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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Is the Shadow of Kristallnacht Looming Over Jews Again?

     Seventy-five years ago on November 9-10, 1938, an unprecedented event occurred throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia. It continues to be remembered as Kristallnacht or "the Night of broken Glass". It was a series of pogroms (organized riots) against Jewish communities during which over 260 synagogues and 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed and 91 Jewish people killed. Additionally, 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
     This attack against the Jews of Europe was orchestrated by the paramilitary division of the Nazi Party known as the SA (Sturmabtellung) or "Stormtroopers", originally under Herman Göring until Hitler took it over from 1930 to 1945. The chief instigator of the riots was Hitler's propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels
     Originally, the reason given for Kristallnacht was the assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by a young Polish Jew living in Paris at the time. The life of one German man precipitated the destruction of thousands of Jewish properties and the deportation and death of tens of thousands of Jews.
     In reality the death of Ernst vom Rath was simply a pretext for pogroms and mass boycotts against the Jewish community. Most reputable historians see Kristallnacht as the inception of the "Final Solution to the Jewish Problem" and the Holocaust.
     Within a few days, Kristallnacht will be remembered across Europe as well as many Jewish communities all over the world. In a world where the Holocaust keeps getting relegated to the edge of history or even pushed over into the abyss of mythical events, it is crucial for people to remember Kristallnacht and similar historical calamities.
     In spite of all this, the European Union recently decided to cripple Israel with additional boycotts as well as forbidding all 28 member states from using any EU funding to help "illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine". Additionally, various countries in Europe are playing their part in promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement started by Palestinians in 2005. They are also encouraged to do so by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas who recently invited 80 different global governments to follow suit.
     BDS groups in Ireland insist on applying "boycott Israel" stickers on product manufactured or originated in Israel. The stickers say: "for Justice in Palestine, boycott Israel".
     Another group known as BIN or Boycott Israel Network is very active in the UK where they spread propaganda against Israel the "occupier" in many different venues.
     In Belgium, a similar group exists,  known as BADIL or Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. They claim that the reason why they are in favor of Israeli boycott is that they must persevere until Israel "respects and implements its obligations under international law." I find it insulting to accuse Israel of breaking international law while totally ignoring the constant missile showers from Palestinians onto Israeli civilians, not to mention "homicide bombings" and snipper attacks. Many more countries have jumped on the BDS bandwagon and more are joining everyday.
     As we remember Kristallnacht, we must accept the fact that events of history are not isolated. Nothing happens in a vacuum. The 30s saw Nazi Germany stigmatize and ostracize European Jews under the eyes of most of Europe. Kristallnacht and the following boycotts opened the door to the Final Solution and while many will remember the Night of Broken Glass in just a few days, many others will continue to demonize Israel, again under the apathetic witness of most people.
     One thing leading to another, this new judeophobia from Europe continues to pave the way for a further alienation of 21st Century European Jews. A similar scenario was developing in the 30s under the indifference of most of Europe and many within the Church. Is the shadow of Kristallnacht looming over Jews again?
     A question arose recently from some analysts about the growing BDS movement. They were wondering on which side of history the enemies of Israel truly wanted to find themselves seventy-five years after Kristallnacht?
     The question I would rather ask is:" On which side of God do the enemies of Israel want to be?"
While we know that eventually the whole world will turn against Israel and the Jewish people, we also know that God will turn against those who touch the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8).
     And in that day I will set about to destroy 
     all the nations who come against Jerusalem 
     (Zechariah 12:9).

1 comment:

  1. It is a monumental tragedy that only 75 years after Kristallnacht, we see a repetition of this horrible event unfolding again but in a different and sinister form. People are so ignorant in their understanding of history and eagerly swallow this hate-filled propaganda against Israel. Those who join the BDS, BIN and the BADIL or any boycott against Israel do so at their own risk. To provoke a Holy God is the epitome of stupidity. Israel's Redeemer and Savior never slumbers nor sleeps.