Hitler’s Willing Executioners was a book written in 1996 by Daniel Goldhagen about how the German and European culture paved the way for the common German citizen soldiers to willingly participate in the greatest mass murder in history. In Constantine’s Sword (2002) author James Carroll traced the history of European anti-Semitism. The killing fields of the Holocaust were fertilized for over a thousand years by a culture led by the church which demonized the Jews as Christ killers and with the blood libel of killing Christian children to use their blood to make matzohs.
Anti-Semitism morphed with each new social development, from the Reformation to the Enlightenment to the modern era. Like a virus adapting to a new environment each change made it stronger.
The oldest hatred did not die with Hitler. It was exported to the Middle East, initially by some of the very same perpetrators, and developed into a strain of violent anti-Semitism that would have made the Hitler Youth blush. This new strain was then exported back to Europe where we see displays today that are reminiscent of the violent hatred that immediately preceded the final solution.
Ordinary people facilitated the final solution and cooperated with the murderers because they had been given moral clearance from the institutions and leaders beforehand. Words had consequences and the demonization of the Jews had legitimacy because the pulpits of Europe, intellectual leaders, and other public officials supported the defamatory myths that paved the road to this destruction.
The divestment boycott by the Presbyterian Church (USA) and others, the demonization of Israel’s defense as genocide by Hollywood celebrities such as Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, the protests against Israel on our college campuses, and much of the media as they promote their intellectually empty, morally corrupt and sinister cesspool of moral equivalence, are as complicit in the current war on the Jews as they were when they ignored the screams from the trains headed to the death camps in Europe, and when they ignored the smell from the smokestacks within their site.
Bardem and Cruz’s accusation of Israeli genocide in Gaza is as destructive and as insulting as previous demonizations of Jews. Genocides involve a sudden and significant destructive reduction in ethnic populations. Palestinian populations have continued to grow since Israel’s statehood. Jews know what genocide is. Bardem and Cruz do not have to be concerned with truth or reality. That is not how they make their living.
Where was their outrage when the Syrians killed 150,000 fellow Muslims, or when Hamas killed fellow Palestinians? Does any death other than at the hand of Israel justify such outrage?
Rarely is the morality of a conflict as clear as this one. Gaza had the opportunity to build a nation and they squandered the opportunity in a wasted effort to destroy one instead. When a society defines itself by those they hate, they always lose: even if they succeed in the destruction of their victims they are left with no other purpose and will likely just turn on each other.
When mothers cheer the martyrdom of their children their society is so poisoned that there are few outcomes other than death. This did not happen in secrecy. This has been promoted in Mosques and Arab media for a generation. Where did those leaders and other world leaders think this nihilism would lead? What we tolerate we teach.
The only difference between this war on the Jews and the one before is they now have a state and the means to defend themselves from an existential crisis. There can be no clearer statement of the importance of the existence and survival of the State of Israel.