When I started the research in 2000 for my first book on antisemitism, I identified some troubling trends in the new antisemitism that were slowly becoming a reality. Most people looked at me funny when I claimed that what I was observing, appeared to be an ominous return to the 1930s and 1940s in Europe for the Jews. I was even called a conspiracy theorist, but it is only a conspiracy theory if it is not true, and as it turns out, my fears are now confirmed. We are in the 1930s and we haven’t seen the worst yet.
I have identified 6 signs revealing that we are in a 21st-century version of the 1930s. When we remember how that previous era ended for six million Jews, it should bring chills down our spine and it should really motivate people of goodwill in general and Bible-believing Christians in particular, to expose the lies and fight for the truth. The sad reality is that this time, not just the Jews are the target, but Christians as well. This being said, and as history has shown, the Jews are the first to be targeted and they are persecuted the most. There is a reason why antisemitism is often called the longest hatred.
1 – Demonization
Often, the first step in separating a people group from the rest of society is to make people believe that they are different in a negative and even dangerous way. This has been the stigma attached to my people for much of our history, from the Biblical record to the early Church Fathers to the medieval lords to the reformation to the Holocaust. Yet, it didn’t really stop because antisemitism never stops. Antisemitism is on a continuum that constantly reinvents itself to better attract more people towards hating the Jews. The demonization of the Jews is nothing new. We have been accused of crucifying Messiah from the day of the crucifixion to this day, a false accusation that can easily be debunked starting with the Bible in John 10:14-18, where Yeshua speaks of His death as a necessary part of God’s plan, and how He gave His own life for all and was able to take it back at His resurrection. Additionally, we have been called so many things from criminals to wild beasts to poisoners of wells to usurers to little devils to vermin and sub-human. The last two names were part of Nazi propaganda to dehumanize the Jews and facilitate their demonization. Vermin need to be exterminated for the safety of people, thus the Holocaust was thought of, justified, organized and six million times successful.
What about today? Are Jews still being demonized? You tell me. We are called the new Nazis of the Middle East, colonizers, occupiers, guilty of ethnic cleansing. The old antisemitism was going after the Jews in the Diaspora and the new antisemitism is going after them as well as Israelis and the Land of Israel as well. At the 2018 Convention of the Islamic Society of North America, American/Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour said, “if you’re on the side of the oppressor, or you’re defending the oppressor or you’re actually trying to humanize the oppressor, then that’s a problem sisters and brothers and we got to be able to say: that is not the position of the Muslim American community.” I don’t know about you, but when someone tells me that I am trying to humanize someone else, it must mean that they believe that someone else not to be human. If the Jews are not human, they become irrelevant to our society and demonization is ever so easier to commit. Linda Sarsour is closely connected to every member of “the Squad.”
2 – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
The BDS movement has officially been going for 16 years now. It was started by two men, one of whom we all know well, Mahmoud Abbas (current leader of the Palestinian Authority), and Omar Barghouti from Qatar, who incidentally received the Gandhi Peace Award in 2017 for his efforts towards peace in the Middle East. Boycott, in and of itself, isn’t bad; it all depends on who or what one is boycotting, the reasons they do so and of course the integrity of the boycott. Abbas and Barghouti didn’t invent the boycott of Jewish people, products or inventions; they simply revived an age-old practice that was used in the 1930s. Not long after coming into power, the Nazi leadership started to boycott Jewish businesses and Jewish professionals. On April 1, 1933, they decided to station stormtroopers in front of Jewish stores and paint yellow stars of David on storefront windows. The boycott officially lasted only one day, and many Germans ignored it. Nevertheless, it was the start of a campaign of ostracization that would lead to more boycotts and confiscation of Jewish property.
The modern BDS movement relies on the ignorance of those it targets as recruits. Being in the entertainment industry, on the political scene, in academia or even in various Christian denominations, BDS influences people who have blindly bought the Palestinian victimhood narrative. The very fact that Omar Barghouti received the Gandhi Peace Award in 2017 for peace efforts, shows the hypocrisy and lack of understanding of the facts in the Middle East. It is so sad to see so many people infatuated with a false narrative cloaked in the attractive garment of social justice. The BDS movement continues to tighten its grip on Israel and Jewish products, inventions and people (with much hypocrisy as they only boycott what is convenient to them), and financed by liberals like George Soros.
3 – Pogroms
The first pogroms occurred in Eastern Europe in the mid to late 1800s. They mostly occurred within what was known as the Pale of Settlement. The Pale (1791-1913) included about 20 percent of European Russia and much of present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine and parts of western Russia, for a total of about 1,000,000 square miles. About 90 percent of Russian Jews lived inside the Pale, growing from 1.6 million in 1820 to 5.6 million in 1910. Life was very difficult, and additionally, the pogroms (Russian for “devastation”) of the 1870s through the 1910s created a very hostile environment that exacerbated the miserable conditions in which the Jews lived. The first pogrom might have been as early as 1821 in Odessa, Ukraine. The official reason given for the hundreds of subsequent pogroms was the assassination of Alexander II in 1880, for which some blamed the Jews. Pogroms became government-sponsored riots against the Jews, and they claimed the lives of many in the little Jewish shtetls (hamlets) of the Pale. They included looting, rape and murder.
While today’s pogroms might not be government-sponsored, they are mostly ignored by the authorities. To be sure, we are not seeing major destruction of Jewish property and lives like in the 19th-century pogroms, but today’s new antisemitism is expressed in ways that come very close. Consider the destructive attack on Jewish neighborhoods in conjunction with the murder of George Floyd. Jewish businesses were attacked and looted in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles where many Jews live. Graffiti such as “Free Palestine” and “F…Jews” were spray-painted on walls. What this has to do with George Floyd still escapes me.
4 – Blood libels and other accusations
While the world is still trying to recover from the pandemic that changed everything, to some people, the Jews are to blame for the virus. This is nothing new for the Jewish people, but more of a repeat of what took place in the 14th century. By the mid-1300s, with the advent of the “Black Death” or “Black Plague”, the legend of the poisoning of the wells of Europe had found fertile ground. It was the most devastating pandemic in the history of mankind, responsible for the death of about 75 million people worldwide (25 million in Europe alone) from 1347 to 1350. It was four years of horror for the Jewish communities of Europe. As the rest of the continent appeared to be on its way to total extinction, people started to look for a cause and it was not long before the Jews were once again used as the convenient “scapegoats of humanity”. Jewish people also died during the “Black Death”, but generally in lesser numbers. The Kosher laws Jewish people followed forced them to maintain stricter hygiene and thus resulted in fewer infections and fewer deaths than the communities around them. The Jews also lived in separate communities and the liturgical washing of hands before meals also kept them from being as sick or dying from the Black Death. However, even with these known facts and traditions, it didn’t stop the masses from destroying – slaughtering – over 200 Jewish communities.
So, today, and around the world, some are blaming the Jews for creating the virus to benefit from the sales of a vaccine; which is a combination of the poisoning of the wells of Europe and the myth of the greedy Jew. They come from the left, the right and religious groups worldwide. Some even claim that the Jews are more dangerous than Covid-19 and should be eliminated. Social media is the big culprit in allowing antisemitic rhetoric to go unchallenged and unpunished. More than 17,000 occurrences of the phrase “Hitler was right” have been found on various platforms and very little has been done to stop it. Recently, a Twitter post by ex-congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) resurfaced where she claimed that Jews were behind 9-11
5 – Killings
Tragically, Jew-hatred rarely stops at the defacing of property or online threats. We have now entered a phase where Jews are being killed again. The Holocaust was the most devastating, organized genocide in the history of mankind. It was also the only of its kind where Jews were brought back to their death after they fled, making it incredibly unique. While the new antisemitism is not claiming the lives of Jews in the same manner and comparable numbers, just the idea that Jews would be massacred again should send chills down our spine. Perhaps France, more than any other civilized country, has seen the death of Jewish people in the last decade, and it is very alarming. This is why I believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that antisemitism has once again morphed into a more voracious beast: End-Times antisemitism.
The 2017 killing of Sarah Halimi in Paris, when she was thrown out the window of her apartment was one of the worst acts of antisemitic killing in recent years, and it is only one of several in 2012, 2015 and 2018. To add insult to injury, her killer was allowed to walk free without a trial because he had been found high on cannabis. This sets a precedent for the killing of Jews in France, and this should also be a wake-up call for French Jews. France is no longer a safe place for Jews. Let’s also not forget the Pittsburg Synagogue massacre and the one in San Diego. Jews worldwide now live in constant fear for their lives. It is not safe to walk outside with a yarmulke on your head or a star of David around your neck. They used to be potential targets for verbal abuse, but the abuse is now turning physical. It is not only on the streets that Jews are at risk. Just days ago, a bullet was fired at the window of a Brooklyn synagogue.
As if all these signs weren’t enough to sound the alarm, there is one more aspect that must be brought up, and that is the apathy of the general public. For the most part, people don’t care about Jewish people being the victims of antisemitism. If they are not affected, they move on. This tragically is reminiscent of the Holocaust era when many looked the other way when trains overfilled with Jews passed through their towns. Even worse, as Erwin Lutzer documents in his book, When a Nation Forgets God, the story he heard from an eyewitness telling him how people would sing louder in church when they heard trains go through, packed with Jews in cattle cars: “I lived in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. We heard stories of what was happening to Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it because what could we do to stop it. A railroad track ran behind our small church and each Sunday morning we could hear the whistle in the distance, and then the wheels coming over the tracks. We became disturbed when we heard the cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized that it was carrying Jews like cattle in the cars. Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sound of those wheels because we knew that we would hear the cries of the Jews en route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us. We knew the time the train was coming, and when we heard the whistle blow, we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more.”
The apathy of yesteryear is still contagious today. I am not surprised when people who do not believe in God act selfishly, but I am disgusted when people who call themselves Christians either denigrate the Jewish people or reenact the Holocaust era scenario and ignore the tragedy befalling my people today. The bystanders of the 1930s and 1940s are part of history, and please don’t go trying to cancel that! My disgust is with the bystanders of today; the apathy within and without the church is a clear sign that the Jews have very few friends who will come to their rescue in time of need. Incidentally, American Jews being oblivious to these signs is another mystery to me. How much do my people need to go through to accept the fact that we are back in the 1930s and 1940s?