Confronting Deep-Rooted Anti-Semitism of Present

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Since the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel and Israel’s self-defense in attacking Hamas in Gaza, people have awakened to a renewed sense of anti-Semitism that has recently been reported as up 400%. However, while anti-Semitic incidents may be going up drastically, I believe that the underlying Jew hatred has been there all along!

Getting Resolution after the Massacre by the Evil Hamas

After Shabbat service today, one of the synagogue members said to me that, like so many of us, his wife has been glued to the news about Israel and that he is trying to get her to take some space from it, even if just for her mental health.

I responded that I too can’t stop watching the news about Israel and don’t think I can until we get some resolution in terms of the release of the 240 hostages, the destruction of the Hamas terror tunnels (aka the “Gaza Metro”), and the terrorists who attacked us.

The other responded in agreement but added that there is also the issue of rising anti-Semitism and that, unfortunately, we won’t ever get a resolution to that.

Always an Underlying, Simmering Anti-Semitism

Certainly, the Jew-haters are indeed out of the closet, and it is a “field day” for them now as they:

  • Demand a ceasefire by Israel while at the same time calling for and threatening Intifada and Jihad against Israel and the Jewish people.
  • Tear down photos of hostages, including children, being held prisoner by Hamas.
  • Terrorize Jewish students at universities and other public venues.
  • Vandalize Jewish synagogues, shops, homes, and cemeteries.
  • Kill Jews at pro-Palestinian rallies, such as in California, or in-home invasions, like in France.

At the same time, let’s face it: while we may have wanted to earnestly believe that after the Holocaust, Jews were welcome in democracies around the world, especially in the United States, the truth today seems more like we were never really accepted but rather tolerated, while under the surface there was always a certain simmering loathing of Jews and that it was just ready to explode to the surface of history once again.

Until Maschiach, no place is safe for Jews.

While the principles of freedom, equality, and human rights are noble goals that get espoused in the constitution and even at the corrupt United Nations, these have never been an enduring truth when it comes to the treatment of the Jews: From the virtual nonstop condemnation of Israel by the U.N. to Jews being excluded from universities, country clubs, and companies earlier in the 20th century, to the propaganda of the Protocols of Zion claiming a conspiracy by Jews who control the media, the money, and the government, to hate groups such as the neo-Nazis, the Nation of Islam, and Progressives calling variously for Jewish blood or spewing poisoning rhetoric of colonialism, occupation, and apartheid, to cut off aid to Israel and even invoking boycotts, divestments, and sanctions against us, the Jew-hatred has never really gone away, even if we were more comfortable telling ourselves and wanting to believe otherwise.

After six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, the survivors and their children carry that incredible weight. I suppose it is understandable that we want to think that things are different now, and even that we demand it with “Never Again!” Otherwise, how can we go on and try to get over the pain and trauma of the violent past we have endured over and over and raise our families with hope and a better future?

Zionism told us that we could be a free people in our land, but there was never a promise that the Arabs or Gentiles would stop hating on us and wanting to throw us into the sea (“From the river to the sea!”), and hence, 75 years after Israel’s independence, we are still fighting for our state and our lives. Thank G-d, now we have the IDF that can help defend us!

Further, in America, we were told that there is freedom, and it’s one big melting pot where we could be ourselves and not be held out as outsiders or mistreated because we were different. However, my dear father, Fred Blumenthal (זצ״ל), taught me that before the Holocaust, the Jews of Germany thought the same thing. Then most Jews considered themselves Germans first, similar to how many Jews in the U.S. feel about being Americans first. However, the Jews learned the hard way that kind or favorable sentiments toward us can change quickly, as they did with the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. Similarly, they can change today or tomorrow in America, Europe, or anywhere else where Jews are feeling settled, comfortable, and welcome for the moment.

As a very small minority in the world, Jews have forever been made the scapegoat and persecuted, whether in the Crusades, Inquisition, expulsions, pogroms, the Holocaust, terrorism, or war. As far back as Amalek, the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and more, Jews have never been granted long-lasting moments of peace. Perhaps that is one of the reasons we yearned for millennia to return to our homeland of Israel and why we so look forward to the coming of Mashiach so that we can once and for all achieve not only the universal acknowledgment of and worship of the One true G-d, but also a sincere and enduring peace for our people and the world.

We need to defend ourselves without worrying about what everyone else thinks or has to say about it.

While we battle against those who want to destroy us, we need to, of course, maintain our moral compass and bring hell upon our enemies while doing our best to safeguard innocents. At the same time, some things hinder our ability to act that we must correct:

  • Don’t ask for permission or forgiveness when defending ourselves.

No other country or people ask permission to act or feel they have to justify every action they take, especially in defense of their sovereignty and people. We must stop acting like the helpless Jews of yesterday’s shtetl. When we ask for permission and forgiveness for defending ourselves, we look somewhat pathetic on the one hand and like bullies on the other. Instead, we must do what we must do, and we need to be adults about it and deal with the consequences, as they will be what they will be. However, the more we act as a sovereign nation, the more we’ll be treated as such. In the end, no one will give us permission or forgiveness for long, and we can’t be left fighting always with one hand tied behind our back or made to ceasefire or withdraw before we have completed the job of defeating our enemies and rescuing our hostages.

  • Stop pulling out the victim card and asking for sympathy from the world.

Let’s face it, no matter how many people hate us and want to kill us, the world does not really care what happens to us and will not come to our defense for long. Moreover, in many cases, asking for compassion from others seems to have the opposite effect, where rather than turning to our side, they see an opportunity to rise more openly against us, as we’ve seen in the violent protests and hateful incidents against us recently.

Further, while we do need to get the word out and fight for truth, incessantly flooding the media airwaves or trying to scream louder than our rabid adversaries doesn’t make us any righter and may just at some point make others tired and annoyed at hearing about “Israel this” and the “Jews that.” In the end, we just need to take care of our “business” and document the truth for everyone and history, even if the Jew-haters try to obscure the truth like some do with Holocaust denial even today.

  • Reject “Jews” that rally around our enemies.

Unfortunately, we have all seen a small group of self-hating Jews rally for our enemy’s cause. These anti-Zionists are anti-Semites. They are often loud, obnoxious, self-righteous, and dead-out wrong, coming to the defense of ruthless, bloodthirsty terrorists who perpetrated unspeakable acts of violence and true evil against us. However, unlike Hamas, we don’t chop the heads off of people we disagree with or say things we don’t like. While there is always room for genuine political discourse and opposing viewpoints, in my opinion, these Jewish anti-Zionists represent a bona fide fifth column of enemies alongside Hamas against us.

The fight for Jewish survival is far from over. Yes, with Israel and the brave young men and women of the IDF, we are stronger now than we ever have been. However, the hate and violence we face are unbridled and unabashed, and given the chance, we have seen what our enemies will do to us. In response, we need to raise our heads high and fight the good fight regardless of what anyone else has to say. G-d will be our judge even as the anti-Semites condemn us either way.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a dynamic, award-winning leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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