In response to, The past and future Holocaust a Christian commentator whom I assume to be an evangelical minister by his discussion, expressed concern and asked for clarification to those concerns. Below is his Comment in full, followed by mo response.
“Mr. Turner, I have mixed feelings about this thesis. You are correct in regards to the persistence of antisemitism and the impossibility of defeating it (hate, like alcoholism and mental illness, will always be a part of man and the Jews are tragically assigned the role of eternal scapegoat), but you neglect to take into account the collapse of Christianity in Western Europe and the rise of US Evangelical philo-semitism and pro-Zionism as a result of the success of Israel. If heaven forbid Israel falls, then your pessimism may have a stronger basis since Christianity adherents may interpret that as a sign from above that the Jews fell out of G-d’s favor again. But for now, Israel’s success has validated anti-displacement theology belief to the point where they are talking about Jews as elder brothers and “grafting themselves” onto the Jewish heritage. In fact, I was amazed to see a special Hannukah program on an international Christian network while flipping through channels recently. Of course, they steered the show towards Jesus, but they were very proud and excited to talk about the Maccabees and Hannukah to their non-Jewish audience.
“Also, you forget to mention the special combination of forces that lead to the Shoah, thereby making it special and much different than the history of pogroms: Technology and the industrialization of a mass murder system (German mastery of logistics, trains, concentration and death camps, IBM punchcards, etc.), totalitarian dictatorship unique to the 20th century, Nazi German “imperial” expansion to the point where far-flung Jewish communities lost their survival advantage of diversification, the failure and weakness of the West to nip the Nazis in the bud in 1936 and 1938, and the moral failure of Western leaders to open their doors to Jewish refugees and/or bomb the camps and train tracks. Even Churchill wrote in his book on WWII that it was a completely avoidable war, meaning to me that the war (and the Holocaust) could have been easily averted, even by genteel antisemitic Western states if only for guarding their own interests more carefully. If any one of those “puzzle pieces” above were missing, who knows if the Nazis would have pulled it off.
“In regards to physical survival of the Jewish people in Israel, Islamism and Arab nationalism remain the main threats to the Jews existence in Israel. Heaven forbid if those forces win the conflict, it’s debatable whether the victors would let Jews live here as an oppressed minority or try their luck with a middle-eastern final solution (remember the Arab League Chief’s call to throw the Jews to sea in ’48, Mufti Husseini’s request that the Nazis set up an extermination camp in Nablus, and recent calls for genocide by the Hamas Charter and by Hezbollah’s Nasrallah, who called for all the Jews around the world to be concentrated in Israel and killed.) Iran, for example, has already called for Israel’s destruction many times and may soon enough have the means to deliver a final solution on missile heads.
“In regards to the physical survival of the Jews in America, surrounded by secular and traditional Christians, they are safe as long as 1) Democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law are intact, 2) Israel survives as a defender of their rights and as a last refuge, and 3) The majority of Americans stand up for their fellow citizens in the highly unlikely event of genocidal anti-semites taking power like in Nazi Germany. (There is also an argument that the US right to bear arms also provides a last ditch protection for Jews, but it’s a weak one if individuals must face an organized fascist force.)
“Realistically, the much bigger problem is with assimilation, but even in that case there needs to be more thought generated within the community than by blaming anyone else. The US offers Jews the largest amount of free choice in the history of the Jewish people, including the option of marrying in or out. Even Israel gives more bureaucratic problems with marriage. Why isn’t every single US Jew dating other Jews? Obviously, love is more important to half of the Jews than adhering to Halacha, their parents wishes, or what some others in their community would want for them.
I sincerely hope your reply to this message.”
I appreciate the time and concern demonstrated in your thoughtful Comment, JustMe. Let me begin at the top: “hate, like alcoholism and mental illness, will always be a part of man and the Jews are tragically assigned the role of eternal scapegoat.” You may as well have directly quoted the father of Zionist theory, the nineteenth century Russian physician, Leon Pinsker. The only difference in your statement is the critical referents, Christian/Jew. The Jewish Problem, for the sake of simplicity, begins with the Matthew gospel, 27:25 condemning “the Jews” as deicides (full text from Matthew in my article, above). Augustine picked up the passage in his City of God to remind Christians of the crime, and the blessings provided by being Not-Jewish. One thousand years later Luther openly called for the destruction of the Jews based on 27:25. So, when you acknowledge that “the Jews” are “assigned the role of eternal scapegoat,” what is missing is the ascription of that role, indeed its invention, is Christian scripture and theology. Our status as “scapegoat” is a Christian phenomenon.
Now clearly this, and likely other responses to your Comment may seem provocative, even inflammatory to a Christian. For this I apologize. I do not write to offend Christians. In fact, I do not write expecting a Christian audience. My concern is solely the survival of my people, long scapegoated and persecuted in our Diaspora. And while my writings are not intended to offend, they might yet have a positive impact on my Christian audience in providing a possibly correct contrarian view (from the point of view of the victim) to what is clearly a contradiction to Christian Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness. Perhaps Christianity deserve a revaluation to achieve that to which it claims to aspire. But enough apologizing.
JM: “but you neglect to take into account the collapse of Christianity in Western Europe and the rise of US Evangelical philo-semitism and pro-Zionism as a result of the success of Israel.”
The “collapse of Christianity,” and most religion in the Christian West, does not enter this discussion since the history leading to the present is now deeply embedded in the successor secular nations to that history, as well demonstrated in the Holocaust perpetrated, and passively complied with by nearly every country inheritor to that history.
Your observation regarding, “the rise of US Evangelical philo-semitism and pro-Zionism” is, of course, much appreciated by both people and state. I am aware, even from Christian “regulars” participating in the discussion my blog invites of precisely philo-semitism, etc. And, should that terrible event I suggest represents our Jewish future, the next and final Final Solution occur, I would hope that those today our supporters would act to protect their Jewish neighbors and intermarried family. Using Germany as example, some Christians did risk life doing so. But the vast majority chose silence or participation.
JM: “If heaven forbid Israel falls, then your pessimism may have a stronger basis since Christianity adherents may interpret that as a sign from above that the Jews fell out of G-d’s favor again.”
And here even you appreciate how thin a veneer philo-semitism and pro-Zionism provides. Should Israel fall that, by your description, would represent an act of God’s wrath on his, as reprobate and deicide, People. And so we would be reconsidered as worthy of life. But even you appreciate the enormity of the problem: Israel surrounded by a people and religion hostile to our survival on our land; Iran condemning Israel to extermination and developing weapons capable of achieving as much. Yes, these could represent God’s will. Or we might take a more mundane view: That the United States having, at a time when her strategic interests warranted, entered into commitments with its Middle East allies and dependencies (Israel, Turkey, Egypt the “allies,” the Saudis and Gulf Arabs the “dependencies”) to provide a defense shield over the region. In a later period when American interests are shifting eastward there is a definite policy shift away from honoring those commitments. I have been writing on these matters for several years, but cannot go into them here. If interested a more recent article is Why Iran Should get the Bomb at, (http://blogs.jpost.com/content/why-iran-should-get-bomb-argument-%E2%80%9Cfor%E2%80%9D) So American assurances, its “special relationship” with Israel is in place only so long as it is to America’s benefit. And while one might liken contemporary realpolitik as an Act of God, as He “hardened” Pharoah’s heart previously, I prefer seeing it as simple realpolitik: make use, then discard and morality be damned.
As regards the Iranian bomb, that too I lay at the lap of America since, within the agreements referred to above, the US was obligated by its responsibility as defender of the region to have intervened long before, a decade earlier, to prevent the bomb and missile technology from ever approaching the ability to construct a bomb within months!
I, for one, do not choose to view God’s hand in American foreign policy aimed at punishing the Jews, as you describe. Let us not excuse political decisions so lightly.
JustMe, you clearly have a grasp of Jewish and Israeli history and from your Comment have achieved that through your identification with Judaism and my people. I believe my response to this point addresses the substance of your Comment which I feel was summarized in your first paragraph. I accept that, as things appear today, that “In regards to physical survival of the Jewish people in Israel, Islamism and Arab nationalism remain the main threats to the Jews existence in Israel.” Yes. And in Israel we are armed and, while nothing can be take for granted, capable of defending ourselves. It is the Diaspora to which I address my narrative. It is here that the two-thousand year-long threat hangs over us as Democles Sword. For here we are without means of self-defense, dependent today as we were recently in Germany on the uncertain good will of our neighbors.
How secure, JustMe, would you be in my place?