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).

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