By Jeffrey Katz
The latest anti-Semitic remarks of Rep. Ilhan Omar are not just like any other racial slurs. To say that is to deny history. In my new book, The Secret Life: A Book of Wisdom, I write that Maimonides taught that the lessons of history, and the truths we learn from it, must always be kept at the forefront of our minds, and guide our present course. Truth must be accepted from whatever source it comes, and when history has taught us such a precise lesson - such as about what lies about Jewish control and disloyalty can lead to - we must be most vigilant.
There is a long, brutal past to anti-Semitism, which has seen Jews tortured, raped, mass-exterminated, and their bodies burnt in ovens, all accompanied by such lies and stereotypes. About 80 years ago, Nazi Germany spread propaganda about Jews, using stereotypes with themes that included those of Rep. Omar’s, to paint Jews as disloyal and supposedly in control of society through their money, fomenting hatred. Jews were sent by the millions into gas chambers and exterminated, fueled by the propaganda of the Nazi death machine.
Not dealing with anti-Semitism in light of its unique history would be like ignoring the history of slavery in our country when dealing with racism and prejudice against African-Americans. Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. This may be why many of these same people, seemingly unconcerned about rising anti-Semitism, are also promoting Socialism here. They may be unaware of history’s lessons and of the devastation that Socialism has wreaked on societies in the past century, turning many from rich to poor, from democracy to dictatorship. To those unconcerned about rising anti-Semitism, or, for that matter, those who would lead America into a future of socialist poverty - are they not aware of history?