The Lessons of Jewish History

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


The Lessons of Jewish History

“Adonai Li, v’lo iro.” “The Lord is With Me, I Shall not Fear.” Those are the last words we sing at the end of every Shabbat service and that is the first lesson of Jewish history.

There never was, there is not, and there never will be a time when Jews, all Jews have not lived, do not live and will not live on the edge of destruction. From the exodus from Egypt to the assault on the Children of Israel by the tribes of the ancient Near East, from then to the coming of the Romans, throughout all of the Middle Ages and into the age of Hitler, Jews have always been under attack. So it is now. Again, the psychotic haters and the vicious killers and their supporters are seeking the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere. Arafat and his hoodlums murder Jews at random in restaurants, supermarkets, discos, public transportation and on the street. All these killings are not a crime according to the the supporters of the killers. The so-called European Union, which is engaged in “trying” Slobodan Milosovich for the crime of defending his country against the same haters who seek to destroy Serbia, find no fault with Arafat and his campaign of murdering Jews.

When on September 11, 2001 the Arafat friend Osama bin Laden launched his Saudi killers against the World Trade Center and murdered three thousand Americans in four attacks, everyone demanded revenge and protection against such horrors.

Yet, when Israel finally enters Judea and Samaria to root out the killers there, then the European Union, true to its heritage, turns against the Jews whose deaths at the hands of the “homicide bombers” never raised an eyebrow in Germany, France, England, Denmark, Norway, etc. etc. But then, why should it?  Are not the Europeans the heroes who slaughtered 6 million Jews in their gas ovens within our memory? But then, as the Europeans are fond of saying: “Hitler did not do enough. He should have killed all of them,” meaning you and me. So now, the European Union finances the Arab killers within Israel so that they can buy weapons with which to murder another 5 million Jews now.

To their consternation and fury, it turns out the Jews of Israel have chosen to defend themselves. They refuse to walk into the gas ovens a second time. The Arabs are deprived of the opportunity to make lampshades from the skins of small Jewish children and are even prevented from making soap from the bones of mass murdered Jews. The European Union, true to its tradition of killing Jews, has too few Jews to murder among them, so they now seek to kill Jews by proxy. They finance the Arabs. France in the lead, of course. In France, synagogues are now being burned down and the government, by way of heaping the most crass abuse and name calling upon Israel, incites its citizens to attack the French Jews.

Yet, in face of all of this we say and we know that we will survive, Israel will survive and the haters and the enemies of God will lose again. In every epoch in Jewish history it always seems that we are finished and our enemies too huge to overcome. Yet, we always survive and we will survive this time again. Do not be afraid. Keep your spirit up and right now send a letter to the White House supporting Israel. Better yet, call.

The second lesson of Jewish history is that we cannot shake the burden of Sinai. Look at Shemoth XX, also known as Exodus XX. Here and in Devarim 5, also known as Deuteronomy (Greek, for second law) all mankind is told not to murder, steal, lie, commit adultery, hate and envy etc. etc. Now the secularists among us will say that these words or commandments are human inventions and not divine. Even if that is so, it is sure that these and the many other ethical admonitions in the Torah represent the common experience of mankind. We all know that we cannot live in a community of killers, liars and thieves. Therefore, those who hate all these commandments and the restrictions that therefore devolve on all of us hate Israel and the Jews. For like it or not, we Jews are viewed as the carriers of the moral code the Torah teaches and those who hate that moral code hate us. Even if a secularist wants to reject the reputed connection between the Children of Israel and the Ten Commandments; even if one were to call it all a man-made legend; even if “it” never happened and there was no Moses and there was no Exodus and there was no Revelation at Mt. Sinai, it is still true that “that which people believe is real is real in its consequences.”  We teach that to every social science student. Therefore, we Jews are the targets of the haters and the killers because we carry the message of morality into the world. This does not mean that we are more moral than other people. This does mean, however, that we are the messengers whom the haters want to kill. “Kill the Jews,” they scream in the streets of Nablus, Cairo, Damascus and all the other 20 Arab countries. Translation; “Kill morality,” “kill decency,” above all denounce the teachings of Torah “and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ((Vayikro 19:18 also known as Leviticus). The Arabs teach their children to hate their Jewish neighbor. We teach to love our Arab neighbor. This seems so strange and mad to the haters and their allies that they see Jews as outsiders, as not really human. How can you love your neighbor, say they.  All their school texts, sermons, media, political leaders and relatives teach them to hate their Jewish neighbors.

Who will win this argument between love and hate? We will. The common experience of mankind teaches us that and it will happen again. Israel will survive and the haters will lose even though we are only 13 million in all the world and the Arabs are 260 million and the Moslems have 1.3 billion followers. Yet, we will win. Remember that and do not fear. “Adonay li, v’lo iro.”

The third lesson of Jewish history has to do with Adam Shapiro. He represents a constant in our long history, as you know if you have read even one Jewish history book.

Adam Shapiro is a Brooklyn born Jew who is engaged to a Palestinian woman, Huweida Arraf, whom he expects to marry in New York later this year. Shapiro chose to “rush to the side” of the Jew hater Arafat when Arafat was confined to two rooms in his Ramallah headquarters by the army of Israel. There he had his picture taken with the latter day Hitler, Arafat, whose mass murder of Jews is evidently also the cause of Shapiro. In fact, Shapiro finds no fault with the Passover Massacre, which killed 26 Jews at a Seder. He finds fault only with other Jews. It is interesting that the parents of Shapiro, who raised him to hate us all, asked for protection from the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith because they believed themselves threatened by some lunatic ‘phone calls concerning their assault on the Jewish people. Why didn’t they ask the “Palestinian” consulate for protection? Don’t they trust them?

One more interesting item. Sheryl McCarthy, a columnist appearing in some newspapers, calls Adam Shapiro a hero. McCarthy is a professional Jew baiter who would easily rank with Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, as a promoter of every hatred and every bigotry ever launched against us.

Now Shapiro is not himself important. Indeed he achieved some publicity for his bizarre bigotry, but his “fame” will not last long. For us Jews however, Shapiro illustrates a fact of Jewish history. That fact is that whenever Jews are under attack, whenever Jews are threatened with annihilation, there are some “ex-Jews” who side with our worst enemies and incite them to kill us all. Shapiro is not the last of these nor is he the first. In fact, the first of these “ex-Jews” was Barnabas, who lived in Egypt in the second century of the common era. A Jewish apostate (Greek apostanai =to rebel), he set in motion all those endless lies about Jews which have been repeated by every hate monger since then. In The Epistles of Barnabas, written in 100 C.E., the author attacks Jewish law and then writes that G’d has abandoned the Jews; that G’d does not hear the prayer of a Jew; that Judaism is empty legalism; that Jews cannot do “good deeds”, etc. etc. etc.

Added to this list of psychotic lies is the crazy accusation that Jews are “Christ killers”, a canard which has cost millions of Jewish lives over 2,000 years.

In 1240, an ex-Jew named Nicholas Donin used his knowledge of the Talmud to feed Christian clergy excerpts he pretended insult the Christian religion. These excerpts were then used to “defeat” the rabbis who were forced to participate in the so-called disputations, which always led to Christian “victories”.

Another example of Jewish apostasy was the career of Johann Pfefferkorn, an ex-Jew who told the Christian clergy in 1452 that the Talmud should be destroyed because it contains “anti-Christian” material. The clergy was glad to oblige and burned every copy of the Talmud they could find, but they also induced the German population to attack Jews and murder them indiscriminately.

In our own day we have “Jews for Jesus” and other anti-Jews.  Even Israel has Jewish journalists who denounce their own country and side with our murderers.

Yet, they too shall be defeated as they always have been. For no matter how isolated we may feel and how hard it may be at all times to be a Jew, we too have allies and friends. There are many people, including many Christians, who take the Torah to heart. There are journalists like Cal Thomas who “swim against the stream” and tell the truth even as Newsweek and CNN and other media rant and rave against “the Jews” and befoul the air with their vitriolic hatred of our people.

No, everyone is not Pat Buchanan, Jew hater number one. There are decent people everywhere, even in France, where the government incited a mob to burn down the synagogues ala Kristallnacht 1938.

Above all there are the courageous people of Israel who have suffered more than appears humanly possible but who stand fast despite all efforts to conduct yet another Holocaust. We know they will survive. We know we will survive. We know the “Light unto the Nations” will not go out but the People of Israel will live. Am Yisroel Chai. Be strong and of good courage.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Stigma:  How We Treat Outsiders.

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