Entry 5: Never Again

Never Again we say. Never again will we allow ourselves to go like lambs to the slaughter. Never again will we be complacent while Jews are persecuted. But it’s happening again.

A report by the Global Forum against Anti-Semitism in 2007 stated that antisemetic attacks rose in 2006, especially in Europe. The report states that there were hundreds of violent attacks, ranging from murder, to bodily injury, property damage and threats. In Austria, incidents increased by 66% in the past year (2005-2006), in Germany by 60%, in the Scandinavian countries by 50%, and in France and Russia by 20%.

I was told by friends and family that wearing an Israeli flag on my neck as I did in Paris this September was “stupid” and “dangerous.” While I refuse to hide my identity, I cannot deny that in Europe today, it is once again dangerous to be Jewish. Wearing a kippot in certain neighborhoods of England can get you stoned.  Being a Jewish yeshiva student reading Psalms on a public bus in London can get you stabbed…27 times. Walking out of a temple in Austria can get you attacked by a mob.

This is nothing new. Events like these were common in the years leading up to the holocaust:

At that time, a survey by the anti-defamation league of 5 European countries found that more than half of those surveyed said the Jews “probably” have too much control of international finance. There was violence, too. In Berlin a grenade was thrown into a Jewish cemetery.  In Belgium, thugs beat up the chief rabbi, kicking him in the face and calling him “a dirty Jew.” Two synagogues in Brussels were firebombed; a third, in Charleroi, was sprayed with automatic weapon fire. In America, a Jewish recruit was assaulted days after he complained of religious harassment in his basic training unit. The boy had to be treated at an Army hospital for a concussion and bruising to his face.  In Bondy, France, 15 men beat up members of a Jewish football team with sticks and metal bars.  The bus that took Jewish children to school in Aubervilliers was attacked three times in 14 months. A Jewish girl in a Parisan school was thrown to the ground and beaten by 20 students, who were yelling, “Dirty Jew! Dirty Jew!” At one point, there were so many attacks on Jews in France that the chief rabbi urged religious boys and men to wear baseball caps instead of yarmulkes outside their homes. In Turkey, bombs were blown up in two of Istanbul’s major synagogues killed 23 persons and injured more than 300 others.  In Vienna, skinheads attacked the vice-director of a Jewish school with a beer bottle, leaving the victim with injuries. In Melilla, Spain, local youth attacked a synagogue with stones as worshippers ushered in the Sabbath. No arrests were made in the incident.  In Ukraine, skinheads attacked Jewish worshippers and smashed the windows of  Kiev’s main synagogue. Ukrainian police denied that the attack was anti-Jewish.  Four people beat Rabbi Dov-Ber Baitman, a teacher at the Jewish educational center in Dnepropetrovs, Ukraine, when he walked out of the central Golden Rose synagogue after evening classes. At the University of Geneva, a Jewish researcher wearing a small Star of David necklace was attacked in a campus elevator by Arab students. When she reported the attack, she was told not to wear the necklace in public.

But you may be surprised to learn that the events I just listed did not occur in the years leading up to the holocaust.  No, every incident I mentioned above has occurred within the last 6 years.  Make no mistake about it: In 2008, 63 years after the Holocaust and “Never Again,” the Jewish people are yet again under attack. Never Again has once again become rhetoric.

As an addendum, I sat in on the Congressional hearing on Combating Antisemitism and Protecting Human Rights on April 14th 2010. There, it was mentioned that in 2009, violent acts against Jews worldwide were as numerous as they were in any year since the Holocaust. While 2008 saw 559 reported violent acts against Jews, 2010 saw 1129. This problem isn’t getting better. It’s getting worse.

Sources:

1- http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/18/islam.religion

2- http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/128234

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One Response to “Entry 5: Never Again”

  1. Amnon Zaidenberg (Switzerland) Says:

    Hi Corey, if you are free next weekend we wanted to invite you for dinner in Tel Aviv, Friday 12/2 or Saturday 12/3, whatever suits you. Maybe Yochai (Itay’s cousin whom you met) and Amit (Itay’s brother currently a lone soldier in paratroopers) will join. You may contact Roy at 0547 8711958 or email me to amnonzaidenberg@hotmail.com. let me know your mobile. Shabbat Shalom! Amnon Zaidenberg

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