Whenever I read a book about the rise of anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, I find myself asking: “What would I have done had I been an average German citizen living in Germany at the time? Would I have stayed silent, or spoken up, when the Nazis demonized the Jews in the press? Would I have remained indifferent, or objected vociferously, when the Nazis enacted increasingly restrictive and inhumane anti-Jewish laws? Would I have heeded, or defied, the calls to boycott Jewish businesses? Would I have averted my eyes, or attempted to intervene, when I saw Jews being mistreated?”
These are questions to which I will never know the answers. Yet, they are hardly pointless questions, given the reappearance in recent weeks of Jew-hatred at a level not seen since the days of the Third Reich. Pro-Palestinian rallies, taking place almost daily, have descended into anti-Semitic hate-fests of a kind not seen for some eighty years. Indeed, the Israeli ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, says that “They pursue the Jews in the streets of Berlin…as if we were in 1938.” Before German authorities clamped down, some of the ‘protesters’ were chanting slogans like “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone.” And it’s not just young thugs engaging in hate speech: The imam of a Berlin mosque is under investigation after allegedly calling on Muslims to murder “Zionist Jews.” Some protestors are resorting to more than just vile language. Synagogues have been attacked. In Wuppertal, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue. Fourteen people were arrested in Essen on suspicion of planning an attack on a synagogue. Jews have been physically abused, too. An Orthodox Jew was punched in the face on his way to a synagogue in central Berlin. Observers of the demonstrations have noted that the majority of protesters are Muslim immigrants and their German-born children. But there are non-Muslim participants as well.
What’s happening in Germany is taking place on an even greater scale in France, home to the largest Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe (1/2 million Jews and 5 million Muslims). Pro-Palestinian protesters shout “Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas” and “Death to Jews.” Since the start of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, website moderators have had to censor 95% of comments made by French users! Pro-Palestinian goons have tried to firebomb and break into synagogues. A kosher grocery and Jewish-owned pharmacy were torched. The rampant anti-Semitism has forced French authorities to ban pro-Palestinian marches–bans which have been ignored in some cases.
Anti-Semitic acts have been taking place in other parts of the EU. In Belgium, a café posted a sign which read: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Jews are not under any circumstances.” A Belgian doctor refused to treat an elderly Jewish woman. In the Netherlands, a Jewish woman who was flying an Israeli flag on her balcony had her apartment firebombed.
Jew-hatred is erupting not just in Europe, but around the globe and in countries not usually known for anti-Semitism. In Calgary, Alberta, Canada at a pro-Palestinian demonstration outside the city hall, pro-Palestinian demonstrators attacked Jews and their pro-Israel supporters. There were yells of “Hitler was right” and “Kill Jews.” One pro-Israel supporter was dragged across the street by the Israeli flag tied around his neck; five pro-Israel supporters were sent to the hospital. In Chicago, anti-Jewish leaflets containing threats to the Jewish people were put on the windshields of cars in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood. At a pro-Gaza rally in front of the town hall in Sydney Australia, there were shouts of “Israel has no right to exist.”
I could go on and on–the list is a sickeningly-long one. Israel’s military operation Protective Edge has brought the Jew-haters back into the streets where, under the pretext of ‘demonstrating on behalf of the people of Gaza’, they spew their vile slogans, vandalize, and terrorize. As already noted, a great many of the demonstrators, but not all, are the children of Muslim parents who immigrated to the West. Many, if not most, of the demonstrators would probably reject the label ‘anti-Semite’; rather, they would claim they are ‘anti-Zionist’.
To them I would say this: To deny the Jewish state the right to defend and protect its citizens–a right denied to no other country on earth–is in and of itself an anti-Semitic act. Israel is thus in the process of destroying Hamas’ underground tunnel network–believed to number 5,000 tunnels–as well as the rocket launch sites, located in mosques and in at least three UN-run schools. Tragically, innocent children are dying in Gaza. It’s heartrending, but it happens in every war. But assign blame where it rightly belongs. Blame the parents, who knowingly voted for a brutal terrorist organization to run their country. Blame Hamas, whose sole raison d’être is not to provide a good life for the people of Gaza but to destroy Israel.
Hamas excels at constructing terror tunnels in order to kidnap and kill Jews. Israel, on the other hand, develops technology like the Iron Dome to protect its people. I know whose side I take in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Hamas excels in b