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Photo: Reuters
Jewish victims of the Holocaust
Photo: Reuters
Does 'Never Again' only apply to us?
Op-ed: Perhaps it is the notion of the 'chosen people' or 'virtuous people' that makes me recoil when I detect excuses made in Israel for neo-Nazi rallies in the US, or silence when George Soros becomes a victim of anti-Semitism, or overlooking genocides in other countries.
Twenty-five years ago, when I was a young settler, on Holocaust Martyrs 'and Heroes' Remembrance Day, I had stomach-wrenching conversation with a close relative. Think about it, he said, if the Nazis had murdered six million Arabs instead of the Jews, would we not have praised them or at least let it slide? I thought about it and I replied: If the Nazis had murdered six million Muslims, we probably wouldn’t have had a state.

 

  

Both parts of this conversations are probably not politically correct, but 25 years later, it appears that contempt for the Holocaust among central components of the Israeli Right has shifted from random conversations to the heart of public discourse. More and more Israeli Jews dare to express openly or implicitly that the main problem with the Holocaust was the selection of victims by Nazi Germany and their aides.

 

Nazi concentration camp (Photo: Reuters)
Nazi concentration camp (Photo: Reuters)

 

For years, one of the most problematic exports of the State of Israel has been the cheapening and trivialization of the Holocaust, bordering on subtle hints of denial. This happens, for example, by comparing every adversary or enemy to the Nazis. This isn’t a phenomenon limited to a bunch of internet talkbackers.The prime minister himself is among the primary culprits in this field.

 

Then there is, for example, the peculiar lesson learned from the terrible tragedy: never again, as long as we are talking about us. That was the lesson we appeared to have taken when we were silent when a million Rwandans were slaughtered. Similarly, we refused to recognize the Armenian genocide, and we have simply used the atrocities in Syria as a propaganda tool.

 

In recent weeks we have seen an escalation of this kind of behavior.The masks have been removed and the interests are on the table for all to see. Everything is measured in the context of confrontation: Are you with us or against us? Anti-Semitic campaigns in Hungary against George Soros? Well, Soros if left-wing so we will let that slide.

 

Neo-Nazis in the US
Neo-Nazis in the US

 

As a journalist affiliated with the right wrote: "It is clear that anti-Semitism is obscene, but there are interests." A ghastly demonstration of neo-Nazis in Virginia? Not pleasant, but hey, look at the leftists; When the president compares the Nazis to anti-neo-Nazis, everything is fine. Nothing happened. A few people with torches and swastikas? What could happen?

 

If a Nazi-style leader was to rise up today and execute millions of Muslims, would Israeli right-wing politicians express a firm stand against it? Would he cry out "Never again"? I'm afraid the answer is no because in the State of Israel, 70 years later and a little after the Holocaust, when all chants of "Never again" are said and done, there is always a “but” to defend some small interest.

 

Jews rounded up in the Holocaust
Jews rounded up in the Holocaust

 

This is not a process which we have seen taking shape in Israel alone of course. The era of social networking has almost completely erased any semblance of political correctness, providing the exact conditions required for demagogues like Donald Trump and Oren Hazan to blossom.

 

It has enabled propagators of hatred and professional separatists to be rejuvenated, because they "speak with no beating around the bush," as if their words carry supreme value.

 

Destruction in Syria (Photo: AFP)
Destruction in Syria (Photo: AFP)
 

 

Perhaps this is also one of the reasons why values ​​and morals are measured today in the world, which are supposed to be absolute, within parameters of interests: if it serves our interests, we will make do with closing our nose to the smell of death and destruction and our eyes to the site of savagery and slaughter. In extreme cases, we may issue a condemnation a few days after the tragedy.

 

Perhaps it is the arrogant education that prevails at home, repeating the mantra, "you have chosen us from all the nations," and expressions like "virtuous people" that have been deeply planted in my DNA that evokes such emotions demanding more actions from Israel. But from a people who have suffered the Holocaust I expect only one call: Nazis and their heirs are bad, without buts and without interests.

 

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