Jews vs. Jews
By Professor Herbert Druks
Throughout history, some of the worst enemies of the Jews have been Jews. Pharoh aimed to finish the Jews by killing off their male born children and working the Jews to death. Moses led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage; but time and again he was confronted with Jews like Korach, and ten out of the twelve spies who claimed that the people of Israel could not face the challenge of the Land of Israel. When the son of Solomon took charge, he was challenged by those who wanted to rule their way. The kingdom split and it was thereby more exposed to the enemies of the people of Israel.
When the Greeks conquered the Israelites, there were some who challenged the authority of the Jewish faith and chose to worship the idols of Greece. Mattathias and his sons led a successful revolt against the Greeks and those assimilated Israelites who preferred the Greek way. As Bar Kochba led a revolt against the Romans there were some Judeans who preferred to surrender to the Romans than to resist the Roman murderers.
Contemporary history is replete with those Jews who betrayed their own people and their traditions. As we once again commemorate the Shoah this year we cannot forget how some Judenrat Councils and Leaders in places like Lodz and Warsaw preferred to save their own skins than to help the Jews resist and kill the Nazis. Romkovski, head of the Judenrat of Lodz, believed that if he could show the Germans that Lodz Jews could be productive, then some would be saved. He tolerated no resistance from Jews to his rule. He tried to appease the Germans and thereby helped in the annihilation of the Lodz Jews.
There were many opportunities to save the Jews before the Nazi Germans and their allies undertook the complete annihilation of the Jewish people of Europe, but people outside the power of Germany refused to help. American Jews chose silence rather than action. When Germans used Herschel Greenspan's killing of a German diplomat in France as an opportunity to expand their killing of Jews, burning of synagogues and deportation of Jews to concentration camps, the "civilized" part of the world did almost nothing in response to Crystal Night, November 10, 1938.
FDR proclaimed that the "news of the past few days from Germany has deeply shocked public opinion in the U.S. I, myself, could scarcely believe that such things could occur in a 20th Century Civilization." America continued normal relations with the Nazi Germans. Business with the Germans continued as usual even though some members of the American Jewish Congress advocated a boycott of German goods. The Germans imposed a fine of a billion marks on the German Jews and individuals like Cyrus Adler, President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and executive leader of the American Jewish Committee, declared on November 16, 1938"… the payment of that fine will be an acceptance of the responsibility for the stupid and cowardly assassination by this foolish Jewish boy of a minor German diplomat in Paris. I also think that not one penny should be contributed by any Jew outside of Germany toward this fine or toward the release of hostages…"
But all this slaughter of Jews could have been stopped long before it began if "good and decent" people had behaved like good and decent people. But they did not. When Henry Ford campaigned in America from 1920 to 1927 against the Jewish people, the so-called "decent" people of America remained silent.
Louis Marshall, Judge Herbert Lehman and Jacob Schiff were among the prominent American Jewish leaders who believed that the best policy was silence. As Jacob Schiff put it, "a public defense at the present time might be undesirable and only lend further publicity to an unpleasant situation." The American Jewish Committee opposed a boycott of Ford products as some Jewish papers had suggested because it might "boomerang and produce a counter-boycott in which the Jews would greatly suffer." When Aaron Sapiro, a businessman Ford had maligned, sued for libel, Cyrus Adler of the American Jewish Committee, Justice Louis Brandeis, among other Jewish leaders were against this lawsuit because they feared that it would only serve to further promote Ford's bigotry.
The Hitlerites of Germany admired Henry Ford and they would use his writings to further their cause of racism and anti-Semitism. They learned that influential and powerful Uptown Establishment Jews were the Jews of silence. The Germans continued along the road of racism and anti-Semitism which would lead to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
The record of the Failure to Rescue the Jews of Europe is not only a mirror of the debacle of civilization, but it is still another chapter of Jews fighting Jews. When Rabbi Meir Kahane declared "Never Again", established the Jewish Defense League and fought against the racism and anti-Semitism in America, he was portrayed as a fanatic and hooligan by the American Jewish Establishment. When he initiated a struggle for the liberation of Soviet Jews, the American Jewish Establishment likewise distanced itself from him. They were afraid of what the non-Jew, what Washington might have to say about him. When Kahane called upon Israelis to hold on to the Land of Israel and not to yield to Arab terrorism, he and his party were branded racists and they were banned from the Israeli political arena. He was murdered by an Egyptian-American assassin and the American Establishment said good riddance. That fight continues at the present moment.
Israeli Jews vs. Israeli Jews; Israeli Jews vs. American Jews of the Jewish Establishment. They cannot even unite on the principles of defensible frontiers. Portions of the Israeli public have bought the line fed to them by Washington politicians that Israel must surrender its territories in order to win peace with the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab World. Some Israeli and westerners have accepted this line of thought without considering the need for defensible borders. Israel is the only sovereign state that has no declared frontiers. Every once in a while another slice of Israel is surrendered for "peace", but what kind of peace can Israel expect if there are no defensible frontiers? Jews keep on fighting Jews. In the current Israeli election campaign each side claims that it is right and some Establishment American Jewish organizations continue to support the Clinton administration's demands that Israel pursue Nixon's formula of Land for Peace.
A lesson from contemporary history: Silence amidst persecution breeds contempt, disunity; and the failure to defend one's right to live and be free leads to disaster.
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