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Never Again?

On Yom HaShoah we will hear the cliché “ Never again” and realize it means nothing to the majority of people in the so-called civilized world. We deluded ourselves into thinking that memorials, education, and world sympathy would protect us against another outbreak of Jew-hatred. I am not suggesting that all the demonstrators against Israel today are anti-Semites. But at many of the demonstrations, there were shouts and even placards calling for death to, or “kill Jews.” A new generation has been taught and paid to hate. The myth that you can distinguish between anti-Zionism and anti-Judaism in practice and usage has been shattered completely.

Holocaust Days elsewhere have now morphed into opportunities to accuse us of using our victimhood to excuse our so-called genocide. In the West many State school systems refuse to even mention the Holocaust for fear of opposition. Or accept that millions of Jews were murdered simply for being Jewish while the world stood by.

In Europe and America Jew-hatred has been festering, incubated by the axis of evil of the far left and Islamic Jihad in their various iterations. Funded by billions from ill-wishers and countries such as Qatar that could have been used to better the situation of refugees and Palestinians. Instead channeled towards attacking and isolating Israel.

In universities, Palestinian Days have become hate fests rather than opportunities for dialogue. And lecturers who dissent are silenced or fired. For the past fifty years, Middle East Studies programs at elite universities and schools have become ground zero for anti-Israel incitement, featuring professors, courses, and conferences that encourage support for terrorism instead of compromise and exclude any other perspective.

Israel as much as any country has its violence, extremisms, and social challenges. And violence begets violence and eats away at humanity. And that applies to both sides. The refusal to allow another point of view and the intimidation, the physical and verbal abuse directed at Jews of all ages and opinions is so disturbing all the more so because it is encouraged by overwhelming numbers on social media and spurred on by ignorance of history. Rape is condemned by human rights organizations but justified if it is an Israeli who is the victim. Reacting to missiles, rockets, and bombs directed at civilian targets is condemned unless it is Israel that is the target.

Much of the world sees only a one-sided narrative that blames Israel and the Jews for everything. It makes no mention of corrupt PLO and Hamas leadership that uses incendiary racist language, encourages violence, educates, and pays to kill Jews. There is no knowledge of history and the two-sided struggle for survival.

What makes it worse is the ironic alliance of ideological enemies, the extreme left and the jihadi right. This is indeed reminiscent of the Nazi Communist alliance of opposites, Hitler, and Stalin. Both of whom led to dehumanization that facilitated holocausts. We are partially to blame for not seeing it coming, and for not speaking out more forcefully. For appeasing our enemies at home and abroad. For not calling out academic prejudice and fake theories of intersectionality and victimhood, for the lies and distortions they are. For feeling too confident and too secure. For placing too much faith in societies that have lost their way.

I hope it is not too late to roll back this ideological assault on liberalism in the West. The numbers make it frighteningly clear where the future lies and what it might mean for Jews of all denominations. If it is allowed to triumph, it means the end of the free world and the capitulation to the totalitarianism either of the left or theocracies.

I know I am preaching to the converted. Those who need to read this on both sides will not.  We all have our traumas. Each one is personal. Nevertheless, who will fight for our rights if not us? In the words of the Hallelprayer from the Book of Psalms that we recite during Passover “ All the nations surround me, they surround me like bees, but they will be burnt like fires of thorns.” We need to be reminded of the Holocaust and how we came back from the edge of oblivion, even if no one else does.

About the Author
Jeremy Rosen is an English born Orthodox rabbi, graduate of Mir Yeshivah and Cambridge University. He was a lecturer at WUJS Arad, and former headmaster of Carmel College, Professor and Chairman of the faculty for Comparative Religion in Antwerp and Rabbi in Scotland London and now in New York. His weekly blog is at jeremyrosen.blogspot.com
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