldest form of anti-Semitism with the idolaters who served Ba’al amongst others who were the original anti-Semites as the Jews have witnessed many a varied sort of anti-Semite with the Jew turned against their own being the worst as it is their weakness and lack of faith and love of Hashem which has pained us the most throughout the ages. As the old adage claims, “Save me from my friends as my enemies I can take care of myself.” These are the wolves in sheep’s clothing which are the most scary as they attack from within our gates.
Beyond the Cusp