Imagine if a group of white nationalists marched through the campus of any major university in the U.S. calling for the lynching of African-Americans. Much like the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, the incident would have been on the front page of every newspaper in the country. From coast to coast, politicians would have denounced it as evidence of the irredeemably racist nature of American society. And if any students were involved, they would have been quickly suspended and likely expelled.
Yet when a group of pro-Palestinian students marched through the University of Michigan earlier this month chanting calls for “intifada”—terrorist attacks on Jews—the nation yawned. Some conservative publications reported it and a few politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) denounced it. But it rated nary a mention in The New York Times and The Washington Post, or on CNN.
While many Jewish groups angrily denounced the incident, liberal Jewish opinion was unimpressed. Forward columnist Rob Eshman not only dismissed it as a meaningless kerfuffle. He also wrote that the anger on the part of Zionist Jews and their concerns about the impact of calls for Jewish blood to be spilled would have on Jewish students was an example of how American Jews were nothing but a bunch of “snowflakes” who were afraid of debating the actions of an Israeli government that wasn’t really in sync with liberal values.
And that is why this year, like every other year, I’m not terribly impressed by the fuss made over International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
While Israel and much of the Jewish community remembers the 6 million slain during the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah, which falls between Passover and Israel’s Memorial and Independence Day commemorations (this year it falls on April 18), the United Nations and most of the world prefers Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7
The solemn speeches and ceremonies held on this date may in many cases be well-intended. They may help keep alive the memory of the slaughter of European Jews by the German Nazis and their collaborators. But if there’s anything that we should have learned about Holocaust education and commemoration is that it does little to fight contemporary antisemitism.
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