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The global pogrom
By BENJAMIN KERSTEIN
08/11/2014
This is not just a Jewish issue. A global pogrom is a global issue. It forces us to ask if the world is capable of doing justice to one of its smallest minorities.
 
“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” – Andre Gide

There is a global pogrom underway.

This is a terrible truth. And people tend to ignore terrible truths.

So it must be said again: There is a global pogrom underway.

And there is another terrible truth: The global pogrom has been underway for more than a decade. It has taken lives. It has destroyed property. It has wounded, brutalized and terrified Jews and Jewish communities in many nations. And it is creating a silent exodus, a de facto expulsion, an ethnic cleansing in slow motion.

This is a terrible truth that almost no one wants to acknowledge. But over the past month, it has become a truth that is impossible to ignore.

Violence against Jews has been ongoing since the Palestinian terror war began in 2000. But the moment when the global pogrom became impossible to deny took place last month in France.

On June 13, 2004, an ostensibly pro-Palestinian demonstration in Paris quickly devolved into the pogrom that, perhaps, it was always meant to be. A mob of thugs descended upon the Synagogue de la Roquette, trapped the congregation inside, and tried to break in while brandishing deadly weapons.

An eyewitness described how the crowd threw “stones and bricks at the building, ‘like it was an intifada.’” A Jewish leader made the horrifying statement, “We could have had something like Kristallnacht.”

The attackers, he said, “Had rocks, glass, axes, knives... they were armed and I made sure that no one would leave the synagogue, in order to protect the lives of our people.”

Due to the ineffectiveness of the French police, the synagogue and its congregation were only saved by the actions of Jewish self-defense groups.

We have seen this before. There is only one word for mob attacks on Jews. Attempts to defile and destroy Jewish houses of worship.

The desire to wound and kill defenseless human beings because they are Jews.

And the indifference, incompetence, or collaboration of non-Jewish authorities: Pogrom.

If what happened at the Synagogue de la Roquette is not a pogrom, then nothing is.

It is far from over. Following the attack on la Roquette, the French authorities banned further anti-Israel demonstrations. The pogromists marched anyway. And, as is their wont, they went on a rampage. They stormed through the Jewish neighborhood of Sarcelles, destroying, looting, defacing and generally acting like what Mayor Francois Pupponi later called “a horde of savages.”

At another illegal demonstration on July 26, protesters gave both the Nazi salute and its now-popular pogromist variation: the so-called “Quenelle,” popularized by a virulently racist comedian in order to skirt France’s laws against racial incitement.

And the pogrom has gone global.

In Antwerp, Haaretz reported, 500 people “protested” Israel’s war on Hamas by hailing a progromist who chanted “a call in Arabic that means ‘slaughter the Jews.’” Attendees “also called out ‘Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning,” referencing a seventh-century slaughter against Jews in Saudi Arabia.

In Germany, protesters chanted, “Hamas Hamas Juden ins gas!” (“Hamas Hamas Jews to the gas!”). A 200-strong mob in Essen chimed in, “Scheiss Juden!” (“Jewish s**t”).

In Berlin, “an angry mob” spewed rhetoric that would have enchanted the Fuhrer: “Jude, Jude feiges Schwein! Komm heraus und kämpf allein!” (“Jew, Jew, cowardly swine, come out and fight on your own!”).

In nearby Austria, the pogrom invaded one of Europe’s last truly sacred places: the soccer field. During a friendly match between Lille and Maccabi Haifa, a group of thugs stormed the field and attacked the Israeli team.

In London a series of protests have been fairly peaceful, but the rhetoric remained one of unrelenting incitement and defamation.

As a result, the British Jewish community is now under siege. Death and bomb threats are flowing in by the dozen. Hate crimes are skyrocketing. A Muslim woman threw stones at a Jewish boy. A rabbi was the target of a gang attack. Chants of “Heil Hitler” are defiling Jewish neighborhoods.

A global pogrom does not end at the borders of Europe. It has reached North America.

In Boston, The Times of Israel reported that several pro-Israel students were “Surrounded by pro-Palestinian activists chanting ‘Jesus killers’ and ‘drop dead’” before being physically attacked. In Calgary, an entire family was assaulted by a mob of anti-Israel pogromists, sending several of them to the hospital. The attackers chanted “baby killers,” “kill Jews” and “Hitler should finish you off.” In New York, there were more chants of “baby killers” and the blood libel found itself resurrected.

The pogrom has reached as far as Australia.

Jews have been physically attacked, and the blood libel appeared again. A billboard was unfurled showing a caricature of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with fangs dripping blood. Above were the words “can’t get enough.”

In Turkey, the only Muslim country where a substantial Jewish population remains, the pogrom reached a fever pitch, with Prime Minister Recip Tayyep Erdogan and the Turkish media spewing anti-Semitic rhetoric. And there was mob violence, this time directed against the Israeli consulate and the ambassador’s residence. Pogromist graffiti read, “Die out murderer Jew!” This ongoing violence and murderous rhetoric has had an ominous result: Turkish Jews are leaving. The younger generation no longer feels it has a future in Turkey.

Soon, this ancient community will likely no longer exist. Put simply, in Turkey, the global pogrom has become an act of expulsion and ethnic cleansing.

And not only in Turkey. Seven decades after it handed most of its Jews over to extermination, France is now acquiescing in their expulsion. The Los Angeles Times reports, “In 2013, 3,288 French Jews left for Israel, a 72% increase from the year before, and the first time French émigrés outnumbered those from the United States.” In other words, French Jews believe that an Israel under Hamas rockets is safer than France.

There is a global pogrom underway. I speak the terrible truth again because it must be spoken again.

The global pogrom is driven by a simple motive: To brutalize, slaughter and expel a people against which it has ignited an inferno of racist hatred.

The global pogrom operates with impunity.

It has made life impossible for Jews in numerous countries.

The global pogrom is now committing a crime against humanity: Expulsion and ethnic cleansing.

And if it is not stopped, the global pogrom will spread.

This is not just a Jewish issue. A global pogrom is a global issue. It forces us to ask if the world is capable of doing justice to one of its smallest minorities. And if it is not, we must speak the terrible truth that Haim Nahman Bialik spoke in the wake of another pogrom: “Let the throne be hurled down forever.”

The author is a Tel Aviv-based writer and editor. His books are available at Amazon.com.

This is a shortened version of an article originally published in Tower Magazine.
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