“I bow my head before the victims of the Shoah,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her first visit to Auschwitz in the 14 years she has been in office. Her gesture emerged amid the backdrop of the debate between upholders of the belief that Germany cannot ignore its past, and the extreme right calling for minimizing Nazi atrocities in the Second World War.
Neither option, however, can prevent a new tragedy for the Jewish people. Doing so requires a deep investigation into the root cause of Jewish persecution, and its solution.
Merkel also referred to the alarming level of anti-Semitism in Germany in the last few years, and announced donating $66 million to preserve the memorial site. However, solving anti-Semitism requires much more substantial action.
If Germany truly wants to contribute to the world and avoid returning to the darkest chapter of its history, it would do better to establish and advance its own research institute, led by non-Jewish Germans, which examines anti-Semitism: its causes, and efforts toward a solution.
Anti-Semitism Still Rampant in Germany
Last year alone there were 1,646 anti-Semitic incidents in Germany, a ten percent increase compared to the previous year, reaching a record high in a decade. Following a neo-Nazi attack on a synagogue in Halle, and a wave of recent violent attacks against Jews, leaders from the German Jewish community feel “under siege.” They also have additional reasons to be worried. For instance, one in four Germans show anti-Semitic sentiments and thoughts according to a recent survey conducted by the World Jewish Congress.
The current reality shows that 75 years after a million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz-Birkenau, anti-Semitic manifestations have not vanished. They are still embedded in German society.
Why? Understanding the core reason behind anti-Semitism felt among many millions of people starts with understanding anti-Semitism as a natural phenomenon.
How Anti-Semitism Is a Natural Phenomenon
Anti-Semitism is a natural phenomenon that awakens at any given moment in every person and nation, both in Jews and non-Jews.
If Germans scratch the surface of this problem, they will be surprised to find that their sentiments of hatred, as well as the world’s animosity, stem back thousands of years. They will read in the sources how since the dawn of history “Esau hates Jacob,” meaning the nations hate Israel, and how from the time the Torah was given from Sinai, hatred toward Jews was enacted with regular legality.
Every time Jews were united, there was brotherhood and peace among the nations of the world, whereas when they were separated and Jews used their egoistic inclination only in their own favor and at the expense of the other, there was internal unrest among the nations. Consequently, negative feelings arose in human beings or in whole nations, which encouraged them to hate Jews wherever they were. It often also transformed into intolerable acts of violence.
The Cause and Solution to Anti-Semitism
Jews have an intrinsic attribute, a sort of DNA, to connect and bestow, called the “point in the heart.” When we develop this point through the study of the method of connection, the wisdom of Kabbalah, we can then unite above our differences, and pass the sense of unity and fulfillment onto humanity.
Anti-Semitism emerges when we Jews separate from each other, which is our current state, instead of uniting. Our separation sends ripples of a divisive mindset throughout humanity’s collective unconscious, adding to the division that tears societies apart around the world. In return, the nations of the world point at us with resentment and complaints. Therefore, unless we undergo a major transformation and implement the unifying principle of “love your neighbor as yourself,” connecting through our hearts, attacks against us will continue.
Thus, thorough scrutiny, research and awareness about the true cause of anti-Semitism is a fundamental and significant first step to solve the problem once and for all. The more that the idea of the need for Jewish unity spreads, together with the understanding of anti-Semitism as a natural response to a lack of Jewish unity, then the more we would be on a new path to a safer and friendlier Germany, Europe and even world.
Featured in The Times of Israel