This past week a law passed its first reading in the Knesset to outlaw the use of the word NAZI as an abuse of another. For example, calling Police trying to keep the peace at a demonstration NAZIs; or soccer fans calling the referee NAZI for ruling against their team.
Personally I have never been a fan of Laws that are nearly impossible to police, nor do I support such governmental intervention in day to day life, but the discussion around this law has brought many thoughts to a fore.
As many of my close friends know I am a 2G, both my parents are Holocaust survivors, during WWII the Holocaust years my family both maternal and paternal was decimated, I never knew my Paternal Grand Parents and I was probably one of the lucky kids growing up knowing my Maternal Grand Parents and 2 uncles, each a brother to one of my parents. Very little of my family survived the Holocaust. Perhaps that is why this proposed law spoke to me more than some of the others who have written on the topic.
It has always been abhorrent to me how easily people who should know better, throw around Holocaust terminology in an attempt to gain the upper hand in a conflict. Examples of which we have on every political side; with left wing professors calling the IDF JudeoNAZI; the use of the Yellow Star during the evacuation of Gush Katif; Some Haredim calling the Police NAZIs while demonstrating for the closure of a cinema on Shabbat, and how can I ignore our enemies equating Zionism to Nazism, the terminology has become so cheap that even an Israeli basketball player, last year niggled an opponent by calling him a Nazi. The list of examples is unfortunately very long. Each time the use of Holocaust terminology is used it is as a means to shock the other side into submission. Rarely does it achieve its goal and many times it has the opposite effect. While having been against the removal of the Gush Katif settlements when some residents of Gush Katif and their supporters began wearing Yellow Stars they lost my vocal support.
As the discussion in the local press and on the street about the law increased, I began a level of introspection. I know I can never be truly objective on a topic like this. But what I can do is explain my world view.
In my humble opinion, the use of Holocaust terminology or objects, to describe anything but Holocaust related issues is morally wrong. To describe a fire, no matter how large, as a Holocaust, cheapens the memory of each and every victim of Hitler and his willing assistants. When Abba Eban called the pre-1967 borders of modern Israel as Auschwitz borders he did so in order to shock the world into realizing the intentions of the Arab world, but in doing so he legitimised the use of Holocaust reference to the conflict by our enemies. And it has always bothered me when Rabbis use the term “The Silent Holocaust” to describe assimilation.
Is this a serious issue? Yes I definitely believe so, and it needs to be discussed at every level, telling us that Seinfeld would have been arrested under the law just trivialises the issue. Should the Knesset pass a law? I am convinced that this is the wrong way to go, if the Knesset wants to do something it should introduce the issue into our education system. Ensure that people understand the gravity of their words, their are some insults that should not be used not every shock tactic is legitimate. Wearing the Yellow Star as a means to demonstrate against the policies of the Government of Israel, is reprehensible, and those wearing them need to understand why. Calling the soldiers of the IDF JudeoNAZI is abhorrent and no matter the politics of the professor he should have been taken to task by his peers for doing so.
Bottom line, laws that will not be enforced are ludicrous and meaningless, there needs to be public discussion on such issues, they need to be brought into our schools and the public forum.
That’s my one eyed view for this week