There are many topics that could be covered to punctuate the year 2020. Most of them are unusually different from previous years. The race riots, the pandemic, or the elections are just three of them. It could also be argued that 2020 will be remembered as the year when we became the Divided States of America. Nobody in America ever saw such polarization between neo-liberals and conservatives, and the chasm will probably get wider as time progresses. There is also a way to look at Jewish life through the year 2020; Antisemitism! I have been monitoring antisemitism domestically and globally for over two decades, and once a year, I review what events have made each year unique from that perspective. 2020 is no different. Events varied from wake-up calls to challenges to crimes, and they were both domestic and global. Keep in mind that even a global act of antisemitism has many ripple effects that will reach the United States. So, let’s review the year a month at a time:
January 2020: International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Every January 27, we are reminded to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. As multiple heads of state and key representatives gather to pay tribute to the victims and the helpers (Righteous Among the Nations), the rest of the world is also invited to post a photo of themselves with the hashtag #WeRemember. But Hashtags will not defeat Holocaust deniers, historical revisionists and antisemites. Hashtags are the bumper stickers of the twenty-first century, they make a statement in passing as they move to their eternal abode in cyberspace. Instead, people can visit one of the numerous US-based (30 states) Holocaust memorial/museums, read on the topic, share with the next generation and/or attend conferences and peaceful protests.
February 2020: The Aalst Carnival in Belgium
The city of Aalst, Belgium has officially held its carnival since 1923. Parades of that sort actually go back to the Middle Ages. Aalst almost always makes the news for its 3-Day carnival. The organizers repeatedly claim that the satirical tone of the carnival is to be remembered when one considers any of its floats. They regularly ridicule the Jewish people.
The “Aalst Jews of 2020” were wearing oversized shtreimels (fur hats), dressed in black this year, but the bottom half of their bodies were that of insects or vermin; ants to be exact (don’t miss the extermination innuendo here). Joining the crowds were dozens of people wearing caricatural orthodox Jewish garb and large fake crooked noses, not to mention the many flyers with stereotypical renditions of Jews with side curls, crooked noses and curly hair, and the many people wearing Nazi uniforms…All of it in the name of innocent satire!
March 2020: The Covid-19 Vaccine versus BDS
As of March, 149 countries had been infected. The global number of cases exceeded 150,000 and deaths were over 5,600. We thought that it was bad, but we knew nothing yet. Several countries in the world were racing against the clock to research, discover, test and manufacture a vaccine for Covid-19. At the forefront of these modern countries was Israel.
And then, there were the usual BDS movement people across the globe, selling the false idea that Israel is an occupying, colonialist and human rights violating country. They convince a plethora of uneducated people to boycott Israel. Evidently, they boycott whatever is not going to be too inconvenient. So, here is the million-dollar question: “Would BDS people refuse the vaccine if it came from Israel?” They should if they were consistent and ethical.
April 2020: A New Bible Without Israel
The Danish Bible Society published a new Bible known as “The Bible 2020.” It should be called the RTV (Replacement Theology Version.) This Bible is no Bible at all, and it is a very dangerous document. It chose to inaccurately replace or just ignore the word “Israel” (73 times in the New Testament), calling it instead “the land” or “the people.”
It is just one more proof showing us how close we are from the final chapter in the “Real Bible”, where Messiah Yeshua returns to establish his kingdom after fighting all those who went against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:10), and establishes His messianic kingdom with His people among which the Jews will be the head and not the tail. That is the biblical truth that includes Israel AND excludes the enemies of Israel.
May 2020: Trump, Ford and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion!
In May, President Trump made a very uncomfortable comment as he was visiting a Ford factory in Michigan. As he was addressing executives about the founder of Ford Motors, Henry Ford, he said, “The company was founded by a man named Henry Ford, good bloodlines, good bloodlines. If you believe in that stuff, you got good blood.”
Ford’s antisemitism is indelibly printed in the chronicles of history. It cannot be denied, it shouldn’t be minimized and will not be forgotten. I do not believe that President Trump was promoting Eugenics or racial superiority in the way that Henry Ford did when he published The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, but his statement can be used against him by his enemies and also by those who espouse such a view, linking President Trump to a group of fringe antisemites that already are believed by some to support him.
June 2020: Black Lives Matter but BLM doesn’t
2020 saw the tragic death of George Floyd and the rise of the BLM movement. But before we blindly join and support the BLM movement based on somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction, from a mix of compassion, rightful indignation and misplaced guilt, we should investigate who the BLM movement supports and promotes.
Black Lives Matter clearly supports BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions). BDS has been pushing for a total boycott (academic, cultural and economic) of Israel and those who support Israel and Israeli products and companies. It has made great strides towards convincing people across the globe that Israel was the perpetrator of crimes against humanity, oppression, invasion and persecution. BLM is also one of more than 150 organizations within the coalition known as Movement for Black Lives (M4BL.) Let’s support all black lives, but not through a manmade movement that has a shaky foundation at best. Rather, because of our Messiah who supported all lives, enough to die for them. We all should support black lives and it definitely matters how we do it!
Part II with the rest of 2020 will be published next week.