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« Networking Bleg | Main | "How We Won" »

The Night Of Shattering Glass

It's been almost seven decades since Kristallnacht. Today is the sixty-ninth anniversary. Hilda Pierce remembers:

In Paris, on Nov. 7, 1938, a 17-year-old boy, Herschel Grynszpan, distraught over the treatment of his German Jewish parents in Poland, shot and killed the German minor official Herr von Rath. That was the excuse for Kristallnacht two days later.

Thousands of people participated in this horrendous carnage, an organized massacre dictated by Berlin. Not just hoodlums, but ordinary middle-class men and women, neighbors, former friends, smashed windows, looted Jewish shops, burned synagogues, tortured and beat senseless thousands of Jews and the rest sent to concentration camps. In my Vienna, the bloodshed was even greater; hundreds of Jews committed suicide. There it happened on Nov. 9. Austrians had one great regret, that so much needless damage was inflicted on property.

Crystal Night was the beginning of the Holocaust. It sowed the seeds for the Second World War. Had Hitler been stopped at that time, the war and genocide might have been avoided. All these valuable people, Jews who had contributed so much to the world in science, art, music, mores and medicine, could have continued giving their invaluable gifts to mankind.

Sadly, though, many in modern Europe seem to have forgotten:

Take the much-abused term “neoconservatives,” which has become code for the Jews who have supposedly suborned America in Israel’s interests. In the Guardian, Geoffrey Wheatcroft lamented the fact that Conservative Party leader David Cameron had fallen under the spell of neoconservatives’ “ardent support for the Iraq war, for the US and for Israel,” and urged Cameron to ensure that British foreign policy was no longer based on the interest of “another country”—Israel. In the Times, Simon Jenkins supported the notion that “a small group of neo-conservatives contrived to take the greatest nation on Earth to war and kill thousands of people” and that these “traitors to the American conservative tradition,” whose “first commitment was to the defence of Israel,” had achieved a “seizure of Washington (and London) after 9/11.” According to this familiar thesis, the Jews covertly exercise their extraordinary power to advance their own interests and harm the rest of mankind.

Gee, that somehow seems familiar.

But of course, it's much worse:

The British media uncritically regurgitate Palestinian propaganda even when it is demonstrably false. In April 2002, many outlets labeled Israel’s assault on the refugee camp in Jenin a “massacre” with thousands dead; in fact, some 52 Palestinian men had died (of whom the great majority were terrorists), along with 23 Israeli soldiers. In last year’s Lebanon war, the media propagated manifestly false Hezbollah claims of Israeli massacres that later proved to have been staged.

During the same war, the Guardian published a cartoon depicting a huge fist, armed with brass knuckles shaped like Stars of David, hammering a bloody child while a wasp representing Hezbollah buzzed around ineffectually. The image suggested that Israel was a gigantic oppressor, slaughtering children in brutal overreaction to Hezbollah, a minor irritant. It was reminiscent of an earlier cartoon in the Independent that showed a monstrous Ariel Sharon biting the head off a Palestinian baby, which won first prize in the British Political Cartoon Society’s annual competition for 2003. By showing Jews killing children, both cartoons employed the imagery of the blood libel—the medieval European calumny that sparked many massacres of Jews by claiming that they murdered Gentile children and used their blood for religious rituals.

No anti-semitism here folks. Move along...

Posted by Rand Simberg at November 09, 2007 01:57 PM
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I am afraid it was only a matter of time before the old prejudices raised their ugly heads again.

It seems that unless a population is challenged they descend into this form of behaviour and perhaps ultimately to barbarism and a new Dark Age.

People with low expectations of themselves and those around them have always pilloried the educated, the pro-active, the explorers, the builders, the ones who can and will do what they cannot. Sloth compounded with jealousy and ignorance is never good.

I have a deep seated hatred of extremes and extremists whether religious, political or racial.

Posted by Andy Clark at November 9, 2007 02:34 PM

Take the much-abused term “neoconservatives,” which has become code for the Jews who have supposedly suborned America in Israel’s interests.

Once again, a false statement, presented as fact. Then added to a different brew, so that a number of unrelated issues can be equated to anti-semitism and thereby condemned.

Posted by Offside at November 9, 2007 04:10 PM

As a great man once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Posted by Steve at November 9, 2007 07:55 PM

Dear Yehudi,

Welcome to America. Enjoy your stay. We haven't always been appreciative hosts -- even today some of our people are bigoted. But the closest we got to Auschwitz were the internment camps during WW2.


Uncle Sam

Posted by MG at November 10, 2007 04:06 AM

Is Offside blind or just unwilling to acknowledge the dozens and dozens of press articles talking about "neoconservative" jews co-opting American foreign policy or the liberal blogs that do the same thing in much harsher language using Zionist as a slur along with "neocon"? Does everyone use the term this way? No, but enough do to make that statement true not false.

Posted by Bill Maron at November 10, 2007 05:27 AM

Is it any wonder that Joe Lieberman was pushed out of the democrat party?

Posted by Cecil Trotter at November 10, 2007 05:41 AM

Sadly, the Jews really do seem to be the canary in the coal mine for the health of a culture/nation. When attacks on them go beyond normal street crime, then you've got a society that's going down the dark path.

It's funny how the left and the Paulistas attribute all these absurd fictional plots to Bush yet don't even notice the rising anti-Semitism among themselves that presages the real fascism reappearing.

Posted by LenS at November 10, 2007 06:06 AM

Martin Gilbert, when interviewing friends of Churchill, was told to present the great man, warts and all. After all, said one of them, Churchill did have faults; he was too fond of Jews.
Hitler's project continues, sponsored by Arab oil and supported by useful idiots (see Offside, above)around the world.

Posted by Stephen Rittenberg at November 10, 2007 06:10 AM

I don`t know about Britain (I usually take anything from Melanie Phillips with a grin of salt or two), but in much of Europe, leftists use the term `Neocon` as a synonym for `renegade`or `traitor`, since they mostly are former leftists.

As to boycotts of Israeli goods: The European Union has a tariff union with Israel, so that Israeli goods are imported without custom duties. That should count for more than possible boycotts proposed by some NGOs and journalist unions.

Posted by Ralf Goergens at November 10, 2007 06:30 AM

Paleoconservatives were the old guard...against invading Iraq. Neoconservatives are the people who woke up after 9/11 and were against the realpolitik of business as usual...negotiation...sanctions...pandering and platitudes for the killers in our world. A "neocon" has rejected the metaphor of stopping at Kuwait's border. Those who hate, those who agitate for collectivism...those who are weak and afraid of confronting the slavers have cloaked the word "neocon" with Jews in order to have a handy, intellectually dishonest, lazy way of quickly discrediting those who agitated for a muscular foreign policy. "Don't believe a word he says, he's a Jew"

Don't believe a word I say, I'm a neocon.

Posted by Orbit Rain at November 10, 2007 06:47 AM


Posted by newc at November 10, 2007 07:10 AM

Yea, it's dishonest, Leftist, post-colonialist, Marxist propaganda, but I think you're being a bit pathetic linking it to the Nazis.

For one thing I don't think there's an actual anti-Jewish sentiment behind it. The motivation is pure late-model Marxism, they will harm anyone and tell any lie for their cause.

Secondly, _if_ they could articulate their policy without misrepresentation, there would be no problem. Israel is a country, people are entitled to have an opinion about the rightness of her policies.

Personally I support the Israelis, generally speaking (although they certainly could afford to be a bit smarter), but no one is obliged to share this view.

The lies are the problem, and these are ubiquitous on the Left. I see no special focus on Israel or Jews.

Besides which, even if you were right, it would _still_ be a huge overreach to compare this to the Nazis.

Posted by Kip Watson at November 10, 2007 07:37 AM

I live in a swank, arty town outside of New York City. For the three years I've been here the ex-urban, useful idiots who fancy themselves intelligentsia jokingly call me "neocon" (I am one) while holding a crooked [read: Jewish] finger up to their noses. But that is playful. In Europe, where I lived immediately before New York, it's far worse. I remember marvelling that the far left was contentedly overlapping with the far right vis-a-vis Jewry, and not just Israel. Kip, you're just plain wrong.

Posted by Non-Jewish Canary Lover at November 10, 2007 08:00 AM

"Israel is a country, people are entitled to have an opinion about the rightness of her policies."

The hatred is not that of Israel's policies, Kip, it is that of their ethnicity. Whatever their policies may be, said policies are consistenly misrepresented or distorted by the left. However, you are right that the left probably has no problem with Jews as such. The Jews are simply a rallying point to make common cause with those of the world who dispise freedom and democracy. In this point the left are blood brothers of the Nazis.

Posted by willis at November 10, 2007 08:05 AM

I think the association to the Nazis is misleading - this is something far deeper and more ancient than Nazis. Turning against Jews is a time-tested symptom of extremist, dogmatic thinking.

It's interesting to notice how hatred towards Jews ("Zionists", or indeed "Neo Cons" are just more politically correct ways to refer to them) unites extremist who are otherwise completely opposed to each other: a militia survivalist with Montana with a Berkeley neo-hippie, a Guardian subscribing intellectual with a Sun consuming soccer hooligan.

It's just the mercury in the barometer, foretelling the change in athmosphere. Nazis won't rise again. But if, say, Middle Eastern countries gather their strengths and attack Israel, there's a growing camp in Europe (and a smaller one in the US) who'd advise to just let them have their way with it, isn't there?

Posted by Aradi at November 10, 2007 01:32 PM

No the Nazi's probably will not return, but how many know about the collaboration between the Grand Mufti, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, and Hitler during World War II? No one that I've talked to. The Mufti even helped recruit Muslims for the Waffen-SS.

The "smart" people in my neck of the woods (some of them are even Jewish!) don't want to know it, and immediately take to excuse-making to cover up their ignorance, to protect their dreamworld from any inconvenience.

When I finally meet a college-educated fellow American who is even dimly aware of this aspect of the 20th century's anti-Semitic legacy, then I will be prepared to *split hairs* about "Nazis" per se, or not.

Pay particularly close attention to the section titled "Legacy":

Posted by Non-Jewish Neocon Canary Lover at November 10, 2007 02:19 PM


And while on the topic of 'bad' Muslims during WWII, we ought to remind ourselves of the very much greater number of wonderfully good Muslim allies who fought for freedom in WWII, with extraordinary bravery for a cause they could quite justly have regarded as not their own.

...cracking the 'Gustav' and 'Hitler' lines to relieve the Anzio beachhead being just the most well-known example.

Posted by Kip Watson at November 10, 2007 06:34 PM

Communists (at Berkely, Pyongyang, etc.) and Nazis (Neo- or Baathist or otherwise) are two sides of the same coin: Totalitarian socialists who insist on controlling economic activity, political activity, social activity, etc., with fear and violent means if necessary. Jew-hatred is just part of the package for many of them, since scape goating is such a useful tool of influence over people who don't think about their prejudices.

Replace socialism with Islam in the above and you're in business. Certainly, middle eastern Nazi/Baath socialists invoke Islam when convenient and make common cause vs the West with islamic terrorists.

Maybe it's not so hard to understand. They're against freedom, and we are the guarantor of freedom for the west. Assuming other parts of the west still want it.

Posted by Dr Weasel at November 10, 2007 08:28 PM

Good reminder Kip. Agreed.

Posted by Canary at November 10, 2007 10:33 PM

"Every Jew a .22" is a good place to start. We have a Ruger Mk II which is great fun for plinking and skill-building. If it came to Kristallnacht, it's the .308 I'd be reaching for.

Posted by triticale at November 11, 2007 08:44 AM

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