Thursday, January 27th | 25 Shevat 5782

March 15, 2011 5:08 pm

‘Never Again’ Is Not Just a Slogan

avatar by Dovid Efune

Following the Holocaust, two phrases stand out above all others as concrete universal Jewish resolutions. The first, ‘Zachor’ (to remember), is to ensure that the past will never be forgotten and its memory will always serve as a guide for the future. The second,  ‘Never Again,’ is not limited to the horrors of a particular time or place, nor by extent or methods, but rather it symbolizes the Jewish people’s collective resolve to never stand by the blood of their brethren and to never allow innocents to be brutalized for the crime of being Jewish. Yet it was only days ago that communities around the world were devastated once again by news emanating from Israel, that five innocent souls were murdered in cold blood.

Holocaust remembrance has been a commitment that the Jewish community has consistently lived up to, but what of securing a safe Jewish future?  What is the purpose of a moving memorial or museum, if not to serve as a stark reminder of what human beings are capable of and what is likely to occur if the guardians of moral justice are not vigilant in their duties?

Whilst mindful of a history of tragedy, Jews must not be defined by their victimhood but by the strength of their moral resolve. It is the Jewish ability to act as the vocal moral conscience of the world that will ensure that ‘Never Again’ is not just a slogan, but a universal clarion call to concrete action.

Today, the Israel Defense Forces stand at the forefront of this battle, and one can have no doubt that they will spare little effort in capturing the killers and bringing them to justice. Their ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and security of Israel’s citizens will be intensified as the gravity of what they are fighting for has become more real.

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But Israel is not only defended by its brave soldiers; everyone can take action – specifically within the US – where silent or active facilitators, excusers, and those who seek to misdirect the blame abound. It is crucial that they are held responsible and accountable for their public positions and statements and are never allowed to embolden the wretched hand of terror.

In this particular case there are two specific morally perverse agendas that many are working to propagate.  The first is the myth that Jewish development in Judea and Samaria is the motivating force behind Arab barbarism. The second is that this attack was an isolated incident with no context or responsible party beyond the direct perpetrators.

The first and obvious culprits are the Palestinian Arab Authority, who, with a statement by Mahmoud Abbas on Israeli radio, denied outright that incitement is rampant. Even as the Itamar victims were buried on Sunday, Fatah named a square in El-Bireh after the leader of the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre.

There is much that can be done to combat Arab incitement. First and foremost, a concerted domestic political effort to keep this issue at the forefront of all Arab-Israeli discussions, and support those groups that monitor and bring attention to the daily fever pitch vitriolic anti-Semitism rampant in state-sponsored Palestinian Arab media.

The News Media reporting was atrocious, with various networks using neutral terms to describe the killers whilst other generally buried the story.

The BBC of course was worst of all, as was pointed out by

“The BBC, however, virtually buried the Fogel family’s massacre, once again demonstrating its obsession with the settlement issue above all other issues relating to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. No dedicated reportage of the brutal attack was featured elsewhere on the site. Instead, subsumed in a story of settlements, it warrants only a few lines. The BBC does, however, report that the attack “has shocked many Palestinians”. Of course, the BBC failed to mention that Hamas described the attack as a “heroic operation” while sweets and candies were handed out in Gaza in celebration. The BBC has exercised its own moral judgment that says that the issuing of building permits in settlements is the cause of terror. Otherwise, the story may have included statements from Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu attributing the terror attack to Palestinian incitement.”

Many have partaken in letter writing campaigns to various media outlets, but what is far more effective is an active campaign to discourage advertisers from using these platforms. Protesting to companies that support CNN and the BBC with their advertising by explaining the moral implications of their activities may go a long way. When businesses are made aware that the overwhelming majority of Americans are favorable to Israel, they may think twice about establishing affiliations with the guilty networks.

What was most disturbing of all was the statement issued by the White House that to the untrained eye may have appeared appropriate. However, statements of this significance are very carefully crafted and every word is expertly positioned; it opened by saying: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the murder of five Israelis in a terrorist attack in the northern West Bank, and we offer our condolences to their loved ones and to the Israeli people,” and concluded with this troubling statement, “we call on the Palestinian Authority to unequivocally condemn this terrorist attack and for the perpetrators of this heinous crime to be held accountable.”

By juxtaposing the request for Palestinian condemnation with the desire for the perpetrators to be held accountable, the Obama administration effectively exonerated the PA from Netanyahu’s accusation of incitement.

It will take constant vigilance and courage on the part of Jews around the world to combat the tide of injustice and to impart the narrative of truth to misguided decision makers. Over time this is a feat that can be achieved, and is crucial to fulfilling the eternal Jewish promise of ‘Never Again.’

The Author is the director of the Algemeiner Journal and the GJCF and can be e-mailed at [email protected].

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