Yogi Berra, one of the greatest sports figures ever; known as much for his witticisms as for his play behind the plate for the New York Yankees, once said: “It’s like deja vu all over again”.
How right he was.
On March 12, 1938, German troops crossed the German-Austrian border. And on March 13, 1938, Hitler proclaimed the “Anschluss” (annexation) of Austria.
On September 29, 1938, four men sat together in Munich, Germany to negotiate how to appease an aggressor (Hitler, Mussolini, Daladier and Chamberlain).
The price was Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. The reward was putting off for one year, that which could have been settled one year earlier with a potentiality for far less horror and consequences.
On November 9, 1938, Jews were murdered, beaten and raped throughout Germany in a night of infamy known as Kristallnacht. In addition to the human tragedies, thousands of Jewish owned properties including Synagogues, places of commerce and homes were sacked. To the world who watched this from the outside looking in. The Jews probably deserved it.
Throughout August 1939, the Germans saber-rattled over Poland. And on September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland on a trumped up excuse, and within days, the world was at war.
However; during the period leading up to the “democratic” election to power of Adolf Hitler in 1933, and the time between his taking power and the German invasion of Poland, there were no shortage of severe warnings and harbingers of things to come, the least of all being the murder of his German opposition.
Nonetheless; intellectual men of seemingly good will chose the path of appeasement over the path of righteous confrontation.
During all of this, much of the world, especially throughout Europe, developed and refined a deep overt hatred towards their Jewish citizens. And throughout this period prior to the war, and indeed well after the war, this passion of anti-Semitism never once abated.
Even though the Second World War was fought over European dominance caused by an ethnocentric, psychotic and megalomaniac by the name of Adolf Hitler, much of the blame for World War II was directed towards Europe’s Jews.
And even though 6,000,000 European Jews were EXTERMINATED, and most of Europe was left virtually “Judenfrei”, Jews were still blamed for being the cause of WW II. So much so, that even well after the war, people claimed that they fought the Nazis because of the Jews, and that World War II was a Jewish war.
I heard it myself. First hand. And not just once.
There is absolutely no way in the world for anyone to tie Hitler’s Anschluss to Jews. Nor his take-over of Sudetenland to Jews. Nor his invasion of Poland to Jews. But that has never stopped much of the world from tying World War II to Jews.
Here is where it is like deja vu all over again.
64 years after the beginning of the Second World War, the planet faces yet another Adolf Hitler. This time, his name is Saddam Hussein, and his world to conquer is the Middle East.
Like Hitler, Saddam Hussein has invaded his neighbors. He has used chemical weapons to murder his own people. He is in total violation of a disarmament agreement he signed. And his military and security apparatus is designed to silence any dissent whatsoever.
He is also threatening to finish the job against the Jews that Hitler did not. And how does the world react to Saddam Hussein?
President George W Bush wants him gone. Totally gone. And with him, all of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Prime Minister Tony Blair of England wants no less.
And then there is the rest of the world. France; which was so willing to sacrifice Czechoslovakia in 1938, in order to protect their own ass before Hitler thanked them with an invasion: once again stands for appeasement. And for economic reasons, so does Germany and Russia. But not with as much gusto as do the French.
It should also be remembered: In 1939, when the German’s “invaded” Austria, the “invaders” were welcomed as conquering heros. When the Germans invaded Poland, the Polish army threw everything it had at the invaders in order to stop them. But what they had was not nearly enough. Poland fell fast and very hard.
However; in 1939, when the German’s invaded France, there was barely a shot fired. And in reality, there were no shortage of Frenchmen who welcomed the goose-stepping Nazis.
Not only did much of France roll over for the Germans, they COLLABORATED, and aided Hitler in his quest to murder every last Jew. Not to mention the aid they extended to the Nazi war machine.
The French love to speak and regale all who will listen with heroic deeds of the legendary Résistance. It’s too bad that the stories are better than the myth.
However; they certainly don’t like to speak of the Vichy collaborators who willingly fought against the allies. The French also don’t want to discuss, that the FIRST Nazi death camp was not in Germany, Poland or Czechoslovakia; BUT IN FRANCE. They don’t like to talk about that.
During World War II, France exhibited its penchant for Anti-Semitism. And now that war is pending against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, The French are at it again with near daily attacks against French Jews.
As a matter of fact, there is no shortage of increased attacks against Jews throughout Europe, and even within North America. And just like yesteryear, we are hearing how all of this approaching horror with Iraq and the Islamic world is the fault of Jews.
Attacks by the way, do not have to be physical. Insisting that certain types of Jews should NOT be allowed to sit on university exchanges or on UN committees are extremely egregious forms of attack.
Why is it that Jews can not have the right to have the Red Star of David recognized as a visible equivalent emblem to the Red Cross, while the Red Crescent is? This is how the Nazis and European anti-Semites treated Jews before, during and after World War II.
If only Israel would make peace and be less belligerent we are constantly told.
Just like Jews had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Hitler’s invasions of his European neighbors. Israel and Jews have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Saddam Hussein’s invasions of his Arab neighbors Nor his use of weapons of mass destruction.
The Arabs have been at each other’s throats for as long as they have existed. They kill their neighbors, and they kill their own. And whether Israel exists or not, they will continue to do what they seem to do best, since they seem unable to do anything else of consequence.
Yet, the entire Arab world cries to all who will hear them that there can never be peace in the Middle East until the Israelis give the Palestinians what they want. Unfortunately, what the Palestinians really want is Israel.
And whether Israel continues to exist or not, would make no difference at all in the psyche and behavior of Middle Eastern Arabs. They would still be third world thinkers and doers. And they would still be killing each other over issues tied to the dark ages, fundamental religious control, greed and a basic machismo lust for power.
However; not to recognize the clear and obvious shortcomings of the Arab world makes it easier for the Arab world to blame the Jews. And just as it was during the period of the Second World War, it is easy for so many in the world, especially for the French to do the same.
All of that said; things are different today. In the 1930s, to the end of WW II, Jews had nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. They also had no way of defending themselves. And they had no friend to whom they could turn.
Things are very different in 2003. Israel is tougher in every respect imaginable than all of its hostile Arab neighbors combined. And I would dare say, that militarily, in a one on one against the big mouth French, Israel could probably clean their clock too.
The Israelis are modern in every way. They are educated, absolutely disciplined, and determined without fear of doing what has to be done. And they also have a memory of 64 years ago. And imbedded in the heart of every Israeli, even within the psyche of their Do Nothing Do Gooder Peaceniks: NEVER AGAIN!
The Jews also have a very strong and protective UNCLE. Unlike during the period of the Second World War, Jews worldwide now have a friend who will stand with them, instead of PRETENDING to care as the intellectuals did when the Nazi death trains rolled to perdition in the 1940s.
Just like Yogi Berra said: “It’s like deja vu all over again”. But this time, with a difference.