Posted in: Anti-Semitism, Judaism, Holocaust
Published on Apr 27, 2006 by Phyllis Chesler
With Holocaust denial rampant among Islamists and Western intellectuals, the celebration of Holocaust Memorial Day becomes more than an affirmation of the truth of the tragedy. It is also an act of defiance and moral clarity.
In the Islamic media, Israel and Jews are labeled and portrayed as vermin and child-eating monsters. Islamists see no contradiction between caricaturing Jews in the vilest way and yet protesting, often violently, the fairly innocuous Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. Appeasers in the Western intelligentsia are quick to sympathize with Islam's injured "honor" in this matter.
Western leftists use the Holocaust to suit their own political purposes. Some say that the Jews are exploiting the Holocaust in order to collect reparations money and that they have used the Holocaust to justify the creation of a "apartheid" state.
They have also put forward their own version of Holocaust denial. Jews, they claim, are worse than Nazis, and Israel is perpetrating a "Holocaust" upon the Palestinians – the same Palestinians who send human bombs to murder Israeli civilians. The attacks on Israel are constant, its list of alleged crimes routinely expanded to include "ethnic cleansing," "forced transfers," and supposed "human rights violations."
One is forced to confront Big Lies at every level. Two professors at America's most distinguished universities publish "scholarship" that reads like the 21st-century version of anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They claim that an all-powerful "Israel Lobby" controls the universities, the media, and American foreign policy. No sooner are such papers debunked as crude propaganda then imitations appear. Thus, the virulently anti-Israel lobbying group, the Council for the National Interest, runs a full-page ad in the April 17 edition of the New York Times claiming that the unmasking of the aforementioned article as a pseudo-scholarly smear proves that the Israel Lobby does in fact control everything.
In Europe, meanwhile, the same nations that conspired in the murder of their assimilated, educated, and peaceful Jews, are now inviting in Muslims, who are far less assimilated and who are often far from peaceful.
But Europeans have had a long romance with the Noble Arab Savage, whom they nevertheless brutally colonized. Now, in a frenzy of anti-racist guilt, newer generations of Europeans seem to believe that a policy of multiculturalism that tolerates the most illiberal elements of Muslim culture is necessary to expiate for their former sins. And even as they make a virtue of defending Islamic racism, these Europeans proudly declare, "We are now anti-racists who have welcomed 20-30 million fertile Muslims of color."
Surveying these developments, some now say that we are re-living the 1930's. Today, however, the danger to Jews is far graver and more complex than it has been in the past. Old-fashioned anti-Semitic stereotypes – e.g., the Jews control the media and the banks, seek world domination, and killed Jesus Christ – have been added to pre-existing Islamic views of Jews as subhuman infidels. The resulting mix is a hot brew of relentless hatred.
But there is still another danger. Anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli, and anti-American propaganda has gone global. It is visually masterful, technologically sophisticated, and available around the clock, especially in Arabic. Jews and Zionists can be "seen" holding a meeting of the (fake) Elders of Zion, (falsely) demanding that Jesus be tortured and crucified, committing (fake) massacres in Jenin, and stabbing non-Jewish children to death for their blood.
Jew-haters are creating a situation in which another Holocaust-like mass murder of Jews may be possible. Indeed, in my view, it has already begun, certainly not in America and not yet in Europe – but in Israel. Today, Jews who live in the Jewish state – a nation that was initially envisioned as the solution to the ceaseless persecution of the Jews – are far more endangered than those who live in the Diaspora.
Israel endured the equivalent of 9/11 every month for four years during the intifada that erupted in 2000. In 2005, seven Palestinian homicide bombers killed and wounded Israeli civilians; an additional 15 such terrorist attacks were thwarted. True, Israel is well-armed and has nuclear capacity. However, the military superiority of the Jewish state is now being used to diabolize Israel on university campuses throughout the Western world.
The fanatical leader of Iran has gone further. President Ahmadinejad has threatened to annihilate Israel using nuclear weaponry. He has said: "The Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. It will be eliminated by one storm. Believe that Palestine will be freed soon." I take him seriously. My military sources tell me that there are at least 65 known nuclear facilities in Iran. All are strategically located in heavily populated civilian neighborhoods. Iran must be stopped. But who will do it? And when?
Ahmadinejad, notoriously, is a Holocaust denier. Another prominent exponent of Holocaust denial, historian David Irving, has been jailed in Austria for those beliefs. As dangerous as Holocaust denial is, however, memorialization of the Holocaust may also function as a form of denial. How can remembering the European Holocaust be a form of denial? Because in this instance it may also allow us the luxury, and the consolation, of assuming that the "worst" has already happened. Unfortunately, that may not be true.
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