The children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we. Come let us act wisely lest, if a war occurs ,they join our enemies” Exodus 1:8-10.
THE antisemitic leitmotif of Parashat Shemot stretches far beyond. It has echoes in Megillat Esther (3:8-9): “There is a people dispersed among all the provinces of your realm. They do not observe the King’s laws; therefore it is not fitting for the King to tolerate them. Let it be recorded that they be destroyed.”
It is mirrored in the British National Party pamphlet Who are the Mind benders ?(1997), which states that Jews promote Jewish-race intermarriage, control British media and denigrate British pride. They will be safe only if they obey the law and stop poisoning British minds.
Jean-Francois Steiner catapults the parashah into modernity with his chilling eyewitness account in Treblinka: “‘The guards of the children of Israel whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters appointed over them cried out to Pharaoh, saying Your servants are being beaten and it is a sin upon your people’ (Exodus 5:14-16).
“The German commandant of the camp decided to appoint a Jewish counterpart. [The Jewish officer] asked what his duties would be [and replied] ‘I shall never agree to perform your work on these people.’ [The German commandant] grabbed [him] and threw him into the yard… After being forcibly undressed, the officer was beaten to death with rifle butts. ‘If by tomorrow I do not have a Jewish commandant worth the name you will all be executed’” ( Treblinka 1997, p98). Prejudice, hatred and terror must stop! “God is calling us, Jew, Christian and Muslim, to let go of hate and the preaching of hate … and [live as] a blessing to others regardless of their faith,” (Jonathan Sacks, Not in God’s Name 2015, p267).