Holocaust Remembrance Day comes at a time in American political history where the rhetoric has been ratcheted up to new heights, and many wondering where the vitriol will lead us.
In her remarks at the Holocaust Museum, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker reminded the audience that the Holocaust is “a lesson in the power of words and language…the most extreme example of what happens when we let our hate and fear of the other shape our speech.”
There’s a children’s rhyme that says “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” While it’s used to persuade a child to refrain from physical retaliation to name-calling, can ignoring and remaining silent about hate speech lead to unimaginable ends?
On Holocaust Remembrance Day: What Could Be Enough?
Ron Grossman – Chicago Tribune
There isn’t much to the Dr. Janusz Korczak Park: Just a couple of tables where children can be fed, if parents can pry them off the climbing equipment and slide. But that’s enough.
Korczak was the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit. A Polish Jew who was a pediatrician in the decades before World War II…wrote children’s books like “King Matt the First” about a boy king trying to repair a world mucked up by adults. His best-seller “How To Love A Child” made him the Dr. Spock of Poland….
When Poland was conquered and Jews were being sent to extermination camps, Korczak’s gentile admirers offered to bribe Nazi officials so he could escape.
But Korczak, by then heading a Jewish children’s orphanage, refused, saying: “When a child is sick, you don’t leave him alone in the middle of the night.”
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Anti-Semitism Remains a Scourge
Michael M. Rosen – National Review
Jewish writers and pundits critical of Trump have found themselves on the receiving end of vile threats and anti-Semitic taunts. Bethany Mandel was called a “slimy Jewess” who “deserve[s] the oven.” Dana Milbank was labeled a “kike communist.” And Julia Ioffe, who profiled Trump’s wife Melania, was called a “Filthy Russian Kike” and saw her face photo shopped into a mugshot from Auschwitz on Twitter. Trump may not himself be to blame for these outbursts, but he certainly hasn’t done much to quiet or discourage them when given the chance.
Anti-Semitic words are bad enough, but there is of course actual violence to contend with as well. In recent years, the world has witnessed dozens of deadly attacks against Jews worldwide, in Istanbul, Paris, Mumbai, and the Middle East, where Jewish perfidiousness is the one thing Sunni and Shia extremists can agree on.
Statement by the President on Holocaust Remembrance Day
The White HouseOffice of the Press Secretary
For Immediate ReleaseMay 04, 2016
Today, on Yom HaShoah, we solemnly remember the six million Jews and the millions of others murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
On this day, we honor the memory of the millions of individuals – the mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends and neighbors – who lost their lives during a time of unparalleled depravity and inhumanity. We reaffirm our ongoing responsibility as citizens and as a nation to live out the admonition, “Never forget. Never again.” And we commit ourselves to preserving the memories of those who lived through the horrors of the Shoah, so that their experiences are not forgotten by our generation or by our children or grandchildren.
We also honor those who survived the Holocaust, many of them spared from death because of the righteous individuals who risked their lives to save Jews and other victims from Nazi persecution. The stories of these survivors and their protectors remind us to confront persecution wherever it arises, and that silence can be an accomplice to evil. They remind us of our duty to counter the rising tide of anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred that threaten the values we hold dear—pluralism, diversity, and the freedoms of religion and expression.
Today, and every day, we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community both at home and abroad. We stand with those who are leaving the European cities where they have lived for generations because they no longer feel safe, with the members of institutions that have been attacked because of their Jewish affiliations, and with the college students forced to confront swastikas appearing on their campuses. And we call upon all people of good will to be vigilant and vocal against every form of bigotry.
When we recognize our interconnectedness and the fundamental dignity and equality of every human being, we help to build a world that is more accepting, secure and free. This is the best way to honor the legacy we recognize on Yom HaShoah and to fulfill our responsibilities to repair our world from generation to generation.
Anti-Semitism from the Left
Ian Buruma – Project Syndicate
The former London mayor and left-wing Labour politician Ken Livingstone has been suspended from his party for claiming that Hitler was a Zionist in the early 1930s. According to Livingstone, “before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews,” Hitler had merely wanted to expel them from their own countries to Palestine. And that, supposedly, made him a Zionist….
It is a common conceit among leftists in Europe that racial prejudice, including anti-Semitism, is a uniquely right-wing phenomenon. This probably goes back to the Dreyfus affair of the late nineteenth century…French society was divided between mostly conservative anti-Dreyfusards and liberal defenders of the Jewish officer….
This makes it easy to forget that a streak of anti-Semitism has always tainted the left as well. Stalin was of course notorious for persecuting Jews, or “rootless cosmopolitans” as he called them…Karl Marx himself, although Jewish by birth, set the tone for a vicious type of anti-Semitism that infected the left, especially in France.