My wife is away for a week and I’ve been taking the opportunity to watch videos that she wouldn’t enjoy. No, not what you are thinking! Rather, historical documentaries, war movies, Clint Eastwood films, etc.
Now I’m watching a BBC documentary called “The Nazis: A Warning from History”. It’s quite interesting, loaded with period footage that I’d never seen and including many interviews with former Nazis (they always are listed as becoming ‘former’ in 1945).
An early episode describes the persecution of the German Jews before the war, of which Kristallnacht was the culmination (and the beginning of the Final Solution). What is interesting — not that there is anything new in this — was the way in which the antisemitic predilections of ordinary Germans were nurtured for years, while at the same time the Jews were gradually excluded from every aspect of German society: the professions, the arts, political life, education, business, even the right to marry non-Jews (by the 1935 Nuremberg laws).
With every succeeding year, new indignities were heaped on the Jews which would have been unthinkable the year before. But like the proverbial frog placed in water which is slowly raised to the boiling point, the German people (even many Jews) didn’t perceive the horror of the situation until it was too late. The combination of the continuous antisemitic input from the German media and political establishment, the step by step promulgation of exclusionary laws and the gradually increasing paramilitary violence against individual Jews made the later recruitment of soldiers and police for einsatzgruppen [extermination squads] possible.
One of the former Nazis said something like this: “In 1933, who could have imagined what would be in 1945? Only 12 years — but it was unimaginable beforehand.”
So why do I mention this?
Because a precisely parallel process is underway today. It is not aimed at individual Jews, but at the Jewish state. It is not limited to a single country, but is taking place worldwide. The anti-Israel rhetoric continues to reach new heights and every day things are said which would never have been said before. What was unimaginable last year — like the Aftonbladet accusations — becomes standard fare this year. Just like Nazi propagandists, there are writers and media that specialize in Israel-hatred. I can imagine Max Blumenthal (see here and here) looking in the mirror every morning and asking himself “how can I stick it to them today?”
The parallel is not exact, because unlike most German Jews the state of Israel is capable of defending herself. But the process of isolation — the product boycotts and divestments, the UN resolutions, the attempts to restrict Israeli participation in international sporting events, the academic boycotts, the anti-Israel conferences, and the escalating vilification in the media — are all intended to disconnect Israel from the world, to ensure that she will have no friends to stand by her when her enemies feel ready to challenge her directly.
The response has to be to not allow the temperature to be raised imperceptibly, to not get used to the anti-Israel rhetoric as, for example, “just what one expects from NPR, the Guardian, the LA Times, etc.,” but to push back vigorously against each attack, each lie, each fake ‘investigation’ and every ‘pro-Israel’ group that is actually the opposite.