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A Warning on International Holocaust Remembrance Day: The ‘Spiritual Madness’ of Anti-Semitism Is On the Rise

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More than 40 world leaders gathered in Jerusalem last week to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most notorious Nazi death camp on January 27, 1945. They came to say, “never again,” but German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued an ominous warning.

“The spirits of evil are emerging in a new guise, presenting their anti-Semitic, racist, authoritarian thinking as an answer for the future, a new solution to the problems of our age. And I wish I could say that we Germans have learned from history once and for all. But I cannot say that when hatred is spreading,” Steinmeier said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed the gathering, saying, “The Jewish people have learned the lessons of the Holocaust: to take, always to take seriously the threats of those who seek our destruction; to confront threats when they are small.”

Ahead of the event, a special European delegation visited the site where the Nazis perpetrated so much evil and hatred. Born in Poland, former Israeli Chief Rabbi, Yisrael Meir Lau, is a Holocaust survivor. “Anti-Semitism you can explain but you cannot find a reason for it,” he said. “It’s against dialogue. It’s against logic. It’s a spiritual madness.”

Yet throughout Europe and even in the US, this spiritual madness is on the rise.

On Monday’s 700 Club broadcast, host Pat Robertson spoke with Rabbi Ariel Burger, a lifelong student of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. He’s also the author of Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom.

[Anti-Semitism] is a kind of madness that reoccurs throughout history,” Burger said. “And just as the Jew is eternal, anti-Semitism seems to be eternal as well. We find it in pagan times, we find it all through history in Europe and elsewhere, and now on the right and the left. And of course, it’s rising again.” 

Burger said so much of anti-Semitism, both past and present, comes from false conspiracy theories that persist. 

“Anti-Semites give all kinds of reasons for what the Jews are doing wrong or why they are evil. But ultimately it’s a kind of conspiracy theory. It’s a belief that Jews run the world secretly,” he said. 

“It’s very mysterious,” he continued. “It’s a form of madness and most important of all is for those who are not Jews, it’s a harbinger. What happens to the Jews happens to others as well.”

Rabbi Ariel Burger is the founding director and senior scholar of The Witness Institute, a new project to empower emerging leaders, inspired by the life and legacy of Elie Wiesel.

To see Pat Robertson’s entire interview with Rabbi Burger, click on the box above.
 





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