Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord
I am a researcher, a scientist, and a kabbalist. But first and foremost, I am a Jew. I grew up in the former Soviet Union and the vast majority of my family perished in the Holocaust. I have witnessed and experienced firsthand the myriad faces of anti-Semitism, tacit and overt. I have family, friends, and thousands of students in North America, Israel, and all over the world, and I see the lurking menace of another world war and another cataclysm to the Jews.
Particularly, I am very, very worried about the future of the Jews in America and Israel. I am worried about my students, I am worried about my friends, and I am worried about my family. It is this grave concern that has prompted me to write this book, a plea to all the people of my fold to wake up now while it is still possible to reverse the ominous trajectory, as the downfall is already underway. We Jews must act now since from here on, matters will only go downhill.
The “Herald Syndrome”
In ancient Athens, they would throw heralds who brought bad news into a pit where criminals condemned to death were thrown. In Sparta, they would cast them to a well and leave them to die.[i] Luckily, today it is illegal to kill bearers of unpleasant news. Yet, the “herald syndrome” of rejection of the bearer of unwelcome news still has the upper hand over most of us. The previous century has shown that in the case of Jews, denial can be deadly. If we want to live up to the motto, “Never again!” the herald syndrome is not an option we should consider.
On October 30, 2014, I landed in Los Angeles. It was the start of a two-week lecture tour in the US, discussing anti-Semitism and the need for Jewish unity in order to remedy it. This was not the first time, nor the second, that I spoke about anti-Semitism in the US. I had discussed it many times before, at least since my first lecture tour back in 2002, and I was always met with disbelief, smugness, and often with contempt.
Moreover, by 2014, I did not have to warn about a future danger of rising anti-Semitism. It was rampant everywhere in Europe, and had pervaded universities and campuses all over the US. That October 30th, the first day of my tour, I had an online conversation with Mrs. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, head of the AMCHA initiative to combat anti-Semitism in US colleges and universities. It was a poignant, candid dialog. Tammi was well aware of the deteriorating situation of Jewish students precisely because they were Jews. She was determined to reverse the course by increasing the awareness of university officials linked to the situation and by “working with university administrators, with legislators, or elected officials.”[ii] Tammi believed that “the key to solving the problem is to have university administrators solve the problem because the key to the problem is in their hands.” As she put it, “We are just trying to get them to do their due diligence and their responsibility.”
I, on the other hand, said that rules and regulations would not help except, perhaps, as first-aid. I cautioned Tammi that college campus anti-Semitism was only the beginning, the tip of a titanic iceberg. To me, it was evident that anti-Semitism would spread throughout the country, engulf all of US, and that its only remedy would be for the entire Jewish community in the US to unite. I told her that the conditions in today’s US are strikingly similar to those that existed in Germany prior to Hitler’s rise to power (on which I will elaborate extensively later in the book), and because of it, some version of what happened there is bound to happen here.
We are not in Athens, and Tammi was very polite in her rejection of my assertion. She also agreed that there is certainly a rise in anti-Semitism. But we did not see eye to eye on the solution. At least, I thought, it is a cold comfort that she acknowledged the existence of the problem. It was, nonetheless, some progress.
A few days later, on November 3, I gave a public talk at the Skirball Cultural Center Ahmanson Hall, Los Angeles, titled “Who Holds the Key for a Better Tomorrow?” To my delight, hundreds of people showed up. To my dismay, as in the past, when I began to talk about the rise of anti-Semitism in the US, many in the audience started heading for the doors. They still would not hear about it.
From LA, I flew to Washington DC where I was invited to give a joint lecture at the Israeli American Council (IAC) conference on the topic of “Anti-Semitism, root, cause and solution.” Lecturing with me was a celebrated journalist from Israel who was considered an expert on anti-Semitism. By that year, 2014, the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement had struck firm roots in college and university campuses throughout the US, staging anti-Israel Apartheid Days, die-ins, in which students simulate being shot by the Israeli army, and voicing hatred for the Jewish State—as well as for Jews—aggressively and frequently. Together with such organizations as Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), BDS activists were active perpetrators of the incidents that drove Mrs. Rossman-Benjamin to create AMCHA.
The audience at the IAC conference consisted of Israelis living in America, and Jewish Americans supportive of Israel. Here, too, I tried to explain that there are many similarities between the conditions that drove Germany to perpetrate the Holocaust, and the current situation in America, and that the campuses were only the beginning. I stressed again that unless US Jews wake up to reality, they will be in great danger, and that they were only seeing the beginning of the wave and anti-Semitism was going to get far worse, far sooner than most people thought.
Sadly, the celebrated journalist lecturing with me asserted confidently that anti-Semitism is decreasing worldwide, that for non-Jewish Americans, “It’s an honor to marry a Jew” in “all the circles of American society,” and finally, that “Our situation is the best ever, especially in America.” Naturally, many in the audience sided with him. The “herald syndrome” was in full force. I truly understand why no one wants to hear about problems, especially life-threatening ones, before they hit you in the face. But in the case of anti-Semitism, when it hits you in the face, it might be too late to remedy the situation.
The above is the Foreword from Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman’s newly-released book, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, which draws a direct link between Jewish unity and a rise in anti-Semitism, including the current wave.
Assuming such a correlation is so extraordinary, you could easily brush it off as a provocation were it not documented in hundreds of books, essays, and letters throughout history.
Beginning in ancient Babylon and ending in America, Babylon’s modern counterpart, Dr. Laitman masterfully draws parallels and connects the dots of history like none have done before. By the end of the book, you will know the reason for the oldest hatred, how it can be dissolved, and how Jews and non-Jews alike will benefit as a result.
As part of the release, we have printed a special edition first 50 copies in Israel, where Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman will personally autograph each one, and will ship them anywhere in the world to the first 50 buyers.
[i] Herodotos, Vol. 3, Book VII, 133 [trans. A. D. GODLEY] (US, Harvard University Press, The Loeb Classical Library, 1938), 435.
[ii] Recordings of my conversations and lectures from the October-November 2014 US tour are kept in the Bnei Baruch archive and will be given at no cost to anyone who asks for them.