It is ages since I last sent a “Points to Ponder” newsletter. While much seems to be as it was a year ago, there have also been mind boggling changes.
On the one hand Israel and the Palestinians are no closer to an agreement, mainly because of the Palestinian Authority insistence to pay monthly “salaries” to any Palestinian who murders a Jew as well as to their families. On the other hand, to the dismay of the P.A., some of the Arabian Gulf States have established diplomatic relations with Israel, or are in the process of doing so
However, there is one thing which is going from bad to worse – antisemitism. Some of the articles I have written on the subject can be viewed on my site www.ratzer.com. For many it is unbelievable that antisemitism today is so similar to that of the Nazi propaganda seventy years ago which resulted in the Holocaust and murder of six million Jews.
It is equally unbelievable that any sane person can deny the Holocaust when there is so much German and Nazi documentation describing it in meticulous detail. Jews are attacked equally by those on the left or right, communists or capitalists, Christians, Moslems or atheists.
Historically we were attacked for being a people, descended from Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca and Jacob and his twelve sons, the tribes of Israel. Surprisingly, DNA testing shows this to be more correct than anyone could have imagined.
Then we were attacked for being a religion, following the Ten Commandments and the laws of the Torah, many of which are relevant and applicable throughout the world in our day, but without recognition of the source.
Now, by equating Jews and Zionists and Israelis, we are attacked for being a sovereign nation, with our own county once again, two and a half thousand years after our First Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians and two thousand years after the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans.
In addition, there is now a new version of the blood libel accusations. Once it was because we suffered less during instances of plague, thanks to our observance of the laws of cleanliness in the Torah. Then it was the ridiculous allegation that we killed non-Jews in order to use their blood to bake matza for Passover, ludicrous because, as anyone who has tasted a kosher steak knows, we are forbidden to eat blood and matza is flour and water baked in seventeen minutes maximum. .
Now it is corona. Never mind the Chinese, the true and proven source of this plague. It’s the Jews. And although, as anyone can witness, all citizens of Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike are being successfully vaccinated, Israel is accused of discrimination against the Arab population.
There are many theories about the longevity of antisemitism in its various forms. As valid as they are I have my own theory which I have saved till the end of this newsletter.
But first, please enjoy the following quotes about Jews by famous people.
Winston S. Churchill: British P.M.
“Some people like the Jews, and some do not.
But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question,
the most formidable and most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.
John F. Kennedy: U.S. President
Israel was not created in order to disappear- Israel will endure and flourish.
It is the child of hope and the home of the brave.
It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success.
It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe: German Poet
“Energy is the basis of everything.
Every Jew, no matter how insignificant,
is engaged in some decisive and immediate pursuit of a goal.
It is the most perpetual people of the earth.”
John Adams: Second U.S. President
“I will insist the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation.
If I was an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate,
I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations…
They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth.
The Romans and their empire were but a bubble in comparison to the Jews.”
Leo Tolstoy: Writer
“What is the Jew?
What kind of unique creature is this whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world
have disgraced and crushed and expelled and destroyed; persecuted, burned and drowned,
and who, despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish.
What is this Jew whom they have never succeeded in enticing with all the enticements in the world, whose oppressors and persecutors only suggested that he deny (and disown) his religion on and cast aside the faithfulness of his ancestors?!
The Jew – is the symbol of eternity. …
He is the one who for so long had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind.
A people such as this can never disappear.
The Jew is eternal.
He is the embodiment of eternity.”
Eric Hoffer: American Philosopher
“The Jews are a peculiar people:
Things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.
Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people, and there is no refugee problem.
Russia did it. Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and
Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese–
and no one says a word about refugees.
But in the case of Israel , the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees.
Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab.
Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis.
Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms.
But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace.
Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.”
Mark Twain: Writer
“…If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race.
It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way.
Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of.
He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.
His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers.
He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him.
He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it.
The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind.
All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains.
What is the secret of his immortality?”
I do not profess to know why we Jews have, despite more than two thousand years of dispersion and persecution, returned to the land where we originated, speaking the same language we did then and practicing the same religion, given to us by Moses more than three thousand years ago.
We celebrate the Passover festival this year, as we have since Moses led us out of Egypt, for we are told: “in every generation one ought regard himself as though he personally had come out of Egypt.” And how true are the words we read in the Haggadah: “in every generation there are those who rise against us to annihilate us, but the Holy One, Blessed is He, ever saves us from their hand.”
This unique history and the inexplicable immortality of the Jewish people frighten those who cannot or will not accept it. Fear breeds hatred. And that hatred is called antisemitism.
Hag sameach to all my Jewish readers and best wishes to those who will be celebrating Easter.
Author: A Historical Tour Of The Holy Land