This was published at Pajamas Media by Phyllis Chesler
I am pleased—but that is not the right word—I am saddened, sobered, frightened, by the fact that others have now joined me in this view. Many of the distinguished academic presenters at Yale University’s superb conference on global anti-Semitismshared at least a part of this vision.
Aaron Klein wrote a book with the terrifying title: The Late Great State of Israel. Recently, Italian Parliamentarian and author of Israel is Us: A Journalist’s Odyssey in Understanding the Middle East, Fiamma Nirenstein, asked me to write a piece for the important Italian newspaper, Il Foglio. My piece will appear in their pages right before an October 7th rally for Israel which will take place in Rome at the Temple of Hadrian. Speakers include the former Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar, professor Shmuel Trigano, politician and journalist, Guiliano Ferrara, plus scores of European parliamentarians and intellectuals.
We know that Jews were savagely, repeatedly persecuted and murdered all over Europe, which culminated in a Holocaust in which six million Jews died. People may not realize that Italy also persecuted, massacred, taxed, and humiliated its Jews for 2000 years; the word “ghetto” comes from the word for “an iron foundry” which was the site of the Jewish ghetto in Venice. Indeed, Italy later surrendered the Jews of Venice to Hitler. The great Italian-Jewish author, Primo Levi, was captured in the Italian Alps by Italian fascists and sent to Auschwitz by the Nazis.
I am thrilled that Italy and other Europeans will be standing for Israel. Poor Europe: They persecuted and murdered the friendly Semites, the productive and assimilated Semites and now they are being overrun by more hostile, non-assimilated Semites. One might view this as cosmic justice, but I can’t; European ideas, art, people have meant too much to me and, despite its morally flawed history, I want European civilization to survive this onslaught.
New York City Jewish leader, Howard Teich, just sent me an amazing 4,000 word sermon which was delivered by Rabbi S. Lewis in Atlanta. I tried to find Rabbi Lewis but could not do so. His 2010 Rosh Hashana sermon was very long—but to the point. It is titled, in Yiddish, “Ehr Kumt” (He is Coming) or as I would say, a la Yeats, “the bloody beast is back.” I hope Rabbi Lewis does not mind my sharing 1,400 words of his sermon here.