The Great German Jewish Poet Who Prophesied the Dangers of Christianity’s Demise

Dec. 17 2020

Born into a Jewish family in Düsseldorf in 1797, Heinrich Heine—likely the greatest German poet of the 19th century—became a Lutheran at the age of twenty-seven, but frequently expressed ambivalence about his conversion, once referring to his baptismal certificate as his “passport to Western civilization.” Yet despite his lack of enthusiasm for his new religion, he foresaw a post-Christian Germany unleashing unimaginable horrors on the world:

Christianity, and this is its greatest merit, has somewhat mitigated the brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered, the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane berserk rage of which the Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame. This talisman [the cross, Christianity] is fragile. And the day will come when it will collapse miserably. Then the ancient stony gods will rise from the forgotten debris and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes. And then Thor, with his giant hammer, will jump up and smash the Gothic cathedrals. . . . A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll.

To Robert P. George, these words are nothing less than a prophecy of the rise of Nazism. Indeed, when the Nazis came to power, they burned Heine’s books, and proved prophetic his assertion that “when books are burned, people too will be burned.” George also sees relevance in Heine’s reflections for our day:

That we are seeing in the streets now and more broadly in the culture—from the schools and universities to the news media and entertainment industry to the “woke” corporate boardrooms—didn’t and doesn’t just happen. There is an ideology, a set of beliefs, a worldview—a way of looking at and interpreting the world—an anthropology, a moral philosophy, that has long been in place in the minds and hearts of opinion-shaping elites and influencers that now plays out in the realm of the visible. The time to have fought was long ago in the realm of the intellect, the invisible domain of the spirit.

But we mustn’t despair. Quite the opposite. Because two can play at this game. Transformations in intellect—in the mind, in the heart, in the spirit—can have good as well as bad consequences. Good thinking, good education, good formation can produce good results every bit as much as bad thinking, bad ideas, bad formation will produce evil results.

Read more at National Review

More about: Decline of religion, German Jewry, Heinrich Heine, Nazism, Progressivism

Saudi Arabia Should Open Its Doors to Israeli—and Palestinian—Pilgrims

On the evening of June 26 the annual period of the Hajj begins, during which Muslims from all over the world visit Mecca and perform prescribed religious rituals. Because of the de-jure state of war between Saudi Arabia and the Jewish state, Israeli Muslim pilgrims—who usually number about 6,000—must take a circuitous (and often costly) route via a third country. The same is true for Palestinians. Mark Dubowitz and Tzvi Kahn, writing in the Saudi paper Arab News, urge Riyadh to reconsider its policy:

[I]f the kingdom now withholds consent for direct flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia, it would be a setback for those normalization efforts, not merely a continuation of the status quo. It is hard to see what the Saudis would gain from that.

One way to support the arrangement would be to include Palestinians in the deal. Israel might also consider earmarking its southern Ramon Airport for the flights. After all, Ramon is significantly closer to the kingdom than Ben-Gurion Airport, making for cheaper routes. Its seclusion from Israeli population centers would also help Israeli efforts to monitor outgoing passengers and incoming flights for security purposes.

A pilot program that ran between August and October proved promising, with dozens of Palestinians from the West Bank traveling back and forth from Ramon to Cyprus and Turkey. This program proceeded over the objections of the Palestinian Authority, which fears being sidelined by such accommodations. Jordan, too, has reason to be concerned about the loss of Palestinian passenger dinars at Amman’s airports.

But Palestinians deserve easier travel. Since Israel is willing to be magnanimous in this regard, Saudi Arabia can certainly follow suit by allowing Ramon to be the springboard for direct Hajj flights for Palestinian and Israeli Muslims alike. And that would be a net positive for efforts to normalize ties between [Jerusalem] and Riyadh.

Read more at Arab News

More about: Israel-Arab relations, Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia