Tomorrow, January 27th, is the international Holocaust Memorial Day. In Israel, this is marked the week before Independence Day, but the rest of the world commemorates the horrors to which antisemitism can lead, on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by Red Army troops.
These days, I frequently get the feeling that the annual ceremony at the United Nations is merely lip service paid to the memory of six million men, women and children murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators, while the world stood by and did nothing. I have the impression that, were the same thing to happen again, the world would once again stand by and do nothing. In fact, many of the non-nations and pseudo-nations that now make up the membership of that club known as the U.N. would cheer.
Has the world changed? I fear not. True, after the Second World War, open antisemitism became politically incorrect. True, for a brief moment, there was a window of opportunity when the so-called “Free World” recognised its collective responsibility and the U.N. General Assembly voted to create the State of Israel as a Jewish homeland. But that moment quickly passed. The United Nations was quick to back-track, did all it could to perpetuate the “Palestinian refugee problem” (about which, more in a later blog) and is now, thanks to the automatic Arab-Muslim-Third World majority and to the cowardice and covert antisemitism thinly disguised as anti-Zionism of its European members, trying to delegitimise the Jewish state and even the Jewish people.
Furthermore, there is a tendency to trivialise the Holocaust by calling every alleged act of atrocity by that name. Thus, the new antisemites, masquerading as “anti-Zionists”, accuse Israel of emulating the Nazis in their treatment of the “Palestinians” and compare the “naqba” (Arabic for “catastrophe” or “disaster” – their name for the establishment of the State of Israel) to the Nazi Holocaust.
Please note – I am not saying that every criticism of Israel is motivated by antisemitism. What I am saying is that focussing solely on Israel, to the exclusion of far worse acts by other states, cannot be explained away as mere anti-Zionism or even as legitimate criticism. If Gay Rights groups condemn Israel – the only country in the Middle East where gays are not persecuted – while ignoring the persecution of gays in Islamic countries, where homosexuality is frequently punished by death, the only explanation I can find is that of antisemitism. If the New York Times publishes an article claiming that Israel’s PR campaign highlighting the freedom and lack of persecution enjoyed by gays and lesbians in Israel is , in fact, designed as a smokescreen to hide the so-called oppression of the “Palestinians”, the only explanation I can find is that of antisemitism.
If an obsessively anti-Zionist, self-hating Jewish blogger such as Richard Silverstein, can sink so low as to claim that Israel’s aid to Haiti following the earthquake of 2010 was given merely to improve Israel’s PR, and can allow his groupies to claim, without rebuke, that “the Zionists” control the media – just like the traditional antisemitic claim that “the Jews” control the media (and the banks, Hollywood, etc.), the only explanation I can find is that of antisemitism (even if it is of the self-hatred variety).
A popular ploy among the “new” antisemites, is to claim that the Jews of today are not really Jews but Khazars, thus negating our right to the Land of Israel. I find more and more evidence of this brand of antisemitism on the Internet, especially Youtube (where the most virulent kind of antisemitism is alive and kicking, despite all of YouTube’s much vaunted rules against hate speech). In fact, antisemitism flourishes on the Internet, without even the merest pretence of being “anti-Zionism”.
Muslim antisemitism is also a growing evil. When the Palestinian Authority’s Grand Mufti of Jerusalem calls on Muslims, at a Palestinian Authority event, to kill Jews who are, he claims, the descendants of apes and pigs, this is antisemitism, pure and simple. And make no mistake – this is antisemitism which is rooted in the Quran, the very foundation of Islam. The Grand Mufti’s words are nothing other than a call for genocide. In the Islamic world, at least, anti-Zionism and antisemitism are one and the same. The President of the Islamic State of Iran calls for the Jewish State of Israel to be wiped off the face of the map – and is developing nuclear weapons. The “Free World” calls for sanctions- but these are foiled by Russia, a country with a long and shameful antisemitic past.
When I was a student, I used to work for the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Antisemitism. That was almost three decades ago. My duties included typing up reports and studies on antisemitic phenomena around the world. Sadly, my impression today is that the world has not changed for the better in this respect.