Israel and the Meaning of ‘Never Again’
The Holocaust wasn’t perpetrated by a barbarian society in a distant past. It was perpetrated 70 years ago by the most advanced European country — the country that produced Beethoven, Gutenberg, Bach and Goethe. The Nazi murderers often knew their Jewish victims; in many cases, their children used to play together before the war.
The Holocaust didn’t happen in a vacuum, but in a Europe that — for centuries — had demonized Jews as “enemies of humanity.” The Nazi “Final Solution” would not have been possible without this deeply entrenched hatred of the Jewish people in the European psyche. There were courageous and righteous Europeans who defended Jews, but they were vastly outnumbered by millions driven by Jew-hatred, greed and indifference.
During Israel’s official Holocaust Remembrance ceremony in Jerusalem this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the Allied Powers for their indifference and inaction, despite knowing about the Holocaust. Netanyahu argued that millions of Jews could have been rescued if the Allies had acted to prevent the genocide. The prime minister stressed that it was the combination of Jew-hatred, indifference and Jewish weakness that led to the deaths of six million Jews.
Netanyahu also correctly noted that the hatred and indifference towards Jews continues today. Israel is the most demonized country in the world, and the only state with enemies threatening to wipe her off the map. But one thing has changed in 70 years — the rebirth of a powerful Jewish state that has one of the strongest and most advanced defense forces in the world.
Mordechai Anielewicz, who led the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, represented Jewish dignity, and our ability to fight for freedom against a powerful evil. Mordechai’s spirit was transferred to a handful of outgunned Jewish defenders in Israel, who stopped four invading Egyptian battalions at kibbutz Yad Mordechai in 1948; the kibbutz was named after the Jewish partisan leader. This key battle, which stopped the Egyptian march towards Tel Aviv, proved that the will to fight is a formidable weapon against militarily and numerically superior forces.
Today, the epicenter of genocidal Jew-hatred has moved from Europe to Tehran, Gaza, Ramallah and Damascus. Hitler is praised throughout much of the Middle East, and Mein Kampf remains a bestseller in the Arab and Muslim world.
Yet much of the Palestinian Authority’s’ Jew-hatred hatred is financed by EU and US tax money, in the name of “peace.” Financing Hitler’s Middle Eastern successors is immoral, and undermines any prospects for genuine peace between Israel and her neighbors.
The main lesson from the Holocaust is that when push comes to shove, the Jewish people are alone, and can only rely on their own capabilities to repel aggression. “Never Again” is Israel’s solemn promise to six million murdered Jewish brothers and sisters who never lived to see a reborn, free and powerful Jewish state.