Could it happen again? Many Jews and Israel supporters are taking a hard look at the disturbing signs of our times, and asking if there are parallels to 1930s Germany. How did so many Jews miss the warning signs of the Holocaust? How do we interpret similar trends today?
Once Adolf Hitler became chancellor in 1933, an “ascending grade of injustice, political reprisal, concentration camps, religious persecution … purges, obliteration of speech and press … and expropriation” commenced, said Bishop Peter Ireton in 1938. By 1941, escape routes were blocked.
After a hiatus of relative calm, anti-Semitism has been accelerating at an alarming pace across the globe. Its most ominous surge is in Europe, Australia and North America—those traditional bastions of equal rights. All is not quiet on the Western front. Global anti-Semitism rose 30 percent in 2013 and 40 percent in 2014; in Europe, it increased sevenfold from the 1990s to the 2000s. "These are the worst times since the Nazi era," German Jewish leader Dieter Graumann told The Guardian. “It's pure hatred against Jews, nothing else.” Last year, anti-Semitism exploded exponentially, prompting U.S. Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein to warn of a “pandemic in formation.”
When is enough, enough? Israel is at the point of the spear—multiple spears from the enemies surrounding her. Since emerging from the Holocaust and becoming a nation in 1948, Israel has endured two intifadas, 16 wars or operations, terrorism on the streets, relentless rockets from Hamas terrorists in Gaza, BDS campaigns and anti-Semitic attacks, and recently, terrorism by arson—more than 550 fires in the past week, many of which were caused by arson. As if this weren’t enough, a nuclear-armed, hostile Iran is supplying Hamas with missiles, and the Palestinian Authority plans a Security Council resolution condemning settlement—causing apprehension as to President Obama’s intentions.
In his celebrated, but tardy, prime time television announcement, President Obama told the world that America is on the right side of history. Wrong, Mr. President. We are living in the wake of terror in America and fearful of more to come. The population is now living in a state of concern when going to a shopping mall, convention center or sports arena – any place where there is a large public gathering. Welcome to the world in which Israelis have been living for decades. The terror which Israelis confront on a daily basis will soon be mirrored on American streets. The proverbial handwriting is on the wall. Those who shout “Death to Israel and Death to America” mean exactly what they say.
Exodus 17 tells how Amalekites, descendants of Esau’s grandson, attacked the children of Israel in the desert of Sinai during their exodus from Egypt. This unprovoked attack was especially serious and the Israelites battled all day, only achieving victory at nightfall.
In response to this demonstration of cruelty, the Lord told Moses that he would blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. Moses later recounted: “the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16). Amalek’s attack on the children of Israel was now a perpetual war between him and the God of Israel.