Statement From Agudath Israel of America on Recent Anti-Semitic Incidents Across the Globe

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pAs Israel applies itself to the task of rooting out terrorists in Gaza, and destroying their tunnels and rocket launchers, there have been, as always when Israel acts to defend herself, condemnations of her effort to protect her citizens from an enemy bent on murdering them.

Seizing on the tragic consequences of even as just a war as the one Israel is conducting against Hamas, the condemners vehemently protest Israel’s actions – and, in the time-honored tradition of Jew-hatred, wax violent against Jews, wherever they may be.

And so, we have come to witness over recent weeks hatred and violence directed toward Jewish communities in France and other countries. Such incidents are reminiscent of an earlier, darker time in our history when hatred of Jews was openly and unabashedly expressed both verbally and physically. Witnessing these attacks today is a stark and chilling reminder that the scourge of anti-Semitism remains a malignant reality in the modern world.

Without questioning the sentiments or actions of the French government, or of the other governments involved, the fact that these incidents have primarily taken place in Europe, where just decades ago many “ordinary citizens” were complicit in the persecution and extermination of Jews, is not lost on us. Neither is the fact that these incidents come at a time of sharply rising anti-Semitism among the European populace, as indicated in various polls and studies.

The pretense that these attacks are not anti-Semitic, but merely a reaction to current events in the Middle East, is cynical and decidedly false. When a Paris mob besieges and throws bricks at a synagogue with 200 congregants inside, it is anti-Semitism. When a synagogue north of Paris is firebombed on Friday night and sustains damage, it is anti-Semitism. When a 17-year-old girl — referred to as a “dirty Jewess” — is assaulted on a Paris street by having her face pepper-sprayed, it is anti-Semitism. When a kosher grocery is torched in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles, it is anti-Semitism. When a Moroccan rabbi is pummeled into unconsciousness as he is walking to synagogue, it is anti-Semitism. When anti-Israel demonstrations in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Spain, Turkey and other countries are accompanied with calls to “slaughter the Jews,” with chants of “death to the Jews,” with slogans like “Hitler was right,” it is anti-Semitism. Pure and simple.

We have raised these concerns with our State Department and have been assured that these developments, and their grave implications, are being taken by our government with the utmost seriousness. We have every faith and confidence that the United States will not stand by idly and that these blatant manifestations of animus against Jews will be responded to in a meaningful and effective manner.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

14 COMMENTS

  1. “We have every faith and confidence that the United States will not stand by idly and that these blatant manifestations of animus against Jews will be responded to in a meaningful and effective manner”

    What? Am I reading correctly? Full faith in the United States? Not one mention of HKB”H? Not sure which Chuchum is writing these “statements” for them.

    So I guess all that apologizing to the Arab world for that kid that was murdered, HASNT BEEN PAYING OFF! When will you people learn?

  2. To #2 We have to do what’s right and condem any violence if committed by jews whether against an arab or anyone else. If the hostile world don’t accept it, that’s their problem.

  3. Where were you Agudah movement at yesterday’s pro-Israel rally in Times Square? I was faithfully there; You Agudah people were nowhere to be seen.

  4. To” 147″ :I first heard about the rally an hour & 1/2 after it was called for, poor planning & informing of the public. I see the “Agudah crowd” morning, afternoon & night in the batei kenesiyos & batei medroshos davening, learning, saying Tehillim accomplishing much more in my humble opinion than those attending the rally. By definition you are attempting to decimate achdus Yisroel. Stop it!

  5. 1) What does an Agudah person look like that you did not find one in the crowd? (Anti-Semitism perhaps?)
    2) I received an email about the rally after it was just about over.

  6. I think it is time for the Agudah to “raise these concerns with ” Hakadosh BaruchHu and not the State Department. And instead of having every faith and confidence that the United States will not stand by idly – maybe it is time to have a little faith and confidence that just as Hashem provided you with the insight to see that there is a problem brewing, that He will also grant you the ability to figure out what Jews need to do be doing in todays day and age in order to save themselves from what has always occurred in our history.

  7. 147: I guess the calls of Rav Steinman, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, the Mir Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Zilberstein, the Belzer and Vishnitzer Rebbes and so many more, including – yes, the Agudah, for all of us to increase our tefilos, learning, and mitzvah observance doesn’t count. I suppose the hundreds, probably thousands, of pirkei Tehillim that have been said fervently in the American Yeshivos – Mir, Torah Vo’daas, Rabbi Chaim Berlin, Ner Yisroel, Chofetz Chaim, Sha’arei Torah, Ateret Torah, Magen David, don’t count because they were not said in Times Square (can one even utter HaShem’s name in Times Square?).

    Are the only tefilos HaShem accepts the ones recited in your Beit Knesset, or better yet in the place the Gaon Rav Elchonon Wasserman HY”D was able to detect, with his eyes closed, that it was no place for a Yid to be?

    Is such talk the achdut so many are always talking about? Did it ever occur to you that avodah sheb’lev, is best done in a place similar to the lev itself; hidden, protected, out of the way.

    Even when large asifos were called, much time was spent organizing them in a way we would be protected, separate from our surroundings, let alone security concerns.

    We don’t have revival meetings like others. We don’t have protest “rallies” like others do. We gather in a Beit Knesset in a Beit Medrash, and yes in a stadium or cordoned off area of downtown NY if the numbers require, but separate and protected.

    Times Square? Did it occur to you that perhaps that is not the proper place to call out to HaShem for mercy?

    Who organized the rally? Were all the safety and security arrangements made? Maybe the Agudah did not feel comfortable joining under those circumstances.

    Unless you are just looking for an excuse to bash those that follow the directives of Gedolei Torah, then any excuse is fine. Good luck. Netzach Yisroel lo yishaker.

  8. “these incidents come at a time of sharply rising anti-Semitism among the European populace, as indicated in various polls and studies.”

    Maybe not. Quoting from the recent Pew survey summary,

    “47% of Greeks say they have an unfavorable opinion of Jews in their country, and notable minorities in Poland (26%), Italy (24%) and Spain (18%) say the same. In France, the UK and Germany, 10% or fewer hold a negative view. In Germany, since 1991, unfavorable views of Jews have fallen from 24% to 5%. And in Poland they have declined from 34% to 26%.

    In Poland, Italy and Greece – the three countries where unfavorable ratings are most common – anti-Jewish sentiments are more pervasive among those on the right of the political spectrum than on the left.”

    The actual numeric results % favorable / % unfavorable:

    Greece 47/47
    Poland 59/26
    Italy 65/24
    Spain 72/18
    UK 83/7
    Germany 82/5
    France 89/10

    It should also be noted that the leaders of the UK, Germany, and France have been supportive of Israel against Hamas in this conflict. Based on this poll, it is likely that they are not the rioters reflect popular sentiment in those countries. Now if they can just get the police to stop the riots….

  9. I got to the last paragraph and could not believe what I was reading. No mention of faith in H-shem, just faith in the US???? Are you kidding us??? When they start opening up the gas chambers here should we listen to these rabbis and stick around like our families did in Poland??? Agudath Israel you have lost a lot of my respect.

  10. rt: Very well said. Thank you.

    To ballance the lack of achdut expressed in 147’s comments, I quote from another YWN article:
    “The entire spectrum of Israel was there (at Nissim Carmeli’s levaya), from the Chareidi, to the Nanas, to the secular and to the religious Zionists. Young and old, men, women, and children too.”

    And finally: the public statement was primarily as an “open letter” to the government of the United States. As such, its focus was a request, in the form of “we know with perfect faith that this is what we can expect from our government”, for strong support for Eretz Yisroel. . . Mentioning in Whom our faith actually lies had no place there.

  11. To chuck hall: before u quote pew poll as if its torah m’sinai, realize that its the same poll that found a sizeable part of “ultra orthodoxy” had a christmas tree in their homes.