Sundown today, Wednesday 4/11 through Thursday 4/12 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.
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 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.
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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 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 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 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 Jews light a candle in their memory. We light a memorial candle on Yom HaShoah to remember the Nazi’s 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 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.”
“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, 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.
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 they did with Steve Bannon or President Trump.
- 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 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 a 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.
- 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 inappropriate holocaust references by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the Huffington Post, Comedian Louis C.K, and Rachel Maddow. Or when Democratic Senator Sherrod Browncompared 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.
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 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 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.
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.