Last week, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, wore a yellow Star of David, bearing the words “Never Again,” when addressing the UN Security Council. He vowed not to remove the yellow star until the UN condemns Hamas’s atrocities.
He added: “some of you have not learned anything in the last 80 years. Some of you have forgotten why this body was created.” Erdan decried the Security Council for “remaining silent” in the face of the heinous attacks perpetrated by Hamas militants against Israel on October 7, which killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians. (El Pais – 31 October 2023)
This controversial action, while criticized by some, triggered a powerful reaction in me. I am a child of Holocaust survivors. Growing up in New York in a post-Holocaust environment, I embodied the arrogance of youth. When my mother would shake with fear and warn me not to do laundry on Christmas Day because it would offend our Christians neighbors, I would just laugh derisively. “Mom, that was then. This is now. Things like that can’t happen in the US. You need to get with the program.”
I was annoyed whenever she would anxiously, insistently, repeat her tired mantra, “ALL Goyim hate Jews. They may smile in your face, but never make the mistake of assuming they’re your friends. They’re not. And given the first opportunity, they will turn on you.”
But having never experienced antisemitism, I was convinced that her paranoia was unfounded; justifiable given her horrendous experience, but unfounded nevertheless. Meanwhile, I continued to socialize with people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds and to believe that we were living in a better world. Sure, there were the odd fanatics, and we all marched for Soviet Jewry, but for the most part, I was convinced that the pogroms and medieval blood libels directed at Jews, was a thing of the past.
Fast forward 80 years to October 7, 2023.
Mom, I’m so sorry. You were right!
Right to be suspicious. Right to not trust the platitudes and words of solidarity parroted at every Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony hosted annually by the UN. Where ambassador after ambassador addressed the General Assembly, admitted to past mistakes, and vowed never to allow such a massacre of Jews to take place on their watch.
And yet…. And yet…. here we are again. And I’m glad that my mother is not alive to see her prophecy come true. To watch again as thousands line the streets of London and New York and Paris shouting “Gas the Jews”. To hear again the weak government explanations as to how the Jews brought this on themselves and how the Palestinians were justified in burning babies and setting innocent citizens on fire.
But Mom, here’s the big difference.
You had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. We have the State of Israel where I and your grandchildren and great grandchildren live. And even when, just like in 1940, few will defend us, this time WE WILL DEFEND OURSELVES.
Our army is strong – our determination stronger. We will win this war and every war after for as long as it takes.
Never Again means Never Again!