A guest post by AKUS
One of the grimly curious features of traditional antisemitism, in its most violent forms, has been the way antisemites frequently launched violence (including pogroms and ethnic cleansing) against Jews on Jewish holy days.
Jewish holidays, no matter how joyful or how sadly meaningful, have often been accompanied with a bitter memory of antisemitic violence. The most famous example, of course, was the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans on Tisha B’Av which by chance or not, was also the date, 655 years earlier, of the destruction of the First Temple.
There are many other examples, from every period in recorded history.
On Saturday March 16, 1190, in York, England, on the special Shabbat before Passover (Shabbat Hagadol), many Jews taking refuge from an antisemitic mob were burnt to death, and the survivors massacred. Easter, which of course commemorates among other thing the Last Supper, which was a Passover Seder, has always been a favorite occasion for antisemitic riots by Christians inspired by their priests to believe that “the Jews killed Christ”. One well-known example was the three-day Kishinev pogrom that started on Easter Sunday, April 19th, 1903. The infamous pogrom in Iraq on June 1, 1941, was coincided with the festival of Shavuot. Yom Kippur has also frequently been a day when Jews would fear antisemitic violence.
The Nazis, who obsessively studied the customs of the Jews they wished to exterminate, were especially skilled at timing their actions to coincide with Jewish holidays. For example, Nazi attacks against Jews often coincided with Jewish festivals such as Purim to “avenge” Jewish victories over their enemies. On Purim 1942, ten Jews were hanged in Zduńska Wola to avenge the hanging of Haman’s ten sons. In a similar incident in 1943, the Nazis shot ten Jews from the Piotrków ghetto. On Purim eve that same year, over 100 Jewish doctors and their families were shot by the Nazis in Częstochowa. The following day, Jewish doctors were taken from Radom and shot nearby in Szydłowiec.
Not to be outdone, modern cyber-haters, armed with the best technology they can acquire or create, also searched for a particularly meaningful day to attack the Jews. The group calling itself “Anonymous” decided that the most appropriate day to launch a cyber-pogrom against the Jews would be Holocaust Remembrance Day. Their goal was to “wipe Israel off the map of the Internet”.
Given the language they used in their announcements, there can be little doubt that they saw a connection between the attempt to murder every Jew physically in the Holocaust with an attempt to remove the ability of Israelis to use the Internet – even if, ironically, they were using technology that has been, in large part the fruit of Israeli development.
Despite their bravado, Israel was not particularly affected by their efforts. After all, trying to attack the world’s second-leading information technology powerhouse is not an easy task. Within hours, the “Operation Israel” attack site had been penetrated by Israeli hackers and was playing “Hatikvah” while websites affiliated with Hezbollah and the Syrian government were disabled through a distributed denial of service attack.
But this cyber attack was not the only attack against Israel on this solemn day. A Gazan group decided it would be the most appropriate day to attempt to kill Israelis gathered to commemorate the 6 million dead in the Holocaust by firing rockets at an evening commemorative service.
Somewhere in southern Israel, near the border with Gaza, a gathering of civilians was forced to scatter as Israel’s enemies, following the tradition of attacking precisely on a day which, if not holy in a religious sense, is the only day other than Yom Kippur in which Israel comes to a halt.
Here is what happened. For those not familiar with the sudden burst of sound, you first hear the sound of the kassam rocket being fired, then the automatic warning system broadcasts “Tseva Adom” and you will see children and adults scattering as they run for cover:
Yes, “Anonymous” and the Palestinians in Gaza did their best to continue the “tradition” of attacking Jews on their holy days. The “new antisemitism” seems very much like the traditional version.
- Anonymous hackers spreading lies and hate (Petra Marquardt-Bigman)
- Lessons from the York Pogrom of 1190 (cifwatch.com)
- Antisemitism at the UCU: David Hirsh responds to Tribunal ruling against Fraser (cifwatch.com)
- Letter to Iain Banks on the eve of Yom HaShoah (cifwatch.com)
- A fighter for Jewish freedom: In praise of Ronnie Fraser (cifwatch.com)