By: Fern Sidman
The interior of the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue in Berlin after Kristallnacht
Since Friday morning, November 11th, Jews around the world and especially in the Orthodox enclaves of New York have been recoiling in horror over the overtly anti-Semitic vandalisms that took place in the early morning hours near Ocean Parkway and Avenue I in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. Three vehicles were torched and a gruesome array of hideous epithets, as well as the perfunctory swastikas and KKK emblem, were indiscriminately scrawled on cars and benches. As community outrage reached a fever pitch, it was duly noted that this attack was clearly planned to coincide with the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, (the night of broken glass), when on November 9-10 1938, as a pogrom of mammoth proportions erupted in Hitler’s Europe, almost 200 synagogues were destroyed, over 8,000 Jewish shops were sacked and looted, and tens of thousands of Jews were deported to concentration camps.
There is no doubt that we are living in turbulent times. One need only turn on the TV, computer or read any newspaper to find that we are witnessing an alarming escalation of blatant Jew hatred. What is most frightening is the fact that while the putrid stench of such hatred wafts through the air, a tacit approval of sorts looms large in respectable circles who refuse to condemn it. One gets the eerily visceral feeling that this may indeed be a replication of Europe in 1938. On the local scene, anti-Semitism has invaded the discussion of corporate avarice and malfeasance that is being promulgated by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Sound familiar? Their mantra goes something like this: It is the Jew who controls the banks, the international monetary fund; it is the Jew who is at the vanguard of the insidious cabal to steal the wealth of the world, while the unemployment rates spike and the poor grow poorer. It is time to resurrect the perennial scapegoat and it is always the Jew.
Let us make no mistake about it. While the haters charge that they are merely anti-Zionist, we know that it is a clever subterfuge for classical anti-Semitism. Case in point: most recently in Boston, the Occupy movement staged a takeover of the Israeli consulate, where demonstrators spewed forth the hackneyed and utterly baseless claims that the Israelis have assumed the role of Nazis in their purported “oppression” of the Palestinians.
Anyone who has eyes to see and ears that not only hear but also listen, will know that these are not sporadic happenings. They show that Jew hatred is a permanent part of and endemic to our society; a recurrent cancer that at times goes into remission, but inevitably reappears in ever more toxic manifestations. Fatal attacks on Jews and their communities throughout Europe and South America have been taking place for decades while the abject silence of the world is beyond deafening.
Each day we are inundated with bloody images of the rise of radical Islam, not only in the Middle East, not only in the maelstrom of the Arab spring, but in the heartland of Western civilization. It is an ideology that is driven not by a prototypical miscreant like Adolf Hitler, but by a political credo that is couched in religious doctrine. It is a burgeoning and pernicious movement that calls for the eradication of Israel and of course, the death of the Jew, the primary infidel of all infidels.
It is a culture of death where one nary witnesses the respect for the sanctity of life and yet the world remains taciturn at best and indifferent at worst. An Orwellian flavor has emerged amongst civilized intellectuals in the Western academy who wouldn’t dare express revulsion over egregious acts of terror for fear of being labeled “politically incorrect,” in the fear of appearing pro-Colonialist or pro-Imperialist. By dint of sheer repetition of their propaganda, the Islamists and the cadre of Jew haters who support them have convinced us that the aggressor is the victim, that good is bad and right is wrong.
It is also no coincidence that this week we also commemorate the 21st anniversary of the assasination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who, in his relatively short lifetime embodied the lone voice in the wilderness when he spoke so eloquently and presciently about the rise in anti-Semitism and the nebulous future of the Jew in exile. He was a man who called for Jews to re-connect with their G-d, their heritage and to cloak themselves in Jewish pride; to fear no man but only to fear G-d; to rise up from the ash barrels of Auschwitz and to re-create the Jew of yesteryear; the Jew of the bible who knew who their implacable foes were and who never hastened to challenge them.
During this most trying week, we would do well to take heed of Rabbi Kahane’s last words on the evening of November 5, 1990 when he summed things up by saying, “It’s not an accident that so few German Jews survived the camps. The Polish Jew did better. Why? Because the Polish Jew wasn’t surprised. It didn’t shock him that gentiles could behave like this. It didn’t surprise him, so he wasn’t shattered inside, he wasn’t broken. But the German Jew was psychologically shattered. How could this be? I’m a German. I’m a German. How could it be? How can you do this to me? The Pole knew he was a Jew. The German was broken because his whole illusion was shattered. And that’s how the American Jew lives. “I’m an American.” It’s the gentile who will teach you so quickly that you’re a Jew. It’s not just in the bars, in the working class bars the anti-Semitism that you see. When you see the news media and their attitude towards Israel; it’s not anti-Israel – it is anti-Semitism.”