Unrestrained anti-semitism at a rock festival

2013-08-03 L’Osservatore Romano

Summer of 2013: a time of gathering, celebration and relaxing. In Belgium too 35,000 people gathered for a concert on 4 to 7 July in Werchter, a small Flemish town 30 km outside of Brussels.. Young people came from every nation to be present at this international event. The show took place on two stages and involved as many as 78 well known artists. The spirit and the style of the Werchter Rock festival was visible, with the fans who had every right to listen to music that they enjoy. But did they also have the right to draw the Star of David on the back of a pig and not be reported? Do we make laws addressing every type of phobia? We continue to talk about the respect for every religion and every human being, yet we keep falling into these shameful situations.

Then comes the book by Gershom Scholem, Magen David: the History of a Symbol (Florence, Giuntina, 2013, 134 pages, € 10). Gershom Scholem is a Jew from Berlin, a friend of Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt, who himself escaped from Nazi Germany and settled in what was then called Palestine, now called the State of Israel after the declaration of independence in 1948. A 50-year-old scholar at the University of Jerusalem, he taught Jewish mysticism and wrote to clarify the true story of the Magen David, or the Star of David, which was the symbol chosen by the provisional government for the State flag of Israel with Jerusalem as its capital.

The book was the result of a long debate between traditional Jews, politicians and religious leaders, in which Gershom Scholem placed his bold documented thesis: from a historical point of view, the Star of David is not a symbol of Judaism, nor is it a Jewish symbol. It did, however, become one. The pages are filled with symbology that is found through history: the hexagram indicated the Zionist's fight, who led many young people to their land, and above all, it became the terrible and terrifying symbol of all the Jews during the Nazi madness, when they were forced to pin it to their chests. It was a sign of humiliation for the Nazis and a sign of belonging for the Jews.

Scholem's writing about the birth of the Star of David and its composition was proven to be current. Knowing it is the right thing to do, it is imperative to achieve that awareness and to stop the silence, as many have done in the past, so that the human and intellectual degradation which took place in Wechter never happens again.

Cristiana Dobner