Year after year, on Yom Hashoah, I watch the programmes on Israel TV devoted to the subject of the Holocaust and I want to cry out, in the words of Shakespeare’s King Lear:
“Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I’d use them so
That heaven’s vault should crack …”
Today, in Israel, we commemorate Yom Hashoah, as we do every year and once again, we ask ourselves: “Could it happen again?”
Sadly, if the rising level of antisemitism in the world is anything to go by, then yes – it could.
Holocaust denial is still flourishing – in Europe, the United States, Iran…
And if they do not deny the Holocaust, they try to downplay it, by claiming that the numbers were exaggerated, or that others, besides the Jews, suffered.
The very fact that we commemorate the Six Million murdered Jews, is used as a stick by our enemies with which to beat us. Who has not encountered the argument: “You Jews think you’re the only ones to have suffered! Millions of others perished in the Holocaust, Gypsies, Slavs, Christians etc. Why is it always about the suffering of the Jews?”
To which I say: Yes, it’s true millions of non-Jews suffered. Millions of others died. But only the Jews were singled out, in advance, in a carefully conceived plan, for total annihilation. No other group of people had the dubious “honour” of having a high-level conference called by the Nazi leadership, to plan the strategy of their destruction. Hitler and his minions planned the “Final Solution of the Jewish Problem” and meticulously recorded its implementation. NOT “the Final Solution of the Gypsy Problem”, NOT “the Final Solution of the Slav Problem”, NOT “the Final Solution of the Christian Problem”.
Another sign of antisemitism (yes, I said antisemitism, NOT anti-Zionism and NOT mere opposition to certain policies of the Government of Israel) is the cynical attempt to equate the “suffering” of the so-called “Palestinian people” with the wholesale genocide of the Nazi Holocaust. As I have pointed out before, there is no comparison between the two and yet the modern antisemites accuse us of “always playing the Holocaust card” to justify Israel’s so-called iniquities. I believe that this is a way for antisemites who are in denial about what they really are, to divest themselves of guilt – as well as for those who are fully aware of their own racist Jew-hatred to appear “respectable” by joining the fashionable, Politically Correct form of racism, which masquerades as “anti-Zionism”.
It is now fashionable to claim that Zionism is, itself, racist – but to deny to the Jewish people a right that the Loony Left, as well as the wishy-washy armchair liberals, claim for the “Palestinians” is, ipso facto, racist. To claim that Israel’s Law of Return is racist, while ignoring the fact that, in the “Palestinian Territories”, selling land to a Jew is an offence punishable by death, and that Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) has declared that no Jews will be allowed to live in his projected State of Palestine, is, ipso facto, racist. (Abu Mazen has, in the past, denied the existence of the Holocaust and claimed that Zionist leaders collaborated with the Nazis to facilitate the widespread destruction of European Jewry.)
I find it ironic that, while Hitler and his minions played the race card, categorising Jews as a “race” or “a nation” slated for destruction, modern antisemites attempt to deny us our peoplehood, claiming that we are not a nation, merely a “religion” and, as such, have no right to our own state, because, after all “there are French/British/American Catholics and Protestants and Jews” And then, in a stupendous exhibition of Orwellian Doublethink, they claim that Zionism is racism because nation-states are, ipso facto, racist. In short, for the modern antisemites, Jews have no right to a state on any grounds whatsoever.
Furthermore, I would argue that the attempt to strip us of our right to self-determination is yet another attempt to destroy us. They have failed to destroy us physically – so now they attempt to claim that we do not, in fact, exist as a people. Some go further, claiming that all of European Jewry are, in fact, descendants of the Khazars – a Turkic people of the Central Asian steppes who, according to Jewish legend, converted to Judaism some time in the 8th century C.E. This is, of course, a nonsensical theory because, even if the entire population of Khazaria had converted to Judaism, and intermarried with the existing Jewish population, there were already large Jewish communities all over Europe and it would be illogical to assume that these simply disappeared.
In short, the ugly manifestations of antisemitism – a hatred half as old as time – are many and various. They pre-date the Israeli “Occupation” of Judaea and Samaria, they predate the establishment of the State of Israel, they pre-date the rise of modern, political Zionism, they pre-date Islam, they pre-date Christianity.
They are as old as the existence of the Jewish people.
And they still exist.
As do we.