News

Weekly Update: A night of terror

editor - 11 November 2021

This week, eighty three years ago, in an apparently spontaneous outburst of hatred, nazi stormtroopers and civilians damaged or destroyed hundreds of synagogues and thousands of Jewish shops across Germany, annexed Austria and parts of Sudentenland. In one night and day, up to 30,000 Jews were rounded up and taken to concentration camps. Many Jews committed suicide out of despair. It was the beginning of seven years of hell on earth.

In retrospect, Kristallnacht was the opening scene in the tragedy of the Holocaust.

But there was nothing spontaneous about Kristallnacht. Rather, it was the result of deeper anti-Jewish sentiments and ideologies, and a longer process during the 1920’s and 1930’s of relentless demonization of Jews in the available media, and careful planning by the Nazi elite.

Comparing the situation today with the 1930s is tricky. But we cannot avoid seeing the parallels, and we do well to see the warning signs. Many of the conditions that characterized post WWI Europe are developing again around us: these include fear, economic uncertainty, lack of cohesion at the centre of political life, governments claiming increasing executive powers, and alarming levels of antisemitic sentiments in the media.

There are major differences between the 1930’s and now. One is that today the Jewish State of Israel exists; the Jews have a safe homeland. However, that homeland is not as safe as it seems. Resentment of Jews is often expressed today in hatred of the Jewish State of Israel. Anti-Zionism has become the new Antisemitism. Many States and organizations are still committed to the destruction of the Jewish State. There are growing cries that the Jewish State of Israel is illegitimate. The international community wants to enclose the Jews within borders that will threaten the existence of the State of Israel.

Experts warn that antisemitism is on the rise globally. It is dangerous for a Jew to walk the streets of many European or other Western cities with a kippa. It is alarming, for example, that this week the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, was harassed by a violent mob after giving a lecture at the London School of Economics – bastion of Western, liberal thinking.

This is unacceptable. It is time to pray more fervently, and raise our voices against those who threaten to annihilate Jews.

We must not allow history to repeat itself.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today


Phyllis Greenberg Heideman at Forward: “The road to Auschwitz did not begin and end with the laying of the grisly train tracks to the hellish concentration camps, the digging of mass murder pits in Eastern Europe or the construction of the gas chambers or death camps. The extermination of the Jews was not inevitable or unforeseeable; following Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, there were constant warning signs. Had any of these been heeded, even dealt with, perhaps the Holocaust — or its sheer enormity — might have been averted. The first lesson of Kristallnacht is to take the warning signs of antisemitism seriously.”
> Read more..

Matt Lebovic in Times of Israel writes: “more than 90 Jews murdered in their homes or on the streets during Kristallnacht, hundreds of Jews took their own lives that night and in the days after. Some of them wanted to avoid concentration camps, while others could not cope with the loss of a loved one.”
> Read more..

John Farmer in JPost compares Kristallnacht with current forms of extremist violence: “The obvious difference between Kristallnacht and contemporary extremist violence – that Kristallnacht was orchestrated by an extremist German government, not by right-wing militias or left-wing extremists – underscores the danger posed to democracy when the center fails to hold and the contest for power is left to the extremes.”
> Read more..

William Daroff writes at JNS: “The murders at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego, coupled with attacks against rabbis in New York and Boston, have the American Jewish community more worried than ever about the pervasive threat of anti-Semitism.”
> Read more..

 

Isaac or Yishmael | Romans 9-11 with Johannes Gerloff #19

There are blatant contradictions in the Bible: Either the Jews are “cursed and cut off from Christ” or “they are Israelites” owning all those riches the Apostle summarizes here. Both cannot be true – that is our human reasoning. But God is sovereign.

 

Scripture for the week: 

Romans 9:1-5
  I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah,who is God over all, forever praised.  Amen.