This week, Israel will be commemorating not only the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust but also recall the untold stories of the many acts of Jewish resistance that occurred during this period throughout Europe; the Holocaust being the darkest period of Jewish history.
Yet in recent months, as the Holocaust has been cynically used as a backdrop for Jewish liberals in America to attack President Trump, it’s not surprising that in response to this partisan use of the Holocaust, more and more voices can be heard stating that it’s time for Jews to get over the Holocaust and suggest that now is the time for Jews to move on and stop making the Holocaust the most pivotal event in Jewish history.
With mass killings going on in recent years during Obama’s watch, many of his Democratic and liberal supporters have been suggesting that the Holocaust is unnecessarily singled out as if it’s more special than other historical events. They claim that although the Holocaust was on a much greater scale and horrifically well-organized, it was far from the first incident of a dominant power killing those deemed “inferior” on trumped up charges, and essentially not that different from what’s going on in the Middle East over the past 5 years, while the Obama admiration did nothing to stop the killing.
For many of these liberal “Tikkun Olam” Democrats, mankind has been perpetrating horrible atrocities on other human beings for centuries. They seem genuinely puzzled as to why Holocaust denial is even considered a crime in over a dozen countries. Surely, as far as they are concerned, this is an overreaction. Do we arrest those that believe and express the opinion that the world is flat? Why should denial of a historical event even be considered a crime, something detrimental to society?
Historical events, as earth-shattering and history-ending as they seem at the time, eventually fade from the forefront of public consciousness and become memory. When Holocaust survivors will no longer be around, and when there is no more opportunity to let children and educators hear firsthand testimony of the Holocaust, will the Holocaust be just another event studied in world history classes? With all of the effort that has gone into recording testimonies of the Holocaust be enough to preserve historical memory in terms of the magnitude and uniqueness of the Holocaust?
There are few historical events that have undergone greater scrutiny and preservation. Perhaps we can even acknowledge that we’ve done enough to ensure that the Holocaust can never be forgotten. In a moral world, in a world that differentiates between good and evil, right and wrong, this kind of preservation of historical memory would probably suffice. However, today in the age of globalization in which everything is viewed through the prism of cultural relativism, facts and evidence are not enough, the enemies of the Jews and of Israel not only claim that the Jews exaggerate and that the Holocaust was made up so as to justify the establishment of the State of Israel, but they take this one step further and falsely claim that Israel itself is implementing a Holocaust on the Arabs living within Judea and Samaria.
Sadly yet not surprising, many Jews are not immune from the politically correct trivialization of the Holocaust and acceptance of universalism as the intellectual context of interpreting world events. Yet, Jewish identity that ignores or belittles or “moves beyond” the systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish race seventy-five years ago cannot possibly fathom the significance and importance of the establishment of the State of Israel. The Jewish people made a conscience effort to rebuild out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Those that regard the Holocaust as just another unfortunate event cannot be depended on to understand that for modern Israel, in order to deal with existential threats, Israel must do whatever is necessary so that “never again” will not remain an empty slogan.
Those that depict the Holocaust as just another historical event should be reminded of what the Holocaust was all about. In Daniel Mendelsohn’s recent The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million, he describes in detail the core horror of Nazi action in collaboration with locals in Bolechow, Poland, September 1942:
In every generation, the Jewish nation has had to deal with the threat of annihilation. In ancient Egypt, it seemed that the Jews would be gone. In ancient Persia, it looked like Haman would have his way and annihilate the Jewish nation. All of these so-called great empires have disappeared and against all odds, we, the Jewish nation are still around. Not just surviving, but thriving.
The enormity of the Holocaust, however, with the majority of European Jewry being systematically murdered, is a singular event that defies comparison in the last millennium. In retrospect, the Holocaust compels Jews to confront their own Jewishness. After such unspeakable events such as the one described above, every Jew must look inside themselves and consider: Hitler tried to exterminate my people and the world stood by in silence. Will I, through apathy and indifference, become a partner to Hitler? Or will my life convey a testimony to the glory of the Jewish people and its resurrection from the ashes? That is the real reason that it’s not the time for Jews to “get over and move beyond” the Holocaust nor agree to rebrand the Holocaust as just another sad episode in world history.
The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer and Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psychoeducation programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. Today, Ron is a strategic advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria.
Important article.But I must once again urge: Where Are the Jewish Writers and Historians to Expose the Culpability of the Palestinian Leadership in the Holocaust? Yes its important to remember and educate on the Holocaust of WW II. But the spawn of the Nazi-ideology of vicious, violent hate against the Jews continues to spew its poison every today, under the protection of Israel itself, in the form of HAMAS in Gaza, and Abass and his FATAH/PLO/PA in the West Bank.The story of the Holocaust exists in Europe, but it is alive and well in Eretz Israel itself, perpetrated every day by the Islamo-Nazis whose revered leadership include Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, of the infamous Al-Husseini family of Jerusalem, who collaborated with Hitler and Eichmann and implored them to kill the Jews in Europe so they would not go to [British Mandate] Palestine; who helped organize and recruit a muslim SS Division from among the muslims of the Balkans (e.g. Bosnia) which became an SS Einstatzgruppen (Special Task Force) #4, which perpetrated numerous atrocities against thousands of unarmed Jewish men, women and children.The Palestinian Arab leadership has never been held to account. The Allies did hold the Germans to account and imposed an occupation and de-Nazification program at the end of WW II, including the trial and execution of leading Nazis, until German society was reformed.
Israel is under a moral obligation to do the same with Palestinian society–it must impose a de-Islamo-Nazification program and compel the reformation of Palestinian society. In addition, just as Germany, post-WW II, acknowledged its Nazi past and paid reparations to the Jews for the loss of life, the horror of internment and the theft of property, Israel must demand reparations from Palestinian society, for its role in the Holocaust. Such financial reparations must include the forfeiture of any Palestinian Arab claim to sovereignty in any part of the land of Israel.
This link between the PA of today and the Nazis of WW II, is very direct. Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was given asylum by the Nazis in Berlin during WW II where he perpetrated his Holocaust collaboration. He was the uncle/cousin of Arafat and helped arch-terrorist Arafat establish the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, when the so-called West Bank was in the hands of Jordan. The target then of the PLO upon its creation was not the West Bank, but Tel Aviv, etc., as it is today.Apart from the havens many Nazis found in South America after WW II, many vicious Nazi perpetrators found sanctuary and continued their work of hate against Jews in certain Arab countries including Egypt and Syria.It is incumbent upon Jewish leaders to publicize the details of this history, to urge historians to further research this part of the Holocaust story and the links to present day Palestinian society, and to urge the government of Israel to hold Palestinian leadership and society to account in the same way the Allies did with Germany post-WWII; for the idea among the Palestinians for a Jewish Holocausthas never stopped.