Our one true lesson from the Holocaust

The Nazis were amongst some of the smartest of yester-years society. They were masters of propaganda, manifested in effective use of language. Euphemisms reigned supreme throughout the Nazi ruled Concentration Camps, where a ‘shower’ meant being gassed, and ‘liquidated’ or ‘resettled’ meant being murdered.

One would think that from this horrific period in history, humanity would derive the lesson of how to treat people, or that we would have learnt about the importance to speak up against injustice. But no, with prime examples being the silence of the world about the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia, or the maltreatment of homosexuals in African countries (Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria), and in Russia.

It is with great shame that I point out that us – humanity – have only learnt one lesson from the propaganda kings of Nazi Germany: the grand skill of sophistry. We have truly mastered the ability to mask a truth with ambiguity, leading to deceit. And sadly, the biggest perpetrator of this today is Western Media.

Universally, it has been made clear that ramming a car into people with the intent of causing bodily harm is terrorism. It was labeled a ‘nightmarish terror tactic’ by the NY Daily News when over 80 individuals were killed in Nice, ‘particularly repugnant by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel when 12 individuals were mowed down in Berlin and a ‘senseless act of violence by Jennifer Nimer, Legal Director for the Ohio Chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) when 11 individuals were hospitalized at Ohio State University.

The innocence of these victims cannot be questioned, having been walking around the local Bastille Day Ceremony, the popular Christmas Markets or campus: simply attending to business, as usual!

These tragic and malignant attacks were widely condemned as acts of terror, and heinous. So, why is it different when it happens in Jerusalem? Why is terror not called terror on a consistent basis?

Instead of headlines like ‘Terror attacks in Jerusalem’, or ‘Truck steered deliberately’ through bus stop, we hear ‘4 killed in Jerusalem vehicle attack’, and ‘at least 4 dead and 15 injured in Jerusalem truck attack’ (CNN and New York Times).

Think about the psychological effect such headlines have on people – when an individual hears an attack, they feel sympathetic for an atrocity, but they do not side with any specific side: they are unable to differentiate between perpetrator and victim. However a bolder headline, containing the word terrorism and a more accurate portrayal of events, provides a more holistic account of events.

Let’s face it – most people skim through newspapers, rushing to the sports or financial sections. For teenagers like myself, we only read news articles with flashy headlines, promising epic stories of the worldliest events. And often, we will only read the headline, and assume the rest of the story.

It is brutal bias for today’s media to decide as to which isolated incidents qualify as terror. The media ostensibly masks a certain evil, which allows for readers to misinterpret obvious facts, and formulate false truths. It is indeed these didactic portrayals that threaten any true volition to unite against a global terror, and instead defines terrorism as something personal – relevant only when the attack affects us.

The power of language was highlighted by the Nazis. It is something that Western Media abuses regularly today. It is this that inculcates readers with a negative bias towards Israel, as the truth is not reported due to ambiguous language. As Naphtali Bennett said on CNN, ‘terror is terror is terror’ – in Berlin, Nice and also in Jerusalem. So it is time for the media to start reporting as such, and to quickly distance themselves from the euphemistic ways of Nazi Germany.

About the Author
Joshua Wasbutzki belongs to the community of Melbourne, Australia. Joshua spent his gap year in Israel at Yeshiva and a Mechina. He is now studying at University, back in Melbourne, whilst harbouring an intense passion for Israel and Judaism.
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