International Holocaust Day at Yad Vashem
Photo: AP
Hollow remembrance day
International Holocaust Remembrance Day has not changed a thing

In November 2005, the United Nations decided to designate January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It goes without saying that this was a historic and important decision. Sixty years after the end of World War II and the Third Reich's demise, the nations of the world saw fit to designate a special day to commemorate the greatest and most brutal premeditated genocide in the history of humanity.


However, the decision was one thing, but actions are quite another. Or more accurately, results are quite another thing. So the UN indeed holds a rather modest ceremony every year, although this year Holocaust survivor Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau was invited to deliver a speech. Indeed, other countries in addition to Israel hold various ceremonies. However, all of this certainly does not rectify anything and does not promote the purpose behind this day.


In other words, in the absence of a serious, well-planned, and well formulated program for educating school children and raising awareness among all sectors of society worldwide, there would be no change in the perceptions and worldview of most nations. To put it bluntly, the UN's decision and the few ceremonies cannot curb the growing anti-Semitism.


They also cannot convince the various nations that six million people were indeed murdered in Europe just because they were Jewish; six million people who did not undertake any action against another people, who did not bear arms, and who did not carry out terror attacks. People who merely wanted to live, raise families, and make a living.


The UN decision in 2005 was indeed meant to mark the massacre of European Jewry, yet it has not changed a thing; neither attitudes nor views. Because if today, for example, an Italian cardinal can claim that Gaza is one giant concentration camp, the government of Catalonia can cancel a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony because of the "Gaza holocaust," and a Norwegian parliament member can say that Israel treats the Palestinians the way the SS treated the Jews, then clearly nothing has been learned and nothing has been changed.


Empty of all substance

If high-ranking figures continue to disseminate hatred against Jews, then International Holocaust Remembrance Day has remained empty of all substance. Because those who incite against Israel - and this should be declared loudly and unwaveringly - are not aiming to slam the state established in the Middle East, but rather, they are aiming to slam Judaism.


Meanwhile, there are international news agencies and well-known commentators who do not refer to the "State of Israel," but rather, to the "Jewish State" or the "Hebrew State." There is no clearer way to say this is not about Israel, but rather, about the Jews.


In many protests against the IDF operation in Gaza, demonstrators carried signs such has "Stop the
Judeo-Nazi terror." What other proof is required in order to understand what this is all about? Has anyone ever seen a news report referring to the "Muslim State" in relation to Saudi Arabia or Egypt, or the "Catholic State" in relation to Spain? Of course not.


Therefore, without a drastic change in relation to attitudes and education, without a radical change in the positions of policy makers in each and every country, and without a serious, in-depth, ongoing and candid plan, International Holocaust Remembrance Day shall remain just another date on the calendar, just like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Car-Free Day, etc. Yet apparently, those dates are somehow more important.


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