The Pittsburgh Massacre
Eleven Jewish worshipers were murdered in cold blood on October 28, 2018, by a person screaming, “All Jews must die!” They were at the Tree of Life Synagogue, saying the Sabbath prayers and celebrating a bris. It was the deadliest attack on the Jewish people in the history of the United States.
As a Holocaust survivor, I cannot sleep. I cannot stop feeling the horror.
But, the massacre does not surprise me. In my blog post “The Forthcoming Crisis” from March 31, 2017,I predicted that anti-Semitism would soon be on the rise in America. I was right. The Anti-Defamation League recently reported that anti-Semitic incidents rose by 57% this year relative to last year.
Why did I predict the rise in anti-Semitism? Because of where America is on its lifecycle.
When a country ages—when it reaches the declining portion of the lifecycle curve—some people will look for a culprit. It is easier for some people to look for a culprit, to personalize the problem, than to analyze the systemic roots of the problem. Who stands out? Those who are perceived as successful. Historically, the culprit has been the entrepreneurial segment of the society: the Chinese in Indonesia and Malaysia, the Indians in South Africa, and the Jews wherever they were. Or are. The assumption is this: if I am doing well and you are not, it is because I am taking from you—that’s why I am successful and you are suffering.
The United States was in the Prime stage of the lifecycle in the 1950s, right after the Second World War. The world was in shambles. The war destroyed the global economy, and the United States was benefiting economically from the disaster.
I believe that the United States was at the beginning of its decline during JFK’s presidency. From then on, the United States descended the aging curve. Now, we are at the beginning of the Recrimination stage, the stage when the system falls apart, just as an aging person’s organs stop functioning or turn on each other, so too do the parts of an aging organization. This is why I predicted the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States.
Imagine that there are children sitting around a table, looking at a pie to be split between them. Imagine, for a moment, that the pie is growing bigger and bigger by the moment because of the actions one of the children, the entrepreneurial one, has undertaken… If that child were to take a larger portion of the pie than the rest, the other children wouldn’t mind—the pie is growing and there is plenty for everyone. Now, imagine what would happen if that pie began to shrink. If that same child were to take a portion of pie the same size as before, the other children would push that child away from the table. The other children would believe that this child was taking more at their expense and will want to punish him for it. (Note that the culture in America is changing. Being economically successful is not applauded anymore but criticized. Rich people are not held aloft as heroes to emulate but shunned).
The growing or shrinking does not necessarily pertain to the GNP or other measurements of economic success. The country’s growing and shrinking is a matter of perception: Are we feeling better or worse about our country and its future?
Many journalists and opinion leaders accuse Trump of causing the disintegration through his nationalist, anti-minority, anti-integration rhetoric. I, however, suggest that Trump is the manifestation of the decline of the United States, not the cause. He was elected because he met the need of some people to look for culprits, whether those culprits are Muslims, Mexicans, or immigrants in general. Some understood those culprits to be Jews, although Trump never explicitly spoke against them. Trump has been accused of being anti-Semitic, although his daughter converted to Judaism and his grandchildren are Jewish.
Trump is accelerating the disintegration of the system, not causing it.
The question is, will the hate against the Jews grow or lessen in the coming years?
I believe that the decline of the United States is irreversible. No single individual can fix it. Reversing the country’s decline would require changing the country’s values and power structure, reducing the power of the business establishment that is driving our foreign and domestic policy.
It would require changing the Constitution to reduce the power of the federal system and increase the power of states and local organizations. We would need to decentralize the country. The task of decentralization is enormous. It requires political will and integrated power that a democratic society cannot easily harness, especially once that system is falling apart.
I suggest that anti-Semitism will continue to rise, and it will not be the only form of hatred to climb. Hatred between many different groups in the United States will sprout and grow.
Anti-Semitism is not a stand-alone phenomenon but a part of a bigger pattern stemming from the country’s location on its lifecycle.
I do not predict another Holocaust, but I do believe it is going to be increasingly uncomfortable to live as being Jewish in this country. That discomfort is already surfacing on university campuses where Jewish students are often harassed. I believe the solution for the Jewish people lies in thinking about what we should do next to survive.
Where should we go? I believe the answer is, “Go East, young man!” China is on the rise. Chinese people are considered the Jews of the East. They are hard-working with a high level of a savings culture, dedicated to education, very similar to the Jewish culture, and there are no signs of anti-Semitism there at this point. Because China is on the growing part of the lifecycle, it is much safer for the Jewish people. The pie is growing….
What about Israel? I would not suggest that the Jewish people put all their eggs in one basket. We need part of the Jewish people living outside of Israel because Israel is very vulnerable—it is in a powder keg called the Middle East.
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes
Founder and CEO
The Adizes Institute Worldwide