Antisemitism kills. We survived the Holocaust. What did we learn?

During Roman times Jews made up 10% of the population of the Roman Empire. Today, there should be 200 million Jews.

Today, there are only 14 million Jews because of thousands of years of prosecutions, persecutions, pogroms, ghettos and shtetls, inquisitions, expulsions, and forced conversions, and then in the middle of the 20th century, 6 million men women and children were murdered for the crime of being Jewish. We call it the Holocaust.  We say Never Again, yet statistics tell us that antisemitism is more virulent than the 1930’s.

In Canada there has been a 61.5 per cent increase in antisemitic events since 2015. A December 2018 EU survey found that 80 percent of European Jews feel that antisemitism in their country has increased over the past five years, and 40 percent live in daily fear of being physically attacked. The FBI reports that Jews are the victims in sixty percent (60%) of religiously-motivated hate crimes in America.

Today, we have people who insist that Jew hatred comes from white nationalists. True. But what we refuse to acknowledge is the hatred coming from Islam and now black communities, perhaps infected with the venom shared by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. “ Jews have infected the whole world with poison and deceit”  and Judaism is a “system of tricks and lies.” He claims that it is the “Satanic Jews who have infected the whole world with poison and deceit.” He has praised Hitler and referred to Jews as “termites.”

Antisemitism is killing, again, around the world. Sadly, too few are aware of the connection between Nazism and Islam, shared by Farrakhan.

How many are aware that the Nazis were concerned about Islamophobia?

Throughout the war years, the Nazi Propaganda Ministry repeatedly instructed the press to promote a positive image of Islam. Urging journalists to give credit to the “Islamic world as a cultural factor,” Goebbels in the autumn 1942 instructed magazines to discard negative images of Islam, which had been spread by church polemicists for centuries. References to similarities between Jews and Muslims, as manifested in the ban of pork and the ritual circumcision, were to be avoided. The Propaganda Ministry decreed that magazines should depict the U.S. as “the enemies of Islam” and stress American and British hostility toward the Muslim religion.”

In 1941, the Wehrmacht distributed the military handbook Der Islam to train the troops to behave correctly towards Muslim populations.

How many are aware that Muslims worked with Nazis during WWII to murder the Jews?

Heinrich Himmler wrote “What is there to separate the Muslims in Europe and around the world from us Germans? We have common aims. There is no more solid basis for cooperation than common aims and common ideals. For 200 years, Germany has not had the slightest conflict with Islam.” The Nazis had found commonality with Islam.

In the last months of the war while Hitler hid in his bunker he lamented that the Third Reich’s efforts to mobilize the Muslim world had not been strong enough. “All Islam vibrated at the news of our victories,” and Muslims had been “ready to rise in revolt.”

But Hitler need not have feared. His calls to murder Jews were repeated by leaders in Islam.

Haj Amin al-Husseini worked to unite the Arabs with the Nazis, economically and ideologically, in an anti-Jewish Islamic movement across India to Central Europe and on to the Middle East.

The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, led the broad Arab-Nazi alliance in the Holocaust that produced a military, economic, political, and ideological common cause with Hitler.

This Nazi-Arab alliance thrived, complete with tens of thousands of Islamic and Arab volunteers arduously fighting in the trenches, coordinating diplomatic and strategic affairs through the Arab Higher Committee, broadcasting nightly incendiary hate messages beginning with words “Oh Muslims,” and undertaking all things calculated to advance a German victory, which promised an Arab state in Palestine and a disappeared Jewish population. No wonder the Arab marketplaces were filled with placards that exhorted, “In Heaven, Allah is your ruler. On Earth, it is Adolf Hitler.”

They cried out:

“We the Palestinian nation, our fate from Allah is to be the vanguard in the war against the Jews until the resurrection of the dead, as the prophet Muhammad said: ‘The resurrection of the dead will not arrive until you will fight the Jews and kill them… ’ We the Palestinians are the vanguard in this undertaking and in this campaign, whether or not we want this…”

We hear similar calls from Muslims in Canada for the elimination of Israel during the Al Quds Day Parade. Quds Day (“Jerusalem Day”), held on the last Friday of Ramadan, proclaimed on August 7, 1979, shortly after the Islamic Revolution, by Ayatollah Khomeini and now carried forward by the Khamenei, is an annual day of protest organized by the Iranian government against Israel.  On August 7, 1979, shortly after the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini proclaimed Quds Day as an annual day of solidarity against the “usurper Israel.” While nominally about Jerusalem, the Quds Day rally serves as a forum for regime figures to call for hostilities against Israel and the liberation of Palestine, envisaging the inevitable elimination of the “Zionist regime.” “Death to Israel” is a common chant at the rallies, often accompanied by “Death to America. The rhetoric often slides into overt antisemitism including characterizations of Zionism as a cosmic evil  and statements denying the Holocaust.

Just last summer a sign alluding to an historical massacre of Jews was carried openly in downtown Toronto, the most diverse city on the world, in a country that prides itself on promoting tolerance and accommodation.

The sign depicted the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and warns that, “The last Khayber is ready,” an allusion to an ancient battle in which a Muslim army defeated and slaughtered Jews in the Arabian Peninsula.

In 628 Mohammed conquered Khaybar, murdering the leaders and taking a wife, Saffiya, after beheading her husband Kinana al Rabi of the Bani Nadir.

Muhammad proclaimed:

“The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: ‘Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him;’ but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.”  He admonished, “The resurrection of the dead will not arrive until you will fight the Jews and kill them…”

Today, in mosques all over the world this call to kill Jews is repeated in this hadith. A hadith is a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad which, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna), and constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Koran.

“It is narrated in the hadith that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The Hour will not begin until you fight the Jews, until a Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will say: ‘O Muslim, O slave of Allah, here is a Jew behind me; come and kill him – except the gharqad (a kind of thorny tree).”

What would happen if a Pastor or Priest called for the death of Jews in their churches today? Would there be silence, again, as happened prior to the Holocaust when antisemitism was rampant in the churches?

The Church of England recently shared its report  “God’s Unfailing Word: Theological and Practical Perspectives on Christian-Jewish Relations,”

The 121-page report said attitudes towards Judaism over centuries had provided a “fertile seed-bed for murderous anti-Semitism,” and that Anglicans and other Christians must repent for the “sins of the past,” as well as actively challenge anti-Semitic attitudes or stereotypes.

Why is there silence about the calls for death to the Jews coming from respected Imams in their mosques?  How is this hate any different from the Christian calls for death to the Jews? Have we not learned about the power of the clergy?

These calls from respected Muslims are part of the cause of the rise in antisemitism in the West. What will our response be, this time?

From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”