Two Crystal Nights

Dr. Gerhard Falk

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


Two Crystal Nights


   During the five weeks now past we have seen Arab mobs and their Muslim brethren throughout the world run through the streets screaming “kill the Jews.” We know they mean it. During these five weeks more synagogues were burnt down than in all the years since the infamous “Night of the Broken Glass”, or Kristallnacht, as the Germans called it.

   That earlier pogrom occurred on the night of November 9-10, 1938 and was organized by the German government with a view of burning down every Beth Hatefillah in Germany and Austria while the fire departments stood by and insured that “Aryan” homes would not be burnt as well. Then, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, shouted over the radio that the German people are “rising in bloody vengeance against the Jews.” This year Arafat and his henchmen bellowed similar slogans as they attacked the Jews of Israel on the highways, in their villages and even in Jerusalem.

   On November 9/10, 1938 mob violence broke out in all German communities as the police stood by and crowds of spectators enjoyed the beating and murder of defenseless Jews on the streets. Uniformed Nazi hoods broke into Jewish homes and stores, smashed all the furnishings and threw then into the streets. They brutalized Jewish women and children and vandalized synagogues. They desecrated Torah scrolls, destroyed and burned Jewish books or books by Jewish authors and dragged 25,000 Jews into their “concentration camps.”

    Likewise, the Arabs of Israel burned the Tomb of Joseph, desecrated the Torah scrolls there, burned the Jericho synagogue, vandalized the synagogue in Efrat and in other places while their sympathizers in this country attacked our synagogues in Syracuse and elsewhere. 

    All told, the Germans in 1938 destroyed 267 synagogues, smashed 7,500 businesses and murdered 91 Jews on one day. Worse was yet to come.

     Likewise the Arabs, during the past 5 weeks and before, killed 61 Jews, while their  Muslim co-religionists burned more synagogues worldwide that the Germans did in 1938.

     Yet, there is a difference. In 1938 we were defenseless. There were only 580,000 Jews in Germany that year out of a population of 70 million Germans. We had no government. We had no weapons. No one helped us. No one came to our aid. A tiny minority in a sea of hate, we died in their gas ovens and only a few survived. But not this time. This time there is a Jewish government. This time we have tanks. This time we have helicopter gun ships. This time we have an army. This time we have an air force and this time we mean to defend ourselves.

   Of course the so-called United Nations, a hotbed of anti-Jewish bigotry, sides with the haters and killers. According to the Jew haters such as Amnesty International it is a “war crime” for Jews to defend themselves. Murdering Jews is not crime. Lynching two Jewish boys in Ramallah is also no crime. But Jewish self defense, that is a crime. Of course, it is understandable that the world has a hard time learning that Jewish blood is not cheap or free. For two thousand years anyone who wished was able to slaughter Jews at will. For two thousand years the expulsion, persecution, destruction and obliteration of any Jewish community was a sport in Europe and the Arab lands. That has now come to an end. Therefore, the would-be killers are disappointed. It seems unfair to them that they are deprived of Jewish blood and can no longer loot the property of slaughtered Jews. Jews, for the first time in all these years, can and do fight back. How dare they? Are not Jews expected to run to their deaths in anti-tank ditches and die inside burning synagogues?

    No more. Today we stand together with our friends in the Christian community and we say with Isaiah: “Kol k’li yootzar olayich low yitzloch – no weapon forged against you shall prosper.”

   We may justifiably ask why Arafat and his cronies launched these attacks on Israel after having almost reached a so-called “land for peace” agreement with Israel only four months ago. We already know that that agreement was entirely at the expense of Israel as Israel gave up more and more land but received literally nothing in return. Yet, seeing the weakness of the Barak government, Arafat promised his followers more. He even promised his people that he could establish a Palestinian state with all of Yerushalayim as its capital. When that was too much even for Barak, Arafat and his gang decided to resort to violence. Now it must have been obvious to the Palestinian manipulators that although Shimon Peres had given them weapons, they could not overcome the Israeli defense forces. Nevertheless they believed that violence would favor their cause.

    Recently, Sakhar Habash, the so-called ideological head of Arafat’s Fatah party said that violence would “internationalize” the fight of the Arabs against Israel. Habash believed that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would do to Israel what NATO had done to Yugoslavia in March of 1999. At that time, NATO bombed Serbia and killed thousands of civilians on behalf of the Muslims of Kosovo. The Palestinians interpreted that assault on Serbia as a precedent leading to an assault on Israel by the same forces on behalf of the Muslims of Israel. It ought to be understood that Muslims see everything in religious terms and concluded that NATO is a military force interested in Muslim causes. It should also be recalled that some Jews were in the lead in shouting for the destruction of Serbia in favor of the Muslims of Kosovo, despite the fact that the Serbs were the best allies we Jews had during the Nazi horrors while the Muslims of Kosovo formed a brigade which marched with Hitler into Russia and murdered Jews there during 1941-42.

    When NATO made no move to bomb Israel, Arafat then demanded that the fight against Israel be internationalized by having the United Nations send a “Commission of Inquiry” there. Such a United Nations commission would of course consist of the usual gang of anti-Jewish hate mongers so that it is a foregone conclusion that any committee or any decision made by the United Nations is always anti Jewish and anti-Israel. Evidently then, Israel will not allow any so-called commission of inquiry to enter there.

    It is therefore likely that the Arab effort to internationalize their attack on Israel has failed. It has failed because the United States, our country, will not accede to every Arab  demand because we, the American Jews, together with our Christian friends, will not allow our country to act against Israel. This latest effort to destroy Israel has also failed, however, because for the first time since the year 70 Jews can fight back and stay alive. In the words of Winston Churchill, “we will never surrender;” not now, not ever, but we will stay alive and build Eretz Yizrael in the firm knowledge that we need not fear anyone. “Adonai lee, v’low eeroo –G’d is with me, I shall not fear.”  So we say every week at the end of the Shabbat service and so we shall act now and all our days to come = bimhayro v’yomenoo.

 Shalom u’vracha.


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