In my column on Ynet—“Anti-Semitism: The Same Tune Over And Over Again”
70% of the Europe’s Jews will not celebrate the coming holiday season together because of the fear of anti-Semitism. “Our nation is used to being persecuted, the excuse for hating us changes, but it is the same tune over and over again.” Rav Laitman explains the law of anti-Semitism, why it repeats in every generation, and how we can avoid the next wave of hatred.
The wave of terrorism raised its head again last week in Israel and reawakened the preparedness and the tension again. But the fear doesn’t permeate only Israel but also our fellow Jews in Europe.
According to a new troubling survey conducted by the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe 70% of the European Jews are afraid of coming to the public prayers and celebrations on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur because of the rise in anti-Semitic incidents, despite the increased security measures and policing around Jewish institutions. “The challenge has doubled during the last months” says the union CEO, “we are also coping with the increased harassment of Jews by Muslims and a significant increase of power of extreme right-wing movements.
The Muslim refugee crisis has been troubling the 27 EU leaders over the last year. It is the main cause of the rise of the radical right-wing parties that call out to deport them and which is terrifying the Jews living in Europe. The Jews are currently exposed to large-scale attacks, incitement to violence, and verbal abuse, and despite their promises, the European leaders simply cannot ensure their safety. Half of the racist incidents in France are directed toward Jews; in Germany the president of the Jewish Council Dr. Joseph Shuster warned people not to wear a yarmulke in Muslim regions; in Holland Mezuzahs were removed from doors, and the British media is engaged in an unprecedented anti-Semitic attack against Israel and the Jews, but interestingly 85% of the anti-Semitic incidents are not reported at all…
As Usual, The Jews Are to Blame
Europe is used to signaling out the Jews. It is the stronghold of the BDS movement, which operates against Israel, and incitement campaigns like “Israeli Apartheid week” are launched in European capital cities, and tens of thousands of anti-Semitic statements are published daily online accusing the Jews of all the evil in the world. With the rate things are happening, it would not be surprising if soon a new international committee were appointed with the “initiative to formulate a strategy to impose peace in the Middle East,” that would conclude that the solution to Europe’s problems is the de-legitimization of Israel. They may suddenly decide that the operative solution to the refugee crisis in Europe is to resettle them by our side in the land of Israel, the country they themselves assigned in the UN Partition Plan in November 1947.
Don’t let politics fool you. What is happening in Europe now is merely a new external expression of the recurring pattern of hatred that has been part of our history for ages. Unfortunately history teaches us that the anti-Semites have won this struggle as attested by the millions of Jews who have been murdered inspired by blood libels since 1144 to the present. Today the main expression of anti-Semitism is anti-Israel, “modern blood libel” under the guise of anti-Zionism.
Why don’t rational explanations about the situation in the Middle East convince any intellectual? Why will we never be able to escape our identity? Why will the hatred of Israel continue to raise its head just as it has for ages? Why is it that unlike any other nation in history, the more they try to destroy us, they will not be able to complete the job?
The Law of Anti-Semitism
According to Kabbalah, anti-Semitism is not a passing phenomenon but a law of nature that can be measured. When we unite over all the disputes and disagreements, the positive force that can do wonders spreads in the world. On the other hand, when we are divided and emotionally distant from each other, we invoke the negative force in the world, which returns and hits us with a burst of anti-Semitism.
Even if they are not aware of it, deep in their hearts anti-Semites feel that we have the key to their bright future, but our ears are deaf and we don’t even hear when some of them openly say that if we only connected, their attitude toward us would improve dramatically. Henry Ford, one of the greatest anti-Semites in history, wrote in his book The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem, “The Jew has been too long accustomed to think himself as exclusively the claimant on the humanitarianism of society; society has a large claim against him that he cease his exclusiveness, that he cease exploiting the world, that he cease making Jewish groups the end and all of his gains, and that he begins to fulfill, in a sense his exclusiveness has never yet enabled him to fulfill, the ancient prophecy he boasts that through him all the nations of the earth should be blessed.”
The irrational hatred arising then as it is now reminds us the hard way that we have a role, and although we would be glad to be rid of it, it is impossible. Even if we assimilate or try to hide our Israeli identity, we will always remain Jews. We are a nation that carries an idea, a social ideal of love of man, of our nation and of the world. We became a nation on the basis altruism expressed by the rule “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and only the return to love can defeat the hatred the world feels toward us. Kabbalists tell us that we Jews decide the fate of the world. “Just as the organs of a body cannot exist even for one moment without the heart,” as it is written in The Book of Zohar,” neither can the nations of the world exist without Israel.” Through the unity between us, we oblige the world to unite and the abundance begins to flow. While we are divided, we separate them and this clogs the pipes of abundance and leads to wars and hatred.
Baal HaSulam, Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, the great 20th century Kabbalist wrote that “the nation of Israel was installed with a transmitter, and to the degree that Israel are connected, they transmit their power to the other nations of the world.” He also wrote, “We are the sons of the ideal,” and only when we fulfill it and unite will we be able to live in peace.
There Is Nowhere to Run
The pressure that can be put on us by Europe and through it by all the nations of the world may take us back to the years in which we wandered from one place to another, at best, or to our destruction just like 80 years ago, at worst. Although it may seem that the Jewish people have a home in the land of Israel today, “The whole Zionistic ideas will be annulled,” wrote Baal HaSulam in “The Last Generation.” With great sadness he describes the process of the decline of our future if we don’t fulfill our role and transmit the force of connection to the world through us. “This state will be very poor and its inhabitants will suffer greatly and many of them or their children will undoubtedly gradually leave the country and only a negligible number will be left, who will also eventually assimilate among the Arabs.” Then there will truly be nowhere to run.
In times of crisis, no country, not even the US, will support us or receive us. It was the same in the days of Nazi Germany when the Jews who felt threatened by anti-Semitism tried to escape fearing the great disaster that was approaching. Some even sailed the infamous St. Louis to the South America, but when they reached Cuba the government told them that they were not welcome and refused to receive them. They sailed to the US where they were refused again, and having no choice they returned to Europe and most of them were killed in the Holocaust.
The Writing Is on the Wall
Baal HaSulam, who knew the law of anti-Semitism and all the laws of nature that operate in our reality, warned people that the Holocaust was approaching, “I have already published most of my views in 1933. I have also spoken to the leaders of the generation, and my words were not accepted then. Although I screamed and warned that the world was going to be destroyed, it did not impress, but now after the nuclear and the hydrogen bomb I believe that the world will believe that the end of the world is very near and that Israel will be the first to get burnt, just the way it was in the previous war. Therefore it is the right thing to awaken the world today so that they will receive the only remedy there is and will live and survive” (“The Last Generation”).
The loud cry of Baal HaSulam is still echoing today and is more relevant than ever before. Even then, when Europe was prosperous, the Jews preferred to complacently dance to the tune of a waltz in Berlin or tranquilly chew schnitzel despite the great impending danger. The waves of modern anti-Semitism washing Europe today should serve as reminder of our role: to unite and to be light unto the nations of the world, to be an example of the corrected society in which everyone lives in brotherly love above all our differences. Today we are also nearing the fatal choice, and just as we did when we became a nation for the first time at the gathering at Mt. Sinai and were faced with a similar decision, when placed before us was an unequivocal choice: to unite or here will be our burial place, mutual guarantee or unfounded hate, all or nothing. We made a huge effort, conquered the mount of hatred between us, and connected as one man in one heart.
The message is clear—we must blame only ourselves for the hatred the world feels toward us. As long as we are cruel to each other, the world will be cruel to us. Deep down inside, every Jew feels that “All of Israel are friends.”
If we connect as one bundle, we will harness anti-Semitism to our advantage. Since “the main protector against calamity is love and unity, when Israel feel love, unity, and brotherhood toward one another, there is no room for disaster to affect them (Maor VaShemesh).