FOREBODING PARALLELS IN
HISTORY DURING THE PAST CENTURY
By Irving Kett, Colonel (Ret.) U.S. Army
During World War II, I served as a soldier in the U.S. Army.
Most of the military training camps were in the South and a high percentage of the training cadre were Southerners. As a youngster, born and raised in New York City, I was shocked at the intensity of anti-Semitism that I was suddenly confronted with. Of course I was aware of the widespread hatred of Jews that had been prevalent for many years, but in my own immediate surroundings, I was somewhat sheltered from the most blatant physical and verbal manifestations.
Everybody was aware that the United States reluctantly entered World War II only in response to the December 7th Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As a matter of fact the United States may possibly never have become involved in the European conflict had Germany not immediately ordered her navy to attack all U.S. shipping on December 8th and formally declared war on the United States three days later on December 11, 1941. Nevertheless, most soldiers remained convinced that they were forced into a war that could only benefit the Jews. My WW II experiences were in the enlisted ranks and I saw combat in the Pacific Theater. I am certain, however, that U.S. troops in the European Theater were no different in their prejudices and opinions. For a multitude of reasons I elected to remain in the U.S. Army for many years after WW II. Eventually I became an officer after the Korean Conflict and retired as a senior colonel. While the widespread expressions of Jew-hatred lessened in the United States and in the armed forces after World War II and especially with the establishment of the State of Israel, those early experiences never left my psyche nor my appreciation of likelihood of their recurrence under propitious economic or political circumstances.
THE POSITION OF THE JEWS THE UNITED STATES
Anti-Semitism in the United States had witnessed numerous cycles of high and low points since the founding of the country. One of my grandfathers landed in Boston from Europe in the 1880's. A sign that he frequently was confronted with at hotels and restaurants was NO JEWS AND DOGS ALLOWED. A particularly severe manifestation occurred after World War I which culminated in the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924 was mainly enacted to restrict the entrance of Jews into the United States. The U.S. industrialist, Henry Ford, spent millions of dollars popularizing the proven, fraudulent anti-Semitic tract, THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION, in the 1920's.
Social discrimination against Jews became the norm in U.S. society soon after the Civil War. By 1900 Jewish university students were barred from membership in many fraternities and sororities. Appointment to faculty positions became increasingly difficult for Jews to obtain. Certain professions were especially treacherous for Jews, particularly engineering and the teaching of English literature for which Jews were deemed to be unfit by virtue of race. By 1920, however, Jewish quotas became commonplace in most of the more prestigious colleges and universities so as to curtail the number of Jewish students. The situation in academia did not change until some time after the end of WW II.
American anti-Semitism climbed to very high levels by the late 1930's and continued a very steep rise in the first half of the 1940s. According to the leading pollster of that era, Elmo Roper, it reached its historic peak in 1944. In the Spring 1942 issue of the PUBLIC OPINION QUARTERLY the sociologist, David Riesman, described anti-Semitic sentiment in the United States at that time as being "slightly below the boiling point." In the decade before Pearl Harbor, there were reputed to be more than one hundred active organizations whose mission was to spew anti-Semitic hate propaganda throughout United States society. As a teenager I remember listening every Sunday afternoon to one of the leading purveyors of Jew-hatred on nationwide radio from Royal Oak, Michigan, by a Catholic priest, named Father Charles E. Coughlin, who commanded a following of millions. I recall attacks on Jews in Yorkville, a section of Manhattan, by gangs from Fritz Kuhn's, German-American Bund. Some of these organizations were disbanded when the United States entered the War but others took their place under somewhat different guises. During World War II, the anti-Jewish hatreds that had been sown and nurtured for many years developed into very bitter fruit which had devastating results especially for European Jewry. One of the reasons that American Jews maintained such a low profile during the War years, even when reports of the mass extermination of European Jewry could no longer be doubted, was the real fear that existed in the American Jewish community of pogroms and official anti-Semitism.
Other surveys reported in leading U.S. publications such as TIME magazine, AMERICAN MERCURY, and the NEW YORK TIMES reported that from the summer of 1940 until the end of WW II, 15 to 24 percent of respondents to polls considered Jews to be "a menace to America." These and numerous other publications reported that Jews were considered to be a greater threat to the security and welfare of the United States than Negroes (at that time a despised and downtrodden group), or even Japanese or Germans with whom America was at war in a life and death struggle. Anti-Semitism was also no stranger in the halls of the U.S. Congress. So vicious were the attacks on Jews that on one occasion it resulted in the death of a Jewish congressman from New York, Michael Edelstein. The latter arose to challenge the Nazi-like attack on Jews by Representative John Rankin, Democrat of Mississippi. Edelstein became so emotional at Rankin's diatribe that he collapsed and died of a heart attack.
In the middle of World War II, the British were anxious to secure American public opinion support for their cruel policy of thwarting hapless Jewish refugees, desperately attempting to reach safety in Palestine. They sent a pro-Arab propagandist, Freya Stark, on a lecture tour to build support for British policies. By then, Hitler's "final solution" for European Jewry was taking place and sufficiently documented. Miss Stark, a Christian, was impressed by the widespread intensity of Jew-hatred that she discovered among educated, wealthy Americans.
A prominent Protestant American clergyman, Dr. L. M. Birkhead, expressed shock and astonishment at the extent of vicious anti-Semitism that he encountered, not only among extremist groups, but in the "best circles" during his travels through middle America in 1943. He concluded that these respectable circles would not personally engage in violence against Jews but neither would they oppose it. In its annual review, the following year, the American Civil Liberties Union described race tensions in the United States as "explosive and potentially dangerous." In a letter to a Jewish publication during World War II, a Jewish serviceman wrote the following: "I am the only Jewish boy in this detachment. I am confronted with anti-Semitism on all sides."
The same contempt for Jews pervaded the American military officer corps. Weather permitting, from 1943 till the end of the War, thousands of American and British bombers pounded Germany, day and night. The German railway system was a prime target. Yet they could not spare a single aircraft to bomb the railroads leading to the death camps, despite the urgent entreaties of Jewish leaders, and even a request by the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.
For almost a hundred years after the end of the American Civil War in 1865 that freed the slaves, blacks served as a partial buffer for American Jews. So long as native hatred was directed primarily at the blacks and only secondarily at Jews, the latter felt more secure. After World War II the civil rights movement developed in the United States to give full equality to the blacks. The Jews were in the forefront of that struggle for at least fifty years prior. Wealthy Jews helped found and financed the leading black organizations such as the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Jews remained the most active element in the white community fighting for black equality. There is a cynical cliche' to the effect that no good deed ever goes unpunished. If that expression merits any validity, the Jews in the United States have justly deserved their punishment at the hands of the black community.
Early on, black militants resented substantial Jewish participation in the civil rights movement. They felt that many of the Jews involved were patronizing in their attitudes, especially those with leftist ideologies. In truth a considerable number of Jewish communists and other assorted radical leftists considered that it was their duty to enlighten the feckless blacks. The result has been that the black community today is probably the most anti-Semitic element on the American scene aside from Moslems. As a matter of fact, a surprisingly large number of blacks are converts to Islam. The anti-Semitism in the black community is fraught with danger for Jews, since much of it is emanating from upper class, educated blacks, who are in competition with Jews for positions and in business, than from the black ghetto dwellers. One of the ugliest incidents of black anti-Semitism took place in the New York City educational system in the 1970's, when blacks violently forced out long-tenured Jewish teachers and administrators. Since the 1960's, black militants have posed a significant anti-Semitic threat to Jews. Not only in the school systems, but also in a few industries and unions. Blacks are successfully challenging the merit system in education, in civil service, and industry that had made possible many Jewish accomplishments.
For about the first twenty five years after the Holocaust, Jews in the United States began to feel increasingly secure. The first discernible crack in this armor of invulnerability against anti-Semitism arose from the blacks in the 1960's. This was soon reinforced, however, in the 1970's by a resurgence of global anti-Semitism because of the enmity of the Arab/Moslem world toward Israel and Zionism. The Arabs found the black community to be willing allies against Israel and the Jews. This contagion now also seems to be infecting another large and rapidly growing racial minority in the United States, the Latinos. The active, coordinated participation of these groups is especially evident on university campuses in their often violent attacks on Israel, Zionism, and Jews.
As the conflict with Israel grows in intensity, an ever increasing number of American Jews see hostility to Israel as the reflection of the new anti-Semitism. While the majority of Jews in the United States are still apparently unaware of or else pay no attention to these potentially ominous trends, a not insignificant number are growing apprehensive, especially among the older population. Professor Steven M. Cohen of the Hebrew University's Melton Center for Jewish Education recently conducted an extensive study of United States Jewry on the subject of anti-Semitism. He concluded that, "American Jews continue to feel vulnerable - as Jews."
THE SITUATION OF JEWS IN EUROPE BETWEEN THE WORLD WARS
The situation of the Jews in Europe after World War I cannot be evaluated as an entity. Certainly the status of the Jews in Eastern Europe was vastly inferior to that of the Jews in Western Europe, with variations from country to country. Generally speaking, the Jews in Western Europe fared similarly to the Jews in the United States. The prominence of Jews in the Bolshevik revolution ignited powerful anti-Semitic forces on both sides of the Atlantic. Probably in no nation, however, did the Jews feel as secure or do as well as those in Germany during the 1920's.
The ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA's section on Germany pointed out that between 1921 to 1927, 44.8% of all Jewish marriages were to a Gentile spouse. In Germany, particularly in those days, danger seemed remote. The Weimar Republic was a liberal state in which Jews were free to rise to the top, and many did so, especially in the sciences, in the arts, in business, and in the media. The Jews of Germany were rapidly becoming totally assimilated. They felt themselves to be thoroughly German. The ablest Jews loved Germany because it was the best place in the world to live and to work in. Germany had by far the best educational system. As a nation it was to achieve universal adult literacy. Between 1870 and 1933 German universities were the finest in virtually every discipline. Between 1870 and 1914 it emerged as the most powerful nation in the world and Jews were an integral part of that success. The question that probably still defies a satisfactory explanation is how this highly civilized nation turned with such violent, organized brutality on the Jews?
I cannot help but compare American Jews today with the German Jews in the heyday of the Weimar Republic. Jews in Imperial Germany could not possibly imagine that modern Germany might actually persecute her Jewish citizens. From the perspective of the time they were correct. Germany then was probably the most staid, law-abiding country in the world. The incredulous confidence that the German Jews had in Germany was exquisitely portrayed in Katherine Anne Porter's stupendous novel, SHIP OF FOOLS. But as a result of World War I, when proud Germany was defeated, humbled, and economically ruined, the Jews were singled out for special treatment. Their oppression began fifteen years after Germany's military surrender in 1918.
Sidney Hook was a political science professor of great distinction at New York University. In 1980 he wrote a superb best-seller, OUT OF STEP, in which he analyzed the reasons that caused him to break with the putative liberal establishment and join the ranks of the neo-conservatives. Needless to say that Professor Hook has been demonized by the purveyors of political correctness to this day, long after his death. In OUT OF STEP, Sidney Hook described a visit to Europe as a young man in the late 1920's. As part of that trip, Hook spent several months in Berlin. What particularly impressed him was how much less anti-Semitism he encountered in Berlin than in his native New York City with its huge Jewish population. That observation was made less than five years before Adolf Hitler became the dictator of Germany.
Few people today can envision the persecution of the Jews in the United States. Contemporary America is a strong, pluralistic society, with a long democratic tradition, where the rule of law is more jealously guarded than in any polity in human history. Yet not many decades ago, Jews in the United States had every reason to feel deeply insecure and highly vulnerable. Subconsciously, many Jews in the United States are again being awakened to that realization. What must never be totally excluded is the possibility, that at some future moment in history the United States also might experience a national catastrophe comparable in scope to that sustained by Imperial Germany in the second decade of the twentieth century. Under the pressure of such unfathomable circumstances, might not similar reactions occur? The search for someone to blame, might again lead to the Jews, Western civilization's universal scapegoat. Such a possibility possesses the potential of awakening dormant anti-Semitic tendencies. Many people, perhaps even unconsciously, harbor latent anti-Semitic tendencies. The United States commitment to Israel today is viewed by masses of people as an albatross around the necks of those who are searching for a peaceful modus vivendi with the Arabs and the Moslems in the Middle East. A comparable feeling was particularly strong in Great Britain in the appeasement years, prior to the outbreak of hostilities in World War II. It fostered powerful anti-Jewish sentiments.
THE ARAB RESPONSE TO THE YISHUV FROM 1920 TO 1945
In April 1920, the first of many Arab riots against the Yishuv, as the Jewish community was referred to prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, took place. The chief instigator was Haj (Muhammad) Amin Al-Husseni. The British sentenced him to ten years in prison, but released him the next year. From that point on until 1948 many hundreds of Jews were killed and thousands wounded by Arab attacks. An important development took place in 1921 that reverberates in Israel to this day. Sir Herbert Samuel, a Jew and an ardent Zionist, was the first British High Commissioner (1920-1925) Palestine. Sir Samuel appointed Haj Amin al-Husseini as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (1921-1937). It was an attempt by Sir Samuel to appease Arab nationalism and to preserve the balance of power between fiercely rival Arab families. Husseini was a violent anti-Zionist and as history further evidenced intensely hated Jews. He also orchestrated the murderous attacks on Jews in 1929 and then in 1936.
The Grand Mufti became an international figure and a rallying point for the Arabs of the Middle East and fascists around the world. At that point in time he had a valid claim to have been instrumental in killing more Jews than anyone else. In effect he organized the first Jihad or holy war against the Jews, directed from his sanctuary in the Haram esh-Sharif. He endeavored to make and succeeded in making Palestine and opposition to Zionism not merely an all-Arab affair but a Pan-Islamic one. He also organized the systematic destruction of those elements in Arab society who wanted to cooperate with the Jews of the Yishuv for the benefit of both peoples. Yasser Arafat, the Mufti's relative and spiritual heir, carried out an identical ruthless policy against those Arabs who wanted to cooperate with the Jews of Israel.
In 1937, the Grand Mufti's violence reached such a crescendo that he had to escape from Palestine and found sanctuary in Lebanon, where he was welcomed by the French. In 1941 he helped organize a revolt of the Arabs in Iraq against the British with the encouragement of the Germans. When that failed, the Grand Mufti made his way to Berlin, where he remained from 1941 until the end of World War II as the guest of Adolf Hitler. While in Berlin he broadcast propaganda on behalf of the Nazis to the entire Middle East. He organized the Moslems in Albania and Kosovo for the German war effort on the Eastern Front and against the Jews. He constantly encouraged the Nazi death machine to exterminate the Jews of Europe at a faster pace. The Mufti surpassed even Adolf Hitler in his hatred for Jews.
At the 1946/47 Nurenberg War Trials, Adolf Hitler's deputy, Dieter Wisliceny, testified that "the Mufti was one of the instigators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan."
After the War, the former Grand Mufti managed to escape from Europe and ensconced himself in Cairo. From there he continued to encourage the Arab assault on the Yishuv. A common historical thread exists between the assault on the Yishuv by the Arabs and the continuing Arab war of terror against the Jews of Israel: the Grand Mufti and Yasser Arafat of the PLO. The two mountebanks are related. The goal of Arafat is to complete the extermination of the Jews begun by Hitler with the active complicity of his relative, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. The Arabs make no effort to obfuscate their intentions. Even as supposedly great an Arab friend of the Jews as Anwar Sadat of Egypt stated in 1954, when he was the editor of al-Ahram, Egypt's leading newspaper, that the only thing he had against Hitler was that he did not kill all the Jews.
The medieval charge that Jews drink the blood of Moslem children and bake Passover matzos with it, has periodically surfaced in the Arab world since the famous Damascus Affair of 1840. The current Syrian Minister of Defense, Mustafa Tlas published an Arab best seller in 1983 entitled, THE MATZAH OF ZION. Mr. Tlas "proved" the veracity of the medieval blood libel. A few years ago the Egyptian mass circulation daily, al-Ahram, an organ of the Egyptian Government, reported the "truth" of that accusation against the Jews. The president of the United States during World War I, Woodrow Wilson, made an interesting observation about blind hatred. Mr Wilson said that ideas that logic did not put into the minds of people, logic cannot remove. The irrational blood libel has continued to stalk the Jewish People for almost a thousand years. The Arabs are making use of it in the twenty first century.
THE JEWISH CONDITION IN 2003, 70 YEARS AFTER THE RISE OF HITLER
For several decades after the end of World War II and the Holocaust, anti-Semitism seemed, at long last, to have become a spent force in the more enlightened places in the world. Except for Russia and the Arabs, all indicators pointed to a drastic decline in antagonism toward the Jews. Yet as subsequent events rapidly unfolded, the world's longest hatred seems to only have been in a somnolent state eager for the next arousal. The two identifiable factors that seem to have become the main contributors to the latest anti-Semitic outbreaks have been the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Moslem attack on the United States on September 11th 2001.
The only difference between the previous anti-Semitism and the current manifestations is that the principal menace is now from the so-called political left (the red-fascists) rather than the identified political right (the brown-fascists). In every Western European country, shocking reports are emanating of anti-Semitic expressions and acts reminiscent of the tragic days in the 1930s and 40s. It is as rife in France today as it was a century ago at the time of the Dreyfus Affair. It is again resurgent in Austria and Germany, the Low Countries, the Scandinavian states, Great Britain, and Eastern Europe.
The current wave of anti-Semitism is qualitatively different from the incitement against Jews by the Catholic and Lutheran Churches in the 19th century and the fascist variety in the 20th century. The new anti-Semitism of the present era is the product of a combination of hatred of Jews emanating from fanatic fundamentalist religious Islam and the radical atheistic left. By placing terrorists on the same moral plane as their victims, the left denies the Jewish people in Israel even the moral right of self-defense.
A piece recently appeared in the LONDON SPECTATOR by Petronella Wyatt who wrote, "Since September 11th anti-Semitism and its open expression has become respectable at London dinner tables." Ms. Wyatt further recounts being told by a liberal member of the House of Lords, "the Jews have been asking for it, and now, thank God, we can say what we think at last." The British Government has instituted an embargo of military equipment ordered by Israel. The British ambassador, Sherard Cowper-Cole, commented at a recent high-level conference in Berlin that "we can all think of times in history when the use of terrorism has been justified." Of course he was referring to Arafat's terror war against Israel. Recently Prime Minister Tony Blair invited the Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad to London where he was accorded red-carpet treatment. Assad is undeniably one of the world's leading supporters of terrorism which for years has been directed primarily against Israel. Mr. Blair equates the need to remove the threat of Iraq's Saddam Hussein with the moral imperative of compelling Israel to acquiesce to Arab demands which would in effect destroy the country. The British novelist, A.N. Wilson, in an article in the LONDON EVENING STANDARD on October 22nd 2000, admitted to coming to the "reluctant" conclusion that the Jews of Israel do not have a right to exist as a nation.
Oriana Fallaci, a 73 year old Italian leftist journalist of surprisingly moral persuasion, wrote a brilliant expose' in 2002 on the latest wave of anti-Semitism that is sweeping Western Europe. In France the authorities sought, unsuccessfully, to ban her best-selling book, THE RAGE AND THE PRIDE, because it was offensive to Islam. I take the liberty of quoting from her recent article, I STAND WITH ISRAEL: I STAND WITH THE JEWS:
"I find it shameful that state-run television stations in Italy contribute to the resurgent anti-Semitism, crying only over Palestinian deaths while playing down Israeli deaths, glossing over them in unwilling tones. I find it shameful that in their debates they host with much deference the scoundrels with turban or kaffiah who yesterday sang hymns to the slaughter at New York and today sing hymns to the slaughters at Jerusalem, at Haifa, at Netanya, at Tel Aviv.
"I find it shameful that they are on the side of the very ones who inaugurated terrorism, killing us on airplanes, in airports, at the Olympics, and who today entertain themselves by killing western journalists. By shooting them, by abducting them, cutting their throats , decapitating them. (There's someone in Italy who, since tha appearance of THE RAGE AND THE PRIDE, would like to do the same to me. Citing verses of the Koran, he exhorts his 'brothers' in the mosques and the Islamic Community to chastize me in the name of Allah. To kill me. Or rather to die with me. Since he is someone who speaks English well, I'll respond to him in English: 'F*** you.')
"I find it shameful and see in all this the rise of a new fascism, a new Nazism that is more grim and revolting because it is conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders, progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics, or rather Christians, and who have the gall to label a warmonger anyone like me who screams the truth. I have often had disagreements with the Israelis, and in the past I have defended the Palestinians a great deal. Maybe more than they deserved. But I stand with Israel. I stand with the Jews. I defend their right to exist, to defend themselves, to not let themselves be exterminated a second time. I am disgusted by the anti-Semitism of many Italians, of many Europeans, I am ashamed of this shame that dishonors my Country and Europe. At best, it is not a community of States, but a pit of Pontius Pilates. And even if all the inhabitants of this planet were to think otherwise, I would continue to think so."
THE UNITED NATIONS - THE MORAL CONSCIENCE OF THE WORLD
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an eloquent and forceful speaker, was the United States ambassador to the U.N. at the time that Zionism was equated with racism in 1975, despite the strong opposition of the United States. The resolution accusing Israel with racism passed overwhelmingly in the General Assembly. A few years later, in 1981, Dr. Jeane Kirkpatrick was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Dr. Kirkpatrick stated that she was shocked at the depth and intensity of anti-Semitism that she encountered at the United Nations.
Israel holds about one-thousandth of the world's population. Yet despite the massacres that keep recurring in Africa involving millions of people, the destruction of the country of Tibet by the Chinese, the bloody conflict on the Indian subcontinent over Kashmir, the slaughters that have been and are still ongoing in Indonesia and the Phillippines, fully three quarters of all resolutions passed at the United Nations in the last thirty five years involved the condemnation of Israel, the lone beacon of democracy and Western values in the entire Middle East.
The United Nations has become the leading forum for lending legitimacy to hatred of the Jews and the war against Israel. This world-wide assault is not directed against the behavior of the Jews or Israel, but against their very existence. Anti-Semitism today is a stronger force in world affairs than it has been since it went into a temporary eclipse with the liberation of the Nazi extermination camps in 1945. The United Nations, supposedly the embodiment of the cruel lessons learned from World War II, is now in the forefront in the war against the Jewish State, founded in good measure by the survivors of that war. This new crisis confronting the Jews of the world is developing into the second and possibly the final phase of Hitler's "final solution of the Jewish problem."
A new, virulent, globalized hatred of the Jews has emerged fostered by the Arabs and their Europeans sycophants, which has turned the United Nations into their prime instrument of hatred. There has emerged a new Nazi-type animus which singles out Israel and the Jewish people not only for discriminatory treatment in the family of nations but for specific targeted terrorist assault. This present genocidal anti-Semitism openly advocates the destruction of Israel and the eradication of all Jews from the face of the earth.
The current propaganda campaign reached a crescendo at the United Nations sponsored anti-Racism Conference in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. The leading defamers were the Arab governments, including those few with whom Israel has signed peace treaties such as Egypt, supported and abetted by other Muslim countries and a considerable number of supposedly "leftist, progressive, human rights" Western NGOs. Terms such as Nazi, Holocaust, and ethnic cleansing have been subsumed by the Jewish defamers, against the principal victims of these crimes, the Jews. Arguments used by the Arabs and their European sycophants are similar in nature to the universal Holocaust deniers. The immoral leftists, in their assault on Israel, have stooped so low as to make common cause with societies that indulge in turning beheadings and amputations into public spectacles; the mutilation of young girls' genitalia and the stoning to death of women for so-called "immoral behavior."
The use of the United Nations for the moral undermining of Israel is not a trivial matter. Their aim is the total isolation of Israel to the point that Israel may one day have to stand alone against overwhelmingly powerful forces. Such a situation is not at all inconceivable. Jews and people of goodwill the world over must recognize the essential fragility of Israel's existence and the interrelationship between Israel's survival and the continuity of the Jewish people. The result can be the greatest catastrophe in all the tragic annals of Jewish history.
ANTI-SEMITISM ON UNITED STATES COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES
There is little doubt that the present United States Administration under President George W. Bush, is the most supportive of Israel of any U.S. Government. It is not difficult to imagine the dire consequences to Israel and to the Jewish people that the loss of this support would mean. Yet it is important to realize that large segments of the U.S. population are extremely hostile to Israel and by extension to Jews. These largely Third World groups also happen to be the most rapidly growing segment in the American population. The only real friends that the Jews have in the United States, at the moment, are the fundamentalist Christian groups, who for reasons of morality and/ or theology, constitute the foundation of the pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy. For the most part, the supporters of Israel are in the Republican Party, while the Democratic Party is increasingly being taken over and controlled by radical leftists (including many Jews) and Third World oriented groups who are viscerally pro-Arab and anti-Semitic. Nowhere is this dangerous constellation of forces more in evidence than in academia - on the campuses, among faculty and administration, and students.
A similar situation was evident during the halcyon days of the liberal Weimar Republic in the 1920s. At that time the Nazi Party flourished on the university campuses of Germany, while the Party did poorly at the polls. A shockingly comparable perspective has been developing on U.S. college and university campuses from coast to coast. The virus of Jew-hatred is spreading to the elites of the United States and cannot be expected to remain confined solely to Europe. At some point we should be prepared to see societal attitudes toward Jews, as well as U.S. foreign policy toward Israel, adversely affected by what is currently taking place on U.S. campuses. Realistically, the United States has more important interests in the Middle East than Israel or even Israel's survival. Before the Camp David Accords, while in possession of the Sinai Peninsula, Israel was a far more dominant and strategically significant Middle East power. Two serious, negative consequences for Israel stemmed from the 1978 Camp David Accords. One, Israel gradually descended to the status of a banana republic, dependent upon the constant largess of the United States, both economically and militarily. Two, Egypt has become a much more powerful country militarily as a result of U.S. assistance and has replaced Israel as America's most important ally in the Middle East.
These past three years have been a particularly difficult time for Jewish students on American college and university campuses. There has been a sharp rise in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic demonstrations, posters, flyers, and speeches across North America. Many Jewish students report an extremely difficult atmosphere faced by any supporter of Israel. Numerous ugly incidents are increasingly being reported. A growing and very disturbing phenomenon is the appearance of an annual Anti-Zionist Week on many campuses with the support of the university administrations. Jonathan Berg, a 21-year-old senior at the University of California, San Diego, complained that "a great deal of very, very anti-Semitic stuff being passed around," from faked
Talmudic quotations saying that it is acceptable for Jewish males to violate any non-Jewish female over the age of three, to quotes from that infamous, century-old hoax, THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION.
At the University of Chicago, Jewish students felt compelled to form a coalition designed to hold the school's administration responsible for what it described as an atmosphere of intimidation and hate for Jewish students. The group noted a corresponding increase in anti-Semitic incidents on the campus as violence escalated in the Middle East. They cited the example of a visibly Jewish student walking one evening on the campus when a car drove up besides him and they screamed at him, "Death to the Jews. Hitler should have finished you all off when he had the chance."
"These incidents are symptomatic of an increasingly alarming problem for Jewish students at the University of Chicago," the group wrote. "Jews are being mistreated and intimidated on campus. In the University of Chicago, anti-Semitism has been made acceptable, even fashionable, by a long process of academic delegitimizing of Israel and Judaism. Outbursts against other religions and ethnicities, including Islam, are not considered acceptable, and they occur much more rarely. Complicity in this delegitimizing are professors, students, administrators, and a host of institutional practices."
The most widely publicized anti-Semitic incident reported from academia occurred at the California State University, San Francisco. A near pogrom against Jewish student took place on May 7th 2002. It was described by Professor Laurie Zoloth, director of the Jewish Studies Program. She had attended the campus Hillel's Peace in the Middle East Rally along with several hundred students, faculty, and members of the Jewish community. Arab supporters descended on a group of 50 students who stayed behind to clean up and to conduct a prayer service, after singing Hebrew songs and hearing speeches in support of Israel.
"They screamed at us to 'go back to Russia' and they screamed that they would kill us all, and other terrible things," Prof. Zoloth wrote in her May 8th e-mail.
"As the counter demonstrators poured into the plaza screaming at the Jews to 'Get out or we'll kill you' and 'Hitler didn't finish the job,' I turned to the police and to every administrator I could find and asked them to remove the counter-demonstrators from the plaza, to maintain the separation of 100 feet that we had been promised. The police told me that they had been told not to arrest anyone, and that if they did 'it would start a riot.' I told them that it was already a riot."
Prof. Zoloth continued, "This is not civic discourse, this is not free speech, this is the Weimar Republic with brown shirts it cannot control." As she noted in her e-mail, the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American atmosphere that has pervaded the campus extends far beyond the scope of one protest that spun out of control.
"After nearly seven years as director of Jewish Studies, and after nearly two decades of life here as a student, faculty member and wife of the Hillel rabbi, after years of patient work and difficult discourse, I am saddened to see the San Francisco State University return to its notoriety as a place that teaches anti-Semitism, hatred for America, and hatred, above all else, for the Jewish State of Israel, a state that I cherish," Professor Zoloth wrote.
An intriguing phenomenon is clearly evident in American society. Precisely in those circles in which Jews are most in evidence, the antipathy toward Israel and toward Jews are the most strongly expressed. The principle bastions of the politically correct, left-wing causes - academia and the media, where Jews are greatly over-represented, are among the most virulent hotbeds of Israel bashing.
At the other end of the political spectrum, the strongest support for Israel comes precisely from those quarters where Jews have traditionally felt the least comfortable. It is obviously no coincidence that the United States is both Israel's most unambiguous champion and concomitantly the most Christian country in the world. The foundation of that defense of Israel does not come from those areas of society where deculturated Jews are the cultural icons but rather from those places that boast of few Jews and those few are generally traditional Jews who are proud of their heritage.
The current wave of anti-Semitism is devoid of all reason and morality. An unholy alliance has arisen between the world-wide radical leftists who include many academics and so-called "progressive intellectuals" who are particularly strong in Western Europe and fundamentalist Arab. They pose a seminal danger to the existence of both Israel and Jews the same way that Hitler's Germany did. While we Jews find ourselves once more in the unwilling role of the miners' canary for Western civilization, these same powerful forces also threaten to destroy Western democratic, liberal values as Hitler attempted to do seventy years ago when he became the dictator of Germany.
The Holocaust did not happen in a vacuum. It was preceded by an intense propaganda campaign of the kind that we are witnessing at this very time. Jew-haters demonstrated in the streets, on the campuses, inflaming passions and carrying ugly signs and caricatures of Jews, exactly as it is happening in many places in the world today. They wrote inflammatory articles and sermons in their places of worship. The portrait that they painted of the Jews was so fiendish that it became permissible, yes even desirable, to kill the Jews in all sorts of unthinkable ways in order to rid the world of this terrible Jewish scourge.
The uncomfortable shades of reality that, I believe, are contained in this article will probably make for disturbing reading for many of the all too comfortable Diaspora Jews, especially in the United States. There are times, however, when we all need to face the truth of one's situation, unpleasant as that may be.
"Abandonment of the Jews - America and the Holocaust
1941-1945" , David S. Wyman, Pantheon Books, 1984.
"A History of the Jews", Paul Johnson, Harper and Row, Publishers, 1987.
"Modern Times", Paul Johnson, 1983, Harper and Row, Publishers, 1983.
"Out of Step", Sidney Hook, Simon and Shuster, Inc., 1980.
"Ship of Fools", Katherine Anne Porter, Little, Brown and Company, 1945.
"The Siege - The Saga of Israel and Zionism", Conor Cruise O'Brien, Simon and Shuster, Inc., 1986.
"The Story of Judaism", Bernard J. Bamberger, The Union of American Jewish Congregations, 1964.
"World of Our Fathers", Irving Howe, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976.
Articles derived from e-mail and the internet.
Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired
Professor of Civil Engineering, California State University