Sinat Chinam

Sinat Chinam (baseless hatred) is said to have caused the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple. Now it is causing the undoing of the West. 

God’s ways are inscrutable they say, but can anyone understand people? Somehow in Europe and the US we concluded that if anything can be learned from the Holocaust, it has to be that other people are monsters.

As the Nazis saw Jews everywhere, now people see Nazis everywhere. The logic seems to be that if hating strangers is wrong, hating your neighbors must be right.

Everyone seems to think it’s somehow a brilliant insight to suspect that other people are secretly trying to imitate that Austrian Charlie Chaplin impersonator who caused such a stir after his immigration to Germany during the first half of the 20th century. But why actually? Nothing to the detriment of immigrants, but it wasn’t exactly a stellar performance.

What do we get out of it? A lot of mutual hatred, a lot of suspicion, exclusion, censorship and now it turns out violence. But not just any violence, civil war kind of violence, combined with the transformation of democratic America into a totalitarian surveillance state. Quite an achievement, now we do not know who is the bigger threat: China or the US?

But look on the bright side, at least by imitating the Americans over here in Europe none of our right wing leaders will ride into Russia on furious giant panda’s trying to conquer territory in the East for the great Germanic Fourth Reich. Which is a moronic idea anyway, since the Russians are sure to counter with polar bears. See, from a panda perspective it all makes sense.

Because we have to be vigilant. Danger lurks everywhere. Show an average person the havoc and misery of the Second World War and they immediately shout “yes I want that too!” After all we are all perpetrators and in order to prove that, we had to bring Muslims to Europe so that we can rescue them from Geert Wilders (a rightwing politician from the Netherlands). “The old Jews are gone, give us new ersatz Jews so that we can join the post-war resistance and save them.” Oddly enough, this reasoning does not hold up when you put the new Jews into concentration camps.

In a country where people have solemnly declared “never again” for the past 75 years, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag sees no need to restrict the import of products made by slave workers from Chinese concentration camps, let alone ban the sale of such products in a country which suffered the loss of 110.000 of its Jewish citizens by the Nazi death machine.

Our politicians say they want to protect Muslims from nasty comments and hurtful cartoons, but when Muslims are locked up in concentration camps to be deprived of their freedom, organs and life, they are apparently happy to offer a financial contribution. Doing business with concentration camps makes us participants in the crime and normalizes it.

The Dutch government’s lackluster response to the import of products made by forced laborers from Chinese concentration camps, which is by the way not unique in Europe, is a hint that the moral outcome of World War II is tilting towards a world where Hitler has won. It is not yet clear what that means for everyone, but it is fitting that in the Netherlands people are already practicing with wearing Jewish stars.

Normalizing concentration camps as a place to do business with will have repercussions on our lives no matter where we live. Be it in the US, in Europe, Israel or anywhere else. Because what starts over there, won’t stay over there since China will soon be the number one superpower in the world. And if you think the US under Trump was tilting towards Nazism, wait until the builders of concentration camps get to set the rules.

About the Author
Born in Switzerland in 1973. Raised in Holland. My parents were Holocaust survivors.
Comments