Jewish World Review April 10, 2001 / 17 Nissan 5761
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- ON Saturday evening during the Passover seder, when I came to the part of the Haggadah that reads, "In every generation, they rise against us and seek our destruction," I thought of a baby buried in Hebron, a shrine desecrated in Nablus and the torrent of Nazi-like anti-Semitism spewed forth by the Arab world.
Funny, how many of our holidays celebrate a near-escape from disaster -- Purim (when Haman almost persuaded the Persian king to slaughter the Jews of his realm), Hanukkah (when Judaism was saved by a Jewish revolt) and Passover.
We were slaves in Egypt over 3,000 years ago. Pharaoh tried to kill our spirits, while keeping bodies alive for his public works program. Or perhaps Egyptian slavery was a forerunner of German forced labor camps, where inmates were literally worked to death.
Jewish history is a chronicle of tragedies avoided and those that weren't -- the deliverance from Pharaoh's host at the Red Sea, the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the Diaspora, ghettos, pogroms and the Holocaust.
The crematoria had hardly cooled when the Arab world launched a jihad on Holocaust survivors and their near relations. It was the century's longest conflict, extending into the next.
The animating force of Israel's enemies, then and now, isn't anti-Zionism, but anti-Semitism of a virulence to match anything in the pages of Der Sturmer.
In a sixth-grade textbook used by the Palestinian Authority, a child muses that perhaps Allah brought the Jews to Palestine so they could all be killed, ridding the world of this troublesome people.
Sheik Ikrama Sabri, Arafat-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, told a German magazine, "It is the art of the Jews to decieve the world." German Jews should go back to Germany, the mufti insisted. "After all (laughs), you like them so much, don't you?" It says much that the Palestinians' chief religious authority is amused by genocide.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, Arafat's official newspaper, regularly cites the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." The late king of Saudi Arabia used to give copies to his guests.
The Egyptian government newspaper Al Akhbar says the Holocaust is "a myth" and "the matzah of Atonement Day (sic) must be kneaded with the blood from a non-Jew. The preference is for the blood of youths after raping them."
According to Al-Hayat, "The conflict between the Jews and the Muslims resembles the conflict between man and Satan." Various official Palestinian sources accuse Jews of poisoning food and spreading Mad Cow disease, and declare that Abraham wasn't a Jew, the Jews never had a Temple in Jerusalem, and Jewish settlers living in Biblical Israel are "the descendants of monkeys and pigs."
Their words are writen in venom, their deeds in blood.
In the holy city of Hebron, burial place of the Patriarchs, there was another burial last week -- 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass, who was murdered by a Palestinian sniper at she nestled in her father's arms.
With what do the Palestinians knead their bread? In March, a suicide bomber murdered three children at a school bus stop in Northern Israel. In January, 16-year-old Ofir Rahum was lured to the West Bank and slain. In October, two unarmed Israeli reservists were lynched by a mob in Ramallah.
In the same month, Kristallnacht-fashion, Palestinians looted and burned a synagogue built over the Tomb of Joseph in Nablus. When an American-born rabbi rushed into the flames to rescue the Torah scrolls, he was abducted and killed.
Israelis aren't the only Jews in the crosshairs. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has documented an upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe -- including shootings, stonings and firebombings. Haman always starts with the Jews at hand, then moves further afield.
After the third cup of wine and the welcoming of the Prophet Elijah, the seder moves to a call for retribution for the martyrs of millennia: "Pour out thy wrath upon the nations that know thee not ... for they have consumed Jacob and laid waste his habitation. ... Pursue them in anger and destroy them." And those who desecrate thy name with unspeakable evil.
Pharaohs, Persians, Romans, czars and Nazis -- all are gone, crushed to dust by the pestle of
history and scattered to the winds. How do you say "cautionary note" in
JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.