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30 January 2014

On Remembrance and Boycott: Thoughts and Sentiments

Time passes on and the pain of destruction is as fresh as 69 years ago when the camps were liberated. What makes the heritage of mourning so poignant and sharp is the realization that however horrifying the Holocaust has been, it has not inoculated the world against violent Anti-Semitism. Yes, we are still facing today the unbridled hatred of those around the world who do not mask their hatred of Jews.

Last Monday people of goodwill around the globe congregated to commemorate the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Shoa. They were not simply victims. They were not just innocent - they were Jews who found themselves squeezed out of existence first as citizens, then as people and lastly as Human beings. With frightening efficiency the Nazi machine driven by a state – sanctioned, planned and implemented strategy to annihilate a people, amassed them into a reality that had been created away from the World and left but one exit-through the chimneys of Auschwitz. There was no other way out-not conversion, not through collaboration. Death was the Nazi last name given to Jews. The horrors of this unique event are so terrible and so inhumanly cruel, that they deserve a global time out to recall and remember. The U.N does not deserve a pat on the shoulder for dedicating a special date for the memorial. The question that needs to be asked is why it took so long?

The answer to this question lies in front of us. Indeed, it is just as nakedly abhorrent as the causes of the Shoa. Anti Semitism is still rampart around the world. It never disappeared. In some cases the messengers of hate try to mask their views under the guise of anti-Israeli or anti-Zionist propaganda. Nevertheless, the ancient hatred comes through.

It all started by small steps, boycott the Jew, distance him from society, make him a pariah. And today, listen to the voices that call for Silencing Israel. Keep Israeli academics away from Universities, throw their products from store shelves and shun their culture and art. Let there be no mistake- this is where it all starts, does anyone know where it will end?

A few decades ago Martin Niemoller wrote these piercing lines:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.”

As we depart the Holocaust Remembrance Day, shouldn’t we reflect on these words and their message?


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