“We will never surrender to the expressions of hatred; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of antisemitism.” – French President Emmanuel Macron, July 16, 2017, the 75th anniversary of the deportation of more than 13,000 Parisian Jews to Nazi death camps.
If Hamas’ gleeful slaughter of 1,400 Israelis on October 7 was Israel’s 9/11, only 15 times worse by population proportion, it also loudly echoed two other days. For American Jews, the Hamas pogrom screamed, “Kristallnacht!” Nov. 9-10, 1938’s “night of broken glass” in Nazi Germany that foretold the Holocaust. For Americans in general, it recalled Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor.
Or should have. The new zeitgeist has been gestating ever since a 1975 U.N. General Assembly resolution—Soviet-inspired, Arab League-adopted—equated Zionism with racism. October 7 was its birth certificate. Though repealed de jure in 1991, the measure was internationalized de facto.
Since Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, the U.N. resolution formally opened what became a 48-year campaign to rehabilitate Jew hatred. And because the “racist!” charged against the Jewish state is the contemporary equivalent of the medieval malediction “Christ-killer!” against Jews, Israelis and, by extension, Jews anywhere can be resisted “by any means necessary.”
Hamas’ live-broadcast ISIS-Nazi S.S.-like butchering, raping, decapitating, burning, shooting, and blowing up of Zionist-Israeli-Jews, infants to the elderly, demonstrated what “by any means necessary” means. This time, with jihadi mobs not only on campus but also taking over New York City’s Grand Central Station and the Brooklyn Bridge, the world really has changed. Or, more precisely, relapsed to an ancient default mechanism.
Zionism led in 1948 to the establishment of Israel. The renewed Jewish state—not colonial but native—on a portion of the people’s ancient homeland offered, after nearly 2,000 years of often deadly scapegoating, both refuge and renewal.
Yet in the West, many have not just surrendered to antisemitism, contrary to Macron, but embraced it. If diaspora Jews needed a wake-up call about the end of the post-Holocaust era of “Never again!” we’ve received it in Hamas’ one-day mass murder of Jews, the worst such since the Holocaust. The call comes not only from the keffiyeh-wearing, Palestinian flag-waving Hamas-niks in European cities and their enthusiastic, intersectional counterparts on American college and even high school campuses but also their enablers and apologists.
At universities and high schools, one recognizes a contemporary blend of the Soviet Komsomol youth movement and the Hitler Jugend. They chant, “Zionism is racism,” while wearing keffiyehs, the fashionable cloth swastikas that proclaim people who murder Jews are again fashionable.
Nazis forced Jews to identify themselves by wearing yellow Stars of David on their clothes. American college students are advised not to identify themselves by wearing Star of David jewelry. Post-October 7, same difference.
Hamasniks surrounded Jewish students in the library at New York City’s Cooper-Union College. A librarian suggested they hide upstairs like Anne Frank in the attic.
The New York Times and many other outlets stenographically parroted the Hamas claim that an Israeli airstrike hit a Gaza Strip hospital, killing 500 people. A Palestinian Islamic Jihad missile aimed at Israel fell short and hit the hospital parking lot. The Times eventually retreated but media regurgitation of the false Palestinian narrative is chronic.
Though Jew-haters fantasize about Jewish control of show business, in Hollywood, the Writers Guild of America—which opined about everything from George Floyd’s murder to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade on abortion—kept mum about Palestinian crimes against Jews.
The war against the Jews, suspended by the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, has resumed in the West. Most non-Jews may not wish to participate. But a determined minority does.
The Bolsheviks were a small minority when they seized power in Russia. A majority of Germans never joined the Nazi party. Evil does not need 50-percent-plus-one to do its worst.
As the Holocaust was a crucial part of World War II—Hitler diverted resources from fighting the Allies to killing Jews—the newly intensified fight against the Jewish state and its backers is part of World War IV. (The U.S.-led West’s Cold War against the Soviet Union and its satellites in effect, amounted to World War III.)
Hamas’ charter calls for the replacement of Israel with an Islamic theocracy over it, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip, and genocide of the Jews. The United States designated it a terrorist organization in 1995. Associated Press and Voice of America won’t call Hamas gunmen terrorists; they don’t want to appear biased.
Islamic imperialist Iran terms Israel the “little Satan” and the United States the “great Satan” and seeks the destruction of both. It sends Hamas $100 million annually. Tehran also supports Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and anti-U.S., anti-Israel militia in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Not to improve the lives of Arabs but to kill Jews and weaken America.
Iran helps arm Russia in its imperialist war against Ukraine. Tehran sustains its economy in part by selling oil to China. Under Xi Jinping and the Communist Party, China—continuing an aggressive military build-up U.S. officials call “worrisome” —seeks to seize Taiwan, intimidate U.S. allies, and overturn the Washington-protected international system of free markets and free people.
North Korea continues its missile development and awaits an opportunity to “reunify” the Korean peninsula by force. Walter Russell Mead wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the international order is as shaky as any time since 1914.
Suppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine equates with Japan’s 1937 invasion of China, which in some respects marked the unofficial start of World War II. In that case, Hamas’ bloody frenzy in Israel may well signal the unofficial beginning of World War IV, a conflict between the anti-democratic forces of revision, and the United States, Israel, Ukraine, Poland, and probably the United Kingdom, Australia, and whatever other allies show up. As the Holocaust was embedded in World War II, World War IV—likely even more terrible—would include the war against the Jews, once again the West’s miners’ canary.
Intellectual and moral clarity are fearsome things and are now absolutely required.