The Belgian newspaper De Morgen (The Morning) published an obscene purely anti-Semitic article.
The fact that there is anti-Semitism is not new to me. But the fact that this can be published more and more frequently, the fact that anti-Semitism is getting more and more common, this makes me worried.
If you think I exaggerate, judge for yourself.
The article states, “that the land of Israel is not a promised land, it is stolen land.” It also says that, “being a Jew is no religion: there is no God who would give His creatures such an ugly nose."
But also the countless convictions of Israel by the United Nations bother me. Israel is being convicted because Israel is the cause of Palestinian women being discriminated against.
Yes, you read it correctly: because in the Palestinian world women apparently take a subordinate place, it is Israel's fault. And my own country of The Netherlands agreed and applauded when this resolution was passed.
This reminds me of 1976, when an Air France airplane was hijacked by the PLO.
The plane landed in Entebbe, Uganda, where a psychopath was president. I will spare you the whole history, but in case you have forgotten, you can Google it and read all the details.
Many of you will remember the "Raid on Entebbe." Israel liberated all the passengers, and the rescue operation was a miracle, almost incomprehensible.
But what almost everyone forgot was the reaction of the UN. They didn’t condemn the PLO for hijacking an airplane with innocent hostages, but a complaint was made against Israel by a bloc of African nations "for violation of foreign airspace."
Again, The Netherlands was silent and accepting of the umpteenth anti-Israel resolution. Moreover, the Israeli action was condemned by Dutch Foreign Secretary Max Van der Stoel and the Socialist leader Ien van den Heuvel.
To make it even worse, I thought that the fairytale of the “cruel Old Testament 'eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth’” wasn’t preached any more in the Christian churches. Alas, recently I was confronted with it again.
It was not meant in an anti-Semitic way, but it was stated publicly. And when I asked this person politely to talk about it, I heard nothing in return.
A student of mine, a Holocaust survivor, recently confided me that he still suffers from one, probably well-meant remark. He was only six years old when he was separated from his parents and taken to strangers to go into hiding.
The little boy that was is still truly thankful to these people who saved his life without expecting anything back. But one remark still haunts him.
The mother of the family explained to him, after he had been in their house for a few days, that this six-year-old boy was now being punished, because his parents (ancestors) had killed Jesus. But, she added, “we bring love and mercy into the world, and therefore we will not deliver you to the Germans…”
That boy slowly became angry at his own parents. Why did they commit this murder? Because now, he was the victim of it. The boy that was is now in old age. He is an intelligent man and has reached a high position in the scientific field.
Still he is deeply grateful to the people who kept him in hiding, but at the same time he is deeply damaged by that one remark.
Dear reader, this column is perhaps confusing. I have many true friends in the non-Jewish world, especially amongst Christians. But anti-Semitism grows and flourishes. The anti-Semitic article in the Belgian newspaper reminds me of the 1930s.
But unfortunately, it also reminds of today. I am worried, and I don’t know if that will be understood.
Binyomin Jacobs is the chief rabbi of The Netherlands