Many people have asked why Jews continue to remind the world – some might say ad naseum – of The Holocaust. Not a holocaust, of which there have been a few (recognized and otherwise). The Holocaust.
The answer is so simple it might be scary. The power of the idea “The Holocaust”, as opposed to a holocaust, has dwindled in the human ideational hierarchy since it was first introduced post-1945. The attempted genocide of the Jews in Europe during World War II happened – that is history. But The Holocaust – that is so much more.
The Holocaust was once an idea powerful enough to push the Zionist ideal to a crescendo supported by many non-Jews. An idea that was so powerful it helped create a state has since become an idea very few people care much about…
So, today I ask, must we maintain our course in defense of the idea The Holocaust? To many peoples the loss of 6 million might seem minuscule. But for the Jew, to lose even one is to lose a whole world. We lost 6 million. To lose another 5 million different versions of Jew would be a catastrophe. A catastrophe for the Jews if no-one else.
So is it any surprise that there are Jews who take issue with those who threaten, plan, and act to eradicate over 40% of the total self-acknowledged Jewish population?
The world has decided that the potential annihilation of less than .1% of the total global population does not matter. We the Jews do not matter. The idea of the Jews as a unique group (with its many facets and faults), does not matter. But we Jews made a promise. Never Again. That promise was to ourselves. A promise that requires us to be true to who we are and NEVER forget. Never forget our history.
Are there Jews who, because of where they live, deny other people freedoms in order to defend the lives of Jews. Yes. Have people been hurt and even killed as a result of this conflict over Jewish existence? With great sadness, yes. Are we surprised that, as a result of this constant threat, a new generation of Jews has risen, some full of anger and hate. Some filled with racist pride even. Unfortunately not. Why? Because the world is forgetting, but we made a promise.
So, we continue to wait. We wait until the day that the ideas the Palestinian people, and those who support their cause, espouse and act on include the right of Jews (all people really) to live in peace – as equals – with those around them everywhere in the world. Until that time, we Jews must continue to maintain a home where any Jew may go. And we must try to be as lenient as we can. To give people under Jewish jurisdiction as many freedoms as we can. All while protecting as many Jews as possible. We must. To do less is not Jewish.
I pray we can be more lenient every day. But until then – Never Forget.
I believe this should be the stance of the Jews. Not Israel. The JEWS.
The author is adjunct lecturer in the School of Communications at Bar Ilan University. He is also a disabled veteran of the IDF.