Ok, I've been a bit lax in posting as of late, but parashat Shemot is here and I'm ready to go:
"The Egyptians treated us badly," as it is said: Come, let us deal wisely them lest they multiply and, if there should be a war against us, they will join our enemies, fight against us and move up out of the land." (Shemot 1:10)
The gematria of the word havah, come is 12. That is to say, come let us outsmart the 12 tribes. (Baal ha-Turim)
Legends of the Jews says that the Israelites had shown their military prowess in Egypt's war against Zepho, the grandson of Esav. The Pharaoh feared they might turn against him.
The Ramban says that Pharaoh dealt wisely by not giving official soldiers or executioners the task of killing Jewish children. This way he could claim to search for the real killers if there were any complaints. Only later did this become official policy.
The Orah Hayim suggests that the slavery in Egypt was due to the unjust economic policies of Yosef when he was the viceroy of Egypt. The same verb “nithakam” is used both by Yosef and Pharoah when he is concerned with dealing the Bene Yisrael. Yosef would only accept cash payments during the time of famine, thereby accelerating the poverty of farmers.
According to Patricia Turner, during World War II, African Americans were accused of belonging to "Swastika clubs" and "Black Dragon societies." Sound familiar?