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One of the tested methods of discovering whether the deadly gas methane is present in a coal mine is to place a canary in the suspected area. Apparently the canary is especially susceptible and vulnerable to the presence of this gas. If the canary dies from the yet humanly undetectable gas, then everyone clears out of that mine post haste. The canary is the forecaster of things to come, whether pleasant or unpleasant. 
In the history of civilization, the Jewish people have performed the role of being the canary in the mine. How the world treats the Jewish people - and especially now the State of Israel, eerily forecasts future world conflicts - certainly for the Western world. When Iran threatens Israel with extinction, God forbid, the Western world should take heed. The slogan of the Moslem street "first the Saturday people and then the Sunday people" should not be ignored or taken lightly. 
Hitler and Stalin should have taught the responsible Western leadership that the persecution and destruction of the Jews was only a forerunner of greater horrors that would consume tens of millions of others - mainly non-Jews. All of Jewish history testifies to this unique and unwanted phenomenon of the persecution of the Jews. It never ends only with the Jews. The destruction of Judea by Rome in the year 70CE led to the domination of Rome over the rest of the then-known world for the next 350 years. The persecution of Jews in Spain in 1391, culminating in the expulsion decree of 1492, all inspired by the Roman Catholic Church and its office of the Inquisition, led to the Protestant Reformation and the horrors of the Thirty Years War that decimated much of Europe. The persecution of the canary signalled the deadly presence of the poisonous gas of religious and social persecution in Europe generally.  
The pogroms of the late 1800's and early 1900's in Czarist Russia only foreshadowed the killing of millions by Lenin and Stalin when the Czar was deposed and eventually the Bolsheviks took power. Millions died in the Ukraine by starvation, the Communist party itself was purged a number of times by Stalin, millions more would perish in the Gulag, but here again it was the earlier persecution of the Jews that triggered the unleashing of this violence and these murderous policies. Kristallnacht should have served as a wakeup call to Great Britain and France that they were next on the maniacal list of Adolf Hitler's victims. Instead they continued their deluded policy of appeasement that led to the slaughter of tens of millions in World War II.
It would be superfluous to add that ignoring the death and persecution of the canary only leads to the explosion within the mine. Again, it is Jewish history and experience that instructs at least us, if not others, as to the dangers involved in ignoring the plight of the canary. There is plenty of poisonous gas leaking into the world's mine today.  
The continuing unfair treatment of Israel by the UN, the unrelenting hatred spewed by the Arab leaders and the Arab street against Jews and Israel, and the almost obssessive focus on the Israeli Arab conflict as being the core problem for all of the world's ills only serves to remind us of our role as being the canary in the mine. England, Spain, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and the United States were - and still are - not overly concerned regarding continued Arab terrorism againstIsrael over the past decades. But now the gas has spread from the canary and engulfed much of the mine itself.
History repeats itself and the dire consequences of ignoring past incidents are already apparent in our current world. The Jewish people are a special nation in God's scheme of things so to speak. We may not enjoy our role of being the canary in the mine but there we are. Proclaiming the fact that we are, is however anecessary measure not only for our self-preservation but for the sanity and salvation of much of the non-Jewish world as well. I realize that it may no longer be politically correct to view ourselves as being special and different. But that is nevertheless our fate, our challenge and our badge of pride. So let us hope and pray for the good fortune and life of the canary - and for the mine as well.
Shabat shalom.
Berel Wein        


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