The deafening silence in Israel

The tree in Plaszow. photo: Tomasz Cebulski - Sky Heritage Pictures

April 4th, 2022 the day when the Russian massacres in Bucha suburbs of Kyiv were unveiled Yad Vashem communicates to the world the visit of the Burundian Foreign Minister. I hope the formal speeches ended with the “Never Again” formula to fulfill the commemorative rites. Bucha is 20 km from Babi Yar and the pictures from Bucha flooding the media for the last 24 hours are hard to distinguish from those of September 1941. The same sand is covering the corpses.

I suggest recoining the “Never Again” slogan into “We did it again” – as bystanders this time.

All of the official Israeli governmental press release outlets are silent on Bucha, silent on the daily carnage of civilians in Ukraine, or at best mincing words in the diplomatic description of the conflict.

Is that meant as a payback for the European silence on the daily occurrences of the Middle East conflict-related terror in Israel?

I know very well that the Israeli international context is complicated, to say the least.  I know of the concern about the Russian Jewry and the normalization with the Arab states at stake.  At the same time, I still believe that there are Jews in Ukraine apart from president Zelensky himself. Can Odessa be sacrificed and covered in silence?

This void of Israeli presence is filled with hate sessions by former state figure Yakov Kedmi urging the Russian army into more violence in sieging Ukrainian cities. This can be watched on the live channel of Vladimir Soloviev, personally the key element of the Kremlin’s propaganda.

I always believed that the Holocaust memory in the XXI century is also about establishing violence preventive moral standards in politics and social life.   You can not have those established through by-standing and deafening silence. We can’t reverse the history that happened  80 years ago and bring the Holocaust victims alive, but we can based on global Holocaust awareness, prevent and diminish the lethality of contemporary genocidal regimes.

This will in no way intrude into the Holocaust memory, on the contrary, this may build broader awareness of the Holocaust and contribute to preventing future genocides. Hatred leading to war crimes is universal. When we fail to compare we fail to learn and then we are surprised again and again that mass crimes are repeated.

Every genocide starts with words and on April 3rd RIA Novosti run a text by Timofey Segriecev  titled “What shall Russia do with Ukraine” in which the author is openly calling for mass murder as the “denazification” of Ukraine.

Putin in his multiple speeches have deprived Ukrainians of any nation rights.

According the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide form 1948 we recognize those crimes by establishing the intend of the perpetrators  to complete of partial destruction of an ethnic or national group.

Every genocide finishes with denial and silence.

Silence often in form of automated commemorative rites devoid of awareness and capacity for comparison and understanding makes the last stage of every genocide and it leads us to forget and repeat the whole cycle.

The tree in Plaszow. photo: Tomasz Cebulski – Sky Heritage Pictures The tree in Plaszow. photo: Tomasz Cebulski – Sky Heritage Pictures
Photo: Slomniki synagogue window. photo: Tomasz Cebulski – Sky Heritage Pictures
The solution for the Russian war on Ukraine in April 2022 seems to be simple.
We need 100 % complete  sanctions. 

Unfortunately, most Western politicians are still desperately trying to save the world and economy before February 24th. That world was based on the perpetual 20 years long appeasement of Putin.


War makes the reality of our lives and decisions very dichotomic.

We can either take the blow to 100 % economic sanctions and full isolation of Russia for 4-5 months in 2022. We have the means to make countries like Turkey, India, and Israel comply with those sanctions as well. WE CAN AFFORD IT.

Russia has almost no means yet to diversify the flow of gas and oil to Asia on a mass scale. The country will go bankrupt fast. People in Russia will finally feel that there is a war fought by the oligarchs like Putin at the Russian’s cost of blood and resources. As long as people in Russia still have some memory of freedom and façade democracy they can change the “special operation” into a coup against the Kremlin.

Such an approach will be also a very strong signal sent to all other looming tyrannies.

Maybe it is enough to make Putin have nothing to declare and deliver to his people on Den Pobedy – Victory Day in the Red Square on May 9th. No one to make the defilade, no one to resurrect the USSR.


We can take a soft and gradual approach extending economic damage for months and years to come. This will win Putin time to diversify his natural resources export capacity to Asia. This will give him time to gradually through proxies bypass the sanctions and win through fake news sections of Western societies.  ( just wait for the results of the Hungarian and French elections) This will give him time to apply terror to completely deprive Russians of any social or political instincts.  Russia will become an ideological fortress.

Confrontation with such Russia will be much more painful politically, militarily, and economically.

As for now we are taking the imminent damage into leasing and letting our politicians dodge the unpopular decisions to save the world which doesn’t exist anymore.

The XX century thought us hard that the reality in which we live and lives are not given for granted. On the contrary, whenever we take it for granted we are losing it. Taking the fundamental values of our world for granted makes us lenient in protecting or even being aware of those.

The more we take reality for granted the more we are losing it.

About the Author
I hold an MA in International Relations and Politics and an MA in Middle East Studies, both from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. I am a PhD in the field of Political Studies, writing on the changing patterns of Holocaust and Auschwitz memory. I am a scholar of comparative genocide studies and author of a book "Auschwitz after Auschwitz". I work professionally as Jewish genealogist. I am a guide and genealogist through complicated matters and sites. My research company Polin Travel was initiated in 2000 to merge three of my passions: Jewish history, genealogy, and guiding. The last 20 years brought many explorations, genealogical finds, and emotions that proved to be transformative for me and my clients. Pursuing an academic career I don't lose sight of moving my travel activities on-line with first successful on-line guided tours, on-line genealogy, supported with customized films, and lectures. During the COVID pandemic I initiated a new visual history and historical site interpretation project SKY HERITAGE PICTURES.