Sometimes I think that the rest of the world lives in a parallel universe: a universe where Israel is an apartheid state and where the Palestinians deserve their own country. After all, they are the indigenous people of Israel since, well, the time of the dinosaurs according to themselves. In this parallel universe, knife attacks against Jews are an understandable action by downtrodden Palestinians – in fact, it’s most likely innocent incidents by accident prone Palestinians, tripping and falling with a knife in their hands, and the silly Jews just happened to be in their way. A universe where you are not allowed to protect your citizens in any way, shape or form, and a universe where everything and anything coming out of Israel is evil. “Let’s reward the terrorists and attack the only democracy in the Middle East! It’s the right thing to do! But we’re not anti-Semites, NO NO! (in fact we all have Jewish friends), just a bit critical of the Israeli state, or what we usually call it: the fascist, Zionist regime and country occupying Palestine.”
And then there’s my native country of Sweden. It’s not only like a parallel universe, but standing outside looking in, it’s like watching a small fish bowl, where the fish all of a sudden are acting completely crazy. Of course, inside the bowl, the fish aren’t aware of their abnormal behaviour – what is so clear to everyone looking in, is completely lost on them.
Sweden, the country that likes to call itself a humanitarian super power, who credits itself for welcoming more immigrants a year than most countries, who makes a big deal of being a tolerant and non-racist country, seems to have forgotten one minority living among them: the Jews.
So, what have the crazy fish been up to lately? Today, Monday November 9, is the anniversary of the Kristallnacht – the beginning of the Holocaust. Across Sweden, rallies, in the name and memory of this event, are organised against anti-Semitism, racism, Nazism and anti-Ziganism. Only, many of them forgot the anti-Semitism part. Would you believe me if I told you there will be rallies, where no Jews are allowed? Where the city’s Jewish Congregation are not invited? Yes, you heard that right.
No. Jews. Allowed.
Slowly but surely, this anniversary has been stolen by other groups, who have turned it into a general anti-Racism event, and it’s getting worse every year. There’s nothing wrong with a rally against racism, but why the hell did they have to take OUR event and turn it into THEIRS, when they have 364 other days of the year to choose from? They are spitting on our history and our memories, and all the innocent Jews that were murdered in the Holocaust. It’s a disgrace, and it makes my stomach turn.
The Kristallnacht was a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria on November 9-10, 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary forces and non-Jewish civilians. German authorities looked on without intervening. The name Kristallnacht comes from the broken glass that filled the streets after Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues had their windows smashed. In addition, Jewish homes, schools, hospitals and cemeteries were destroyed and looted. In total over 1,000 synagogues were burned, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed or damaged. Hundreds of Jews were murdered, and 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. Still, in some event descriptions, Jews are not Jews, but just “people”, synagogues are called “tempels”, and despite thousands of stores and businesses being destroyed, it is described as “a few”. Neither are the fact that so many Jews were murdered or sent to the camps mentioned. In fact, in one event description (with at least 150 words) the word “Jews” isn’t mentioned once: instead there’s talk about recent attacks on refugee camps and mosques in Sweden, and a general mention of vulnerable minorities. In other words, if you don’t know what the Kristallnacht is, you could attend one of these events, without knowing that what happened over 70 years ago, happened to the Jews and no one else. On top of this, when one organiser was confronted, he said that the Jewish Congregation (in this case in Umeå) weren’t invited (you have to sit down for this one!), since this “could cause conflicts or be uncomfortable for the Jews.”
In a time when anti-Semitism is raising its ugly head again, when Jews in Sweden and Europe are afraid to wear a kippah or a Magen David, where you have to pass heavy security in order to attend a service at your synagogue, and when your children’s schools are guarded by the police or armed soldiers – organizers in Sweden decide that an anti-Racist rally should include everyone on the planet except the Jews – and then they use the word Kristallnacht for extra attention.
This is not a new occurrence, it’s been going on for years. I remember attending a separate, quiet memorial with the Jewish Congregation in Gothenburg a few years ago, far away from the noisy anti-Israeli crowd who organized the official rally. Only now is some media starting to pay attention to this, but it’s far from enough. We all know that if Jews had hijacked some memorial from the Muslim minority in Sweden, there would have been headlines in every major newspaper and loud battle cries from the unholy marriage between Islamists, Muslim groups, the far Left, the BDS movement, and whoever else that hates Jews and Israel (quite a few in Sweden it turns out).
Maybe we should have made more noise, and demanded more attention. Maybe it’s about time, that we go out and scream out loud about the unfair, hypocritical treatment of us, the forgotten minority. But we never do. Not sure why. Maybe we assume that things will change, people will wake up, it will get better in time… Wait, this sounds familiar. When did we say this before? Just before the Kristallnacht, right? I guess we didn’t learn from history either.
Now, I don’t care about the fringe people in this parallel universe – as far as I’m concerned, they are a lost cause – but it’s the people that are still stuck in between that we need to reach. This is just one of many injustices happening, just one in a row of events where we are treated like we don’t exist and that we don’t matter. And still, this is just the beginning. Why aren’t we out on the streets demanding to be seen? Where are our battle cries, our protests? Why are we accepting this treatment? Why are we so silent? Are we numb? Used to it?
Listen. Carefully. In 2015, they are excluding Jews from attending the anniversary of the Kristallnacht. Re-read that sentence. Excluded! Not welcome! They’ve hijacked it, just like they did with the word Zionism, that they twisted into meaning something completely different, something fascist and evil. At this point they don’t even bother to hide their anti-Semitism behind words like anti-Zionism anymore, because no one cares – and if they do, they stay quiet. They are spreading the lies, propaganda and re-written history made up by Fatah and Hamas, boycotting Israel, AND they get away with it. Soon the entire country will be Judenrein, but they will still bitch about Israel, the only country in the world where we are not a forgotten minority.
How do we fight back? Is it a lost battle? I can’t even think that. It’s not acceptable. We have to fight! We have to UNITE and fight back. We need to stop being silent and bend our backs. We need to shout out loud. Protest. Make lots of balagan. This is not okay, not even in a parallel universe.
Remember, Am Yisrael Chai are not just words – they have a meaning and it’s about time we show the world this.
(Originally posted on my blog at The Times of Israel, November 9, 2015)