Friday, February 21, 2020

Do we really want to “go there” again? Could it be possible that after all we have learned we are going back to the days when Germany’s example led the world as purveyors of genocidal hate against the Jew—the bearded, long-nosed, money-grubbing Jew—held up as an example of all that is wrong with the world?

“Heute Gehort uns Deutschland, Morgen die Ganze Welt,” goes the oft-mistranslated lyrics to the Nazi Reichsarbeitdienst (worker’s party) official marching song. Hans Baumann, Hitler’s favorite propagandist, wrote the song and was a frequent and active speaker in the Hitler youth movement. What a guy.

As the tides of anti-Semitism rise again back to 1935 levels, we find it important to remember, not only on Passover, that there are a thousand Baumanns out there today just like there were then, among those who rise up in every generation, bent on destroying the Jewish people and changing the narrative of history. Make no mistake: Those rising up right now hope, like Baumann, to poison the whole world with the same unbridled, baseless, genocidal hatred toward the Jewish people.

Today hate goes by other names. Today it’s Boycott, Divest and Sanctions; today it’s “progressive politics,” and people who want to “free Palestine all the way from the river to the sea.” Today it’s our own self-hating brothers and sisters from IfNotNow, whose members are even at this very moment baiting Democratic candidates on the campaign trail, trying to get them to speak against “the unlawful occupation.” Today, it’s Jewish Voice for Peace, which makes war with fellow Jews by telling children’s librarians that “intifada” means “to stand up for what is right.” And today, in our neighborhoods, it’s attacks with water guns on kippah-clad Jews minding their own business, walking home from synagogue.

But something is different about today. Today we will not stand for any of this without a loud fight. We will publish article after article, as many as it takes, to make sure everyone in our world understands who and what is a voice of hatred against the Jewish people.

We will not sit down and let adult men pelt us with water guns outside our synagogues. Not without reporting them. Not after Poway. Not after Pittsburgh. Not after Stoneman Douglas. Not anymore.

Today we call the police and expose bias crime perpetrators for who they are and what they do, whether or not they know or understand what they have done. They come from a long line of bigots who engage in thoughtless bias crimes by attacking defenseless people in the dark, on their way home from a house of worship. Teaneck is by far not the only place where this happens; Jews get harrassed and worse in Brooklyn and Manhattan on a regular basis now. This is how Shomrim was started: when people got sick of getting jumped on Shabbos. These jerks think they’re committing a victimless crime, having a little fun on a Friday night, terrorizing people who aren’t going to call the cops? Think again.

We thank our elected officials and our police force for keeping us safe and taking every complaint seriously. We validate the concerns of those who would have wished that we let this one go. But we feel that there are many ways this could have gone and many scenarios in which people could have been hurt, including the perpetrators. So let’s leave it like this: If we let crimes go unreported in the press they will happen more. And then people will get hurt.

Today we at The Jewish Link are committing to fight anti-Semitism with everything we have, with every tool in our arsenal, with every partner we can gather.

We thank those who are working in the trenches on this. We thank Elan Carr, the U.S. anti-Semitism envoy, who visited our community this week. We thank our own Congressman Josh Gottheimer, who is among those leading the charge against BDS and anti-Semitism in Congress. We are proud to partner with them among other heroes who are standing up against unbridled hate.

The Germans failed in their final solution, and Baumann’s song is but a reminder of how far the Nazis fell short of their goals to spread their message of hate throughout the world. We have to do everything we can to ensure that today’s haters fail as well. This time, at least, it’s our fervent hope that six million holy souls don’t have to be sacrificed before we succeed.