From my weekly column in Ynet: “The Right In Europe—A Ticking Time Bomb”
The last referendum in Italy and the resignation of Prime Minister Renzi announce the strengthening of fascist movements and prove that it is time for Europeans to unite. Currently, the winds of nationalistic protests are targeted at the establishment, but they might soon be targeted against millions of immigrants, and later, as has happened in the past, against the Jews. Rav Laitman explains how to defuse the ticking nationalistic bomb that threatens the fate of the Jewish people.
In my latest articles, I have gone into great detail discussing the current global changes and have explained that it all stems from the laws of nature, which the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches. The world is changing, the economy is taking on a new form, regimes are changing before our very eyes, and the voice of the British people who chose to leave the EU and the voice of the Americans who lead Trump to the White House were echoed in the voice of the Italian people who said no to the referendum and strongly opposed reforms in the Italian constitution, a real rebellion in the faltering EU.
The winds of nationalistic protest in Italy are now targeted at the political establishment, but they may change direction and target the millions of foreign immigrants and later, as always, the Jews. This dangerous fascist, anti-Semitic trend could affect the fate of Europe, the fate of the Jewish people, and the fate of humanity as a whole.
The Collective Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
Fascism is part of the Italian DNA. In 1919, about a year after WWI, fascism as a world view led to the emergence of a dictatorial regime in Italy, which replaced liberal democracy. Italian fascism attributed great significance to the idea of the eternal state and demanded the mortal individual to sacrifice himself, his aspirations, and his goals for the greater good: there are no social classes, there are no individuals, and the nation is a live and breathing body.
Through coherent nationalistic ideology emphasizing hatred of foreigners, the purported founder of fascism Benito Mussolini rallied his countrymen to extricate them from poverty, social problems, and unemployment—the same issues Italy faces today.
Mussolini himself came up with the term “fascism,” which stems from the Italian world “fascio,” meaning bundle or unity. It is an ancient Roman symbol of a bundle of wooden rods as a representation of strength through unity in contrast to the weakness of the individual. It is an egoistic and exploitative connection whose sole purpose is to gain power and control, and it eventually lead to the destruction of the “united nation.”
A hundred years after it faded away, the nationalistic parties are reawakening and indicate the real need for unity. It is perfectly clear that the unity that stems from narrow egoism is concerned only about its own nation. The question is whether there is another option. Is it possible to lead the growing need for unity onto a new track and, if so, how?
The Jewish Logo
Unlike the fascist logo, hundreds of years ago, the large Israeli force unity of the Jewish people was likened to a bundle of reeds: “If someone takes a bundle of reeds, can he break them all at once? If taking them one by one, even a baby can break them” (Tanchuma). The story of the unity of Israel goes back to ancient Babylon about 3,500 years ago. In those days, the primitive society was like one family where everyone understood each other “Now the entire earth was of one language and uniform words” (Genesis 11:1). Suddenly, man’s egoistic nature erupted. The same desire to receive pleasure which motivates us through pleasure or suffering demanded greater pleasures at the expense of others. The mutual exploitation led to a deep social crisis that split the Babylonians and led to a civil war.
The frustrated Babylonians looked for a way out of the thicket of the social crisis, and salvation appeared in the form of Abraham, the great Babylonian priest of the time who gathered them around him, taught them the wisdom of Kabbalah and how to be connected and love each other. A group of once-estranged Babylonians connected as one man in one heart and were called Israel because of their desire to resemble the Creator, “Yashar El,” to attribute everything to the one force of nature that is whole and eternal. From the moment the nation of Israel was established, it had one goal only: to serve as an example of unity for the other parts of divided humanity, to be a Light of the nations of the world.
The Jewish nation has undergone many changes. After the destruction of the Second Temple, egoism grew and unfounded hatred intensified. Brotherly love and the sublime value of unity ceased to illuminate the spiritual vision, and the nation dispersed all over the world for two thousand years of exile.
The Jews cannot wander all over the world and assimilate with the other nations forever because they have a great responsibility and an obligation to bring to the world the method of connection. Every time the Jews tried to deny their role, they soon were reminded of it in the form of anti-Semitism, which is the law of nature.
Anti-Semitism in Brief
At the beginning of the 20th century, Henry Ford, a great anti-Semite, published a series of booklets called “The International Jew” in which he wrote, “The Jew has gotten used to thinking that he is the only proprietor of society’s humanism for too long. Society has a great demand from the Jew, that he should cease to be aloof, that he should stop his abuse of the world, that he should stop relating to Jewish groups as the goal of all his profits, and that he should start fulfilling the ancient prophecy, since it is by that that all the nations on earth will be blessed.”
Ford is one of many examples. In 1364, Polish King Casimir III said that the Jews were always scheming, wanting to harm the Christians, to exploit them, and impoverish them financially. In 1885, German philosopher Paul de Lagarde offered the German people a detailed plan as to how to get rid of the loathsome Jewish race living among them. He said that one doesn’t negotiate with “pests and parasites” and one doesn’t educate them, but they should be destroyed “as speedily and thoroughly as possible.” Adolf Hitler, the odious, wrote “For the Jewish spirit is the product of the Jewish person. Unless we expel the Jewish people soon, they will have judaized our people within a very short time.” We all know how his words were made into actions.
But even after the Holocaust that hit European Jews hard, the winds of hatred are blowing again. The French writer and diplomat Jean Giraudoux wrote “that the French racial stock was being threatened by hordes of Eastern and Central European ghetto Jews descending upon France. These Jewish barbarians inclined toward lawlessness, and their corruption undermined the native artisanal traits of precision, perfection, and trust.”
Unity Heals the Wounds of Humanity
Hitler, Ford, and many anti-Semites throughout history have subconsciously felt that the Jewish nation has a meaningful role in the world, and that it doesn’t fulfill it. When unity among the people of Israel weakens, fascism and Nazism grow stronger, so it is no wonder that in this generation all the destroyers among the nations of the world are raising their heads and mainly wanting to destroy and kill the children of Israel. As the sages said, “no calamity comes to the world unless it is for Israel since, as it says in Tikunei HaZohar, Israel are the cause of poverty, killing, robbery, and destruction all over the world” (The Writings of Baal HaSulam).
On the other hand, if we act responsibly and unite as one man in one heart, as the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches us, we use our egoistic nature correctly, spurring the positive force of connection in nature and radiating it through the network between us to the entire world. Baal HaSulam wrote, “the Israeli nation had been constructed as a sort of gateway by which the sparks of purity would shine upon the whole of the human race the world over … until they develop to such an extent that they can understand the pleasantness and tranquility that are found in the kernel of love of others” (Baal HaSulam, “The Arvut“). The unity that spreads through us to the global network softens the hearts of mankind and brings them closer to each other and defuses the evil thoughts they have as to how to harm themselves through fascist regimes and, all the more so, how to harm the Jews.
“When there is love, unity, and friendship, there is no room for any calamity” (Maor VaShemesh). In other words, the choice is ours. We only have to show the world how to properly connect. A loose connection between us will bring the rise of fascism, whereas a tight connection will lead to its fall.