Why the Jews?
Because we are a stiff-necked people.
Heinrich Heine wrote: “The Jewish people are a nation that has defied the centuries – a great eternal holy people, the people of God, which serves as the model for all humanity.”
Jews have two choices, today, and only two. Will you assimilate into the cultural ideology of the moment, or will you be part of the remnant of Jews proud to be Jewish?
God had watched as the children of Adam and Eve turned to wickedness, and sent a flood. T hen, promised never again. So, He looked for a people who would honour His creation.
He reached out to a few peoples, but in the end it was the Jews who accepted the covenant, not a contract; a covenant that demanded they bow before no other God, that they refrain from vengeance or stealing, refrain from following lust, that they not destroy others by gossiping about them, attacking them in public, destroying their spirit. And that they not want what others have because the grass is not always greener on the other side. He wanted a people who would be a light unto the nations teaching how to be compassionate people in a compassionate society.
So who are these stiff-necked people?
They are a people who stumbled at first. After being set free from 400 years of enslavement to Pharaoh, they began to fear when Moses disappeared on Mount Sinai. So they returned to old ways and built an idol, a Golden Calf, to assuage that fear. But Moses defended them- a stiff necked people- to God.
In the twentieth century, Rabbi Yitzchak Nissenbaum explained the meaning of Moses’ call to God to forgive this stiff-necked people for building the idol, the Golden Calf.
“Almighty G‑d, look upon this people with favor, because what is now their greatest vice will one day be their most heroic virtue. They are indeed an obstinate people…But just as now they are stiff- necked in their disobedience, so one day they will be equally stiff-necked in their loyalty. Nations will call on them to assimilate, but they will refuse. Mightier religions will urge them to convert, but they will resist. They will suffer humiliation, persecution, even torture and death because of the name they bear and the faith they profess, but they will stay true to the covenant their ancestors made with You. They will go to their deaths saying Ani ma’amin, “I believe.” This is a people awesome in its obstinacy – and though now it is their failing, there will be times far into the future when it will be their noblest strength.”
The Jewish people have been the universal scapegoat from the beginning of time, to the Crucifixion of Jesus, to the Nazi exterminations, and calls for death to the Jews from Islam.
There was Haman, the one who incited the King of Persia to annihilate the Jews, to wipe them off the face of the earth.
“There is one people scattered, yet separate among the nations in all the provinces of your kingdom; and their laws are different from those of every people; while they do not execute the laws of the king; and it is no profit for the king to tolerate them. If it be pleasing to the king, let a decree be written to destroy them.”
And then Mohammed. Soon after he anointed himself Prophet, he expelled two tribes of Jews: the Banu Qaynuqa in 624 CE and the Nadir in 625 CE. In 627 CE, Mohammed committed an atrocity against the tribe of Banu Qurayza, a peaceful community of farmers, the last remaining major tribe of Jews in Medina. It is reported that more than 800 men and boys, who had surrendered, were brought in batches to trenches that had been dug for them. Forced to stand over the trenches they were then beheaded. In 628 Mohammed conquered Khaybar, murdering the leaders and taking a wife, Saffiya, after beheading her husband Kinana al Rabi of the Bani Nadir.
In 1190, the mobs in England, aroused by the mighty Crusades, massacred the Jews of Norwich and those in Stamford and Bury St. Edmunds, Lincoln and Lynn, and then the Jews of London. The was the spilling of Jewish blood in the pogroms of the 13th century in Frankfurt and Ortenburg, in the state of Bavaria; in Pfortzheim and Speyer; the murders of Jews in Mainz and Cracow, on Passover 1283; the burning of young and old in Munich 1285; the murdered of Trerbach and the murdered of Kemeno near Dusseldorf and the murdered of Bonn.
In 1348, accused of causing the Black Plague, Jews were murdered in Mainz and then Oppenheim, Frankfurt, Erfurt and Cologne, buried in a common grave in Worms. In Spain, in seventy communities in Castile and thirty-six in Aragon, tens of thousands of Jewish people were murdered. In 1391 the extinction of the Jewish community of Majorca and the killing in Barcelona took place.
In Spain, Tomás de Torquemada, the Spanish Grand Inquisitor under Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, presided over the death of more than two thousand Jews burned at the stake, auto da fés. It is estimated that 32,000 “heretics” were murdered the same way by the time the killing spree in Europe ended.
There was the burning of Jews in the 15th century in Breslau and the market-place in Berlin for desecrating the “host,” and the murder of the Jews of Trent, accused of killing a Christian boy to use his blood in the making of Matza for Passover. There were the rampages of the 16th century against the Jews in Rome and throughout Italy, Switzerland and Germany when the Passion plays led to the screaming for Jewish blood.
There was the massacre of Jews by the Cossacks and the Poles in the 17th century led by the Russian tyrants Chmielnicki and Krivonos; children killed at their mothers’ breast or roasted alive on spits over the fire. And the pogroms throughout Russia in the 19th and 20th centuries and then, again, the greatest barbarism flowing out of the Nazis who developed a military-industrial complex to gather Jews in trains and take them to the gas chambers.
And then the return of hate from Islam.
For the Truth is in the Koran, as verified by the words of the prophet Muhammad that the decisive battle will be in Jerusalem and its environs: ‘The resurrection of the dead will not occur until you make war on the Jews…’
“The battle with the Jews will surely come… the decisive Muslim victory is coming without a doubt, and the prophet spoke about in more than one Hadith and the Day of Resurrection will not come without the victory of the believers the Muslims over the descendants of the monkeys and pigs the Jews and with their annihilation.”
“Oh Allah, accept our martyrs in the highest heavens…
Oh Allah, show the Jews a black day…
Oh Allah, annihilate the Jews and their supporters…
Oh Allah, raise the flag of Jihad across the land.”
“Our battle with World Jewry … is a question of life and death. It is a battle between two conflicting faiths, each of which can exist only on the ruins of the other.”
“When the Jews are wiped out…the sun of peace would begin to rise on the entire world.”
And the famous Hadith of Mohammed the Prophet: “The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.”
To survive such irrational hate requires a people so committed to their Covenant that they will not bend a knee to anyone but God. God knew that the Jewish people would never bend a knee to the Jew-haters through time who promote attacks on Jews for the crime of being Jewish.
Today, in a world of 7.8 billion people there are 14 million Jews. Never forget: In every generation there is a remnant of Jews who refuse to assimilate, who refuse to bow down to the latest cultural ideology, and remain the steadfast carriers of the light given to us by God at Mount Sinai.
These are the stiff-necked Jews.
We will not submit; we will not appease; we will not surrender.
Portions of this article come from my book The Serpent and the Red Thread: The Definitive Biography of Evil; endorsed by the Yad Vashem Library in Jerusalem and the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.