Sunday, December 21, 2014
The New Antisemitism and the Violence it Incites
This year, Europe's Jews enter Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, with a degree of apprehension I have not known in my lifetime. Anti-Semitism has returned to Europe within living memory of the Holocaust. Never again has become ever again.
Two principles of legal writing that I have learned in law school are "Is this true?" and "If this is true, why does it matter?" It is easy to document the reemergence of antisemitism in Europe; orthodox Jews in France are justifiably afraid to publicly demonstrate their faith lest they be accosted on the street and Rabbi Sacks cites a 2013 survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights that revealed that nearly one third of Europe's Jews are thinking of emigrating specifically because of antisemitism (that number is 46% in France and 48% in Hungary, two of many European countries whose native populations enthusiastically participated in the Nazis' program to kill every Jew).
The next question is "Why does the reemergence of European antisemitism matter?" Rabbi Sacks explains:
Historically, as the British Tory MP Michael Gove points out, anti-Semitism has been the early warning signal of a society in danger. That is why the new anti-Semitism needs to be understood--and not only by Jews.
Anti-Semitism was always only obliquely about Jews. They were its victims but not its cause. The politics of hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. It wasn't Jews alone who suffered under Hitler and Stalin. It is hardly Jews alone who are suffering today under their successors, the radical Islamists of Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Islamic State and their fellow travelers in a seemingly endless list of new mutations.
The assault on Israel and Jews world-wide is part of a larger pattern that includes attacks on Christians and other minority faiths in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia--a religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing. Ultimately, this campaign amounts to an attack on Western democratic freedoms as a whole. If not halted now, it will be Europe itself that will be pushed back toward the Dark Ages.
Many proponents of the new antisemitism attempt to cloak their hatred beneath alleged concern for human rights. They claim that they do not hate Jews but that they merely disagree with Israel's policies. Rabbi Sacks states that no one should be fooled by such rhetoric:
Human rights matter, and they matter regardless of the victim or the perpetrator. It is the sheer disproportion of the accusations against Israel that makes Jews feel that humanitarian concern isn't the prime motive in these cases: More than half of all resolutions adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council since 2006 (when the Council was established) in criticism of a particular country have been directed at Israel. In 2013, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a total of 21 resolutions singling out Israel for censure, according to U.N. Watch, and only four resolutions to protest the actions of the rest of the world's states.
Anti-Semitism has always been, historically, the inability to make space for differences among people, which is the essential foundation of a free society. That is why the politics of hate now assaults Christians, Bahai, Yazidis and many others, including Muslims on the wrong side of the Sunni/Shia divide, as well as Jews. To fight it, we must stand together, people of all faiths and of none. The future of freedom is at stake, and it will be the defining battle of the 21st century.
The new antisemitism threatens not only Jews and not only the State of Israel but rather it threatens civilization as a whole. Israel's enemies are barbaric in thought and in deed and if they are not confronted they will wreak havoc throughout the world. Sadly, even many Jews and the State of Israel fail to recognize this truth. On November 18, two Arab terrorists entered a Jerusalem synagogue and killed five people: Rabbi Avraham Goldberg, Rabbi Arye Kupinsky, Rabbi Kalmen Levin, Rabbi Moshe Twersky and Master Sergeant Zidan Sif, a police officer who died in the line of duty while trying to protect the synagogue.
In Responding to the Slaughter, Caroline Glick describes how--in contrast to Israel's weak, ineffective policies--a strong, proud nation would deal with barbarians who butcher rabbis in a house of worship and how a strong, proud nation would respond to the cheering populace that enthusiastically praises those barbarians:
The horrible truth is that all of the anti-Jewish slaughters perpetrated by our Arab neighbors have been motivated to greater or lesser degrees by Islamic Jew-hatred. The only difference between the past hundred years and now is that today our appeasement-oriented elite is finding it harder to pretend away the obvious fact that we cannot placate our enemies.
No "provocation" by Jews drove two Jerusalem Arabs to pick up meat cleavers and a rifle and slaughter rabbis in worship like sheep and then mutilate their bodies.
No "frustration" with a "lack of progress" in the "peace process," can motivate people to run over Jewish babies or attempt to assassinate a Jewish civil rights activist.
The reason that these terrorists have decided to kill Jews is that they take offense at the fact that in Israel, Jews are free. They take offense because all their lives they have been taught that Jews should live at their mercy, or die by their sword...
With regard to the individual terrorists, the government has made much of its intention to destroy the homes of terrorists. While it sounds good, there is limited evidence of the effectiveness of this punitive measure, which is a relic of the British Mandate.
Rather than destroy their homes, Israel should adopt the US anti-narcotics policy of asset seizure.
All assets directly or indirectly tied to terrorists, including their homes and any other structure where they planned their crimes, and all remittances to them, should be seized and transferred to their victims, to do with what they will.
If Israel hands over the homes of the synagogue butchers to the 24 orphans of Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Kalman Levine, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky and Rabbi Avraham Goldberg, not only will justice be served. The children's inheritance of the homes of their fathers' killers will send a clear and demoralizing message to other would-be killers.
Not only will their atrocities fail to remove the Jews from Israel. Every terrorist will contribute to the Zionist project by donating his home to the Jewish settlement enterprise...
Israel should also revoke citizenship and residency rights not only from terrorists themselves, but from those who enjoy citizenship and residency rights by dint of their relationship with the terrorists.
Wives who received Israeli residency or citizenship rights though marriage to terrorists should have their rights revoked, as should the children of the terrorists...
The actions set forth above: asset seizure, revenue seizure and citizenship/residency abrogation for terrorists and their dependents are steps that Israel can take today, despite the hostile international climate.
There is an authentic Jewish response to barbaric terrorism and it is the response that any thinking, feeling person would advocate: total war. In the wake of the Jerusalem synagogue massacre, Rabbi Mordechai Tzion described why total war is just and essential:
I remember a joke--although it is certainly not a times for jokes--from Meir Uziel, a comedian and grandson of former Chief Rabbi Ha-Rav Ben Tzion Uziel: In the competition for Ms. Ethical among the 200 nations of the world, we always come in last place, since we are the only ones who show up! We must certainly be ethical, but to our brothers, not the enemy.
During the Second World War, the Allied powers destroyed neighborhood after neighborhood in Berlin, because everyone understood that there was no other way to wage war. Did King Hussein of Jordan deal with Black September with child gloves? No, he killed 17,000 Palestinians and ended his Intifada once and for all. President Assad killed 21,000 Palestinians in one month when there was an uprising in Syria. And when Hamas wanted to take over Gaza, they killed many, many people. This is the language they speak and understand. This is how we must deal with them.
I remember that a terrorist once attacked a woman in Neveh Dekalim. She lay down on the baby carriage to protect her baby, and he stabbed her fifteen times in the back. By some miracle, someone came and shot him and saved her. Later, an unethical reporter interviewed the rescuer on the radio and asked: "How do you feel after killing a person?" He responded: "The thing which I killed was not a person." I remembered this and quoted it various times. I once met someone and I said "shalom." He said: "You don't know me but you quoted me. I am the person who killed that thing which was not a person." I said: "Yashar Koach--Way to go. Your actions followed what the Rambam says in Moreh Nevuchim (vol. 1 #7)." The Rambam discusses the "demons" mentioned in the Gemara. He says that a "demon" looks like a person on the outside, but is a wild animal on the inside. It is more dangerous than a wild animal in that it has intellect. People periodically ask me: Is the theory that we came from animals true? I answer: "I do not know. I was not there. The question, however, does not bother me. What bothers me is whether we have left being animals."
Michael Freund also understands that the time and place for diplomacy/concessions by Israel toward her barbaric enemies has long passed:
Armed with guns, knives and a meat cleaver, our “partners in peace” shot, slashed and stabbed their victims, leaving pools of blood and horror in their wake, before being eliminated by the police.
It is difficult to conceive of a more despicable deed.
This act of Palestinian brutality was so heinous that even Israelis hardened by decades of terror responded with disbelief. Indeed, anyone still thinking of giving the Palestinians a state should take a long, hard look at the disturbing photos of the synagogue slaughter that are circulating online.
In one such picture, a Jewish man lies dead on the synagogue floor, wrapped in his tallit and tefillin and surrounded by blood stains, evoking scenes reminiscent of the days when the Cossacks massacred our people. It is a startling and distressing testimony to the savagery of our foes, to the bestial depths of inhumanity to which the Palestinians are willing to descend in their war against the Jewish state.
After all, what kind of human being wakes up in the morning, grabs a few weapons, and then walks into a house of prayer intent on maiming and murdering innocent people? Guns were not sufficient for these savages. They employed axes and knives, which are far more intimate and bloody weapons, the kind that require physical contact with the victim rather than the less personal act of pulling a trigger.
If it is possible for a person to strip away the Divine image with which he was created, then the Palestinian terrorists who perpetrated this attack have surely succeeded in doing so.
Frankly, I am tired of the meaningless mantras and barren babble of many of our politicians. The time for tough talk is over. Now is the time for tough action, for measures that will change the course of events and punish those behind this evil deed.
For God's sake, Jerusalem, Israel's capital, is under attack. Stabbings, stonings, premeditated vehicular attacks, rioting on the Temple Mount and now an assault on a synagogue.
The only way to stop this spiral of violence from spinning further out of control is to go to the source, to the root of the problem.
Simply put, it is time to topple the Palestinian Authority (PA ) and declare to the world once and for all: there will never be a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria.
We must be careful not just to focus on one terrorist attack or even the entire war to destroy first Israel and then Western civilization. It is important to remember and honor the men who were massacred. Zidan Sif bravely fought against the terrorists until they killed him. The four rabbis who were killed were scholars, gentle men of peace; they left behind 24 orphans. The following is reprinted from of the November 21, 2014 newsletter of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim/Jerusalem Chai:
A Plea from the Families of the Kedoshim Murdered this past week by Arab Terrorists
The widows and orphans of the four Rabbis who were murdered by Arab terrorists this past Tuesday in Yerushalayim issued a letter calling for national solidarity and unity.
The Jewish people have always wanted to live in peace with their Arab and Muslim brethren. Through hard work, sacrifice, ingenuity and toughness, the Jewish people have created an oasis literally (in terms of making the desert bloom) and figuratively; as Israeli UN Ambassador Prosor recently noted, "Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, less than half a percent are truly free--and they are all citizens of Israel. Israeli Arabs are some of the most educated Arabs in the world. They are our leading physicians and surgeons, they are elected to our parliament, and they serve as judges on our Supreme Court. Millions of men and women in the Middle East would welcome these opportunities and freedom."
The Arab terrorists who entered that synagogue with hate in their hearts and murder on their minds did not kill the so-called "peace process." That "peace process" never existed in the first place. Judaism is a religion of peace and the rabbis who were massacred were men of peace but none of that matters to Israel's enemies, who will not rest until every non-Muslim is subjugated or killed. This brings us full circle to the beginning of this article: Jew-hatred is the early warning signal of a society in danger; the world's reaction (or, sadly, non-reaction) to the Arab/Islamic world's systematic effort to destroy the Jewish State and to massacre individual Jews is a sorry reflection on the current state of the world.
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