Arnold Flick

Time to Move Past the Shoah

It happened. It must not be minimized. It must not be forgotten. But as a matter of Jewish life here in the USA and as Israel State policy, it is time to place the Shoah in history and to address current affairs. Even I, as a Jew who had relatives who were slaughtered, am put off by constant references to the Shoah in matters of politics.

People now living did not do it. People now living should not be asked to pay for it. Property was taken; well, we no longer live there. Justified or not, property is taken in war; read Torah, Joshua in particular, if you need to refresh your memory.

There is no way to escape seeing some current references to the Shoah as commercial. Fund raising appeals in the name of the Shoah; Shoah references at every current Jewish catastrophe with reminders of where the closest Shoah museum is; speakers at commemorative events referencing the Shoah as their expertise; Children of Shoah survivors now demanding attention to their status; Jews who hate Israel referencing the Shoah as proof of their Judaism; Gentiles who hate Israel reference the Shoah to claim non-hate. No doubt you can add to this list.

Yad VaShem must be. But taking Israeli visitors there as the first stop simply supports the propaganda that the basis of contemporary Israel was European guilt rather than pre-Shoah Zionist aspirations.

We are living in the present over 2 generations after the horror. Jews have problems with Jew-haters in the present. Israel has problems in the present. References to the Shoah will not solve these problems. It is possible it aggravates them as our current adversaries did not cause it and are sorely angered by suggestions they did. Israel’s contemporary relations with Poland, until now improving, are an emphasis to what I’m saying; today’s Poles did not do it and we are wrong to rub their faces in it.

We need to face our current problem of surging Jew-hatred from the political left and of fellow Jews who feed that hatred. Constant placing of the Shoah as a first response to Jew-hating papers over the problem and deludes us into thinking we are doing something useful to fight it. Lies about Israel are the basis of the current hate, and a campaign responding to those lies is a useful first step in response. And we need to educate our own children about their history.

About the Author
Arnold L. Flick was born 1930 of secular, Zionist, Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. He has followed events in Israel since age seven when he first solicited for the “Jews of Palestine” on the streets of Los Angeles as a young member of Habonim. He was in Israel for four months 1990-91 and for two months 2002. He is active in the House of Israel Balboa park, a non-profit museum in Balboa Park, San Diego, that provides information about Israel to its 15,000 annual visitors.
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