At sundown today, Sunday 4/23 through Monday the 24th at sundown is a solemn day for the Jews. Its full name Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה; which in English translates to “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.” The day is more commonly known as Yom HaShoah (יום השואה), a worldwide day of remembrance for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its allies, and we also remember the Jewish resistance in that period.
This year’s commemoration is particularly relevant as less than eight decades after Hitler was defeated, Antisemitism and Holocaust denial is growing at an accelerated rate throughout the world, yet it is mostly ignored here in America, and led by members of the government in Europe.
In Israel Yom HaShoah is a national memorial day. It was inaugurated in 1953, anchored by a law signed by the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion and the Israeli President at the time, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. It is held on the 27th of Hebrew month of Nisan (generally sometime in late April/early May, unless the 27th would be adjacent to Sabbath, in which case the date is shifted by a day. What started out a commemoration recognized only in Israel, is now a day of remembrance throughout the world.
You may have heard that the reason the 27th of Nissan in the Hebrew calendar was chosen was because in matches the date of the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising –that isn’t true. The ghetto uprising was considered for Yom HaShoah, but rejected because it would have meant the observance would have taken place the day before Passover. Those who observe the Passover holiday are busily preparing their homes for that observance that includes getting rid of all of one’s yeast/grain related products as well as rituals observed at home, there was no room for an additional observance
The 27th of Nissan was chosen because in Jewish tradition is everything bad is always balanced by something good. For example, in Deuteronomy God says I put before you a blessing and a curse; or in Exodus the Golden Calf is followed by forgiveness. In that same vein exactly week after Yom HaShoah is Yom Ha’atzmah’ut Israeli Independence Day (the Israeli equivalent of July 4th). So the horror of the Shoah is balanced by a Jewish people having the power to defend themselves.
We light a memorial candle on Yom HaShoah as a recognition that the souls of the victims are still alive in our hearts and that many entire families were murdered meaning there are none left to mourn for them. We light a memorial candle on Yom HaShoah to remember never to forget.
Much of modern Antisemitism is different from the traditional Jew-hatred, it is disguised as anti-Zionism, and claimed to be simply criticism of Israel. The state department defines antisemitism as:
“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” –Working Definition of Anti-Semitism by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia
Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism:
- Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion).
- Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
- Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the state of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
- Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
- Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.
- Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
- Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions
- Applying double standards for Israel by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
- Multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations
- Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist [also known as Zionism]
The amazing part is that the definition was created under the administration of Barack Obama, probably the most anti-Semitic presidential administration since FDR (FDR will be handled in a later post) Who among other things, held a double standard, and made demands he didn’t make of the Palestinians, or real countries. As did his two secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, Obama blamed Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions.
Anti-Semitism in this country occurs regularly and is mostly ignored. The progressive movement in America generates most of the Antisemitism in the country (if you don’t believe me just go to sites such as Daily Kos, or Huffington Post, and search the words “Jew” and “Israel”). Interestingly although whenever a grass-roots conservative movement begins to grow, the same progressives use fake charges of Antisemitism as tools against the conservatives such as Steve Bannon or President Trump. Below are some recent, examples of mainstreamed Jew hatred.
- Black Lives Matter: Hillary supports the Black Lives Matter moment (BLM). In its official demands document the Black Lives Matter moment supports the anti-Semitic BDS movement.
- Max Blumenthal, son of Hillary Clinton buddy Sid Blumenthal often makes “blood libel accusations against Israel. His latest book Goliath includes chapters comparing Israel to the Nazis, such as “The Concentration Camp,” or “The Night of Broken Glass,” and others which are just slanderous, like “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People,” all of them reminiscent of the anti-Semitic blood libels popular in medieval Europe. Max’s writings were emailed to Hillary by his father. She sent them around to the State Department to read.
- Center For American Progress (CAP) In lead up to the last election Politico published a piece about how CAP was fighting to change the Democratic Party to the Anti-Israel party. Stories by CAP bloggers had appeared in the vehemently anti-Israel fringe publication The Electronic Intifada. CAP bloggers have also accused American Jews of a dual loyalty, calling them “Israel-Firsters” The Simon Wiesenthal Center went beyond calling CAP anti-Israel, they called them anti-Semitic.
- Laurie Cumbo– A NY City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo justified the black-on-Jew “knockout game” attacks in Brooklyn because, they were worried “they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes.” She made it clear that Jewish real-estate speculators are a prime enemy in her anti-gentrification outlook.
- Media Matters For America: Uses anti-Semitic rhetoric including the canard that American Jews have a dual loyalty (they use the term Israel-Firsters). They’ve also claimed “evil Zionist lobby” controls both the media and the U.S. foreign policy.
- The Democratic Party’s number two person is Keith Ellison; A supporter of Lewis Farrakhan and the Muslim Brotherhood with a track record of being both anti-Israel and Antisemitism,
- Al Sharpton: Led two anti-Semitic pogroms in NYC, Crown Heights and Freddy’s Fashion Mart. According to the sworn testimony of Efraim Lipkind, a former Hasidic resident of Crown Heights:“Then we had a famous man, Al Sharpton, who came down, and he said Tuesday night, kill the Jews, two times. I heard him, and he started to lead a charge across the street to Utica. —“ That was probably the nicest thing Sharpton has said about Jews. But the MSM treats him as someone who deserves respect.
- The Mainstream Media ignores antisemitism and treats the Holocaust as a political tool. Along with giving platforms to anti-Semites such as Al Sharpton or Pat Buchanan, the MSM quick to criticize to (justly) criticize Sean Spicer for his recent ignorant comments about the Holocaust which he apologized for profusely and many times. But the MSM was only using the Holocaust as a political weapon, ignoring that in September the Washington Post ran two different opinion pieces inappropriately comparing then-candidate Trump to Hitler, they also ignored innapropriate holocaust refreences by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the Huffington Post, Comedian Louis C.K, and Rachel Maddow. Or when Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown compared Republican governors John Kasich, Scott Walker and Chris Christie to the Nazis. They were also silent when Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) compared conservative bloggers (like me) to Hitler. The MSM recently celebrated the anti-Trump “Day Without Woman” march but ignored the fact that it was run by anti-Semites & anti-Israel advocates.
- Richard Falk former professor at Princeton, and former UN Special Rapporteur to the Palestinians, Falk believes “that the Holocaust is a massive fraud on the rest of us, with their lavish, self-financed Holocaust Museums all over America and the world. The Holocaust myth is instrumental to maintaining American support of Israel, which leads to worldwide terrorism.” Or that he claims, “Jewish people… have decided to bring down human civilization (like Sampson) ” More recently he published a paper for the UN falsely claiming that Israel practices apartheid. The report was rebuked by the UN Secretary General and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Niki Haley.
And it’s not just here in America. Antisemitism is state-sponsored in Europe:
- The European Union: the European Union’s recent decision to label Jewish goods from Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights is a perfect example of the anti-Semitic double standard. As explained by former Israel Ambassador the US Michael Oren, There are more than 200 territorial disputes in the world, but Europe does not label products as made in Chinese-occupied Tibet or Turkish-occupied Cyprus. The Palestinian Authority has twice — in 2000 and 2008 — rejected Israeli offers of statehood in Gaza, East Jerusalem, and almost all of the West Bank. Instead, Palestinian leaders have ordered or encouraged terrorist attacks that have killed more than 1,500 Israelis and maimed many thousands more.
- In January 2016, France and Italy marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day by hosting the President of Iran, a country that holds a cartoon competition featuring works trivializing or denying the Holocaust, and threatens to destroy the Jewish state.
- The number of antisemitic incidents in the UK rose by more than a third to record levels in 2016, according to data released by the Community Security Trust. Last September the NY Times reported that many British Jews believe the rising Antisemitism is connected to strident anti-Israel politics with which leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbin sympathizes. A year into Mr. Corbyn’s tenure, there is no trust and precious little dialogue between the Labour leader and Britain’s Jews. The country’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, has spoken of Labour’s “severe” problem of anti-Semitism” Corbin as worked closely with Holocaust deniers, praised anti-Semitic extremists and described Hamas and Hezbollah as his friends.
- 100 British Labour MPs have denounced their own party for failing to significantly discipline a prominent antisemitic member former mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who had falsely claimed that Adolf Hitler was a Zionist and that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazis. Livingstone had been a top ally of Labour’s radical leader Jeremy Corbyn, who appointed him to oversee a key defense policy review. In a decision that drew condemnation from Britain’s Jewish organizations and its chief rabbi, the party committee opted merely to suspend Livingstone from holding office for one year.
- The Norwegian Ministry of Finance has excluded Israeli companies, such as Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus, from its Global Pension Fund, a fund that invests the national wealth in foreign stocks and bonds, and which holds more than one percent of all global stocks. The Norwegian trade union EL & IT, which represents workers from the energy and telecommunications sectors, has boycotted the Histadrut, Israel’s national labor union.
- Recently the Swedish Parliament blasted a deal between Volvo, the country’s most important car maker, and the Israeli bus companies. Volvo provides, in fact, some buses which keep the Israelis alive in Judea and Samaria. Jewish schoolchildren in these areas have to use armored buses to avoid being shot and murdered by Palestinian terrorists. But according to the chairman of Sweden’s parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, Kenneth G. Forslund, their right to life, granted by Volvo’s buses, is “a violation of international law”. Swedish dockworkers sponsored a week-long boycott of Israeli ships and goods.
- Even though ISIS claimed responsibility, Sweden’s minister of Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström blamed the November 13, 2015 massacres in Paris on Israel, claiming that “to counter the radicalization we have to go back to the situation in the Middle East where the Palestinians see that there is no future for them and must accept a desperate situation and resort to violence”.
Israel is demonized and held to double standards not used against any other country including some of the world’s most despotic regimes, after eight years of the double-standard by President Barack Obama that was ignored by the MSM, anti-Semitic attitudes are more prevalent here in the US. In Europe it is the government’s leading the Jew-hatred.
The same people who criticized the Israeli fence built to keep out terrorists were silent about the fence Saudi Arabia built on their border with Yemen. The “left” repeatedly calls for boycotts of Israel because they claim it is “an apartheid state.” However, Israel is so totally free of apartheid that anyone who has spent ten minutes there knows the accusation to be an outright lie. So why keep on saying something untrue? Antisemitism.
In Israel, at 10:00am on YomHaShoah a siren blares throughout the country and people will stop where ever they are. Even if they are in their car on a highway they stop in the middle of the road get out of their vehicle and stand silently with their thoughts.
The Holocaust is unique in its volume and horrors and is a singular event in world history, yes there are genocides of other groups, and other horrors even to the Jews. But generally the genocide is waged to suppress a group, to take their territory, or some economic reason like to enslave a people. This was different– the Jews targeted by Hitler and the Nazi had no territory, an held relatively little power. In the Holocaust Jews were taken from all over Europe just to be killed. And while that was being done friendly supposedly civilized leaders like Franklyn Roosevelt and Winston Churchill sentenced hundreds of thousands of Jews to death because they didn’t want more Jews in their country.
The Jewish land became a Jewish state for the first time in almost 2,000 years because the lesson of the Holocaust was that it was too dangerous for the Jewish people to continue to be homeless and powerless. Or in the words of Elie Wiesel, we learned to trust our enemy’s threats more than our friend’s promises. That is a warning we must recognize today more than ever before.
Although my words about politics come easy, my prayers are clumsy, but please allow me to offer this:
May the Lord God bless all the souls who perished in the Shoah, or suffered through their many tortures. May he continue to comfort those who suffered and are still amongst the living and their families and loved ones. And may the scourge of Antisemitism, still popular here in the western world be wiped out forever.