As we commemorate International Holocaust Day, it is important to point out to folks that in many respects, the world is not better now, nor is it safer for Jewish people. Israel lives under the constant threat of attack and terrorism on all sides. To the northeast currently, there is a war in Syria.
To the south, and southwest, are Egypt which is in continuous turmoil currently, with bands of roving terrorists launching terror attacks at will against Israel, and transporting missiles into Gaza for use by the Palestinian terrorists.
But my main point in writing is not to point out the seeming hypocrisy of our world that allowed the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 through the United Nations and then seems to have regretted it ever since, but also to point out the actual hypocrisy of the United Nations in failing its charter. Today, in a speech, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said about his recent visit to Auschwitz that he will “never forget my visit. I saw the horrific remnants of the machinery of genocide… The United Nations was founded to prevent any such horrors from happening ever again.”
And yet, we saw more genocides in the 20th Century, indeed even after the Holocaust of WWII and the Jewish people than we saw previously in all of history combined!
I invite the reader to visit the following sites to learn a little more about those genocides:
The list on the Wikipedia site includes all genocides from history, while only some are from the 20th Century. My question is how this has been allowed to happen? Why does antisemitism still exist? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today said: “Even now the world doesn’t cry out against a state calling for Israel’s destruction, and instead warmly greets Iran’s leader,” adding “that this is happening even though there is wide agreement in the world that more should have been done to prevent the Holocaust.”
Lebanon to the north of Israel continues to wobble unsteadily on its feet since the end of its Civil War in 1990. The peace there has been tenuous at best. Sometimes shots are fired across the border, and even artillery duels are not uncommon. Jordan appears to be the only country where relative stability for the past 20 years has marked an uneasy peace between themselves and Israel. But the undercurrent is there, at any moment, the situation in the Middle East could change and Israel could be at war with any one or all of its neighbors. We forget that in 2013 “nearly 50” projectiles were fired out of Gaza, according to the New York Times, and in 2012 many more, in fact hundreds of rockets were fired against Israel.
People who live under the threat of violence take a very pragmatic approach to life. For them each day is hard, it is earned against the sweat of their brow, by virtue of the fact that they have to stand firm against attacks and threats of attacks and carry on with their families and loved ones. To be frank, the amount of actual damage done to Israel in these attacks is very minimal. More people were killed last year in Detroit than have been killed in all of Israel by terrorists in the past 10 years, and likely the past 20 years. We tend to throw things all out of proportion when it comes to Israel for some reason.
History shows that the media have for many years made more out of a bomb blast in Israel that kills 2 people than a city like Detroit or Chicago where folks are murdered at a rate of 30-40 a month. This follows from the general interest in Israel being much higher than with other places. Israel, and specifically, Jerusalem, is thought by most to be the seat of power for the world’s three great religions, therefore no other place on earth holds as much significance as this one modest place.
This does nothing to help us understand the roots of antisemitism, on which I have written before, and which my personal feelings lead to the idea that it is demonic. Nor does our knowledge of the Holocaust and remembrance of it help us to deter people from its effects if we only concentrate on the past. We must look to the present, see the threats that exist now in this world, and be courageous enough to do something about them.
Until we can stand together, all of us united, against bullies of any sort, then we are doomed to repeat the past, and there will continue to be genocides. Thus, “Never again” in my book becomes “Likely again” given the recent history of the Middle East and the spread of violence marking what our President called “Arab Spring” but which is really “Middle East Nightmare.”