The Latest Olds
- One dead, at least five injured in shooting at Jewish Federation in Seattle
- Cleric slams synagogue attack (synagogue attack in Sydney)
- Hezbollah’s violent ideology hits Montreal streets (pro-Israel demonstrators attacked in Montreal)
- Gobbed by the Peaceniks—Report from the “Support Lebanon” Rally (Israel supporter attacked, spat upon in Boston)
- Synagogue vandalized (in Oslo)
Free of any context, the above items would be called news. But to anyone minimally versed in Jewish history, those are nothing but more links in an ancient chain: Jew-hatred, Judeophobia or anti-Semitism. The hatred that afflicts so many supposedly rational people, and which those people always find excuses for.
For Theodore Herzl (zt"l), it is said the realization came upon watching the 1894–6 Dreyfus affair. Historians now lean more to the hypothesis that the mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger, opened his eyes to the predicament of anti-Semitism. Perhaps both points are right: Lueger’s anti-Semitism was the catalyst, and the Dreyfus Affair was the final agent to the idea of Zionism. Both Vienna and Paris were cities of Enlightenment, of people following reason instead of “Jews are Christ-killers, money-lenders and well-poisoners”. Herzl realized that, if such bastions of Enlightenment and Reason could still succumb to anti-Semitic outbursts, then it was time to leave those sinking ships and set up a homeland for the Jews. The anti-Semites no longer couched their hatred with religious Christian tirades, but they had new, rationalistic, even scientific, pretexts instead: the Jews as capitalists, as communists, as political schemers, as disruptors of national security, and finally, as the lowest of the low in the Scale of Human Races.
“Juden nach Palästina!”, said the road signs in Nazi Germany just before the Holocaust. Herzl believed that the emigration of Jews from the Diaspora to a state of their own would end anti-Semitism. He was sightful enough to realize that reason and secularism are no guarantors of cessation of Jew-hatred, but not enough to foresee the carrying-over of anti-Semitism to the Jewish state.
After 1945, it was supposed the utter horror of the Holocaust would leave no room for anti-Semitism except on part of the most extreme margins of society. Fat chance: in 1967 the anti-Semites found their first excuse (the alleged Israeli aggression against Egypt, Jordan and Syria, which was, of course, a war of defense against the threat of annihilation, as all Arab–Israeli wars have been), and later, with the “Palestinians” employing the ruse of “oppression under the Zionist boot”, it grew even more intense, up to the situation now, in which the Left, supposedly the bastion of secularism and rationality, has struck an unholy alliance with theofascistic Islam against Zionism and the “Zionist-Owned Government” of the United States of America.
Herzl was an assimilating Jew, having left religion—knowing enough Jewish history to see the sickness, but no longer having the belief that it was supernatural. His was the suggestion that Israel be like all other nations—kechol ha'amim beit Yisrael—in having a state of its own, but he did not accept that the sickness of anti-Semitism is of divine institution.
He had the idea of moving the Jews to Uganda as a temporary refuge. Even as a permanent state, it is obvious that problems would arise, such as disputes between the Jewish immigrants and the local Gentile population, leading to a redux of South Africa and Rhodesia. The fact is that, as the Evian Conference of 1938 showed, Gentile nations were not interested in having a substantial Jewish population. The “Palestinians”, or Arabs, or Muslims, are just another group of people who would not tolerate the new Jewish presence. The Land of Israel was chosen, despite Herzl’s reservations and calls to be more pragmatic, because all the first Zionists came from religious Jewish homes—no longer believing the religious tenets, but imbued with them from childhood. Zionism, more than a reaction to Jewish religion itself, was a reaction to the golus (exile) mentality of “sit and do nothing”. It was not so much a stripping of religion than an injection of new blood to Judaism, the energy of activity.
Zionism found itself, in Hungary for example, opposed from two sides: Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Judaism and Reform Judaism. The former decried Zionism as an alternative Jewish identity that was driving Jews from a life of religious observance, and the latter feared it would raise accusations of Jewish dual loyalty (that is, to the Jewish state as well as to their host countries). Ultimately, both sides have been proved mistaken: the “Zion” (Jerusalem) in Zionism means that secular Jews cannot abandon all of the religious Jewish heritage without sawing the branch on which they were sitting, and the Jews remaining in the Diaspora had the idea of being secure citizens in their host countries shattered by the Holocaust. G-d has orchestrated all this to the spiritual as well physical return of the Jews to their borders.
And He has kept Jew-hatred alive, directed towards the Jewish state, for the same end. The fingers pointed toward the state of Israel are unprecedented in the whole of history: a tiny state surrounded by 21 hostile countries with ample land is being asked to give up a good share of itself for the sake of justice (justice for the “Palestinian” people). It evacuates some land for the sake of peace, destroying teeming Jewish settlements in the process, only to have rockets fired at it from those same areas, and when it dares to defend itself, it is accused of atrocity and oppression. The scenario of a prisoner in the Roman Colosseum with his hands and legs tied, trying to use any free body parts available to defend himself, only to be accused of being cruel to the lions, would be more believable than this. It is supernatural.
The Left now asks why this far-flung country should be a concern to the world (Neville Chamberlain asked the same about Czechoslovakia in 1938). The answer is: pathological Jew-hatred is G-d’s litmus indicator of darkness. The Nazis wanted both to murder all the Jews and to bring the whole world under their dominion. So do the Muslims now. The “light unto the nations” that G-d has said about the Jews is now seen to be a warning light, a beacon telling the ships where the rocks are.
Those of the Gentiles who stand with Israel are hasidei umot ha'olam, the righteous among the nations of the world (as was Oskar Schindler, among others). This is more than a Jew-centered epithet: they are the people who fight on God’s side against those who wish to subjugate the whole world unto darkness. The darkness can be concentration camps, gulags, crashing towers, girls stoned after being raped, authors stabbed to death for mere criticism or satire. The Jews had been, and are still being, accused of wishing to control the world, and under that pretext, exterminated throughout Europe. The outsiders who now threaten to fill the demographic ranks of Europe, the Muslims, openly say they want to dominate the world (“Islam Will Dominate” with the caliphate flag flying on top of the Capitol—nah, it’s just a reaction to Western colonialism…), but under the politically-correct regime that is now incapacitating the West are deemed immune to such accusations. It is upside-down. It is supernatural.