Entries in the 'Anti-Semitism' Category

“Why It Is Suddenly “Open Season” On Israel” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Why It Is Suddenly “Open Season” on Israel

This week Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, was “the latest watchdog to accuse Israel of perpetuating a version of the racist legal system that once governed South Africa,” according to The New York Times. The HRW 213 page report, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” claims to present “the present-day reality of a single authority, the Israeli government, ruling primarily over the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, populated by two groups of roughly equal size, and methodologically privileging Jewish Israelis while repressing Palestinians, most severely in the occupied territory.”

We need to understand that the world wants to get rid of the Jewish state. Therefore, the hiatus we were given while Trump was in office was only a temporary pause. This pause has ended, and the world will use every pretext to portray the Jewish state as evil.

The position of HRW has not changed for years, and this report is nothing new. What has changed, however, is the world’s response to it, embracing the report as solid truth. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the equivalent of the State Department) lambasted the report as baseless and biased, but no one really cares what Israel is saying. For years, the Israeli government’s strategy has been to state the fact that it has offered the Palestinians sovereignty over 97% of the territories three times over the past twenty years, but the Palestinians rejected all of them. Israel reminds the critics that Israeli Arabs are equal citizens and are represented in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and even if they speak explicitly against the existence of the State of Israel, they are not silenced because of the democratic principle of freedom of speech.

But facts and reason do not matter. When it’s “open season” on Israel, everyone joins the hunt. Israel’s apologetic strategy will not abate the animosity toward it, and it doesn’t even matter if it’s guilty or not. When there is hatred, some blame will always be found to place on the hated one. Especially now, when the dweller in the White House has changed and Israel is no longer the favored country there, it is as though the world has been given a green light to attack, and this is exactly what it does.

We shouldn’t be surprised. We should be very worried, but most of all, we should get very active. Unless we act now, things will become worse, and soon. We need to understand that the world wants to get rid of the Jewish state. Therefore, the hiatus we were given while Trump was in office was only a temporary pause. This pause has ended, and the world will use every pretext to portray the Jewish state as evil.

Since it is useless, we should stop focusing on others and start focusing on ourselves. It is time to work on our inner solidarity, our social cohesion. The division we project sends a clear message to the nations: Get them now while they are weak!

If we were united, they would not only stop accusing us of whatever evil they can concoct, but they would finally see some benefit from our existence. After all, the only purpose of our being in the State of Israel, Jews from all the exiles, is to set an example of uniting all the cultures and ethnicities. If we unite, it will reignite the latent feeling within every person in the world that the Jews have a purpose in this world: to be “a light unto nations.” When our ancestors joined Abraham’s company, they were strangers who joined him only because they subscribed to his teaching that unity above hatred is the right way to live. When the offspring of those strangers united under Moses’ leadership at the foot of Mt. Sinai, they pledged to bond “as one man with one heart.” Only then, when they achieved this level of unity, were they given the task of being “a light unto nations.”

Our current disunity, our unfounded hatred, tells the world that we are not a light unto nations. In fact, we are the opposite of it: sending a constant message of division and mutual derision. This is why they hate us.

Here is a great example of the transformation that will take place if we unite. Ukraine born Vasily Shulgin was a senior member of the Duma, the Russian Parliament, before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Openly and proudly, he proclaimed himself an anti-Semite, and often reiterated that statement. In his book What We Don’t Like About Them, he analyzes over many essays his perception of the Jews and what he thinks they are doing wrong. For instance, Shulgin complains that Jews are “very smart, effective, and vigorous at exploiting other people’s ideas. However,” he protests, “this is not an occupation for ‘teachers and prophets,’ not the role of ‘guides of the blind,’ not the role of ‘carriers of the lame.’” In another essay, Shulgin becomes almost poetic as he describes where the Jews can lead humanity if they only unite and rise to the challenge: “Let them … rise to the height to which they apparently climbed [in antiquity] … and immediately, all nations will rush to their feet. They will rush not by virtue of compulsion … but by free will, joyful in spirit, grateful and loving, including the Russians! We ourselves will request, ‘Give us Jewish rule, wise, benevolent, leading us to the Good.’”

The writing is on the wall; we can unite of our own volition, or we can be pushed to it against our will. If we refuse to do it either way, it will not end well. In 1929, Dr. Kurt Fleischer, the leader of the Liberals in the Berlin Jewish Community Assembly, stated that “Anti-Semitism is the scourge that God has sent us in order to lead us together and weld us together.” In 1929, we would not listen. I hope this time we will.

“What Is Anti-Semitism?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What is anti-semitism?

Anti-Semitism is hatred for the spiritual gene that exists in part of the people in this world.

We all bear inside us an egoistic desire to receive, the ego, but inside the ego is a spark that draws us to a development that is opposite and above the ego.

There are people in whom the spiritual gene—also called a “spark” or a “point in the heart”—is large, and it attracts these people to spiritual development, and also influences their way of thinking, their characteristics and their attitude toward people and nature. (Note also that the Nazis wanted to find out how the spiritual gene in Jews influences spiritual qualities.)

Anti-Semitism is hatred of the spiritual gene, which completely opposes everything existing in creation.

Anti-Semitism stems from the essence of the Jewish people, where they are the complete opposite to every other nation, and due to the fact that they might later draw everyone with them to the purpose of creation. People hate the fact that they are opposite to the Jews, who hold a connection with the original quality of nature—the nature of love, bestowal and connection—and that they are connected to the most exalted goal, and also that only after they originally attained that connection did they tell the nations of the world about it, who proceeded to create religions and beliefs based on that.

We have this foundation, one that is connected to the spiritual force of love, bestowal and connection. This is who we are. The world hates this foundation in Jews, which cannot be uprooted. They feel it existing in us, and not in them, that we are close to the meaning of life, and they depend on us in order to reach the meaning of life.

Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“What Sarah Halimi’s Murder Tells Us” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “What Sarah Halimi’s Murder Tells Us

On Sunday, thousands of people demonstrated in Paris to protest the recent decision by the French Court of Cassation to absolve the 2017 murderer of Sarah Halimi of criminal responsibility because he took cannabis before he killed her. Paris was the center of the protests, but demonstrations also took place in Tel Aviv, London, Rome, New York, Los Angeles, and several other cities around the world.

As warped as this ruling seems to be, Jews should not expect justice anywhere in the world. Justice means that there is balance between good and bad, but there is none of it today. Wherever you look, evil reigns.

Sarah Halimi was a Jewish woman aged 65. On April 4, 2017, her Muslim neighbor, 27 years old Kobili Traoré, broke into her apartment on the third floor, beat her savagely, and threw her out the window to her death while shouting in Arabic Allahu akbar [Allah is great]. After the murder, he declared “I killed the Shaitan [Arabic: evil spirit].”

Initially, French authorities would not label the murder as antisemitic until public criticism forced them to acknowledge it as such. However, in 2019, when the verdict was finally given, the assailant was declared mentally unfit for trial because he had consumed cannabis, which induced a state of psychosis. The decision was appealed but a few days ago, the Supreme Court of Cassation upheld the lower court’s ruling. As a result, according to The Jerusalem Post, Traoré “gets to walk free.”

As warped as this ruling seems to be, Jews should not expect justice anywhere in the world. Justice means that there is balance between good and bad, but there is none of it today. Wherever you look, evil reigns.

Even worse, the only ones who can bring about balance between good and bad are the Jews. Therefore, since bad is reigning, the Jews both suffer from it, and are accused of creating it.

Jews don’t create the bad. Humans are inherently bad, or as it is written, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). However, Jews are meant to bring about the good, the kindness on which Abraham founded the nation, and which generations of prophets and spiritual leaders cultivated above countless regressions into mutual hatred.

The key criterion for spotting antisemitism is “double standard,” when someone judges Jews by a different yardstick than they judge people of other nations. However, this is the common yardstick; few people relate to Jews the way they relate to members of other nations because, even if they’re unaware of it, people expect Jews to set an example of kindness, mutual responsibility, and all the things that are the tenets of our faith. When we don’t cultivate these qualities and don’t display them toward each other, the nations follow our example and blame us for all the hatred there is around them. After all, without the example of the nation who is supposed to be “a light unto nations,” what can you expect from the rest of the world?

Take, for example, Ukraine born Vasily Shulgin, who was a senior member of the Duma, the Russian Parliament, before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, and a rabid self-proclaimed antisemite. In his book What We Don’t Like about Them, he explained what he thought was the problem with Jews. Shulgin complained that “Jews in the 20th century have become very smart, effective, and vigorous at exploiting other people’s ideas.” But all of a sudden, he takes a sharp turn from the trite canard and declares, “[But] this is not an occupation for teachers and prophets, not the role of the guides of the blind, not the role of the carriers of the lame.”

Indeed, the world needs a messenger of kindness. Just as Abraham did in antiquity, now it is upon us Jews. Until we accept this idea and take upon ourselves the mission to balance evil with goodness, the world will continue to relate to us as Shaitan.

My Thoughts On Twitter 4/25/21

Dr Michael Laitman Twitter

“Dr. Kurt Fleischer, the leader of the Liberals in the Berlin Jewish Community Assembly, argued in 1929 that “Anti-Semitism is the scourge that God has sent us in order to lead us together and weld us together”
Source: Donald L. Niewyk, The Jews in Weimar #Germany
From Twitter, 4/25/21

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“Churchill And The Jews – A Matter Of Fate” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Churchill and the Jews – A Matter of Fate

A hundred years ago, on March 24, 1921, to be exact, an important visitor came to Palestine to witness firsthand the progress of the Zionist endeavor to build “A national home for the Jewish people,” as stated in the 1917 Balfour Declaration. That man was Winston Spencer Churchill, at the time Great Britain’s Secretary of State for the Colonies, and during World War II, its illustrious Prime Minister. The 1920 San Remo conference gave Britain the mandate for the administration of Palestine, and Churchill, an avid supporter of Zionism, came to see how his vision was unfolding.

Churchill seems to have realized that for the Jews, unity had a deep spiritual meaning, and not merely a worldly benefit to yield. Gilbert writes that Churchill “did not think that people could unite in communities ‘unless they possessed some guiding principle. They in that part of Manchester had the spirit of their race and of their faith. He counselled them to guard and keep that spirit. It was a precious thing, a bond of union, an inspiration, and a source of great strength.’”

In light of the Palestinian Arabs’ resistance to the Jewish settlers, Churchill declared: “It is manifestly right that the Jews should have a National Home where some of them may be reunited. And where else could that be but in this land of Palestine, with which for more than 3,000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated.”

Acclaimed British historian Martin Gilbert, author of the book Churchill and the Jews, included numerous quotations by Churchill. In one of them, he writes that an Arab delegation protested the expansion of the Jewish settlement in Palestine. In response, Churchill told them, “I am myself perfectly convinced that the cause of Zionism is one which carries with it much that is good for the whole world, and not only for the Jewish people, but that it will also bring with it prosperity and contentment and advancement to the Arab population of this country.”

Indeed, Churchill’s interest in the success of the Jewish National Home went deeper than a sense of historic justice. His passion for Zionism stemmed from his sense of the Jewish fate with regard to the whole world. In Palestine, which is now the State of Israel, Churchill felt that the Jews could realize their vocation. Accordingly, during his visit, he said, “My heart is full of sympathy for Zionism. The establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine will be a blessing to the whole world.”

An even more surprising nuance about Churchill’s affinity for Jews had to do with his discernments about the nature of the Jewish society. I have written countless times about the significance of unity for the Jews. Throughout the ages, our sages have stressed numerous times that unity is the core of Judaism, that the people of Israel were forged only after they agreed to unite “as one man with one heart,” and that the example of unity is what the world wants to see from them.

Regrettably, for all their efforts, our sages did not convince their obstinate people; perhaps a distinguished member of the nations expressing precisely the same view will help us come to terms with our vocation. Churchill was not always aware of the importance of unity for the Jews, or as he referred to it, their “corporate spirit.” But some years before World War I, he got to know the Jews of Manchester. According to Gilbert, “His experience with Manchester Jewry had introduced him to the Jewish communal emphasis on social responsibility and self-help, with which he had been much impressed. … Churchill added that he had been ‘much struck … by the nature of the work that community had in hand.’”

Moreover, Churchill seems to have realized that for the Jews, unity had a deep spiritual meaning, and not merely a worldly benefit to yield. Gilbert writes that Churchill “did not think that people could unite in communities ‘unless they possessed some guiding principle. They in that part of Manchester had the spirit of their race and of their faith. He counselled them to guard and keep that spirit. It was a precious thing, a bond of union, an inspiration, and a source of great strength.’”

During a meeting in support of the Jewish Hospital Fund in Manchester, Churchill said that recently, we have heard a great deal about corporate life, but “If we were going to live decent lives in such great masses of people, we would have to study the corporate organization of society in a way we had hitherto not attempted to do. We had got to band ourselves together for definite purposes.” In Churchill’s eyes, the corporate life “was worth nothing unless it had behind it personal effort. The mere mechanical arrangement of society into larger combination would be utterly sterile unless those larger combinations were sustained by a great spirit of personal interest and of impersonal aspiration.” He was convinced that if the Jews could keep that spirit, “They would have created a new thing in the world; they would have brought from the realms of the infinite something new into the arena of mundane affairs.” In fact, Churchill was so convinced of the power of Jewish unity that he stated that it would be “a lever which could remove vice, disease, sorrow and want, which could wipe away the grossnesses of our state in the world, and which would be of far greater value than any stereotyped or hidebound official organization.”

Moreover, Churchill realized that worldly Jewish unity could be successful only if it were tied to the spiritual essence of Jewish unity. It seems as though in his eyes, that unity made them “a light unto nations,” an example to follow. In his words, “If we were to have the higher corporate life, we must have the higher corporate incentive; we must have the larger spirit, the larger driving power. The Jews were a lucky community because they had that corporate spirit, the spirit of their race and faith.” Churchill would not “ask them to use that spirit in any narrow or clannish sense.” He believed it would be “far from their mood and intention, far from the counsels that were given them by those most entitled to advise. That personal and special driving power which they possessed would enable them to bring vitality into their institutions, which nothing else would ever give.”

At the end of his speech about the corporate nature of the Jewish spirit, Churchill concluded with a humorous, if stern advice: “Be good Jews.” And perhaps to show his appreciation for Jewish unity and desire that the Jews would share it, he added, amid cheers: “A Jew cannot be a good Englishman unless he is a good Jew.”

It is my wish for the people of Israel to take the advice of our sages, to listen to the wishes of the nations, and forge the unity that we must then share with the world. Our unity, above all our many differences, shines a light that the whole world wants. If we spread this light, the world will embrace our nation for the first time in our history.

The Holocaust Is Not History But Actual World Problem

203Every year we mark the Holocaust Remembrance Day to honor the memory of the victims—six million European Jews. However, as years go by distancing us more and more from this event, the memory of it begins to fade.

Many young people have not heard the stories about Holocaust in their families and have never met with witnesses of these terrible events.

Therefore, there is a fear that the memory of the Holocaust may disappear because after a certain number of years there will be no living witnesses of the Holocaust, and there will be no one to pass this story on to the next generations.

This should not surprise us, because these are laws of nature. Things that are not in front of our eyes gradually cease to be important, and if we do not want to lose them, we must constantly renew them as if reviving those pictures.

No matter how much we tried to maintain this memory, arranged study trips to concentration camps for school children, it does not help much. As living witnesses of the Holocaust disappear, a new generation that is not related to this time will no longer be able to observe this tradition the way it used to be.

I was born in Belarus, in a place where Nazis carried out mass executions of Jews. In Vitebsk, the city of my childhood, there was also a ghetto, which was destroyed. Many of my relatives died in the Holocaust.

Although I was born after the war and knew about it only from stories, this memory was still very alive in our family. I was raised by people who managed to escape the Holocaust, and they told me about those who died. This left a very deep impression on me because I have lived in this atmosphere since I was born.

However, if modern young people have not heard about the Holocaust from their loved ones, have not spoken with eyewitnesses, then for them, it is as if it did not happen. We cannot blame them for that. It makes no sense to sit and cry, but it is very important to determine our attitude to the Holocaust, to analyze again its causes and consequences. Otherwise, we will not get rid of the Holocaust or we will even come to a new one.

We must draw conclusions from the Holocaust and change ourselves so that it will never happen again. We must understand why it happened and who is to blame. This is serious scrutiny that we must perform within each of us and ultimately with all of humanity because everyone participated in this.

How did it happen that the nations of the world accepted and readily implemented Hitler’s plan without any questions or doubts?

First of all, we need to understand who the people of Israel are, why they are called that, and what their purpose is. Why did they survive after so many generations of scattering and why did all of mankind pay so much attention to it? Until we answer all these questions we will not be able to understand what we are talking about at all.

Why do all nations make some kind of claims against Jews? It is clear that there are quarrels between neighbors, but why does everyone have complaints against Jews? We need to investigate this phenomenon and understand the exact causes. After all, this is not only history but an actual, global problem that does not disappear but only occasionally calms down a little and then intensifies again.

This intensification does not really depend on the Jews or the nations of the world but simply happens because a suitable period in history comes. We see that anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in nature: there is such a concept as Israel, the people of Israel, the land of Israel. It is a spiritual concept that lives in the world and exists from the beginning of creation to the very end. This problem will continue to exist until Israel brings the entire creation to the correct form.

This is what the Torah and, even more clearly, the wisdom of Kabbalah says. Without the Kabbalistic explanation of the causes of anti-Semitism, we cannot find a solution regarding the Holocaust and, in general, to all of history, to the entire creation. After all, this is not an earthly problem of the people of Israel, but the confrontation of the forces of nature, like a physical, chemical, or mathematical law. There are special relations between the parts of creation as absolute, unchangeable laws that are set and cannot be violated.

The central law among all these principles concerns the existence of the people of Israel, the land of Israel, the beginning and the end of creation, and the entire process between them regarding any particle of the universe. All this is connected together in one system in which we are included as a central force.

Natural anti-Semitism is the consequence of every person’s inclination for bestowal, love for his neighbor, for the Creator, for the upper force. Although this force is hated and rejected by everyone, it exists, and to the same extent there is also a force of rejection and hatred toward those who represent this force in our world, that is, for the quality called Yehudi from the word “Yehud – unity.
From KabTV’s “A Conversation with Journalists” 4/6/21

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“Are Jews Also To Blame For The US Border Crisis?” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Are Jews Also to Blame for the US Border Crisis?

The situation at the border should be called by its name, a crisis. The U.S. border crisis is close to a disaster for the country on multiple levels, first and foremost, the human. Nearly 19,000 children and teenagers traveling without a parent were stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in March, the most ever in a single month. Those children joined already crammed cage-style detention centers where they stay in deplorable conditions, are at risk for contracting coronavirus, and allegedly are exposed to physical violence and sexual assault. What does this forbode for the future? And what does it have to do with the Jews?

So we may ask, “How could the border crisis possibly be connected to us?” The link stems from one reason: we live in a global world, a network of intricate interconnection, in which Jews are held accountable for everyone’s well-being, or conversely, for everyone’s predicaments.

Illegal immigration to the U.S. is not a new phenomenon, but with President Biden coming to power and abolishing Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, the borders have been literally overrun. Immigrants from Mexico and Central America feel the doors are wide open. As a result, in March alone over 170,000 migrants were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, a 71% spike over February’s official statistics, and the pace continues to accelerate.

I am not a member of the UN or any international human rights organizations that deems it their responsibility to fix the immigration problem. Rather, I am a public figure who agreed with Trump’s rigid stance regarding building a wall to make clear that without a visa, there can be no entry. Only then would it be possible to consider the right steps for the absorption of immigrants so that the mental and physical anguish at the borders could be avoided, at the very least.

For now, all the steps of President Biden and those around him are aimed at undoing the political trajectories that Trump established during his time in office. This obliges Biden and those who follow him, to begin again from the ground up. The question is how high will the human cost be to start over from scratch? How much suffering and sorrow, hunger and pain will be endured?

Nothing good will come out of this new policy of open borders, only social collapse. America may well sink. Entrepreneurs and businessmen, one by one, will begin to abandon the land of opportunity, that is diving into misfortune, instability, and insecurity, and will look for new possibilities in other countries like Canada, even Cuba will look more promising.

Just as the American forefathers emigrated from Western Europe to America, so too will businessmen and entrepreneurs begin to migrate outside the borders of America to set up factories and offices, establish banks and businesses. These new changes will shake the United States to the core.

The people who rule the country will be unable to control the chaos g and will lead society to total destruction in the so-called name of “democracy.” From the incompatibility of worldviews and general dissatisfaction with the direction the country is heading, social unrest may erupt.

American society, in all its sectors and communities, is in a process of gradual evolution. Until the desired maturity is reached, there must be a stable government with leaders who have a vision of the nation’s progress, who know how to wisely motivate millions of people to move the country forward.

This is how England, Germany and France were built over hundreds of years. It is impossible one fine morning to allow millions of immigrants from underdeveloped countries to enter and expect them to suddenly assimilate into society. It is impossible to instantly extend to them the reins of power in the name of liberalism without completely disrupting the process of smooth development.

I do not underestimate the will of migrant workers or the situation of refugees suffering from poor conditions and without basic human rights in their homelands. On the contrary, my heart goes out to each and every one of them. But at the political level there are laws and protocols that need to be followed. An integration program must be established as part of the U.S. immigration policy, a process to allow each immigrant to learn the language, get to know the local culture in depth, and understand the laws and norms accepted in society.

This can only happen under leadership that designs and implements a clear and orderly plan. A government that does not know how to stop the crisis before it explodes will inflict disaster on itself. And for now, the Biden government appears to be degenerating into total mayhem.

Although the Biden administration is now preoccupied with its breached borders, when the storm subsides, its next “problem” to tackle will be the State of Israel. In the current U.S. government’s sweet dream—which is a nightmare for most Israelis—a Palestinian state will be established on Israeli soil and that will be our end. While there is silence on this issue now, later the increasingly malicious message against Israel will resonate loud and clear. From there the road to inflicting wounds on the Jewish state is short indeed.

And why would such thoughts even arise in the heads of the American administration? Because the Jews who supported and still support Biden are willing to risk Israel’s future. This may sound like rough stitching between two entirely different conflicts, but no. The border crisis in the U.S., along with many others, is like a snowball beginning to roll from the top of a very steep slope, accumulating problems and troubles along the way. Just as Jews have historically been accused of being responsible for pestilences and conflicts, the same scenario will unfold here. We are one step closer to also being blamed for the border crisis, as antisemites proclaim, “the Jews are guilty of all the evil in the world!”

So we may ask, “How could the border crisis possibly be connected to us?” The link stems from one reason: we live in a global world, a network of intricate interconnection, in which Jews are held accountable for everyone’s well-being, or conversely, for everyone’s predicaments.

There is a general perception that Jews are not performing the role assigned to them by the ancient wisdom they hold, the secret of eternity, which they fail to reveal to every person on this planet so we can all achieve the ultimate happiness. This ancient wisdom is called the wisdom of connection and it teaches how the world is built, what its purpose is, and how we can create one human family that functions as an egalitarian society that cares for the weak as well as the strong.

As it is written, “No calamity comes to the world but for Israel.” (Yevamot 63). The first Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel, Rav Kook, also wrote, “Humanity deserves to be united into a single family. At that time all the quarrels and the ill will that stem from divisions of nations and their boundaries shall cease. However, the world requires mitigation, whereby humanity will be perfected through each nation’s unique characteristics. This deficiency is what the Assembly of Israel will complement.” And in the words of foremost Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam),“The people of Israel, which has been chosen as an operator of the general purpose and correction … contains the preparation required for growing and developing until it moves the nations of the worlds, too, to achieve the common goal.”

In a nutshell, we need to implement what is deeply ingrained in our core values and heritage, our ability to connect as one man with one heart. When we put this law of nature into practice, we will truly become a “light unto the nations,” spreading an orderly system throughout the world and radiating warmth and love. This is the one and only mechanism for fending off threats and recovering the world’s balance.

“Covid Not Incentive For Antisemitism” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Covid Not Incentive for Antisemitism

The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs 2020 Antisemitism Report argues that last year was good in the sense that in the previous year, no Jews were murdered for being Jews. At the same time, the report laments the rise of what it considers the most decisive power driving antisemitism in the previous year: the Covid-19 pandemic.

We should know better. Jews have always been blamed for the world’s woes. Were Jews not blamed for the Black Death in the Middle Ages? Were Jews not blamed for Germany’s woes before World War II broke out? And when Jews aren’t blamed for something as tragic as the Black Death, they’re still blamed for every little pain. In fact, Jews are hated even when there is nothing at all to blame them for.

Unless, of course, we put a stop to it. We, Jews, are the unexpected holders of the key to ending antisemitism. And once again, it is not a circumstantial solution. Nor is it a matter of policy, ideology, or stifling of antisemitic outbursts. We can and should apply sticking plaster solutions when possible, but we must not think that they will solve the problem. If we believe they will, reality will explode in our faces.

These days, the trend is to blame Israel for the intensification of antisemitism, as though this or that policy of the Israeli government will change how the world feels about Jews. I was born in Eastern Europe right after the war; almost my entire family perished in the Holocaust. There was no State of Israel to blame, and my family certainly didn’t cause the downfall of Germany in World War I, but they were murdered nonetheless. Their only “fault” was that they were Jews. Once it is legitimate to assail Jews, no pretext is needed, and no brutality is off limits.

According to the Internet Archive, since the Bar Kokhba Revolt, which ended in 135 CE, Jews have been expelled from their host countries, or altogether exterminated, more than 800 times! These pogroms predate the State of Israel, racism, and even Christianity. In fact, antisemitism is as old as Judaism itself. Therefore, if we want to find the solution to Jew-hatred, we have to look deeper than attributing it to some passing crisis that is here today and gone tomorrow.

But perhaps the most intriguing fact about Jew-hatred is the apparent dichotomy between the development of a country and the intensity and ferociousness of its antisemitism. Of all the countless atrocities that non-Jews have inflicted on Jews, none did so more potently and painfully than the most powerful nations of their time. Egypt under Pharaoh was the first, followed by Babylon, which ruined the First Temple. Then came Greece with the temporary destruction of the Second Temple, followed by Rome, which destroyed the Second Temple beyond repair and let the Jews destroy each other in a gruesome civil war. In the 15th century, Spain, a mighty and enlightened empire, expelled all the Jews from its midst in the second most traumatic event since the ruin of the Second Temple, and finally, the Holocaust that Nazi Germany had wrought on European Jewry was the worst trauma since the ruin of the Second Temple. In all those episodes, the decimators were the most advanced, cultured, and civilized nations of their time. But at some point, something made them turn against the Jews and let the monster loose.

Since this pattern has persisted throughout history, and only the pretexts changed to suit the circumstances, there is no reason to expect it to change going forward. The future of the Jews, it seems, is bleak, and another blow is nearing. Whether it will strike the State of Israel, American Jewry, or both is anyone’s guess, but there is no question that the two most developed and advanced Jewish communities are the targets of the next great blow to the Jewish people.

Unless, of course, we put a stop to it. We, Jews, are the unexpected holders of the key to ending antisemitism. And once again, it is not a circumstantial solution. Nor is it a matter of policy, ideology, or stifling of antisemitic outbursts. We can and should apply sticking plaster solutions when possible, but we must not think that they will solve the problem. If we believe they will, reality will explode in our faces.

The real solution lies not with the world, but with the Jews themselves. This is why this hatred persists through any circumstance. We must look for the solution not in how the world treats us, but in how we treat ourselves. Our relationships with one another generate the hatred of the nations toward us. It may sound outlandish, but our sages have known this throughout the ages, yet the people were reluctant to heed their advice.

Note that our sages do not attribute the ruin of the First Temple to the Babylonian conquest, but to the bloodshed and corruption within Israel. Likewise, they do not attribute the ruin of the Second Temple to the Romans, but to baseless hatred of the Jews for one another. Time and time again, they tell us that if we unite, no harm will come to us; time and time again we pay them no attention, conveniently adopt the victim narrative, and blame our woes on others.

When I look at the global political climate, I do not think it bodes well for the Jews. I don’t know how much time we have, but I do not believe it will be very long before the dark clouds on the horizon amass into a storm front that will unleash its wrath on the Jews. Worse yet, from what I can see, it will not be a single country that will give a free rein to hatred, but the entire world; there will be no escape. This is why I think it is so urgent that we apply the one cure we haven’t tried since before the ruin of the Temple: unity.

The incentive for antisemitism, our sages tell us, is our hatred of each other, and the cure for it is our unity, “as one man with one heart.”

For more on this topic, you may refer to the books Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour and The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord.

“The Waning Memory Of The Holocaust” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “The Waning Memory of the Holocaust

I was born in Vitebsk, Belarus, right after World War II, when the memory of the war was vivid. Not far from my town, which was home to many Jews before the war, were a concentration camp and an extermination camp where many Jews perished, including most of my kin. I grew up hearing about my relatives who had died from the survivors in my family, and those stories left a deep mark on me.

The question of Jew-hatred is not one of race, or religion, or nationalism, or any other reason that hateful minds have conceived. Jew hatred persists because there is a unique demand from the Jews, which few have observed. Nevertheless, until the Jews meet that demand, antisemitism will persist.

But today, when so many years have passed since the end of the war, it does not surprise me that the memory of the Holocaust is waning. The survivors are passing away, and today’s young people feel disconnected from the past. It is only natural that people, especially young people, will occupy themselves with the present and with the future more than with the past, and besides, who wants to keep such bleak memories in mind? Nevertheless, since tomorrow, April 8, is the Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel, it is a good time to reflect on what we have learned from this tragedy, so we can prevent it from recurring.

The going narrative in Israel emphasizes the wrongs that were done to the Jewish people for the “sin” of being Jewish: the mass execution by gas, the concentration camps, the mass shootings, starvation, tortures, and countless other horrors that amass to the murder of six million people from my fold. Still, if you focus only on telling what had happened, you miss out on the chance to talk about how not to let it happen again. This is what I believe we should focus on today: prevention rather than preservation.

To understand how to prevent a second Holocaust, we must first understand the root of antisemitism, why it persists, and why it becomes genocidal in some nations and not in others. Clearly, one essay is not enough to explain it. I have written two books that explain the matter in greater depth. The first, Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour, elaborates on the root of Judaism, emergence and development of antisemitism, and its consequential solution. The second, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord, focuses more on the history of the Jews and the apparent correlation between the level of their social cohesion and the intensification or subsiding of antisemitism. In this essay, I will outline the picture in broad strokes, but I highly recommend reading the books to get the full picture of how history demonstrates the place of the Jewish people in the world.

Antisemitism is not a new phenomenon. It came to be when the first Hebrew came to the world, namely Abraham. Since then, it has cloaked itself in myriad personas, but the bottom line has always been the same: The Jews are to blame; therefore, the Jews are to be punished. Today, for example, many people think that opposing the existence of the State of Israel is not antisemitism. They believe that if only the Jews were to return to Europe, from which the first settlers had come, antagonism toward Jews would vanish. Regrettably, this growing disposition, both among political leaders and regular folk, conveniently ignores the fact that the parents of the settlers who had established the State of Israel were gassed to death in Europe precisely because they were Jews.

Therefore, the question of Jew-hatred is not one of race, or religion, or nationalism, or any other reason that hateful minds have conceived. Jew hatred persists because there is a unique demand from the Jews, which few have observed. Nevertheless, until the Jews meet that demand, antisemitism will persist.

The demand, as the titles of the books imply, has to do with Jewish unity, or solidarity. It dates back to the onset of the Jewish people in ancient Babylon. At that time, when Abraham was still an idol-worshipper in Harran, a large city in the Babylonian empire, he noticed that people around him were growing hostile toward each other. He observed that they were feeling increasingly entitled, arrogant, and spiteful toward each other to the point where they did not care for each other’s life, and often even slew their dissenters simply for disagreeing with them.

When Abraham tried to convince his people to treat each other kindly, they mocked him, children hurled stones at him, and even his own father, a high-ranking spiritual authority in his country, renounced him. Unable to help his people, Abraham left Harran and headed west, toward Canaan.

However, Abraham did not leave alone. His family went with him, as did many people who followed his advice and tried to put kindness and friendship before arrogance and cruelty. As the company wandered westward, more and more people joined them, until, as Maimonides describes in his composition Mishneh Torah, tens of thousands had joined Abraham’s group. Thus, the pariah had begun to form a nation.

Abraham’s troupe was of a special kind. They had nothing in common but the belief that kindness is preferable to cruelty and friendship is better than enmity. If they forgot it, they would immediately become strangers again, so they had no choice but to keep fostering their solidarity. On the one hand, that solidarity gave them their strength. On the other hand, it put them at odds with their birthplace, the Babylonian empire, which grew increasingly self-centered and extolled ego-centrism. That was the core reason that prompted the Babylonians to expel Abraham and his followers. That enmity was the first manifestation of the hatred that was to later become antisemitism.

However, the unity of Abraham’s group not only set it apart from all the nations; it also made them powerful. The unity they formed among people who were previously complete strangers had to be so strong that it projected outwards and made them palpably different and formidable, but only as long as they were united.

In Egypt, while Joseph was alive, the Jews were united and successful. They were the de facto rulers of Egypt, ran its economy, and Joseph was Pharaoh’s viceroy. But when Joseph died, the Jews began to separate and assimilate. The Mishnah writes that they wanted to be like the Egyptians, and as a result, the Egyptians began to hate and despise them. When Moses appeared, he reunited them at such intensity that they were able not only to emerge from Egypt, but they became a nation in its own right. This completed the process of turning complete strangers, who often came from rivaling clans, into a nation whose members love each other to the point where they feel “as one man with one heart.” That, indeed, was the miracle of the Jewish people.

Since then, any nation that achieves greatness, and as always, begins to disintegrate from within due to hubris and growing arrogance, also becomes antisemitic. It is people’s innate feeling that there is a cure to their mutual hatred, that the Jews have it, and that they are not sharing it.

Thanks to the level of unity that the Jews had reached under Moses, they were given the onus of being “a light unto nations”—to share with the world their unique method of turning aliens into the closest of brothers. Since that time, approximately 3,800 years ago, any nation that falls victim to conflict, whether internal or with another nation, blames it on the Jews. They do not blame Jews because Jews are setting them off against each other, but because Jews are not showing them how to make peace with one another.

In this way, the boon of the Jews, their unique unity, has become their bane when they do not practice it.

People often wonder why the most developed nations also afflict the most horrendous blows on the Jews. They ask why specifically Egypt (Pharaoh), Babylon (ruin of 1st First Temple), Rome (ruin of the 2nd Temple), Spain (1492 expulsion of the Jews), and Germany (Holocaust) wrought the worst torments on the Jews, and precisely when they were at the height of their strength. They do it for the same reason that drove the Babylonians to expel Abraham: intensifying ego. The more egoistic a society becomes, the more it resists unity. And in Jews, even though today the majority of Jews do not feel it, lies a cinder of that special unity their forefathers had once forged. That cinder, however frail, is both the reason for their woes and the key to their deliverance from the bane of antisemitism.

Our forefathers persistently nurtured their unity because they knew that they had begun as strangers, and if they did not nurture their unity, they would disintegrate instantaneously. Regrettably, we do not have that clear vision. Nevertheless, the same condition is as true for us as it was for our ancestors. Since the ruin of the 2nd Temple, we have not been able to unite. Even the establishment of the State of Israel did not unite us, and internally, we are as alienated from each other as before. This is why antisemitism still persists. This is also why the pattern of the most developed and egoistic nation becoming the most antisemitic and inflicting the worst blow on the Jews is bound to return. Nevertheless, if we unite, we will immediately project the light that the nations seek to find in us, and the hatred of the Jews in all its forms will cease.

This year, and every year, when we remember the slaying of the six million of our coreligionists, we should remember the message they had left for us: Unity is the salvation of the Jews, because unity is the salvation of the world from egoism. If the Jews bring it to the world, the world will thank them for it and love them. If the Jews remain splintered and project disunity, the world will hate them for it and despise them. Then, it will seek to get rid of them and set off another Holocaust.

“Holocaust Remembrance Looking Into The Future” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Holocaust Remembrance Looking Into the Future

The Holocaust left a strong mark on me from an early age. I was born in Belarus, in the same place where horrible atrocities were perpetrated by the Nazis against Jews. Particularly in Vitebsk, the city of my childhood, there was a ghetto and an extermination camp where many of my relatives were killed. Those experiences endured vividly in my family, I heard about them when I was little. I was raised and educated by those who were saved and were able to tell the stories of those who perished. So, the Shoah left an indelible mark in me since it was an integral part of my upbringing.

But to people who have not heard about those testimonies directly from the survivors, their relatives, or have not learned those recollections through history lessons, the Holocaust has no special meaning. In fact, the memory of this terrible chapter is fading or remains unknown. A survey conducted last year by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany revealed 63% of U.S. Millennials and Gen Z do not know that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

When we commemorate a new Holocaust Memorial Day, we cannot pass judgment on them if its importance is fading away. Even in my multiple visits to Germany I found a common language with Germans of my generation who thought one way or another on this matter, but for the younger generation there was no point of conversation, no interest. And that situation is similar everywhere. The youth does not want to remember the Shoah or even talk about it. They feel no connection to it and want to continue their lives without looking back. That is understandable.

Decline is a natural part of our lives. What is not before our eyes begins to lose its value, and in order to preserve and perpetuate it, even to some extent; we must revive it and give it importance as if it were here and now. It is true that there are youth trips to concentration camps in Poland, heritage tours at Yad Vashem and various museums, but I do not think they manage to become engraved in the memory of the younger generation. Even the various ceremonies and events that are supposed to evoke emotional memory usually take the form of a theoretical and political discourse. This way no history can be preserved.

We are at a point in time when we need to think and decide what our approach is to the Holocaust, both its cause and consequences. This is a crucial step. I do not agree with the attitude that pushes us to sit back and regret our bitter fate, not even with the one that calls for us to be proud of having a strong and successful country and to rest on our laurels.

Our attitude should change. But do not expect anything to change, we must foster that change within and among ourselves in our approach to the issue of the Holocaust and hatred of Jews. How? First we must learn who the people of Israel are. Why are they called “Israel”? What is their purpose and mission? Why have they survived as a people for generations even though they have been persecuted endlessly? Why has humanity continuously pointed the finger of blame at them? The answers to these questions are the foundations of our nation, and without them we will not understand the incessant persecution of the Jews and we will certainly not cut off the abysmal animosity toward us.

Why is there hatred against Jews? Since the days of Abraham, through the love of the brethren that blossomed among them in the days of the Temple, a great spiritual desire is instilled in the Jews which draws them toward the goal of creation, toward unity and harmony that the world so desperately needs, but it has not been developed and implemented yet. As our sages expressed it, “When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come upon them.” (Rabbi Kalman Kalonymus, Maor va Shemesh)

The peoples of the world subconsciously feel that the Jews do not share this special quality with them, this unique potential for development, this method of spiritual connection, and thus hatred of the Jews emanates from this feeling of frustration. Therefore, antisemitism is a global phenomenon that troubles every nation to a small or large extent. Hatred sometimes recedes, sometimes it erupts, but it is always there, latent, deeply rooted, as a law of nature.

The mighty forces of nature can be summed up in two root traits that have existed since the beginning of creation: the trait of bestowal or giving and against it the trait of reception. And the people of Israel carry within them the ability to connect these two opposite forces and bring them to balance, to mutual reconciliation, and to create a third force in between where the Creator, the supreme power of nature, reveals. When such a force is attained, first of all by the Jews, antisemitism will subside. As it is written in The Midrash (Tanchuma, Devarim [Deuteronomy]): “Israel will not be redeemed until they are all one bundle.” We shall never forget.