Worthless words and shameful silence

October 25, 2019 by Michael Kuttner
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The unfolding tragedy now enveloping the Kurds, recent massacres of the Yazidis and current persecution of Christians & Bahai’s should be a stark reminder to Jews that history does indeed repeat itself.

Michael Kuttner

Unfortunately, memories are selectively short and the powerful urge to gloss over inconveniently uncomfortable realities is alive and well. Those who were refugees from pre-war Europe and the next generation undoubtedly will never forget the lessons of ignoring warning signals. As time weakens memories and detachment from communal solidarity grows the dangerous developments occurring everywhere become an irrelevance in the minds of individuals who prefer to believe that “it’s never going to happen.”

Alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear as we witness yet again democratic nations refusing to stand up to genocidal actions and which instead issue meaningless weasel words. Just as bad are those countries lapsing into hypocritical silence in the face of blatant human rights abuses. 

Only someone deaf and blind to events would ignore the steadily rising tide of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate enveloping many parts of the world. This mutated virus has erupted again with potentially lethal consequences.

The terror attack against Jews worshipping on Yom Kippur in Halle and an attempted knife attack in a Berlin Synagogue previously are classic examples of what we face these days. Despite German authorities being aware of rising threats against Jews, there was no police presence outside the Halle Synagogue and if not for the main entrance being barricaded and locked by the time the police eventually turned up a massacre would have occurred. A police union spokesperson blithely maintained that it is impossible to protect all places of worship. In the Berlin incident, a man shouting Allah al aqba attempted to enter the synagogue and stab worshippers. He was stopped by a guard and detained by the police. Lo and behold a few days later he was released as apparently his failure to murder Jews was not sufficient grounds to charge him. 

Countless assaults against Jews in Berlin and elsewhere have taken place. The German Government has been loud in its condemnation and officials have taken part in solidarity rallies. However, these declarations are worthless when viewed in the context of actual policies being implemented. Treating Iran’s threats to complete what Germany a mere seventy plus years ago failed to finish as mere rhetoric against Israel rather than yet another manifestation of creeping Jew-hatred highlights precisely the lack of current German Government’s will to combat the genie which has escaped from the hitherto hidden bottle. Refusing to call Iran’s Mullahs and Revolutionary Guards to account, Merkel and her Government also decline to ban Hezbollah and its supporters in Germany from spreading lethal Jew-hatred. If these purveyors of poison are allowed to legally peddle their wares is it any wonder that homegrown anti-Jewish action by locals and indoctrinated immigrants now flourishes? 

In May the German Chancellor told a CNN interviewer that “Germany always had a certain number of antisemites among us.”  That must be the biggest understatement of the millennium and unfortunately sums up the totally inadequate state of affairs existing not only in Germany but the rest of Europe today.

As we look at the shameful abandonment of the Kurds today and the past refusal to prevent tragic massacres of Yazidis and Christians in Islamic countries we can only reflect on the total and utter hypocrisy of an international community more intent on condemning Israel at every opportunity than actively preventing the genocide of other minorities. The spectacle of Turkey’s latter-day sultan being given a free hand to destroy Kurdish communities and then being rewarded by having US sanctions removed is sickening in the extreme. Given a past track record of genocide against its Armenian population this latest ethnic cleansing should have been nipped in the bud. 

What is happening should remind all of us of the exact same indifference and indeed deliberate refusal to aid Jews facing genocidal policies in the immediate pre-war period. 

Is it any wonder that Israeli Jews surveying the treatment of Kurds and others have now come to the inescapable conclusion that relying on so called friends, worthless pieces of paper and hollow slogans of support is dangerous?

History has conclusively proven that entrusting our future survival to the dubious guarantees of those promoting double standards and empty promises is literally a dead end.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various community organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.

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