Amid global anti-Jewish sentiment, it's time to stand up and fight

“To everything there is a time; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3)

ADOLF EICHMANN speaks during his trial in Jerusalem in 1961. (photo credit: GPO)
ADOLF EICHMANN speaks during his trial in Jerusalem in 1961.
(photo credit: GPO)
In one of his classic comedy routines, Jackie Mason talks about growing up in Brooklyn. “I lived in a tough neighborhood,” he recounts. “The Italian kids would routinely look for Jews and beat us up; we would cross the street when we saw them coming, and run for home to get away from them.
“But when World War II broke out, and Italy joined up with the Nazis,” Mason continued, “something strange happened. The minute the Italians put on army uniforms, they became the worst soldiers the world’s ever seen. They became experts in throwing up their hands and sounding the retreat! But the Jews? The second we got our own country and put on our uniforms, we become amazing fighters; the whole Arab world was scared of us!”
Friends: What is happening to Jews all over the world is no comedy routine; it is a war. Rabbi Meir Kahane – who spent many years defending Jews – would often remark: “Scratch the surface of American society, strike up a conversation in a local bar or on the street, and you will see how antisemitism is there, just waiting to bubble over.” Now, fueled by millions of fanatic Muslims who have flooded the United States and Western Europe, the antisemitism has become widespread, ugly and deadly.
On the streets of New York, Los Angeles, London, Barcelona, Paris and elsewhere, gangs of hoodlums not only chant, “Death to Israel – Death to Jews!” but look for Jews to attack and synagogues to burn. They are led by vampire-like Islamists who unabashedly declare, “We want your blood; we crave death, we glorify death, we seek death!” Never mind that among the mob are feminists who ignore rampant “honor killings,” whereby innocent Arab women who dare to disagree with their husbands or look askance at another man are brutally beaten to death.
Never mind that “progressives” turn a blind eye toward Hamas’s proud insistence that they will hang gays and all other “deviants” in their midst. And never mind that “advocates of peace” push for warmer relations with Iran, the world’s terrorist leader whose greatest ambition – after committing genocide against Israel – is to bring down “depraved Western society.”
These concerns all fall away to one central, overriding goal: rid the world of Jews. By now, anyone who has eyes to see, ears to hear and a brain to think knows that hatred of Israel is simply a euphemism for hatred of Jews. If you need any proof of that, just look at the photo of thugs in keffiyehs cursing and attacking hassidic Jews on 47th Street, in Manhattan’s Diamond District. Now, everyone knows this is not the heartland of Zionism; many of these Jews are non-, if not anti-Zionists. But that’s the point: This is only about Israel, insofar as the majority of Jews in the world live here (despite what the statistics say). If we lived in Uganda or Madagascar (as was once proposed) the riots would be there. For the antisemites, a Jew is a Jew is a Jew, regardless of his clothes, culture or country.

WHAT, THEN, should we do?

Well, let’s start with what we should not do. There was a frightening interview with 29-year-old Joseph Borgen, who was attacked by a murderous gang in Times Square and severely beaten. Borgen told CNN’s Don Lemon that “he didn’t want revenge” against the people who punched, kicked and pepper-sprayed him until he was taken to the hospital; he just would like to “understand where they are coming from.” No wonder CNN lapped this up; when Jews are beaten or murdered, they love it when we go down with a whimper, when we try to “relate” to our persecutors rather than punish them.
Joseph, I sincerely hope that you recuperate, but your response is the opposite of what we need. There is no point in psychoanalyzing Hitler or Eichmann or Arafat to see “what makes them tick.” Antisemitism is a disease, a warped mentality, an eternal pandemic that afflicts the ignorant and the educated, the rich and the poor. It won’t be cured by debating – though we’re not allowed to debate it on today’s campuses – and it won’t be lessened by “reasoning” with the mob. It must be confronted, front and center, and met with stiff resistance in speech and deed. Shout back, with equal or greater decibels, at those who shout at you; fight back, with all the strength you have, against anyone who would do bodily harm to you or your fellow Jew.
In Israel, we must attack our enemies ferociously, as we did in the recent “rocket war” against Hamas terrorists. Let everyone know that Jewish blood will not come cheap and that Jewish children will not cringe in bomb shelters at the whim of the murderers. There must be zero tolerance for any attack in a Jewish neighborhood; gone must be the days when we remove our kippot or our mezuzot to hide our faith, or when we take down all lettering above synagogues to disguise their presence.
And everywhere else that Jews live? Don’t be shy about your rights – and the rightness of our cause – if you engage the haters. Insist that the police – who have been less than energetic in their intervention to save innocent victims – be proactive in stopping the hate-fests before they get totally out of hand. Insist to your elected representatives that they not be bullied by a tiny minority of junior congress-people who think they can drive America to the destination of their choice. And the American administration? Biden recently sent his secretary of state here to visit, and he actually said a lot of good things. But if Antony Blinken is winkin’ at Iran by capitulating to their terms, and giving the nod to the Palestinians by restoring their cash flow despite their continued support of terrorism, then you must rise against it in protest.
One crucial lesson we have learned over the years: Antisemites are bullies. They seek out the weak, they target the vulnerable. They hide behind the mob for their courage, but when they are directly challenged, when they are boldly confronted, they crumble, because their cause is flimsy and false. They thrive on intimidation, but they are cowards at heart. Israel has emerged victorious, thank God, in every war we have fought because we will not be shamed by our adversaries; we believe in the rightness of our struggle and are prepared to fight on – alone, if need be – against any bully that comes our way.
Oh, and that thing about “turning the other cheek?” That’s a different religion, people.
The writer is director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana. [email protected]