Friday, June 7, 2024

De Ja Vu All Over Again

I really dislike writing about difficult and painful topics, but the times we live in keep introducing us to new "lows." In case you missed it, this week in Jacksonville, a business located in the center of the city started flying a Nazi Swastika flag in the middle of broad daylight. The individual who put up the Nazi flag next to a Free Palestine flag claims that he loves people regardless of race or religion. He is merely trying to bring attention to Palestinians being killed in Gaza, which he equates with Jews being killed in the Holocaust. Let that sink in. In 2024 in Jacksonville, Florida, a Nazi Swastika is flying in broad daylight. There is so much to unpack here; knowing where to begin is hard. It's important to note that of course, this is perfectly legal and within his first amendment rights. (Contrast that with modern-day Germany Hate Speech Laws, where someone can go to prison for displaying a Swastika.) The larger point is that, as Yogi Berra once said, it's deja vu all over again. The unholy alliance between Palestinian Nationalism and Nazi ideology is not a new development. The infamous meeting between the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini met with Hitler in Germany in 1941. The Mufti offered Hitler his "thanks for the sympathy which he had always shown for the Arab and especially Palestinian cause, and to which he had given clear expression in his public speeches. The Arabs were Germany's natural friends because they had the same enemies as Germany, namely the Jews." Hitler replied: “Germany stands in an uncompromising war against Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine. Germany would furnish positive and practical aid to the Arabs involved in the same struggle.” The Mufti thanked profusely thanked Hitler. The seeds of that pure and unadulterated hatred have been incubated into the Hamas ideology, and the chickens have come home to roost. On October 7, this ideology of hate was transformed into action and unleashed in a form the world has not seen since the Holocaust. In a sense, it should not have been surprising as this hatred goes back at least to the days of the Mufti and Hitler. This should debunk any notion that the so-called "resistance" is in response to the so-called "occupation" as the Mufti and Hitler formed their axis of evil well before the founding of the modern Jewish State. This week, we once again celebrate Shavuos, the anniversary of the divine transmission of the Torah from G-d to the Jews at Mt. Sinai. The Talmud offers an unusual insight into the name of Sinai. It explains that it is associated with the Hebrew word שנאה, which means hatred. The world's oldest hatred of antisemitism traces its roots back to Sinai when we became hated for accepting the mission of G-d in this world. Indeed, Hitler wrote that "conscience is a Jewish invention," and he would rid the world of that conscience. It was eighty years ago this week that the Allied Soldiers stormed the Beaches of Normandy to defeat the Nazis. Over 73,000 young men from the Greatest Generation made the ultimate sacrifice. Today, the soldiers of the IDF, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice, are essentially fighting the same war, as the flag waver in Jacksonville has reminded us. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote, "Hitler was not wrong when he called conscience a Jewish invention. That is one reason I am a Jew: a world, a nation, a religion that does not have room for Judaism or Jews is a world, a nation, a religion that does not have room for humanity. Have Peaceful Shabbos, Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

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