Rerunning the ‘30s
We’ve seen it all before. Swastikas in the streets, arms raised in infamous Sieg Heil salutes, preposterous statements being made that hark back to the 1930s in Hitler’s Europe. But this is not the ‘30s. We have turned the corner into a new millennium, with hopes of better things ahead for human beings on this planet. But, as has so often been the case, history is repeating itself and driving any such optimism from the stage.
No, this is not the ‘30s, but you would never know it by what’s happening on the streets of Berlin and other European cities. Anti-Semitism is making a violent comeback across the continent. So much so that England’s chief rabbi said Jewish people are suffering the worst anti-Semitism in that country since the Nazi Holocaust.
In Brussels, Belgium, the chief rabbi there was brutally attacked at a metro station by a band of Arabs who kicked him in the face and called him a “dirty Jew.”
Hate rallies appear in Russia with such frequency that they are regarded as normal. Recently skinheads attacked and seriously injured a 15-year-old Jewish boy.
In France more than 350 anti-Semitic acts have been committed in the past year and a half—more than in any Western country. According to a Christian colleague in France, Jewish people and institutions are being attacked daily:
Molotov cocktails are being thrown into churches, bombs placed in Jewish cemeteries, schools set on fire. A school bus containing Jewish children was stoned and a little girl injured. A synagogue in Marseille was burned to the ground. Now it seems that the [anti-Jewish] media has succeeded in motivating people to act. Many rallies were held lately, gathering large crowds with anti-Semitic slogans, calling Ariel Sharon a criminal, etc. Tough time to be Jewish here these days . . . many are thinking of going to Israel.
In Amsterdam, Holland, about fifteen thousand people took part in what has been called the biggest demonstration there in the last eight years. Never were so many swastikas shown in public—at least seventy-five were counted. A photo depicting Adolph Hitler strangling Ariel Sharon was prominently displayed. People were chanting, “Jews into the sea.”
But Jewish people and Israel were not the only targets. The United States and President George W. Bush were also derided. One banner read, “USA=Jews=Nazis. USA you will pay.”
In Berlin residents have been warned not to wear clothing or jewelry identifying them as Jewish. Police recommended against wearing skullcaps or the Star of David. “This is a blow to freedom of religion,” a police spokesman said, “but the police cannot protect every single Jew.”
It is revealing that residents of only two countries are being warned to stay out of Europe or keep low profiles while traveling there: Israelis (Jewish people) and Americans. As implausible as it may seem, these are the facts of life in the world today. America and Israel are the targets of the international hate merchants. And Americans should be acutely aware of the rising climate of discrimination against us in many foreign countries. Anti-Semitism is becoming an extremely serious problem again. But another phenomenon is growing rapidly—anti-Americanism.
Years ago we heard Europeans complain about the “ugly Americans” who invaded the continent each summer and were considered, except for their monetary contributions to the economy, ill-bred, crude, and tasteless. The “ugly American” of those benign and quieter days was viewed as a rather tongue-in-cheek character. Today, however, the word ugly has been replaced with evil, and there’s nothing tongue in cheek about it.
We recognize that Arab and Muslim forces within the European community are instigating much of this anti-Semitic/anti-American hatred. In France, for example, there is no doubt that its sixty-million-strong Muslim population is fanning the flames and fomenting turmoil within the country. Such frightening unrest has given rise to the surprise electoral showing by avowed racist Jean-Marie Le Pen, who promised to deport illegal immigrants and restrict immigration. This is a man who refers to the Holocaust as “a detail of history.”
The growing hatred of America is not confined only to areas in Europe and the Middle East. In Indonesia, where Christians have been under violent assault by Muslim terrorists, we have learned that Muslim guns are now being turned on other targets. The militant Muslim organization Lasker Jihad has affirmed its commitment to carry out acts of violence not only against Indonesian Christians but also against American interests. When questioned about whether his organization plans to target American interests, Lasker Jihad’s leader replied that, yes, American interests were now also at risk in his country. “We will confront them with all means of combat and preaching.”
When asked about the possibility of Lasker Jihad joining the fight against America, he replied, “Allah be praised, the Muslims continue their Jihad against America, and it is our obligation to support them as best we can.” With respect to being allied with Osama bin-Laden and al-Qaida, the Jihad leader said, “Of course, as they are Muslims and it is our duty to support Muslims and to wash our hands of the infidels. This is our principle.”
Thus what we see is a merging of militancy against Israel, Jewish people, and America. Yes, it’s a rerun of the ‘30s, but on a fearfully broader scale.