The resurgence of antisemitism and hate crimes has chilling similarities to the events leading up to the Holocaust

Hymie Rubenstein“Peace for our time” was a declaration made by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his Sept. 30, 1938, remarks following the Anglo-German Declaration made with Adolph Hitler that the two countries would never go to war against each other.

Later that day, he told crowds outside 10 Downing Street: “My good friends, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.”

The phrase “peace for our time” is still remembered for its deceitful uselessness; less than a year later, Hitler invaded Poland, provoking the Second World War.

We are now witnessing non-stop “peace for our time” declarations for ceasefires in Israeli’s life-and-death attempt to destroy Hamas, a terrorist group supported by many more Palestinians than the world is willing to admit, hell-bent on doing to the Jews what Hitler failed to accomplish, namely wiping them off the face of the earth based on the hateful seventh-century teachings of their religion.

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One often repeated Islamic hadith – sayings attributed to the religion’s founder, the prophet Muhammad – are even contained in the 1988 Hamas Charter: “Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees will say, oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me – come and kill him.”

Many non-Islamic supporters of the Palestinian cause who loudly proclaim a “peace for our time” ceasefire are as naïve today as disgraced Chamberlain was in 1938, just a few short weeks before Kristallnacht. That was the Night of Broken Glass, a pogrom against Jews carried out by Nazi Party paramilitary units along with participation from the Hitler Youth and German civilians throughout Nazi Germany on Nov. 9 and 10, resulting in 30,000 Jewish men being sent to concentration camps.

Since the barbaric Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, a pogrom supported by ordinary Palestinians, Kristallnacht has been reverberating in Canada and around the world on a daily basis.

Last year, B’nai Brith Canada released its report of antisemitic incidents for 2022, showing a rising tide of antisemitism: “In 2012, the Jewish community sounded the alarm when that audit noted 1,345 antisemitic incidents, the highest ever since we first began auditing in 1982,” the audit reads. “Ten years later, the number is an alarming 105.9 percent higher than that reported in 2012, and the second-highest total since we started tracking 41 years ago.”

The rate of such incidents has exploded since Oct. 7.

On Nov. 6, 2023, Ottawa police charged a 29-year-old man with hate-motivated crimes in connection with a threat made against a local rabbi. “The Ottawa Police Service Hate and Bias Crime Unit has charged an individual in relation to harassment and a threatening phone call to a religious leader,” a Nov. 6 statement issued by the Ottawa Police reads.

On Nov. 7, 2023, Montreal police opened an arson investigation into a firebombing of a Montreal-area synagogue. Incendiary devices also damaged the back door of another building that is home to the offices of the Canadian Jewish Appeal.

“We’re seeing right now a rise in antisemitism that is terrifying,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Nov. 8. “Molotov cocktails thrown at synagogues. Horrific threats of violence threatening Jewish businesses, targeting Jewish daycares with hate. This needs to stop. This is not who we are as Canadians. This is something that is not acceptable in Canada, period.”

Overall, however, few of these vicious extremists have been arrested, let alone charged with hate crimes.

The Kingston Whig-Standard had related the compelling story of one Holocaust Survivor, historian Zvi Bacharach: “Bacharach was just 10 years old when the Nazis unleashed the Kristallnacht in his hometown of Hanau, Germany. He said that his parents could not comprehend that such horrors could be perpetrated by their fellow citizens. ‘It came as a blow. I remember my mother standing pale and crying. I remember her phoning her gentile friends – she had more gentile friends than Jewish friends – No answer. No one answered her.’”

Many Canadian Jews now experiencing virulent antisemitism must feel exactly the way Bacharach’s mother felt in 1938 – abandoned by angry neighbours consumed by irrational Jew-hatred, public officials replying only with harsh words or gratuitous platitudes rather than with direct police action.

Hymie Rubenstein, a retired professor of anthropology at the University of Manitoba, is editor of REAL Indigenous Report and REAL Israel & Palestine Report.

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