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The intense antisemitism of Haman, Hitler and Hamas

Haman’s hatred is so great that he offers 10,000 kikars (approximately 460 tons) of silver for the right to annihilate the Jews (Esther 3:9).

The greater evil always attacks the greater good.

Hatred of Jews goes far beyond stereotypical prejudice, discrimination and scapegoating. Antisemites are driven to total genocide of the Jews.

The biblical Amalek is the prototype rabid antisemite and arch enemy of the Jews. Amalek attacks when the Jews are riding high on the miraculous Ten Plagues, Exodus from Egypt, and splitting of the Red Sea. (Exodus 17:8)

Everyone was afraid to challenge the Jews. Except Amalek.

Ancient Jewish literature (Midrash Tanchuma 9) compares his attack to someone jumping into a boiling hot vat that everyone fears to enter. Although the jumper suffers massive burns, he cools off that vat, enabling others to attack. Amalek self-sacrificed for their primary goal: to show that Jews are vulnerable.

Amalek’s ideological heir and direct descendent (through Agag – Esther 3:1) is Haman, who plotted genocide of the Jews 2,500 years ago in Persia (Iran).

Haman’s hatred is so great that he offers 10,000 kikars (approximately 460 tons) of silver for the right to annihilate the Jews (Esther 3:9).

In the end, the plot fails.

Nazi Tradition

Each generation has its own ideological Amalek. In the 20th century, Hitler murdered six million while proclaiming a “righteous cause”: exterminating “Jewish vermin” to heroically save the world.

For Hitler, genocide was all-or-nothing, “either us or them.” He said: “If only one country for whatever reasons tolerates a Jewish family in it, that family will become the germ center for fresh sedition.” (July 21, 1941, cited in Hitler’s Apocalypse, p. 122)

Hitler regarded the killing of Jews even more important than winning World War II.

With the Nazi invasion of Hungary in 1944, top German military officers urged Hitler to prioritize railway lines to transport vital troops and desperately-needed supplies to the battlefront.

Ignoring their warnings, Hitler allocated the precious rail-lines to deport Hungarian Jewry en masse to the extermination camps. This “self-sacrifice to destroy the Jews” proved a key factor in debilitating the German war effort.

Channeling Haman, Hitler harbored a venomous hatred for the holiday of Purim. “Unless Germany is victorious,” he proclaimed, “Jewry could then celebrate the destruction of Europe by a second triumphant Purim Festival.” (January 30, 1944, cited in The Purim Anthology, 1949)

When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, he banned the reading of the Book of Esther, and ordered that on Purim all synagogues be closed. On Purim 1942 in Zdunska-Wola, a town in Nazi-occupied Poland, ten Jews were hanged by Hitler’s SS, in a sadistic parody of events in the Book of Esther. (Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust)

Even after their ignoble defeat, Nazis continued to draw “inspiration” from Haman. At the Nuremberg Trials, as Julius Streicher ascended the gallows to be hanged, he shouted “Purimfest 1946.” (Newsweek, October 28, 1946)  Ten sons of Haman and ten Nazi leaders were hung for their crimes against humanity.  It is quite a coincidence!!

October 7

Today, 2,500 years after the Purim confrontation with genocidal Persians, the Jewish people face another Persian enemy: the mad mullahs of Iran. The tentacles of the “Iranian octopus” are remote-controlled from Tehran: Hamas, Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and militias in Iraq and Syria. This modern-day Amalek is building nuclear weapons and — with repeated threats to “wipe Israel off the map” – is patiently waiting to strike.

On October 7, Iran’s proxy Hamas unleashed the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. The sadistic cruelty was straight out of the Nazi playbook. Hamas terrorists entered the Gaza-border kibbutzim, savagely murdering, raping and pillaging, incinerating many homes along with their inhabitants.

Hamas “justifies” violent jihad as a noble, righteous holy war to “liberate their homeland stolen by the Jews,” and follows Mohammed’s directive to massacre Jews “wherever you find them” (Koran 2:191).

In the Amalek tradition of self-sacrifice, Hamas invites death and destruction on its own civilians, using them as human shields, both to protect terrorists and to cynically bolster civilian casualties in hopes of stirring global condemnation of Israel.

As Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Ismail Haniyeh declared: “We need the blood of the children, women, and elderly” to “ignite within us the spirit of revolution” against the Jewish state.

Tragically, the Hamas strategy appears to be working. Backed by conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers, antisemitism is now fashionably PC in polite society. Alarmingly, a recent Harvard-Harris Poll shows that 60% of American voters ages 18-24 believe that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, and a majority believe that Israel should “be ended and given to Hamas".

Neutralising the final solution

Fortunately, the Jewish people have a potent weapon to fight back.

In seeking permission to annihilate the Jews, Haman accused them of being “a nation scattered and split (Esther 3:8), a reference to Jewish division and strife. This lack of unity gave Haman the confidence to advance his genocidal plan.

Esther understood that the solution to antisemitism is Jewish unity.

Esther understood that the solution to antisemitism is Jewish unity. She told Mordechai: “Go assemble all the Jews” (Esther 4:16). Haman’s threats brought the Jewish people together and triggered a 180-degree shift from disunity to unity.

This idea of shared destiny was formalized in the Purim tradition Mordechai of Mishloach Manot, sending gifts of food to one another (Esther 9:22). The idea is to increase love and friendship, and engrain the message: To prevail, we must work together.

Prior to October 7, Israeli society was polarised. There was tension on the streets, with talk of civil war and splitting into two states.

And like in the Purim story, October 7 triggered a 180-degree Jewish shift: from disunity to unity.

Though we cannot know the reason for all our suffering, it does prove a maxim: The greater evil always attacks the greater good.

During the Holocaust, a Jew was being sadistically beaten by a Nazi guard who scoffed and sneered, “How do you like being a Jew!”

The Jew looked up and proudly said, “I’d rather be in my position than in yours.”

The best response to antisemitism is Jewish pride. Truth and goodness will prevail. From darkness will come light.

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