January 23, 2009

Warning of a Holocaust Survivor

Shoes of prisoners in Majdanek tell a tale all their own. Is it to happen again?

At my dinner table on Friday night, a holocaust survivor admits that she is trying to persuade her son to take his family out of Europe to America, Canada, Australia, Canada, Australia, Israel...’They say they can’t leave me, but I tell them: “Go, get out. My parents left my grandparents behind in Berlin and brought me to safety in England. Now I want you to leave so that my grandchildren will be safe.”’ There is an unbearable desperation in her plea. But she has a point.

As tens of thousands of demonstrators march through the streets of Europe, the chants are modified but the message remains substantially intact: ‘Hamas, Hamas, Hamas — Jews to the Gas’. Or, more simply: ‘Death to the Jews’. Many European Jews, even well-established, affluent Jews, have been checking the suitcase they keep packed under the bed. They have been here before and many are (albeit reluctantly) reading the writing on the wall.

To some extent I thought I was inured. I grew up in postwar apartheid South Africa where a subtle undercurrent of anti-Semitism was a fact of everyday life. So while I was disturbed by manifestations of mob anti-Semitism, I was also less vulnerable to shock. That’s just how people are. Living in genteel, leafy Hampstead Garden Suburb provides an additional layer of protection from such crass outbursts.

But my sanguine state ends abruptly when I am out walking on Saturday. A hundred yards from my front door, I encounter the slogan, freshly painted in yellow, across the pavement: ‘Kill the Filthy Jews’. I am shocked. And shocked that I am shocked. The message is too close for comfort. The leafy gentility is, after all, an illusion.

...I am hoping that my psychiatrist will be able to explain why so many Jews have been propelled into the arms of those who seek their destruction. Precisely what part of the Hamas Charter are they defending?

No commentary. I pray for Israel and the Jews.


Eema-le said...

This is exactly why I don't understand how Jews can vote for Democrats. I'm not saying that all Democrats are anti-Semites, but they sure aren't pro-Israel. My grandmother was born and raised in Berlin, and when she was 6 her family left her grandmother in Berlin and escaped to Shanghai. She would tell you the same thing.

AnnieMcPhee said...

It tends to be the more secularized, Americanized Jewish people I know who are leftist. The more orthodox people I know are either more apolitical or at least pro-Israel and more conservative. At the least, they know who their friends are. Those are just my own observations, though.

Yonah said...

I am an Israeli currently living in the States.

In the recent election, Barack Obama got 77% of the Jewish vote. Clearly, most American Jews view the matter of American support for Israel as settled (and indeed we feel the same in Israel) and vote based on other concerns. While anti-Semitism persists on the fringes of both right and left, it has almost no voice in Washington. To suggest that Democrats are not pro-Israel is false. I can proudly say that if we judge by their votes in Congress, members of both parties have consistently supported Israel.

That said, there is nothing wrong with criticizing Israel; we do it a lot ourselves. Consider the old saying: If you put two Jews in a room, you’ll get three opinions. That said, I think it’s easier to blindly support something (as some American Jews I know do) when you are safely living thousands of miles away, far from the daily realities of an ongoing war. Sit in a cafe in Tel Aviv and listen to the discussion, the debate, the doubt.

I don’t fear another Holocaust in Europe so much as I do the Islamification of that continent and the surrender of Enlightenment values to cultural relativism run amok. I don’t fear Iran in 5 or 10 years so much as I do any Arab state in 50 or 100.

Right now, they need us. They need an enemy, a bogeyman to blame all their woes on and use as a phantom threat to secure power. Israel is a good for an Arab despot. Right now.

AnnieMcPhee said...

Barack Obama is NOT the issue here.

Israel is. I will not discuss Obama in this very serious topic. He is not a serious man.

Yonah said...

Well, he only appears in once sentence in my above post. Though it was an important statistic to cite.

And serious or not, he's going to have a lot of influence on American policy towards Israel.

AnnieMcPhee said...

Ok, yonah. To be perfectly fair I saw his name and didn't read further. He is not my interest when I discuss Israel.

Larry said...

Israel will exist as long as her people stand on that ground and hold it.
When they no longer feel as if they have a right to exist, they will cease to.
Six million Jews were exterminated by socialism (National Socialism is still socialism). It constantly amazes me that Jewry still votes for socialism (even the socialism lite that the current major political parties here advocate).

Eema-le said...

I guess I should clarify, for those who don't know me, I am both a Jew and Israeli. Most of my family DIDN'T vote for Obama, however, they almost always vote Democrat. I just don't get it.

AnnieMcPhee said...

It seems to me that Israelis are much closer to their own roots, where a lot of the people who've been here for a few generations might lose some of that perspective.

It took us a lot longer than that to elect openly socialist and Anti-American leadership, I think. We've gone the slow route of being boiled by degrees, though.