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The Tragic Vacuum (Part Two)


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

For the past several weeks we have been discussing the anti-Semitism that plagues our generation and the horrific consequences that, G-d forbid, this might portend for our people.

Last week I began, in a general way, addressing the remarks of the UCLA student who in a letter to this column (“A Secular Jewish College Student Responds,” March 11) posited that anti-Semitism is a relic of the past and that Jews of the older generation suffer from Holocaust “paranoia” – a paranoia that has no validity in our egalitarian 21st century, which is intolerant of anti-Semitism and Jew-baiting.

The following is the first segment of my direct response to that student.

My Dear Friend:

You write in your letter that Jews suffer from Holocaust “paranoia,” so even though I happen to be a Holocaust survivor who suffered the agonies of the infamous Bergen Belsen concentration camp, I will refrain from referring to our horrendous past which saw Jewish blood flowing and six million holy souls cast into gas chambers and crematoria. Nor will I refer to the satanic, barbaric years throughout the millennia when our people were slaughtered and the entire world remained silent.

Rather, I will limit myself to that which we are witnessing today; to that which we can see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears – indeed, that which you yourself are seeing and, like so many others, fail to comprehend.

Just consider for a moment what happened last month in Itamar to the Fogel family. Following that tragic event, we held a memorial at our Hineni Center. I would like to share with you some excerpts from my remarks that evening:

“I deplore the abject silence of the world in face of the horrific murder of the Fogel family. The Fogels were a loving, peaceful mishpacha. They were celebrating the holy Sabbath, and as the angels of Shabbos that followed them home from synagogue departed, the angel of death suddenly arrived in the gruesome guise of a ferocious monster.

“Only a beast could have killed a mother and father, children and an infant, slashing their throats. Only a beast could have done that. But then again, even beasts would not slash throats even beasts would not be guilty of such barbaric savagery. This could not simply be put down to ‘murder.’ Simply stated, there is no word in any language that can adequately describe the nature of this evil

“The silence of the world is truly deafening. Can you imagine what the international repercussions would be if a Jew committed such a crime against a Muslim family? The world would be in an uproar. The UN would hold a special session to pass resolutions against Israel. It would eclipse every other major upheaval in the world, including the uprisings of nations in the Middle East, the civil war in Libya and the earthquake, tsunami and atomic fallout in Japan .”

As a survivor of Bergen Belsen, I experienced Jew-hatred firsthand, and I see the pronounced changes in the tenor of contemporary anti-Semitism as opposed to the brand of anti-Semitism promulgated during World War II. In every generation, anti-Semitism is marketed differently in order to make it more palatable to the masses.

During the time of Hitler, it was acceptable to excoriate Jews because of their “racial inferiority.” Today, that type of Jew-hatred is not considered politically correct. It has been replaced by the equally pernicious anti-Zionism that loudly proclaims it is not against Jews the civilized world protests but against the “oppressive policies of Israel.” But we all know only too well that anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism are one and the same. If Israel is branded, every Jew, no matter where he lives, no matter what his persuasion, is branded. We need only recall Daniel Pearl on his knees, his wrists bound behind him, waiting for the executioner to cut off his head, proclaiming his sin to the world: “I am a Jew!”

No, this new anti-Semitism is not only directed against the Jewish state but against every individual Jew, and the conspiracy of silence is not limited to the hypocritical United Nations. Shamefully, its poisonous effects can be felt everywhere, including in the media and on the Internet.

Just consider that the Israeli government released photographs of the slaughter in Itamar and posted them on YouTube. But the photographs were removed with dispatch – to be precise, within two hours! Contrast this with the pro-Arab propaganda on Facebook calling for the liquidation of Israel. It took weeks of maneuvering to remove it. In the interim, three thousand hits an hour were reported.

And there is more. When innocent Jewish blood is spilled, there is mostly silence, but when so much as a stone is moved to build a Jewish home in East Jerusalem, Judea, or Samaria, there is loud and vehement protest. And consider that these killers are celebrated as heroes in the Muslim world. Impressive dedications and tributes are made in their honor – monuments are erected, streets are proudly inscribed with their names, and celebrations are held everywhere. After the massacre of the Fogel family, there was dancing in the streets of Gaza, with candy distributed to children, teaching them the greatest act of valor is to kill Jews.

Think about all this and then consider that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, the only country in that region of the world that treats all men equally. It is the only country in which medical care is given to killers wounded while carrying out their bloody acts. It is the only country where captured murderers are not executed, and it is the only country that exchanges hundreds of these brutal savages for just one dead soldier whose tortured remains are delivered in a box.

I could go on. But for now, suffice it to say that the sentiments and forces that led the way to the Holocaust are again gathering strength right before our very eyes, even though so many refuse to see it.

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