Holocaust Remembrance Day and Ban Ki-Moon’s Cowardly Act
Embedded in the DNA of the Jewish people there is a special gene; call it remembrance.
From the time Moses first showed up at Pharaoh’s palace, to the moment the few living Jewish skeletons crawled out of the gates of Auschwitz on the day of their liberation by Soviet soldiers on January 27, 1945, we have always taught our kids — and reminded ourselves and anyone else who would listen — that memory holds the key to redemption.
Could there possibly be a worse sin than willfully forgetting?
On Wednesday we learned that there are sins far worse.
Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, who, as he has done each year on this day, presided over the international organization remembrance of six million dead Jews.
Yet he chose the eve of this hallowed anniversary to bestow a moral and political blank check to Palestinian terrorists who this week alone buried knives into a mother-of-six, a pregnant woman and a beautiful young woman buying groceries for her grandparents.
According to Ban, the current intifada by knife, gun and vehicle “is a reaction to the fear, disparity and lack of trust the Palestinians are experiencing.” He went on to explain that “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process,” blaming “the occupation” for causing “hatred and extremism.”
“As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”
Powerful words and imagery: fear, lack of trust, frustration and humiliation.
What a tragedy that Mr. Ban lacked the courage to use this Holocaust Remembrance Day as a teachable moment for Palestinians and other “frustrated” and “humiliated” young Arabs and Muslims.
He should have told them, “Instead of embracing the culture of death of ISIS, Al Qaeda and Al Shabab, why not read Eli Wiesel’s Night or Victor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning?”
Back in 1945, the Jewish survivors of the Nazi genocide had seen their world and families destroyed, their lives reduced to a number tattooed on their arms, most malnourished and at death’s door, with little reason to hope. If there ever was a group of people with the moral right to turn to terrorism, it was those Jewish survivors of the Holocaust Kingdom.
But they didn’t: They chose life.
Instead of using the heroic and tenacious trek of Holocaust survivors to find hope among the ashes of their loved ones, Mr. Ban instead defaulted to political expediency that doesn’t help a single Palestinian, but does succeed in further embedding a dangerous double standard when the victims of terrorism are Jews — especially Israelis.
Whatever his motivation, the effect of his words was to tell Palestinians, and by extension anyone with a gripe against Israel, that he understood the pain of today’s murderers of Jews.
The secretary general isn’t alone in failing to internalize basic and applicable lessons of the Holocaust.
Across Europe, the continent’s elite paused for a moment of silence for the victims of the Nazis and then will return to their deafening silence about antisemitism in their own countries — where virtually every Jew is a potential target for a hate crime or Islamist terrorist; where synagogues need armed guards to protect its Jewish parishioners; where antisemitic acts go unpunished in democracies like Sweden; where not a single European leader has publicly demanded that part of the litmus test for Middle Eastern migrants’ acceptance in to European society is offloading their hatred for Jews that sadly is embedded in their native lands.
Yes, Wednesday, on International Holocaust Memorial Day, we saw that there is something much worse than forgetfulness: shedding crocodile tears for dead Jews while doing nothing to defend live ones.