This coming weekend we will remember Kristallnacht—Nov 9 will be the 76th anniversary of that terrible night in 1938 that was really the beginning of the end for German Jewry. The “Night of Broken Glass” was a pogrom against the Jewish community perpetrated by Nazis. Hundreds of businesses, synagogues, Jewish community institutions were vandalized, burned and many destroyed in a two day rampage throughout Germany and Austria. More than 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps during those two days. At services Friday night we will remember this day of terror.
This summer in Berlin as I walked its many streets and met Jewish leaders of the community I saw the rebuilding of Jewish life. They have taken the remnants of the broken lives and broken glass and are rebuilding a significant Jewish community. I saw the places where synagogues and Jewish schools once stood prior to 1938 and saw the photos of beautiful faces of the people who perished. I carefully read the stumbling blocks encased in the sidewalks to commemorate the Jews who used to live in the buildings I passed by.
Especially as the Jews of Europe are still under siege by different forces today, it is important for all of us to pause and remember that it wasn’t so long ago that a freely elected government of a so-called civilized society turned against our people. Today we must be cautious as well.
Anti-Semitism continues to rear its head as the voices of Anti-Israel hatred blur the lines. The BDS Movement, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement which tries to paint Israel as an apartheid state consistently tries to blur the lines between protesting Israel and its policy’s and blatant Anti-Semitism. College campuses are rife with the BDS movement.
This week, the Union representing the Teaching Assistants, Graduate school researchers and proctors of the UC system is set to vote against Israel and support the BDS movement. Student workers of the UC system are not just pro-Palestinian of which there is nothing wrong. But the BDS movement is both Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic and filled with misrepresentations and outright lies. They have likened the situation in Israel and Palestine to South Africa in its Apartheid days which is not the truth. If you have anyone in your circle of friends or family is a member of the UAW 2865, (yes, teacher assistants in the UC system are members of United Auto Workers) please urge a no vote on resolution.
Why be concerned? Because these kinds of votes and these kinds of lies told by some become the basis for an attitude of hatred aimed not just at Israel but the Jewish community. We saw what happened only 76 years ago. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past.