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August 16, 2005
Dafydd: Jews As Canaries In the Coal Mine

Hugh Hewitt had a surprise "guest" on his show today. He got to talking about Cuban cigars, decided to get Dennis Prager on the phone... and then the conversation turned from tobacco to something of more moment -- in fact, to something quite profound.

Hugh asked Prager where he thought antisemitism had originated and where it was worst. After responding (a long answer not easily summarized), Dennis said something that truly resonated with me as a secular Jew. This is as near a quotation as I can paraphrase; when the transcript is available, I'll come back here and replace my words with Dennis's.

The curse of the Jews, Dennis said, is to be hated by the most evil men of every generation. The Jews are a barometer of hatred, canaries in a coal mine: to find the greatest evil, find the greatest haters of Jews.

When the Nazis were the greatest evil on the planet, they were also the most insane and "exterminationist" Jew haters. Now that the militant Islamists are the greatest evil (though not necessarily the greatest danger to America; North Korea and China are still out there), they are also the most unhinged Jew haters -- and they, too, are exterminationist, wanting not just to disassociate from Jews but to expunge them from the world.

In between, the Soviet Union was clearly the greatest evil in the world; and sure enough, during that period, they were also the world's greatest Jew haters. Of course, the Soviets were not exterminationist; they didn't implement a "final solution to the Jewish question." Recently, I've seen some evidence that Stalin was indeed working on just such a plan when he died; but even if this is true, it had not been put into action. But even so, under Stalin, they turned with a great deal of inexplicable ferocity on the Jews within their borders.

I'm not sure how far back this can be extended; is it merely a twentieth-century phenomenon? Dennis believes it is "God's plan," presumably the downside of being the "chosen people." But as a secularist, I don't buy arguments merely from Biblical authority.

I would love to see a historian do a study of the most evil regimes in human history prior to the twentieth century, when such can be identified, and see whether they also hated Jews. Certainly the Inquisition hated Jews with a passion; but there's a pretty big historical gap between Toms de Torquemada and Josef Stalin (and an even larger gap between Torquemada and Tiberius, Emperor of Rome!) I don't know enough history to fill those gaps; but at least in the last century, Prager's observation seems both profound and true.

He closed with another point, this time specifically about Israel's withdrawl from Gaza (and eventually from the West Bank too, everyone expects). He believes, as do I, that Hamas will move into power and the Palestinians will pretend that Israel was driven out by their brave "resistance." But he also believes, as also do I, that it is ultimately necessary. Alas -- for me, at least -- he phrased it much better than I have (and again, this is my best paraphrase from memory):

Israelis have decided to completely separate from those who want to exterminate them.

That's as succinct an explanation as I think anyone could make.

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Posted by Dafydd at August 16, 2005 6:50 PM

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» Bullshit alert: Nobody has a monopoly on persecution from The Bellman
I'm going to be branded an anti-semite for saying so, but Dennis Prager and and Dafydd are full of shit. Just in my own lifetime there have been genocides that, guess what, had nothing to do with the Jews. In fact, it was difficult to get some Jewish org [Read More]

Tracked on August 16, 2005 7:35 PM

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Tracked on March 30, 2007 11:42 AM

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