The quote above is taken from a 1821 play by Heinrich Heine called “Almansor”. In the play itself, the quote is referring to the burning of the Muslim Quran by the Christian Inquisition in Spain. However the quote is most associated with the May 10, 1933 burning of Jewish books by a Nazi crowd in Berlin’s “Babelplatz” (Babylon Plaza). Today, there is a monument standing in that place:
Last Thursday a book burning event took place in the city of Or Yehuda, a small city outside of Tel-Aviv. The event was a local reaction to the intensive activity of Christian missionaries from the sect of “Messianic Judaism” in one of the city’s neighborhoods. The missionaries went door-to-door and distributed written materials, including the New Testament.
The collection of the books was arranged by Assistant Mayor Uzi Aharon, a lawyer, and a representative of the “Shas” party — an ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) political party, that has representation in the Knesset as well. In an interview to the press today, Mr. Aharon denied initiating the fire itself, claiming it was a spontaneous action of some people. Nevertheless, he did not offer an apology, and stated out that “the residents of Or Yehuda are people with values and a strong orientation towards the Jewish religion and the Jewish tradition”. In addition he proposed during the interview for the government to alter the law that deals with religious conversations, in order to prevent the Messianic Jews from continuing their missionary activities.
In response to the burning of their books, the Messianic Jews demand the opening of an investigation by the police.
I mention the association between the 1933 book burning and the Or Yehuda book burning without further commentary. I would like to hear your comments and find out whether you think these two events can be compared together or not.
Babelplatz Photo by Aaron Siirila; Or Yehuda photo and Source by NRG Ma’ariv