If you celebrate January 27, 1945, then celebrate May 14, 1948

The driveway of the Auschwitz concentration camp right after its liberation in 1945, with equipment left in the foreground by the guards (credit: Stanislaw Mucha/German Federal Archive/Wikimedia Commons).

On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, my thoughts are not with Auschwitz or the Holocaust but with Israel.

Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, anti-Semitism is on the rise everywhere, including in Germany where the Holocaust was engineered, and threats against the survival of the Jewish state are still present. The Islamic Republic of Iran, which is the main threat to Israel, is often appeased by the world while Israel is often disproportionally condemned.

I am certainly not suggesting that anyone who criticizes Israel is an anti-Semite or that criticism of Israel cannot be fair or even well deserved.  I have criticized Israel’s settlements policies, and I will continue to do so. I have criticized Israeli right-wing politicians who refuse to accept the existence of the Palestinian people and the Palestinians’ right to a state, and I will continue to do so.

But when criticism of Israel consists of denying Israel’s right to exist within any borders then it has lost all legitimacy.

Yet while the world celebrates the liberation of Auschwitz, it continues to allow Palestinian Authority funding of terrorism against Israel, it continues to fail to condemn terrorism against Israel, it continues to allow Iran’s march towards building a nuclear bomb, it continues to allow Iran to fund terrorism against Israel, and it continues to watch silently as anti-Semitism rises everywhere.

We mourn the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis, and we celebrate the end of that massacre, but then we do little to support the fifteen million Jews who are alive today. Are dead Jews more important than living Jews? Are we going to wait until the living Jews are dead before we condemn those who wish to kill them?

Those who celebrate January 27, 1945, should show that they mean it by also celebrating May 14, 1948, the day that Israel declared its independence, both in words and in deeds.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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