How many Germans had this question asked to them by their grandchildren after World War II? How many dreaded having to face such a question? How many were able to say they did all they could to stop it?
I have four grandchildren and I would like them to live in a liberal democracy in Christendom with the Christian, Anglo-Saxon heritage of freedom of religion, free speech, freedom of association, free markets, democracy, the rule of law, limited government, respect for human rights, equality of women and a culture that respects natural law, natural theology and natural science. But the West, especially Europe and especially the governing elites, has turned its back on God and the evidence for this fact is the rise of anti-Jewish prejudice and hatred once again.
When asked about how such horrific evil could take hold of a society such as Russia under Soviet rule, Solzhenitsyn said that it boiled down to this: “Men forgot God.” When a Christian nation or culture turns against God, it always turns against the people of God, the chosen people, the Jews. The Holocaust was a demonic spewing forth of hatred for God, for humanity and God’s image in humanity concentrated on the witness to God’s eternal covenant faithfulness, the children of Israel.
Jeffrey Goldberg, writing in The Atlantic on Aug. 26, in an article entitled “Europe’s Slow Surrender to Intolerance,” asserts that this summer has surprised even Eurocynics like him in the degree and intensity of anti-Jewish hatred and thuggery coming to the surface in Europe. What this has taught us, he thinks, is that “Israel and Judaism have been thoroughly conflated in the minds of many Europeans.” According to Goldberg, the line separating anti-Zionism (defined as the belief that the Jews have the right to an independent state in their ancestral homeland) and anti-Judaism) was always thin, but now it has vanished. This is my view as well.
Goldberg discusses the incident a week or so ago in central London in which a Stainsbury’s supermarket was protested by people calling for a boycott of Israeli-made goods. The manager ordered employees to empty the kosher food section because he believed that protesters might enter the store and trash it. The incident received a good deal of publicity and Stainsbury’s ended up apologizing to its Jewish customers and assured that it would not happen again. Goldberg points out that this incident is disturbing for several reasons. For one thing, it shows that kosher products – many of which were made in the U.K. – were “intuitively understood to be stand-ins for Israel itself, just as French Jewish males wearing kip pot were understood by their attackers to be stand-ins for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” For another thing, the incident seems to epitomize the growing tendency of Europeans, faced with anti-Jewish pressure, to pre-emptively submit to the haters. Goldberg writes:
“Cowering of this sort is a sign that a country is losing the ability to stand for the values it professes to maintain. In the U.K., it is also a sign that a society hasn’t fully grappled wight the radical intolerance exhibited by some of its citizens.”
Goldberg also points out that recruiters for ISIS have been seen on the streets of London recently, that there are more Muslims serving with ISIS than in the U.K. military and that a jihadist flag flew outside a housing estate in London. How can such things happen in the 21st century? Goldberg thinks Europe is forgetting how important it is to be intolerant of intolerance.
The problem here is that the progressive left is in denial about the persistence of evil and is unable to acknowledge the ugly fact that Muslim Jew-hatred is every bit as bad as fascist anti-Semitism and that the two brands of evil are teaming up in modern Europe to create the conditions in which anti-Jewish hatred can flourish. Goldberg is right to worry more about the loss of European nerve and spine and the failure to stand up to the thugs than about the mere existence of the Jew-haters themselves.
We will always have barbarians among us and on the borders threatening civilization. Perhaps they have already broken down the gates. But despite the utopian dreams of the progressives, we know that evil can never, in this age, be extinguished, transcended or overcome. The thugs you will have with you always. The key issue is whether or not a civilization still possesses the moral and spiritual resources to stare down evil and fight back.
Solzhenitsyn was pessimistic about the West because it has fallen into the the same atheism that Russia fell into and the end results are bound to be the same. Nothing can save Europe except a massive spiritual revival that starts in the masses and bubbles up into the governing elites and transforms a significant portion of the population into dedicated Christians. Even then, it will be touch and go and many problems are too advanced now to be solved without much pain. But only God can save Europe and only God can judge Europe. It is time to pray because nothing else can save us.
When my grandchildren ask me what I did while they were killing Jews, I want to be able to say that I was praying for revival, speaking up in defence of the persecuted and refusing to follow the zeitgeist into fashionable Jew-hating. One person cannot change the world, though I would like to do my little bit as best as I can. But my primary concern is to save my own soul and to do that I know I must reject hate and particularly hatred directed toward God’s chosen people. That is where it starts for all of us.