For the first time in his life, Glenn says, America has become a force for darkness: ‘We are knowingly on the wrong side in so many ways.’ So many Americans, Glenn explains, are DUPED. They’re not properly learning some of the most important lessons from history. But some lessons we must NEVER forget. So, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Founding Editor of Cross Currents and Director of Interfaith Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, joins Glenn to detail the four ‘rungs’ of anti-semitism: how movements against Jews begin and then spread. The last rung, Rabbi Alderstein explains, is ALREADY happening in some places around the United States. He details it all in this clip…
Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: Hello, America. I am going to introduce you to a man who changed the course of what I do. Changed my life, and didn't know about it, until about 60 seconds ago, when he walked into the studio. I haven't seen him for six years. He is a remarkable man. And going to talk to us a little bit about Ukraine, anti-Semitism, what is really going on in the world. And your calling, to stand against it.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein. Welcome.
RABBI: It's great to be here. A little shocked by your intro.
GLENN: Yeah. Well, you sat in my office six years ago.
GLENN: And you shocked me. Because you said, I would like to ask you to -- I appreciate what you've said about Jews and anti-Semitism. But I would like to concentrate a little bit more on the Christians, because they're coming for you guys first this time. And that shocked me. And I know who you are. And, you know, I respect you and your opinion. And I put that into practice. And we have been all over the world, trying to save any persecuted religious minority, that is coming under fire. Because you're right. I mean, it's -- it's going to be all of us. And now, you come to me, and it's interesting. Because now, you're -- you're saying, okay. Maybe it's -- maybe it's time. This is at least what I'm reading in your visit. Maybe it's time to also really start talking about the Jews. Because we're at a critical stage. It's getting bad.
RABBI: It is. I'll stand by what I told you six years ago, that the most endangered religious minority today is Christians and Christianity. Those are the people who venture out of their houses and sometimes within their houses, and are getting picked off. Look what's going on in Nigeria, really. A whole swath of territory, from western Africa.
GLENN: Happening in China too.
GLENN: They're rewriting the Bible. I mean, you would probably know this. It took the churches in Germany, about six months, before they started taking Hitler's advice on maybe the Old Testament is a little too Jewish. So we should drop that from -- that's crazy. When people hear that, they don't believe it. But that's what China is doing right now. They're rewriting the Bible.
RABBI: And there are so many people that think you can get away with that. You know, the Soviet persecution of minorities, 70 years, and yet 2006, a poll in Russia, this is post-Iron Curtain Russia showed that 84 percent of Russians claimed they believed in God. How does that happen?
And some people think that that's surprising. But it's not. Because people really can't live without God. Some of them unfortunately don't realize it. But without God, our societies are not stable. Our families are not stable.
GLENN: It's what's happening here in America. It's what's happening.
RABBI: You bet.
GLENN: So can we talk about Ukraine, just a little bit?
GLENN: I thought of -- I actually thought of you the other day. When I was watching Ukraine, and I thought, for the first time, for the first time really, Jews are escaping a country, not because of persecution, but because the Russians are coming. And they have a place to go. They have a place to go. Israel. Where nobody can stop them from going there. Once they get out of the country. They don't have to worry about what country will take me. That's a miracle. That's a huge change.
RABBI: In fact, Natan Teranski (phonetic), the iconic figure of resistance to Soviet Russia said when he grew up in Ukraine, there were lots of nationalities. Everyone got along. Everybody was equal. Except for one group. If you had Jew on your identity card, you took a lot of garbage. And you didn't get into schools. And you didn't get jobs. And he said, look at God's revenge. Today, it's the opposite. People -- the pictures are horrifying. People are crossing the border, no idea where they go, next, and one group has the privilege of knowing that they have family around the world.
RABBI: There was a time that Christians felt like they were all one big family. And we've lost so much of that.
GLENN: What -- so -- because the president of Ukraine, who is Jewish, said, you know, Israel. You've got to help us out here. Look at what we've done. Look at what we've done in the past for Jews. Now, I'm a student of history. Maybe not that good a student of history. Because Ukraine was a killing field for Jews. Right? World War II.
RABBI: Absolutely. It goes back a lot further than World War II, 17th century. Essentially, the founder of Ukraine killed more than half of all the Jews in the Ukraine.
GLENN: My gosh.
RABBI: 300 communities, totally decimated in World War II. Everybody knows about Bobby R. When Ukrainians watched while the Nazis, and eager Ukrainian volunteers massacred, shot, all those people. And put them in that massive ravine. While they were eating ice cream. And watching.
GLENN: Right. So they're saying that we're -- you know, we're supporting them because -- because they're a good country, good people, et cetera, et cetera. And we deny the existence of the Nazis. But we helped train those people, during the -- right after the last -- the last revolution. This guy now, the president is a Jew. The Nazis do exist. But it's not like the Nazis. It's a small group. Or are there -- is there a real problem of Nazis there?
RABBI: It's a small group, that people in the Ukraine, Jews in the Ukraine, report that they have grown up, without any feeling of anti-Semitism. They feel it may be there beneath the surface. But it's there in every country, including the United States. And critics will point to the Azoff group, which is a paramilitary group, which ties in to neo-Nazi groups. But then on the other side, you have the Wagner group. Putin's own paramilitary private army that is equally named.
GLENN: Yeah. Named Wagner. I love people saying, it's Wagner. No. It's Wagner. Wagner. Named after the composures, Hitler's favorite composer.
RABBI: But at the same time, we do have to appreciate the fact that the vast, vast majority of people screaming out of Ukraine today are innocent people. Are not tied into whatever their grandparents did. These are older people. Younger people whose lives have been disrupted overnight. They certainly, certainly require and should be getting our sympathy.
GLENN: I am -- I am concerned. Well, before we leave Ukraine. There's another controversy. And that controversy is the iron dome. Israel will not give the iron dome to Ukraine. How do you respond to that?
RABBI: You know, I live in Jerusalem. In the valley just below my home, there's an iron dome installation. In -- last -- in the Gaza war last spring, we essentially ran out of iron dome missiles. We had to be resupplied.
RABBI: You know, a couple of our friends on the squad were against resupplying us. People forget that Israel lives with existential angst every day. There are people out to destroy us. Not the least of which is in Iran, which is benefiting from this war, because somehow our administration is so bent on signing a -- a counterproductive treaty, that is not going to do anything, other than release billions of dollars to them. Israel needs iron dome. It would do relatively little in a country as vast and as big as Ukraine. Iron dome is meant for small areas, where you know the direction of incoming missiles.
RABBI: Not the kind of really modern missiles, that Russia is lobbing in, including hypersonic weapons. And where a vast border means they can come from any direction at all.
GLENN: So let's talk about the Iranian deal. This is horrifying to me. Horrifying. I mean, we were making such progress in the Middle East. Under Donald Trump. And that's all gone. And now, we've hacked off Saudi Arabia, by doing this deal. They're not happy with us. In fact, they're not even returning our president's phone call. And I think that Israel is going to have to respond, when this deal is done. Because we are allowing the Russians to come in and build more plants for them. This is insanity.
RABBI: Add to that, the fact that Americans, and most of the -- all the free world sees what one madman can do.
RABBI: The kind of devastation, that he can bring down upon people, if there's nothing holding him back. Now, add to that, in Iran, where you have in addition to that, religious fervor. People who are not afraid of absorbing nuclear bombs. Because it is part of the mission. It will bring the 11th imam.
GLENN: Yes. Those who -- those who are a part of that 12er sect. Are terrifying. And the average person in Iran, might not be. But, America, think of it this way. Are you for the things that are going on in Washington?
Are you like, yeah. That's what I voted for. They listened to me. Imagine in Iran, you don't have any say, on what they're doing. It could be a crazy sect at the top, which it is. That believe, we're going to hasten the return of the promised one.
RABBI: And one high-ranking official. I don't remember his name, a couple of years ago. Said, Israel is a one-bomb country. Meaning, we can finish it off with just one well-placed nuclear weapon. But -- and Iran will absorb a few.
GLENN: Well, here's what the Iranian revolutionary guard Corp commander-in-chief, general Hussein Salami said yesterday, in Iran. Iran's enemies such as Israel and the United States, have an expiration date, as the New World Order is upon us. That's a little frightening.
RABBI: Just a little.
GLENN: Just a little.
All right. I want to take a quick break. Then I want to ask you, because you did something -- is it the ladder or the rungs of anti-Semitism? And I have been concerned, seeing this grow overseas, but it is growing in a great number of people, who are our neighbors. But I don't think they even understand it, as anti-Semitism. And I want to talk to you about those rungs. And what they are. They are the -- the four rungs of anti-Semitism. Do I have it right? Four rungs of anti-Semitism. We'll go there in just a second.
GLENN: So sitting in my studio is the director of interfaith affairs, at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. His name is Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, and it's a pleasure to have you here.
RABBI: Thank you.
GLENN: So let's talk about what's happening. First in -- in Europe. How bad is it getting in Europe?
RABBI: It's pretty bad. Jews are not so comfortable walking around in the street with anything identifying them as Jews. Not true of everyone, of course. But people are increasingly conscious of it. The attacks on religious institutions. Something we've never talked about in the United States. How many churches have burned in the year in France. But it's worse with synagogues. By grandchildren in Berlin attend a school, where they are guarded by German police. Which is kind of ironic.
RABBI: And when -- when you have a continent, where people have -- people show -- people stated years ago, that the single biggest threat to peace, not Iran. Not China. But Israel.
RABBI: Then you know something is going on beneath the surface. Europeans never liked Jews too much to begin with. It's not like the United States. And things are getting bad.
GLENN: The United States though, I think is -- I mean, policy-wise. I don't know what our friendship is with Israel, or -- it seemed -- it seems to be a little anti-Semitic, on the left now. In fact, a lot of anti-Semitic on the left. And anti-Semitic lighter, if you will, in the Democratic Party.
RABBI: There's still a lot of bipartisan support of Israel. Perhaps the threat to that is that so many young people are listening, not to anything Jewish. But to what they hear from professors on campus. That they've swallowed. They've swallowed the whole -- the whole theory out there, that the -- that the Jews are the last colonialist power conceived in sin, and the world will not be a safe place until we get rid of it.
GLENN: That's crazy.
RABBI: It is crazy.
GLENN: You know, it is -- I never understood -- I'll get to this in a second. But I never understood how Jewish people could live in Germany, with all of the things that were being done. Led up to just the mass slaughter. And how they would always say, yeah. But it's not going to get worse than this. It's not going to get worse than this. And how so many people said, look, I'm a patriot of this country. They're not going to do that to me. I never understood it, until recently. Because some of the same things are being said about Christians. And people who vote differently. They're saying crazy things, but you're like, yeah. But that will never happen here. And there's this disconnect -- there's just this like -- I don't know where the bridge is. But there's a bridge somewhere, to where that becomes real. And I don't know what the last signs are. I don't know what it is, that makes you go, you know, I don't think I should be here. Do you know what I'm saying?
GLENN: Can you help me with that?
RABBI: Well, of course, there's a human reticence to believe that their whole world and everything that they are in, could fall apart. So you avoid even listening to news that works in that direction.
RABBI: But I don't know how many more years Jews have in America, how many years Americans have in America.
GLENN: That is -- that is terribly frightening. Okay. We're going to -- he's going to compare and show us, where we are, and where Europe is, the rest of the world, on the ladder of anti-Semitism. And it is pretty shocking. We'll go there, in just a minute. Stand by.
GLENN: So Stu and I were just having a chat here, off -- you know, off-air. We were talking to a guy who truly changed my life. He's the director of interfaith affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He's also the founding editor of Cross Currents. He's Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein. And I just said to Stu a minute ago, that for the first time in my life, I feel that America is a force for darkness or evil. I just think, we are knowingly on the wrong side in many ways. And that scares me because God's protection leaves us. But also because so many people are duped. There's a lot of people that just don't -- I mean, I've read enough history. And if you read enough history, you can see -- it's like reading the Bible. You read the Bible, and you're like, what? Three pages ago, you guys learned this lesson. What happened? It's that. It's, you -- somehow or another, we forget, and we make exactly the same mistakes. I want to talk to you about the Abrahamic Accords. But first, can you give they the rungs? The anti-Semitic rungs?
RABBI: Sure, this is something we observed starting a number of years ago. The anti-Semitism of the left was progressing in a -- in a given direction. Anti-Semitism on the right, we sort of know how to deal with.
GLENN: It's pretty obvious. They come in brown shirts.
RABBI: Right. And they are marginal. They're never going to attract the majority of Americans. They're not going to have a recreation of Hitler's brown shirts in the US. The left is a different matter. It started, the first rung was we are going to boycott the settlements. Not Israel, mind you. Israel is a Democratic state. It has a lot of support, so we can't get away with that. So it's just settlements. And that became popular with main line Christian churches, who have now dwindled to about 36 people collectively. But -- but another historic force. And especially on campus. The second rung was, well, of course, it's the settlements, which is the real problem there. Ignoring about 100 years of history, in the region, including attempts to drive Israel into the sea, before there was anything.
RABBI: But now we have to talk about boycotting Israel in general, because Israel supports it is settlements. Now, we're still talking about Israel. And we're talking about Zionist expansionism, and things like that. Whatever they can get to stick to the wall. And some churches got into that. Even doing things like changing the literature, to make it clear, that all Biblical references to Israel, have nothing to do with the modern state, which, of course --
GLENN: Did they actually do that?
RABBI: Than three nominations.
GLENN: Really? That's what they did in Nazi Germany.
RABBI: Well, different -- different motives.
GLENN: Yeah. Wow.
RABBI: But the third rung -- and a lot of people are still -- are still there. You know, that's what Ben & Jerry's was.
RABBI: Ostensibly, they said, pull out of the settlements. Knowing that you can't pull out of the settlements, without pulling out of all of Israel. So effectively, they were boycotting all of Israel.
GLENN: And divesting.
RABBI: Yeah. So the third rung, things get even scarier. Then the assumption is, we're not talking about Israel anymore. But the assumption now is that Zionists are a fair target, no matter where they are. People started coming after Hillals (phonetic) on campus. Hillals are a pro-Zionist group, although pretty left-wing and always willing to consider both sides of the argument. They're not rah-rah rightest groups. But Zionists became a fair target. All Zionists. And you have groups including I think the last one Tufts. Asking to ban all student groups, that won't take a -- an oath that they don't support Zionism. Because Zionism. Because Zionism, per se. So now you have like crossing --
GLENN: Yeah. Now it's not a country.
GLENN: It's closer to the individual.
RABBI: And the fourth rung, which some groups have, the Bay Area spokeswoman for CAIR. Which we consider to be a full terrorist organization.
GLENN: Yes. So do I.
RABBI: Said a couple of weeks ago, warned the members of CAIR, that you have to watch out for synagogue groups. Now, not Zionist groups. But synagogue groups.
GLENN: Well, what -- who belongs to a synagogue group?
RABBI: I wonder.
GLENN: I'm usually not put into that category.
RABBI: It's a Greek word. So maybe it has something to do with ancient Greece. But what happens here is that Jews, per se, the average Jew in the street becomes a target. So you see the targeting of Jews who look like Jews. In Brooklyn. Daily.
GLENN: I bet. We're seeing this cross a lot of lines. And the same thing happened in the past. Where, first it was, oh, you're a conservative. You're a Republican. Oh, you were a voter for Donald Trump. To, oh, you're a person that won't support this, this, and this. And it is directly targeting the person.
RABBI: The person. The person.
GLENN: That's when it gets really scary.
RABBI: And the assumption contrary to everything that America stood for. For 200 years.
GLENN: Yeah. I know.
RABBI: That you don't teal with group identities. But you consider the person a person. That now, at least in terms of Jews, pushed by groups on the left, and by Nation of Islam. Farrakhan. Which is -- who has done a lot of harm, in inner city black communities.
GLENN: And Karl Marx. You know. And Karl Marx. Karl Marx is -- his philosophies -- I mean, socialism doesn't usually lead to -- I mean, you could be socialist, and not anti-Semitic. But when you're Karl Marx socialism. When you are aiming for pitting groups against each other, it's almost always socialist.
RABBI: I think I'll have to disagree with you. Because Karl Marx talked about actively pitting them. He said the forces of history would do that. It was inevitable. And they would -- they would conflict with each other. But here you have people, who are prodding young Americans. Americans on campus.
RABBI: And urging them to think with groupthink. And reject certain people and certain identities. Especially starting with Jews.
GLENN: So we were -- I thought headed in the right direction. Making progress like I've never seen in my life. I mean, the Abrahamic Accords were literally, I think a miracle. Never thought I would see that in my life. You were part of that, weren't you? You were for ten years on those accords.
GLENN: And it was Trump that was the last piece that put it over the top?
RABBI: Trump was the last piece that put it over the top. It was the support of a lot of people in -- in the Emirates, and in -- in Bahrain.
RABBI: Bahrain, which has its critics, nonetheless had a history of over 100 years of genuine religious tolerance. They have a street in the capitol, in which you can find the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church, a Hindu temple, and a mosque, on the same street. And this is not since the Abrahamic Accords. This is something they used to capitalize on in creating the Abrahamic Accords. And people in the region discovered, you know, United States under Obama, did not prove to be such a reliable ally. Things are changing. Iran is this big Specter, that is looking for domination. I'm going to turn this thing into a Shiite/Sunni War. And if there's anything they hate worse than Jews, it's the other side in that.
GLENN: Yeah. I know.
RABBI: So what it led to is people who had naturally gotten along, to -- to a large extent. Wasn't perfect. But anti-Semitism in the Islamic world was not -- certain times, was not anywhere as intense as it was in Europe. And people do get along in those regions. And they were tired of the Palestinians, kind of crying to the world, about we're the most oppressed people out there. Got other people out there. Got to worry about Iran. And we have to think of a new -- a new collaboration here in the Middle East.
GLENN: So is it still holding together?
RABBI: It is holding together beautifully.
GLENN: What happens when Saudi Arabia turns east, and Iran toward -- points north and east? Or Moscow and China?
RABBI: That -- you know, there's -- there's no predicting where that will lead to. But I can tell you one thing that will be very hard to change. The Abraham Accords led immediately to the opening of doors of two peoples with each other. So now it's not so uncommon to find Muslim visitors to Israel. Who are accepted, and then treated warmly, in the streets of Israel.
GLENN: Is it true -- is it true that one of the big players, a state player went undercover to Israel?
RABBI: Somebody who had been working on it. On behalf of the government in Ukraine. Decided with the permission of the -- of the highers up. That he wanted to see Israel for himself. This was about five years ago. It was before the Abraham Accords. But at one point, I was doing a draft for the king on what became called the Bahrain Declaration. Together with our mutual friend Johnnie Moore, we were working on the first draft.
GLENN: He's a good man.
RABBI: And this person surprised us, told us he had recently came from Israel. He said, I only had time to visit two cities. I went to Tel Aviv. He said, that was cosmopolitan!
GLENN: Oh, it is. It's New York.
RABBI: Urbane. And then he said, and then I went to Jerusalem. And my heart fell. And I said, oh, I'm going to have to defend my city.
GLENN: It's the religious part --
RABBI: Before I could get the words out, he said, you know, Tel Aviv, I just found to be another concrete jungle.
RABBI: He said, in Jerusalem. Practicing Muslim. He said, in Jerusalem, I could feel the presence of God walking in the street.
GLENN: I am telling you, that is true. The first time be with the Temple Mount actually is like a -- is like a pulsar. Where you can feel it. You get anywhere in Israel, at least I can -- you can feel it. You know why everything happens around Israel. It's almost like the world spins with Jerusalem as the center. Or the North Pole, if you will. Because it is God's seat. And you feel it, when you get there. It's amazing.
RABBI: And the Jewish version, on that, always was, that my house will be a house of prayer for all of the nations. This was the Jewish dream. It wasn't to convert the -- the rest of the world. Neither by the sword, nor by persuasion to Judaism. It was to convert the world to -- to a belief in the one God. And incorporating his presence in our lives, at all times. And the place where you can feel the potential for that, is Jerusalem. And it doesn't matter if you're Jewish or you're a Christian or you're a Muslim.
GLENN: No. Yeah. You can feel it. You can feel it. You can feel it. Rabbi, thank you very much. God bless you. The director of the interfaith affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The founding editor of Cross Currents. You can find that at cross-currents.com.