By Victor Sharpe
The continuing existence of the Jewish people during the 2,000 years of the post-biblical era is surely a miracle, an enigma, and an astonishing phenomenon. For all of those long years the Jews lived in almost perpetual danger of extinction because they were stateless and at the mercy and whims from those within whichever nation they could find refuge.
Despite all oppression and misery, the People of the Book, defenseless and powerless, despised and persecuted, nevertheless survived in the fiery crucibles of Christian Europe and the Muslim Arab world. The two daughter religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, though meting out horrific slaughters upon the Jews, nevertheless could not exist were it not for Judaism or
Yet another miracle occurred to the remnant of the Jewish folk who survived the Holocaust. They arose like a phoenix from what the European continent had become: one giant Jewish cemetery. They fought back against a cruel world and against incredible odds until the ancient 2,000-year-old dream of rebuilding and reconstituting the ancestral, biblical homeland in
Yet with all the long and blood soaked history that the stateless Jews endured during their dispersion, there are Israeli Jews in leadership today who would give away yet more of the biblical homeland, which many of their parents and grandparents gave their lives to redeem.
Binyamin Netanyahu, who is the leader of the Likud party in Israel, has stated that, "Today, in light of our abandonment of Gaza and the Hamas takeover there, it is clear to anyone who considers himself a 'State of Israel lover,' and not just a 'Land of Israel lover,' that if we give away more territory, it will be taken over by Iran and its appendages."
Netanyahu was Israel’s Prime Minister some ten years ago and at the time was responsible for giving to the Arabs, who call themselves Palestinians, the city of Hebron, one of the four holy Jewish cities – the others being Tiberias, Safed and, the jewel in the Jewish crown, Jerusalem.
Netanyahu nevertheless claims that unlike his abandonment of much of the ancient Jewish city, the present leadership of Ehud Olmert, and his possible successor as Prime Minister, Tzipi Livni, are obsessed with a death wish of giving even pre-1967 land to the Palestinian Authority.
Indeed they seem possessed of a psychotic need to bribe an insatiable enemy with any and all Jewish land, and for what? Peace? Never in a million years will the Arabs and the Muslim world accept peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state or any other state for that matter if it is not Muslim and Arab.
Netanyahu, for his part, responds that the real debate between him and the Left, as represented in part by Olmert and Livni, is about " ... the little Land of Israel ... We're not talking now about annexing Ramallah, but rather the fate of the Jordan Valley ... about the abandonment of areas with no Palestinian presence.”
Netanyahu implies that Olmert and Livni, and so many Israelis who have lost their sense of Jewish history,”... want to give away as much of ancestral
For those in Israel and the Diaspora who have forgotten the bloodstained pages of Jewish history during the long night of Israel’s dispersal, it would be instructive for them to be reminded of the price a people pays for statelessness.
Those rushing to bribe and placate the relentless hatred and aggression of the Arab world by giving to them the reclaimed Jewish birthright in its ancestral homeland – including eternal
Kalonymos ben Yehuda wrote this poem about the first Crusade which took place in 1096, and about the slaughter of the defenseless Jews in
“Yea, they slay us and they smite, vex our souls with sore affright; All the closer cleave we, Lord, to Thine everlasting Word; Not a line of all their Mass, shall our lips in homage pass; Though they curse and bind and kill, the living God is with us still; We still are Thine, though limbs are torn, better death than life foresworn; The fair and young lie down to die, in witness of Thy Unity; From dying lips the accents swell, Our G-d is One, O Israel.”
Ephraim of Bonn wrote in 1190 about the second Crusade.
“In the year 1146 the Jewish communities were terror stricken. The monk, Rudolph, who shamefully persecuted Israel (the name often given for the Jews of the Diaspora, ed) arose against the people of God in order, like Haman of old, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish.”
In 1793, Isaac D’Israeli wrote about the slaughter of the Jews of York, England, in 1190.
“When Richard 1 ascended the throne, the Jews brought their tributes to honor him. Many had hastened from remote parts of
Sadly, news traveled north to the city of
Just as the Church did in its canon law, Islam instituted many prohibitions against members of other religions. Some of the Islamic restrictions resembled the anti-Jewish laws imposed throughout the Christian world. The severest punishments – usually death – were meted out to any who dared question the writings and sayings of Mohammed.
With the decline in the medieval period of the Islamic empire through the ascent of Christian Europe, the Muslim masses turned upon the hapless Jews who were increasingly forced to live as dhimmis (inferior and third class citizens) among them.
Periodic persecutions and slaughters took place against the Jews, they were forced to wear distinctive clothing, often absurd and humiliating, and live in ghettoes similar to those they endured in Christian Europe.
Though the ever present danger of Muslim fundamentalism could break out at any time (for example the 12th century Almohads) Islamic persecutions of the Jews paled against those they suffered at the hands of the Church. However, the yearning for relief from discrimination or worse, and the desire to return to
On August 3rd, 1492, the ancient Jewish population of
“The hoary patriarch, wrinkled as an almond shell, bows painfully upon his staff. The beautiful young mother, ivory pale, well nigh swoons beneath her burden; in her large enfolding arms nestles her sleeping babe, round her knees flock her little ones with bruised and bleeding feet. ‘Mother, shall we soon be there?’
“The halt, the blind, are amid the train. Sturdy pack horses laboriously drag the tented wagons wherein lie the sick athirst with fever. Noble and abject, learned and simple, illustrious and obscure, plod side by side, all brothers now, all merged in one routed army of misfortune.
“They leave behind the grape, the olive and the fig. the vines they planted, the corn they sowed, the garden cities of Andalusia and
“Whither shall they turn for the West has cast them out and the East refuses to receive?”
Heinrich Heine wrote this poem in 1824 about Jewish suffering in
“Break forth in lamentation, my agonizing song; That like a lava torrent, has boiled within me long; My song shall thrill each hearer, and none so deaf but hears; For the burden of my song, is the pain of a thousand years; It melts both gentle and simple, even hearts of stone are riven; Sets women and flowers weeping, they weep, the stars of heaven.”
This, from Solomon Shechter, 1903.
“I remember when I came home from the religious school, bleeding and crying from the wounds inflicted upon me by the Christian boys, my father used to say: ‘My child, we are in exile and we must submit to God’s will.’ And he made me understand that this was only a passing stage in history, as we Jews belong to Eternity, when God will comfort His people. However, my real suffering began later in life when I emigrated from
Mary Antin wrote in 1911 about the horrors inflicted upon the Jews of Russia especially at Passover.
“The Passover season, when we celebrated our deliverance from
“The plaything of a heartless bureaucracy, the natural prey of all the savage elements in society, loaded with fetters in one place, and in another driven out like some wild beast, the Russian Jew finds that for him, at least, life is composed of little else than bitterness, suffering and degradation.”
In 1920, Nahum Sokolow wrote about the Massacres in the
“For this cold murder of whole communities, not Heaven itself, nor all the mercy of the angels, could find palliation. There is no instance that shows so much as this, the ghastly descent of human character into primitive brutality and cannibalism. This is a deed, which in its horror and wicked purposelessness should have stunned the world.”
But these few examples of the many frightful persecutions and slaughters that the Jews experienced in their 2,000 year old exile are but a series of fearsome dress rehearsals before the great Destruction: the German Nazi Holocaust of the Jews.
In the mid Twentieth century, perverted science and German efficiency, along with the age old evil that is Jew hatred, combined to systematically exterminate nearly all of European Jewry – reducing the world Jewish population from 18,000,000 to barely 12,000,000 in less than a decade.
Now, in the first decade of the 21st century, a new Hitler is spewing the same familiar poison against the Jews, which the world has wallowed in for all the previous centuries.
But it should also be understood that Ahmadinejad, speaking in late September, 2008 at the United Nations, exposed his belief that in time the United States would bow down to Iran. The megalomania of
It is against the backdrop of the threats of this new Hitler of our time, and with the historical memories of the 2,000 years of unbearable suffering that the Jews experienced as stateless refugees, driven out from one land only to be persecuted in another, that those Israelis who today plot to give away the one and only Jewish homeland should take note.
Their foolish and prideful claims to speak for the Jewish and Israeli people in matters of security are invalid. Worse still, their betrayal and ignorance of Jewish history in the
Prime Minister Olmert, who still remains in office in a caretaker capacity, only a short while ago told his cabinet that he was willing to even give away the
“Like the crash of the thunder which splitteth asunder the flame of the cloud. On our ears ever falling, a voice is heard calling from
“And in pride of our people we will fearlessly face the might of the world. When our trumpet is blown and our standard is flown, then set we our watch.
Our watchword, The sword, of our land, and our Lord. By
Through heroic toil and immense sacrifice in blood, the sovereign and modern State of Israel was restored and Jewish patrimony once again brought alive in its ancestral land.
Is it now to be thrown away in stages by an ignorant and fraudulent leadership who would thus consign the nation to yet another inevitable dark and tragic exile? Is it to experience once again an existence as a stateless people at the mercy of strangers?
The words in
We have not lost our Hope, of two thousand years, to be a free people in our land,
Let us hope that
Let us also pray that they forever resist betraying Hatikvah: The Hope.
Victor Sharpe is the author of: Politicide – The attempted murder of the Jewish state.
Copyright © Victor Sharpe 2008