A Topsy-Turvy World

Just a handful of years ago, a number of orthodoxies were taken for granted by many. Global anti-Semitism (outside of the Arab world) was on the decline. Given events of the Holocaust, Jews still ought not to trust certain people. Germans were bad; Poles worse. Pope Pius XII was Hitler’s ally.

How things have changed!

I have not seen too much coverage of a fact that should sober us about the extent of world-wide hatred for Jews. Most of us were busy choking on other clauses of the Security Council resolution on the cease-fire to pay much attention to the call for international humanitarian assistance in repairing the ravages of war. Innocuous enough, many would say. But why ask for funds to rebuild Lebanon alone? At least 10000 housing units in northern Israel were damaged by Hezbollah’s rockets. Are the civilian occupants of those homes not entitled to some compassion, and some help in making their lives whole? Why shouldn’t people on both sides of the border be treated equally?

Perhaps Israel is considered a rich country, and Lebanon a poor one, and international aid is only offered to needy nations? This doesn’t work. One year ago, Katrina cut a swath of destruction on the Gulf states, all part of the United States of America, not one of the poorest countries on the globe. Nonetheless, offers of aid poured in from around the world, from agencies that realized that even Uncle Sam could use a bit of help in getting aid to people who needed it.

Who offered aid to the victims in Israel’s north? Did anyone get past the UN’s expected downgrading of Jews from human status? To my knowledge, only one NGO outside the US – in Poland! This, from last Tuesday’s Jerusalem Post:

The non-governmental Polish Humanitarian Organization will ask the Polish government as well as private donors for about NIS 1 million in aid for residents in the north for two projects, in addition to separate funding for Lebanese civilians, said Janina Ochojska, the group’s founder and president.

The head of the Polish humanitarian organization, who has just completed a tour of hard-hit areas in both Lebanon and Israel, said it was imperative that humanitarian assistance get to civilians from both sides of the conflict.

[Ochojska] said she would appeal to the Polish government to fund the purchase of some 3,000 school kits for children from the North, at a total cost of NIS 600,000, while she would work to get private donors in Poland to fund week-long breaks for children and elderly people at locations in central and southern Israel.

To be sure, help was offered from American groups – American church groups, that is. Poland and Christians. Who would have thought?

The response was very different among European Christians. A Christian friend (and friend of Israel) is a member of one of those liberal denominations that deny any part in classic Christian anti-semitism, seeing that as all the work of the Catholics. The other day he told me that, regrettably, he has come to a sorrowful conclusion. Monitoring European reaction to the recent war, he can understand statements coming from the Continent in only one way: much of European Christendom is deeply anti-semitic.

So here is the scorecard. Sixty years after the Holocaust, Europe hasn’t changed much, with anti-semitism thriving in both secular and religious spheres. Tears are shed for Jews only when they are dead, and then only in large numbers. Unsolicited help for Jews is offered by Poles, and American Christians. Traditional Jews have always been suspicious of the ample supply of theories regarding hatred of Jews. To us, anti-Semitism seems to be inexplicable, incomprehensible, based on assumptions that vary from country to country and are mutually exclusive of each other (e.g. Jews are Bolsheviks; Jews are counter-revolutionaries). The phenomenon seems to be something that G-d engineered into human civilization, to remind Jews that they will find no other refuge than in Him and His Torah. When we merit it, He suppresses the tendency somewhat, and we have some limited tranquility. Apparently, at times He shuts off the spigot, even among previous enemies.
Go figure.

And while we are dealing with surprises and reversals, chew on this one from Sir Martin Gilbert, probably the world’s most important (and Jewish) Holocaust scholar. Gilbert sides with David Dalin, another Jewish writer, who concludes that the assumption that Pius XII complicit in the murder of the six million is entirely erroneous, and that he in fact did much – before and during the War – to combat anti-Semitism, and to actively save Jewish lives. [Thanks to Al Kimel for this item.]

Topsy-turvy indeed.

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13 Responses

  1. Manny says:

    I received a request to sign a petition to urge the UN to give to Israel as well as Lebanon. Do these things really help?
    Subject: Fw: UN Resolution
    Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006

    Please sign this petition to the UN. Resolution 1701 managed to provide compensation to Lebanon for damage suffered from the war, but ignored Israel’s damages from Hizballah rockets. The petition requires fair treatment for Israel. WE MUST DO THIS – AND QUICKLY. Please sign and circulate this Petition.

    Please click on the link and sign, and forward it to everyone on your list. Thank you.

    A Call to the UN to Provide Reparations for the Hezbollah War Petition

  2. J says:

    “When we merit it, He suppresses the tendency somewhat, and we have some limited tranquility. Apparently, at times He shuts off the spigot, even among previous enemies.”

    I can’t entirely agree with this view. What happened to the notion of of free will? If a non-Jew who is a Pole and/or a Christian, or anyone else, chooses to reject the terrible legacy of his group and even behave positively toward Jews, that person deserves our full respect, and his behavior shouldn’t be assigned (solely) to G-dly intervention. (I realize that free will and intervention can co-exist, as in the famous chazal – “the Jews had to be punished, but YOU didn’t have to be the one to carry it out”, but if this is what’s intended, it should be made clear.)

  3. Robert E. Moorman says:

    I am a Catholic, and pray for Israil and her people every evening. A German Catholic. My faith taught us to love one another. I find it hard to love those who love to kill us, and will have to answer to g-d for that sin.
    The Old Pipemaker
    Trinity Texas

  4. connie anderson says:

    This is not about the Jew…it is about the G-d of the Jews. Who wrote the Ten Commandments with his own finger. Saddam looks like the fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation 9:11 THE DESTROYER….and Daniel 7:25 says he will again seek to destroy the law and “times”. Satan wants to destroy those that love G-d.and His Laws.

    IF Saddam Hussein does NOT DIE, he will become “converted” and seek to destroy G-d’s Children by urging everyone to worship on SUNDAY. He is the antichrist…G-d alone can kill his created angel…Lucifer…

    The JEW is not who Satan want’s to destroy…He wants his throne to sit above G-d’s throne in Heaven. G-d is stronger than the devil! G-d is trying our “faith” to see if we love and obey Him because we love Him?

    Jew’s who act like Jesus…have been asked to obey G-d…because we love the father who gives us the Ten Commandments…that are the expression of His Character…of love.

    It is not the JEWS the devil hates….it is that we worship G-d who threw him out of heaven…because he was jealouse…of G-d and wanted to be superior…

    You have preserved G-d’s LAW….with patience….and now….we all become eager to see G-d deal with SATAN….and go home…
    sincerely, connie

  5. Eileen Joyce says:

    I just read about the petition to the UN to provide reparations to the Hezbollah victims, but I don’t see a website or a link so that I can sign it. Please respond to me off list about how I can sign that petition.

  6. Phyllis Berzin says:

    If I don’t sign who will ?
    Bravo and kudos to the Israeli people who are fighting the world’s battle .Courage and optimism at its best in Israel.
    I pray for ultimate peace.

  7. felix ruben says:

    UN resolution.
    I am surprised at the one sided offer from Kofi Annan to only help the lebanese people in thei reconstruction. What about those Israelis, have not they suffered damages!! Just outrageous.

  8. H says:

    The aid for those affected in Lebanon is largely in competition with that from Iran/Hezbollah so as not to further lose the hearts and minds of Lebanese citizens and to bolster the so-called democratic Lebanese govetnment. There is no such motivation re: those affected in Israel. I think this explains a large part of what we are seeing rather than overt/covert anti-Semitism.

  9. Bobbye Myers says:

    I, too, would like to sign any petition to the UN that would show support for Israel in any way. Please pass website where petition is available.
    A Christian American,
    Bobbye Myers
    Arkansas USA

  10. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    The petition to the UN is found at http://new.petitiononline.com/IAUN1/petition.html

  11. Glenn Taussig says:

    We are exhorted by G-d to bless Israel knowing that the acts of love shown to His beloved will not be ignored but rather abundantly blessed. The priorities are therefore abundantly clear; with those grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel having opportunity to be partakers of these blessings as well, for their love for the apple of His eye.

  12. Emmanuel Dillon Daniel says:

    In my own capacity,I will stress that the Jews deserve to be assisted,I am mostly concerned about the Jews based on the facts that almost everyone on earth is happy when the Jews are down.Here in South Africa,I think the only person who sympathises with the Jews are just a few minority. The UN should use balanced initiatives to resolve the disputes and an urgent arrangement be made to support our brothers and sisters in both northern and Eastern Israel. And for the last time,the world and the muslims shoud bear it in their minds that everyone is not against the Jews.

  13. Ralph Gerber says:

    …it was said that one should become small in the eyes of man–it is only then that he or she will become that much greater in the eyes of G-d…this homily (written by a CHRISTIAN theologian, no less–go fig) is simply another reason to remind us of our need to depend on G-d and less on the fickle tenderness of our fellow man… Israel, if only for that reason alone, will endure…

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