Tag Archives: Anti-semitism


BLOG 365 September 18, 2017

            Please grant me a little indulgence. I want to add a reflection that is outside the usual trip through the world of the Middle East. I feel a need to add my thoughts about what happened in Charlottesville and President Trump’s inability to initially condemn Neo-Nazis until public uproar caused him to be scripted to do so.

I do know something about the marchers who chanted “Jews will not replace us” and chanting “Seig heil.” I saw the media recording just after the November national election when Richard Spenser told the crowd, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail our victory. The crowd responded in kind and outstretched their arms in the Nazi salute.

I take this very seriously.

I do know something about the Nazis. Last year I attended the gathering of Holocaust survivors in Berlin. I toured the city and stood on the railroad tracks where millions were loaded on trains for the death camps. I have toured Auschwitz as well as the Dachau Concentration Camp where I looked in the crematoriums. I do know something about what the Nazis did.

The movement called the Alt-right doesn’t seem to get it. The scary thing is that there’s nothing new about this mentality. German politics in 1930 had the same mentality and elected Hitler because he reflected their ideas of making “Germany Great” again.

Before you shrug these statements off, please remember the ideas of white supremacy are not new in America.  James Q. Whitman’s Hitler’s American Model documents how the Germans admired and borrowed from American legal procedures to prevent racial mixing. Maryland’s anti-miscegenation law put you in jail for ten years for such behavior. Don’t forget Henry Ford admired Hitler, kept his picture on his credenza, and was decorated by the German before World War II.

In reflecting on Trump’s hesitancy about condemning the radicals, the Jerusalem Post responded “President Donald Trump failed miserably.”

Fortunately, politicians of both parties took exception. Since the debacle hit the media, clergy, majors, and many community leaders raised their protests. They still remember that Nazism rose to power and World War II followed because the Alt-right types were tolerated. In contrast, vast numbers of the American public unambiguously reject the strategies of hate and any rise of the white supremacist types. There are certainly extremists that think the time is ripe to take over the government and change that ideals of the country. Fortunately, they are wrong.

We cannot tolerate anymore expressions of what we saw in Charlottesville. Citizens who love this country and its heritage must make their voices heard and not tolerate the rise of hate groups against any segment of society.



Filed under America, Israel, Judaism


BLOG 364 September 11, 2017

            For those who follow the archaeological expeditions in Israel, there is always something new and exciting to report. The Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered remains of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians more than 2,600 years ago. Remains of shattered jugs and an ivory image of a woman were unearthed at the Jerusalem Walls National Park in the ancient City of David. Pottery with rosette-like stamps on the handles reflected the end of the First Temple period. The wealth of the Judean capital is demonstrated in these finds as well as the growth of the city at the end of the 8th century BCE.

Speaking of interesting… here’s another one for you.

The world’s oldest man died in Haifa at the age of 113. Yisrael Kristal, a Holocaust survivor, was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person. After the Nazi invasion of Poland, Kristal and his family were forced into the Lodz Ghetto.  His two children died in the ghetto while he and his wife were sent to Auschwitz. She was murdered there but Yisrael survived.  In 1950, he and his new wife made aliya and settled in Haifa where he opened a candy factory that he ran for the rest of his life.

Always an optimist, Kristal attributed his extreme longevity to God and believed his old age was a divine form of divine grace.

The recent racial clash in Charlottesville, Virginia, did not go unnoticed in Israel. Having a terrorist  drive his car into a crowd of people and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer flashed across Israel. White supremacists and neo-Nazis always have placed Jews up there near the top of their hate crimes list. Israelis recognized that the town’s mayor Mike Signer was a Jew.

Israel caught the fact that President Trump did not name the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazis until well after the event and he had been scripted to do so. His pandering of the elements of the most extreme right-wing did not go unnoticed. The conclusion in The Jerusalem Post was, “President Donald Trump failed miserably.”

Israeli Justice Minister Avelet Shaket wrote, “Neo-Nazis in the US must be put on trial.” He criticized the strict interpretation of the right of free speech saying, “This was not the intention of the American Constitution. A democratic state cannot show tolerance toward such phenomena.”


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Filed under Bible Lands, Israel, middle east


BLOG 268 August 31, 2015

Been getting those commercials on the Iran Nuclear negotiations? One side says don’t do it: the other side says it’s the best deal since spaghettini. My suggestion? Jettison both sides. Commercials designed to sell you baked beans and cars are no place for an issues that is so complicated that the top politicians and world leaders are still trying to figure it out. This isn’t a battle over whether a “Happy Meal” is better than a “Whooper.”

Both Republicans and Democrats need to cut the self-serving political chatter and start studying the details instead of simply “popping off!” So, let’s take another look.

Twenty-nine of the nation’s top scientists including Nobel laureates wrote a letter to President Obama calling the agreement innovative and stringent. These are the most knowledgeable experts working with arms control and nuclear weaponry. Most of these signators are physicists and have the highest security clearances, giving them access to the countries most sensitive data on nuclear armaments. The words “innovative” and “stringent” were used more than six times. Their conclusion was that this agreement will advance peace and security in the Middle East. These scientists concluded the agreement allows for effective challenges of any suspected activity on the part of Iran. They believe the plan includes important long-term verification procedures.

One of the more recent troubling factors is that Russia has just agreed to provide state-of-the-art S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. A the same time, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his pledge to support any group fighting Israel. As the world knows, Iran is the primary source of support for terrorists. The Supreme Leader isn’t backing down and Russia is stuffing missiles in his back pocket.

The Russians claim the missiles are purely defensive weapons. They were not give to Syria because it might have posed a threat against airplanes coming and going from Ben-Gurion Airport. So, the Russians are now calling the same weapons defensive? Who’s kidding who?

One of the generally unpublished factors about Iran in the ten-year moratorium is that the thirty- years of age and under are the fastest growing segment of Iran’s population. This group generally tend to be secular and are not in favor of the imposed style and leadership of Khamenei and his mullahs. Aging this young group by another ten years will pressure the current government even more.

Could ten-years make that must difference? Yes, it could.

The problem is that when one listens to Obama and Netanyahu they both present a strong case for their positions. If any nation knows what it is to be wiped out by anti-Semitism, it certainly is Israel. The matter is deadly serious. On the other hand, Obama represents a view currently held by the majority of the American public. No more war.

Now is the hour to put politics aside. Cut out the snide asides. Can the commercials. Stop making irresponsible statements. And start reading the fine print in the document detailing the Iran Nuclear Arms deal.

Will the politicians voting on this matter do so?

They better.

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Filed under America, Israel, middle east


BLOG 240 February 15, 2015

An attack on a free speech event and a synagogue in Denmark was apparently motivated by the horrific attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris that killed 17 people. All staged by Islamic radical terrorists. The Danish Prime Minister called it an attack on freedom of speech and anti-Semitism. But why would Middle Eastern Islamic terrorists assault citizens in far-off Denmark and France –and Jews in particular?

What is there in Islam that prompts such hatred of the Jews?

Actually, Mohammed admired Jews because they were monotheists and viewed them as natural adherents to his new faith. At the same time, he fought and killed Jews while being friends with other Jews. Some early Islamic practices were somewhat modeled on Judaism. After the 7th century rise of Islam, treatment of Jews varied and was not that different from the general populations conquered by the sword. Today many Muslims abhor jihadists’ violence. However, the variant practices of Mohammed were reflected in the Quran.

After Muslim prayers shifted from Jerusalem to Mecca, negative verses about the Jews appeared. The Quran and its interpreters had conflicting things to say about the Jews. Islamic tradition regarded Jews as a legitimate community of believers in God and called them “People of the Book.” On the other hand, Islam made mostly negative references to Jews in the Quran and Hadith. While some Quran verses preach tolerance of the Jews, other verses make hostile remarks. The standard Quranic reference (Quran 2:61) is:

            And abasement and poverty were pitched upon them, and they were laden

With the burden of God’s anger; that. Because they disbelieved the signs

of God and slain the Prophets unrightfully; that, because they disobeyed,

and were transgressors.

This page fuels the ISIS belief they are fighting a religious war with the West.

In Bernard Lewis’s book The New Anti-Semitism, he argues that negative stereotypes of Jews were different from the Europeans. Unlike Christians, Muslims saw Jews as objects of ridicule, not fear. Christians actually treated Jews worse during these early periods.

In today’s world, the radical hatred of the Jews is fueled by the rise of the nation of Israel. The success of Israel imparted a deep and embarrassing sense of failure and loss in the Muslim world. Religion has been superseded by politics.

So, how did the hatred of Israel in the Middle East get to France and Denmark? Hatred knows no boundaries. (ISIS just murdered 21 Christians) Perhaps, the terrorist in Europe were simply “nut cases.” Probably not. Possibly they were infected by the disease of murder. Could be. Sociopathic personalities look for chaos and hostility as an outlet for what they claim are “righteous” concerns. Conceivably the “true believers” fundamentalists believed that Allah was directing them and their martyrdom was a free ticket to heaven. A simple cartoon of Mohammed had already sent them on a rampage to stop so-called desecration as well as free speech along the way.

France has the largest community of Jews in Europe (around 600,000) but with attacks on their synagogues, kosher stores, and population, many are preparing to immigrate to Israel. Calling these attacks “Muslim anti-Semitism,” they recognize Muslim hatred of the nation of Israel does spill over and might well splash on their children. As frightening and sad as it is, racial hate never seems to stop.

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Filed under America, Christians, Judism, middle east, Muslims


            The History Channel recently presented a program discussing Nazism in America. Beginning in the early ‘30s, Nazism appeared in the German American communities among immigrants who returned the dilapidated condition of German after World War I. In keeping step with Hitler, the American Nazi movement attacked the Jewish population.  Eventually realizing that the word “Nazi” didn’t sit well with Americans, they changed the name to the German American Bund and became vitriolic denouncers of Communist as well as Jews. The History Channel pointed out that Americans generally were suspicious of the motives of the Bund that fed on hate and prejudice. The bombing of Pearl Harbor brought an abrupt end to the group.

            In listening to this enlightening program, I was reminded of how misinformation and suspicion make a toxic brew that poisons all who partake. The same dark streams of hate keep flowing through the Middle East and infecting all efforts for peace. However, now and then, there is a breakthrough when the truth is revealed and hope is reborn. I found such a story recently.

The Western Galilee Medical Hospital with a children’s intensive care unit is in the northern Israel town of Nahariya. With stuffed animals and balloons, the hospital regularly helps sick children return to health. However, on this particular day, a father nervously hovered over his injured daughter and watch the medical staff with fear in his eyes. The man was not sure he could really trust the highly competent staff working on his injured daughter.

The problem? He and his daughter are Syrians who had crossed the border into Israel because he feared the child would die from shrapnel wounds. He cannot speak Hebrew and knows that if the Syrian government discovered he had come to Israel to save the child, his entire family would be in danger. The man’s name must be concealed to prevent an assault on the family. As they always do, the Israeli medical team went to work just as if the child was one of their own. Her life was saved.

The father is typical of generations of Syrians who have grown up under propaganda vilifying the Jewish state and depicting the Jews as heartless and evil. Militant groups like Hezbollah and al-Qaida are virulently opposed to the existence of Israel. The Syrian regime has  banned all travel to Israel with jail time for anyone caught crossing the border. The little girl’s father had been raised on tales that depicted the Jews as animals. As he watches his daughter receive tender, efficient, and gracious care, he must realize how terribly he has been deceived by his own country.

Forty-four victims of the Syrian war have been treated at Western Galilee Medical Center this year alone. Because of anti-Semitism, none are ever named.

Like the story of American Bund, it takes a Pearl Harbor invasion to open the eyes of the blind. The Bund disappeared because the light of the truth exposed their lies.  Eventually, the leader of the Bund went to jail for extortion. He was not only was he a racist, but a crook as well.

We do well to remember that any nation or group that propagates hate must be understood to be a volcano of violence. We must stay away from such polluted places.

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Filed under Israel, middle east, Syria


            One of the most poignant books of recent years was Tatiana De Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key. The movie version cut like a scalpel, revealing the events of July 16, 1942 when the French police herded every Jew they could find into Velodrome d’Hiver and later shipped them off to death camps. Sarah’s Key is the story of one who escaped and how her life unfolded decades later. The story is a gripping depictions of anti-Semitism.          Seventy years later prejudice has not subsided.

Noted scholar Alvin H. Rosenfeld recently spoke at the University of Oklahoma about the continuing struggle. Rosenfeld is professor of Jewish Studies at Indiana University as well as the author numerous books and articles. He detailed:

«  The FBI thwarting several Muslim converts attempt to bomb two Jewish synagogues in New York,

«  An 88-year old white supremacist and Holocaust denier killing a security guard at

the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2000,

«  Jewish hatred being globalized across the world through the Internet by  the pressing of a computer key.

Rosenfeld’s list goes one and on. Today we face escalating European anti-Semitic hate crimes, terrorism, and attempts to criminalize Jewish religious rites that have been practiced for thousands of years. In Cologne, Germany a judge declared circumcision illegal and brought charges against a rabbi for performing a bries, a circumcision, on an infant. In Toulouse, France three children and their rabbi were shot while anti-Semitic attacks rose 40% in France. Even the American Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) voted to boycott Israeli products from “Palestinian Land” even though there is no Palestinian state with defined borders.

The left-wing in Europe continues to characterize Israel as an imperialist power in the on-going struggle with the Palestinians. Philosopher and author John Paul Sartre described the conflict not to be between Jews and Palestinians but those advocating peace on both side and their rejectionists. He understood that Europe’s left-wing always ignored and failed to comprehend this fact.

To hopefully reverse this tide of hate, the City Council of Paris will commemorate the Velodrome d’Hiver event and the young Parisian victims among the 1,500,000 children exterminated by the Nazis. A few of the children came from substantial income homes, but the majority were from modest backgrounds. The mayor of Paris noted in opening the exhibition that half of the Jewish children deported from France were Parisian. The fact is that only 200 came back. The mayor concluded his remarks by saying they wished to honor the memories of these children.

The children who survived in France were hidden by righteous gentiles. The separation from their parents, changing of identities, being brought up outside of their faith, and living in fear took an overwhelming toll. By 1945, there were 10,000 Jewish orphans in France who could not find their parents. The cost of anti-Semitism continues with many of them to this day.

We do well to remember this history lest it be repeated. We cannot allow the assaults of prejudice against any race, any religion, any nation to go unchallenged. The path to a better future leads through a briar patch of angry words and aggressive actions that must be countered by resistance.

Sarah’s Key reminds us that this very hour is the time to make a difference. 

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Filed under History, Judism, Violence, World