“Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”
This famous line by 19th and early 20th century philosopher, George Santayana known by all Holocaust students rings throughout the Jewish world echoing for us never to forget what happened during the Nazi nightmare years.
But, with Israel defending itself against Hamas aggression over the past three weeks, protests in some of the West’s largest cities against the Jewish State are multiplying with more hate and invective than we’ve seen in a long time. They call it anti-Zionism but because there are placards and statements like, “die Jew,” and “Hitler was right,” it’s hard for some of us to see the difference between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric that ranks with the vilest any Nazi every spoke in the 1930s.
These past two weeks have seen this activity up tick to the point where a lot of us for the first time in our post World War II generation lives are actually becoming concerned. Admittedly, we are a ways off from “Krystalnacht” and the extermination of Jews that followed it, but for those of us who live to remember the six million, those echos of gas chambers and mounds of bodies forbids us to forget what that kind of thinking and action can lead to if left unchecked.
Recently, here in L.A. there was a demonstration for Israel at the Federal Building on Wilshire blvd. Some guys drove by in a pick-up truck and beat some Jews with their Palestinian flags using the poles as weapons. They were arrested and I am sure they will be prosecuted.
I thought I would never hear or see anything like the grainy newsreels of brown shirts marching through Vienna or Berlin in the 1930s, but here it is, in living color and in 2014. The difference now, instead of them wearing swastikas, they wear the Arab keffiyeh.
During the early 1920s Nazis were not building gas chambers, but they were active around Germany convincing people that they were the way to end Germany’s problems. They were protesting in the streets, intimidating Jews, and practicing hooliganism which got more violent as the decade wore on. The police of the Weimar Republic dealt with violators of the law severely, putting them in jail for breaking the democratic laws of Germany. Hitler himself served time in jail for this activity.
Today, Palestinian groups and their sympathizers inside the U.S. , regard Israel and its Jews as the problem. Remove the Jews and the problem solved. Of course, these are still ridiculous notions with Israel being such a dominant military force in the region. In the mid 1920s they laughed and made fun of Hitler as well.
The growth of anti-Semitic Muslim and hard Left wing groups now in the 21st century is somewhere around the mid 1920s in comparison to the growth of the Nazis. They can’t really do anything deadly—yet. But they are out there and they have the potential for growth. One hundred million people in this country have at least some problem with Israel, either through ignorance, stupidity, political biases or just plain Jewish hatred. They are the ones to worry about. If this presently, small, but vocal anti-Semitic group are allowed to proliferate through hatred of Israel it could prove a real problem in the future.
In the 1932 election, nine years after Hitler’s failed Bavarian coup known as the “Beer Hall Putsh”, the Nazis held the majority block in the German Parliament and the slide toward annihilation began.
No one in the 1920s thought that a culture that had produced Beethoven and Einstein would ever degrade into what happened only a few years later. Right now our problem is not huge but the red flags it sends up should be noticed and watched very carefully.
God help us if we ever” forget the past” that drove us to lionize Santayana’s warning.