Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, began this evening with the annual ceremony at Yad Vashem. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke of Israel’s need not forfeit its security to other nations:
Netanyahu stated that anti-Semitic hatred “has not disappeared, it has been switched with murderous hatred against the state of the Jews. What has changed is our ability to defend ourselves.”
The prime minister stated that while Israel appreciated the efforts of the world to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel “cannot forfeit our security to other nations…not even to our closest allies.”
President Shimon Peres reminded us and the world that anti-Semitism still exists and is still a threat to the Jewish people and all humanity:
The map of Europe still contains local stains of anti-Semitism. Racism erupted on that land in the last century and dragged it down to its lowest point. Ultimately the murder which came from her, damaged her.
To our shame, there remain some who learned nothing. Young skinheads. False scientists dressed in false suits. Yes! There remain those who forget the Holocaust, those who deny it.
Not all the flames have been extinguished. Crises are once again exploited to form Nazi parties, ridiculous but dangerous. Sickening anti-Semitic cartoons are published allegedly in the name of press freedom.
The civilized world must ask itself how in such a short space of time after the crematoria were extinguished, after the terrible death toll that the allied powers endured to put an end to the Nazi devil, it is still possible for the leadership, like that of Iran, to openly deny the Holocaust and threaten another Holocaust.
Peres’ words are reinforced by the news that there has been a 30% increase in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide in 2012. Most shockingly, and counter-intuitively, anti-Semitic incidents lead to more anti-Semitism, not less:
“It appears that rather than the Toulouse attacks being a shock to the system, they had the opposite effect and perhaps allowed terrorist groups in Europe to become more emboldened,” EJC President Moshe Kantor said at an anti-Semitism press conference Sunday at Tel Aviv University, pointing to attempted terror attacks across the continent against Jewish targets.
In related news, Yad Vashem announced that they are aiming to collect the names of all 6 million murdered Jews over the next 3 years, in a complicated detective project examining archives all over Europe.
Equally as timely but less satisfactorily, the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced in its 12th annual report that two SS chiefs managed to escape to the United States and are on the most-wanted list.
This year’s theme for Yom Hashoah was Jewish resistance to the Nazis, and Barry Davis has written a very interesting article about how “Against all Odds“, the Jews did not go as lambs to the slaughter, but rather attempted to fight back as much as possible.
As if to rub salt into the wound of the Holocaust, it was recently revealed that the City of Amsterdam was still fining its Jewish Holocaust-survivor residents for unpaid municipal taxes while they were imprisoned in concentration camps!
This evening, Israel’s TV Channel 2 broadcast an excellent documentary by Yaacov Eilon on “the New Antisemitism”. It discussed the mutation of the “old” antisemitism into the new kind: anti-Zionism, which is used as a cover for the same old Jew-hatred that we have known for thousands of years. Amongst the people interviewed were Attorney Alan Dershowitz, head of the ADL Abe Foxman, and the redoubtable Richard Millett who ventures into the lion’s den in Britain, documenting the new anti-Semitism on his blog.
Some of the others interviewed in the program were far from pleasant, plainly and unashamedly pronouncing their overtly antisemitic views in front of the camera, with no attempt at cover-up. In fact I found some of the views aired pretty frightening, even though I blog about this subject constantly.
The Jerusalem Post has a write-up about the documentary with a short video clip. If I find an active link to the entire documentary I will update this post.
UPDATE: Here’s the link to the video on Channel 2’s website. The commentary is in Hebrew but a large proportion of the interviews are in English, and make themselves quite clear.
As if to remind us of what Israel and the Jews are up against, this evening in the middle of the Yom Hashoah ceremony, a Hamas rocket fired from Gaza landed in the Shaar Hanegev region. The “ding-dong” sound is the “Colour Red” siren for incoming rockets:
As I do every year, I would also remind you that you can read about my own family history during the Holocaust on my Family History page. I recently updated it with a report about the 70th anniversary memorial service that the family held for my mother’s three brothers who were murdered in Sobibor.
After the Holocaust, Jews, and much of the world, vowed, “Never again.” Yet in the last few years antisemitism has returned to Europe, from Greece in the south to Norway in the north, from France in the west to Russia in the east. Nothing like what it was in the past, yet enough to make Jews fear what the future may bring.
Antisemitism matters not because it is an assault on Jews but because it’s an assault on humanity. Jews were hated because they were a minority and because they were different. But we’re all different, and any group may one day find itself a minority. It wasn’t Jews alone who suffered under Hitler.
Which is why we must learn to fight hate together. We owe the heroes of the Warsaw ghetto no less.
The overriding theme of this year’s Yom Hashoah, besides the official theme of Jewish resistance, is that Anti-Semitism is making a come-back – if it ever went away at all – and like a virus it has mutated into its latest version: anti-Zionism, often under the cover of “human rights”, but these human rights are special. They are intended for everyone except for Jews, Israeli Jews in particular.
We must be eternally vigilant and we must be much more pro-active both in fighting this vicious hatred, countering the lies and in promoting Israel’s good name.
Above all we must continue to have faith in G-d that He will continue to protect us and preserve our beloved Land of Israel.
הנה לא ינום ולא ישן שומר ישראל