Why the World Should Reject Anti-Semitism

January 27, 2014  

Nine years ago the United Nations made history when it declared that it would mark January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The fact that this day is marked has served as an adamant rejection of any attempt to deny that the Holocaust had taken place. The U.N. has also urged European nations to preserve concentration and extermination camps on their soil as historical landmarks, and denounce any expression of anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

The correlation between the past, the present and the future is clear. Anti-Semitism in general and the hatred of Israel in particular still rear their heads the world over. The stage has changed over the years, and such expressions have taken on different shapes and forms, as have the circumstances, but all are laced with the same disdain and inflammatory incitement, which as we know all too well, can have devastating results.

Anti-Semitism has always been, and still is, an evil sentiment. Only a few days ago a Jewish man was stabbed in Ukraine, for no other reason than being Jewish, and over the weekend, pig heads were sent to Jewish institutions in Rome. A Poll recently held in Poland found that 63 percent of its people believe that there is a Jewish conspiracy to control the international media and banking systems, and 13% of Poles still believe that Jews use Christian blood for personal ritual purposes.

Nevertheless, it seems that many have already understood that this hatred is no longer solely the Jewish people or Israel’s problem. The same devastating spirit of hatred is the enemy of everyone around the world, so it is therefore right for every nation worldwide to recognize the potential danger it harbors.

The world must remember the atrocities of World War II year round — not just on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Heinrich Himmler’s letters, which were recently uncovered, have underscored yet again how inconceivable those events were and how inhuman that mass murderer was, bidding farewell to his wife on his way to “work.”

We must never forget. Only a nation that remembers the monstrosities of the Holocaust, only a nation that cherishes the memory of the innocent men, women, children and the elderly who were tortured and butchered — only this nation can one day find the proper way to counter those who perpetuate this kind of hatred and incitement in the 21st century.

Standing at awe before the contribution of Holocaust survivors to humanity, we can only imagine what the millions who perished could have achieved. The people who introduced mankind to monotheism, Maimonides and Albert Einstein could have given it so much more.

Our commitment as Jews to the memory of the Holocaust is an inseparable part of who we are — it is embedded in our genetic code. It is only through this memory that we can be sure that we are doing everything within out power to ensure that those who had survived this inferno, as well as their descendants, have a better world to live in.

Written by: Silvan Shalom

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