Sundown today, Wednesday, May 1st, through Thursday, May 2nd a solemn time for the Jews, Yom HaShoah. 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, we also remember the Jewish resistance in that period.
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 other atrocities made to the Jewish people. 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 land and 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.
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, and despite two attacks on Synagogues in the past six months, it is mostly ignored or diminished here in America especially by the MSM and the Democrats in Congress.
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 April/early May, unless the 27th would be adjacent to Sabbath, in which case the date is shifted by a day. It started out a commemoration recognized only in the Jewish State of Israel, is now a day of remembrance throughout the world.
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You may have heard that the reason the 27th of Nissan in the Hebrew calendar was chosen was that it 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 (and in some homes including mine it includes eating the last pizza for eight days) there was no room for an additional observance.
The 27th of Nissan was chosen because in Jewish tradition is that everything bad is balanced by something good. For example, in the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) God says I put before you a blessing and a curse; or in Shemot (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 the rebirth of the Jewish nation and the power to defend ourselves.
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, so there are none left to mourn for them. Generally, on the anniversary of the death of a close relative (their Yahrzeit), Jews light a candle in their memory. We light a memorial candle on Yom HaShoah to remember the victims, their lives, and the promise never to forget.
Much of modern Antisemitism is different from the traditional Jew-hatred, it is disguised as anti-Zionism, and the haters claim that it is merely criticism of Israel. The state department includes examples of anti-Zionism that cross the line, in their definition of Antisemitism:
“Antisemitism 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.”
“Contemporary Examples of Antisemitism:
- 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—primarily 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 Antisemitism 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. Obama is 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, and accused Israel of blood-libel type acts similar to the classic anti-Semitic canards. Similarly, his two secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, Obama blamed Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions.
Antisemitism 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 false charges of Antisemitism as tools against the conservatives such they did with Steve Bannon or President Trump.
Some of the recent examples of modern-day Jew-hatred include:
- The Democratic Party– This is not new, and there are hundreds of cases. My first article warning that the Democratic party was becoming anti-Semitic was posted on January 29, 2007. Eleven years later the party’s Antisemitism had metastasized and infected much of the party. The message the Democrats sent with their feckless resolution about “hatred” was the party is embracing the Antisemitism that has affected the party, and they do not care about Jewish Americans.
- Europe-Antisemitism is rising sharply across Europe, experts have said, as France reported a 74% increase in the number offenses against Jews last year and Germany said the number of violent anti-Semitic attacks had surged by more than 60%. In Great Britain, the number two party, the Labor Party is being recognized as anti-Semitic.
- Center For American Progress (CAP) In the lead up to the 2012 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 dual loyalty, calling them “Israel-Firsters” The Simon Wiesenthal Center went beyond calling CAP anti-Israel, they called them anti-Semitic.
- 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.
- 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, and the 2020 Democratic candidates have rushed to pay him tribute.
- 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 blame Trump for the recent synagogue shootings. But the MSM still describes Rep. Omar’s hate speech as “what some say is anti-Semitic.” And even now the MSM ignores the two terms of Barack Obama’s Antisemitism.
And it’s not just here in America. Antisemitism is state-sponsored in Europe, in fact recently Alan Hoffman the head of the largest Jewish charity in the world, The Jewish Agency warned that there is an ugly wave Antisemitism sweeping through Western Europe.
Throughout the world, at the UN and here in America, 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 ignored by the MSM, anti-Semitic attitudes were more prevalent here in the US. After a year and a half of President Trump, things here seem to be calming down.
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 Yom HaShoah, 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 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 among the living as well as their families and loved ones. And may the scourge of Antisemitism, still popular here in the western world be wiped out forever.
And finally a message from the President of The United States:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2019
DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE OF VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST, 2019
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and during this week of solemn remembrance, we honor the six million Jewish men, women, and children who were brutally murdered by the Nazi regime. We also remember the Roma and Sinti, persons with disabilities, Poles and Slavic ethnic groups, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and persons who were targeted based on their sexual orientation, all of whom were targeted and killed by the Nazis and their collaborators.
The Holocaust will forever haunt the conscience of humanity. Unchecked evil and hatred led to unprecedented depravity and destruction. The Nazi regime sought to exterminate entire populations of those they deemed undesirable. Millions of Jewish people were forced into ghettoes and slave labor camps in which starvation, widespread disease, and senseless brutality took a devastating toll. Many of those who survived were sent to concentration and death camps, in which millions of Jews were murdered in gas chambers and other facilities built for the daily human massacre.
In Hebrew, the day commemorating victims of the Holocaust is called “Yom HaShoah Ve-Hagevurah,” which means the “Day of (Remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism.” As we honor the victims of the Holocaust, we also celebrate the survivors and daring rescuers who overcame horrific injustices, endless nights of darkness, and daunting odds. Survivors of the Holocaust endured firsthand hatred and evil that sought to extinguish human life, dignity, and freedom. When the heroic American and Allied forces liberated them, the survivors had every right to sorrow and bitterness, but instead, they inspired all of humanity with their unbreakable spirit and the prevailing power of hope and forgiveness over horror and hatred.
Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish-Austrian Holocaust survivor who endured five different labor and concentration camps to live to the age of 96, spent his life showing the world the depravity of the Nazis so that the haunting truths of the Holocaust would never fade. In his memoirs, he recounted being told by a Nazi guard that it was worthless to tell the story of the Holocaust because no one would ever believe such things were possible.
On Yom HaShoah, and during this week of remembrance, we join Simon Wiesenthal in refuting his captor and strongly reaffirm our enduring commitment to honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, who through their courageous testimony, fulfill the moral duty never to forget. We vow never to remain silent or indifferent in the face of evil. With absolute devotion, we will continue to advance human rights, combat anti-Semitism, and dispel all forms of hatred in every part of the world.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby ask the people of the United States to observe the Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust, April 28 through May 5, 2019, and the solemn anniversary of the liberation of Nazi death camps, with appropriate study, prayers and commemoration, and to honor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution by remembering the lessons of this atrocity so that it is never repeated.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.
DONALD J. TRUMP