No one wants to be on the wrong side of history, but people and nations have a penchant for doing that during moments of crisis. There is an inclination toward inaction when action is necessary. To President Biden’s credit, he stepped up and supported Israel when Hamas attacked them. He favored action over inaction, and I believe history will treat him well for that decision. Now, can Congress find the right compromise to continue funding the war while reducing our overall spending? There is equal weight on both halves of that sentence.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
History Always Repeats Itself
Even when our government sees evil affecting our allies, our leadership has not always stepped up to the plate. I am reminded of the 1939 incident when a shipload of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany approached our eastern shore only to be turned away by FDR. This incident was one of his profound mistakes in the war. By finally recognizing the evil that had consumed Germany and threatened the world, we decisively entered the war to subdue and eliminate the Nazis. Others in America were on the wrong side of history, especially the corporate side. Many companies found a way to do business with Nazi Germany before we entered the war, and a few even continued into the war years. We can no longer afford to police the world, but we can identify our enemies and come to the aid of our allies when attacked.
Here in the United States in the late-1930s, there were many Nazi sympathizers and supporters. In 1939, before our entrance into the war, large rallies in favor of the Nazis and Hitler “spontaneously “appeared. The largest was organized at Madison Square Gardens by the German-American Bund (German-American Federation). It was attended by more than 20,000 Nazi sympathizers who sought to build a favorable image of Germany in America. They also sought to pressure our government through public rallies, parades, and other apparent displays of German support. Nazi flags, Hitler salutes, posters, banners, parades, and political intimidation were their preferred daily tactics. They proved to be on the wrong side of history, quickly learned from it, and disbanded with our entry into the war.
October 7 Attack on Israel
The October 7 pure evil attack on Israeli citizens by Hamas bears an eerie resemblance to the actions taken by the Brown Shirts leading into World War II. Hitler and his Brown Shirts used national fervor of past injustices to justify current and future brutality, just as Hamas does. In situations like post-World War I, those seeking to seize control and blame others for their failures needed a scapegoat, a villain. In Germany, the target became the Jews, and we know what followed. By the end of World War II, Germany had no defenders as their brutality and crimes were exposed. In the United States and Europe, there was no sympathy for Germany and the other Axis Powers. A lesson learned: Extreme evil must be confronted when it appears. Appeasement does not work in the face of pure evil.
What played out leading to World War II happened again on October 7 in Israel. The events and reasons that Hamas used to justify their actions did not and could not warrant what was done. Firing rockets and guns is one level of war and conflict. The face-to-face killing of innocent men, women, and children is not war but barbarism. It is on a level with the actions of the Nazis in World War II. Recordings of Hamas leaders explaining how they worked for years to convince the world and Israel that they were not planning any aggression are also reminiscent of the events leading up to World War II. Hitler convinced his European neighbors that he had no desire to go beyond Poland with aggression, and they bought into his lies. We now have recordings of the terrorists shooting, beheading, and burning children and elderly citizens. These are the acts of madmen, not combatants. Israel has every right to defend itself and to take the actions necessary to prevent future terrorism. The history of the Jewish people is like no other.
History Repeats Here at Home
But history is also repeating itself here at home in new ways. Our shores have undergone a steady invasion across our southern border for years. Most who have crossed are here seeking work or a better life. But buried within those migrants are people with intentions of doing us harm. This has become apparent with the protests taking place in major cities and on college campuses. Nothing has exposed the agenda of dissidents and liberals in America as their apathy toward border security and their response to the invasion of Israel. For every credit President Biden gets for supporting Israel, he may get one or more debits if we have another 9/11-style attack from within.
Just this week, FBI Director Christopher Wray gave Congress a dire warning that the threat here at home was extremely high and almost undiagnosable and unpreventable. He fell short of blaming it on the open southern border, but logic tells us otherwise. Admission by Homeland Security and Border Control that we have lost contact with more than a million illegals is all we need to know. Our government agencies and Congress need to unite for once and act rather than argue. We now have dangers from antisemitism, islamophobia, and xenophobia happening simultaneously on our shores. President Biden and the Democrats must own the mess created by the open southern border and find immediate solutions. Anything less will put them on the wrong side of history.
Enablers of Dissention
It is no surprise that many enemies have used our freedoms to attack us here at home. Nowhere is this exposed more than with college presidents and administrators. Their bias shows up in defense of students’ freedom of speech for Palestine and suppression of speech in support of Israel. Rather than take a courageous stand that they know might cost them jobs and donations, they defend the right of students to speak out where it fits their narrative. Rather than acknowledging that they must do a better job teaching American exceptionalism and values, they hide behind silence. Rather than encouraging assimilation into our culture, they have instead promoted “multiculturalism.” Colleges and Universities must own the mess created by years of far-left ideologies.
In a clear sign of the indoctrination present on our college campuses, students staged a walkout from Hillary Clinton’s class at Columbia University when she dared to support Israel and criticize Hamas. Colleges are so far left that they now protest those who are center-left. Our new generation is so fragile, so offended, and so selfish that they cannot discuss or debate any issue without protesting. This fragility can be laid at the feet of parents and schools. On some campuses, we have competing groups identifying or targeting either Muslim or Jewish students in what is referred to as “doxxing.” That practice can only end in violence if not stopped.
To the credit of influential donors to the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Cornell, and other universities, a movement is mounting to withhold donations. Some significant donors see the inaction by administrators over clear incidents of antisemitism. It is evident that in many schools, university administrators only respond to financial issues, so this hits right at the heart of their vulnerabilities. We need more donors to step forward and more alumni to voice displeasure to get any improvement in the balance of political views at our universities. These institutions are already on the wrong side of history, and to have any credibility, they will have to make wholesale changes. Our parents and grandparents did not fight their way across Europe in World War II to see our colleges become breeding grounds for hatred in any flavor.
Then, we have Congress, which we looked to in years past to solve significant international conflicts. But when you have Representatives flying Palestinian flags outside their offices and holding press conferences to condemn the actions of Israel, we have serious problems that need to be addressed nationally. This action is a direct parallel to the events leading up to World War II, and we need to call them out for their actions. These Representatives are not looking to themselves for answers; they are only looking for scapegoats. They are on the wrong side of history.
Finally, there is this one consideration that ends any discussion in my book. On October 6, there was no armed conflict between Israel and Hamas. On October 7, Hamas entered Israel and killed over 1,200 Jews. Many of these victims were children who were beheaded, raped, or burned alive. No rational nor historical argument can bring any logic or justification to their actions. They will be judged harshly by the world for what they did. People who try to justify today’s violence based on yesterday’s problems are always treated poorly by history.
For those who seek violence instead of introspection, these words by Martin Luther King, Jr. might be worth reading.
“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On October 7, Hamas chose the wrong side of history over all other options, and now we are all paying the price. Getting the world back to the right side of history without more damage is the ultimate challenge.
Resources Used in This Article
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Colleges under pressure to address antisemitism on campuses, by Madina Toure, Politico, politico.com, October 30, 2023.
Donors Withhold Contributions Over Campus Free Speech Controversies, by Mark J. Drezdowski, Ed.D., Best Colleges, bestcolleges.com, October 26, 2023.
Georgia lawmaker calls on governor to take up antisemitism bill during special session, by WSBTV.com News Staff, wsbtv.com, October 31, 2023.
In 1939 Nazis rallied in Chicago to make Germany great again, by Jeff Nichols, Reader, chicagoreader.com, March 11, 2016.
Israel-Hamas war raises student safety concerns on Georgia college campuses, by Vanessa McCray, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ajc.com, October 31, 2023.
More Americans Supported Hitler Than You May Think. Here’s Why One Expert Thinks That History Isn’t Better Known, by Lily Rothman, Time, time.com, October 4, 2018.
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Students walk out of Hillary Clinton’s Columbia class in protest after anti-Israel students exposed by ‘doxxing trucks’, by Alyssa Guzman, New York Post, nypost.com, November 2, 2023.
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UGA Confirms Reports Of Swastikas Drawn On Jewish Students’ Doors, by Grady Newsource, gradynewsource.edu, November 20, 2019.
War in Mideast inflames college campuses and raises fears of antisemitism, by Nick Anderson, The Washington Post, washingtonpost.com, October 18, 2023.
What UGA students should know about their right to protest on campus, by Emma Humphries, The Red & Black, redandblack.com, October 25, 2023.