The willful ignorance and denial of Jewish history is systemic in virtually all countries. It very much includes the United States, and the Black community in particular.
Pew Research did a study of Holocaust knowledge in February 2019. The study showed that Black Christian Americans were woefully ignorant about the Holocaust, getting fewer than half as many responses correct as White Americans. No other group was remotely as uninformed.
It was therefore no surprise when television personality Whoopi Goldberg thought that the Holocaust of European Jewry was simply a matter of White-on-White violence, as so many Blacks know so little about the subject, and consider Jews as simply “White”.
The State of California made an attempt to improve its education for grades K-12 by instituting an ethnic studies curriculum that highlight some minority groups: Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian American. Jews, who experience the most hate crimes per capita in the Unites States every year, were described in the 2019 curriculum as “sometimes have experienced conditional whiteness and privilege.” A letter of protest from the California Jewish Caucus pushed the state to make some significant changes to the 2021 draft, but it is readily apparent as to how the liberal state prioritizes and thinks about Jews and anti-Semitism.
So as Israel commemorates Yom HaShoah, the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust, perhaps a more controversial approach should be considered. Use the day to deny and belittle Black slavery. Pretend it never happened, or only impacted a few Black people. Maybe describe how just as many Asians were slaves at that time, or that life wasn’t really so bad for the African workers.
It should get the attention of people most ignorant about the genocide of European Jewry, much more than the far-left crafters of today’s K-12 curricula are willing and capable of doing.
The Whoopi Goldberg incident regarding her comments about Jews in the Holocaust took another turn as she was suspended from her show ,”The View,” for two weeks. Instead of being a teaching moment for everyone, it turned into another incident of ‘cancel culture.’
Whoopi is not a boldfaced anti-Semite who wants to see Jews harmed; she is ignorant about the Holocaust – and anti-Semitism – as are many uneducated, liberal, Black women.
Black Americans know much less about the Holocaust than other groups.
Four questions were posed to people – when did the Holocaust happen; how were ghettos used for Jews; that 6 million Jews were killed; and that Hitler was democratically elected in Germany. On average, Blacks got 1.2 questions right out of 4, compared to 2.5 for Whites and 1.7 for Hispanics.
Women are also less informed about the Holocaust, especially, adult women who knew much less than adult men.
The general level of education also correlates to an understanding of the Holocaust. While 84 percent of college graduates knew that the Holocaust happened between 1930 and 1950, only 55 percent of those without any college knew such fact. Only 29 percent of those without any college knew that Hitler was democratically elected.
Lastly, liberals are marginally more ignorant than conservatives regarding the Holocaust, according to the Pew study.
So consider Whoopi Goldberg, a liberal Black adult female who dropped out of high school. She falls into the intersectionality of ignorance as it relates to the Holocaust. In all probability, she knows remarkably little about the genocide of European Jewry, and her “views” on the subject are probably similar to other Black women without any college education.
Society should focus on the glaring failure of our schools and which people are given coveted platforms. Today, the ignoramuses we churn out are given soap boxes on mass media, and can do severe damage in spreading disinformation with “views” which are seemingly blessed and fact-checked by the major networks.
Holocaust denial is so commonplace, that we don’t contemplate its uniqueness. There is no other broad-based denial of a particular event in history other than the genocide of European Jewry, even while Survivors are still alive.
Why is that?
Certainly there is bigotry and racism. But many people harbor biases against a group and still do not deny their history.
A person may dislike Black people but won’t deny that there was Black slavery. A person might be a misogynist, but will readily admit that women once did not have the right to vote.
Yet the deliberate effort to deny Jewish history happens so frequently, that even the United Nations General Assembly – no friend to the Jewish people – passed a resolution to combat this evil.
Why do people deny and falsify Jewish history?
A Religious Perspective: Change in Gospel and Fake History
Christianity views itself as an extension of Judaism. The Christian Messiah was a himself a Jew in Jerusalem, who took the religion in a new direction. The Christian bible is called the ‘New Testament,’ built upon the ‘Old Testament’ of the Jews.
For centuries, Christianity viewed Jews as those who rejected their Messiah. Until the Second Vatican Council in 1965, Catholic doctrine felt that Jews should be punished for killing Jesus and continuing to reject him.
Muslims’ approach to Judaism is quite different. Islamic tradition views the Hebrew Bible as a complete fabrication. They believe that Abraham’s covenant ran through his son Ishmael, the patriarch of the Arabs, not Isaac.
It is therefore not surprising that Muslims are twice as likely to harbor anti-Semitic attitudes as Christians according to an ADL poll. That the Islamic Republic of Iran mocks the Holocaust as a fabrication can perhaps be seen through the lens that it views itself as the vanguard of Islam, which rejects the entire story of the Jewish people from its foundation.
Christians falls into two camps: those who accept the Second Vatican Council and are not likely to deny the Holocaust, and the “ultra-traditionalists” – like some of the people from the Society of St. Pius X – who actively deny the Holocaust. This second group are angered that the Church altered its own foundational texts and the history of Jews and Jesus, so they actively deny the genocide of the Jews.
For Muslims and ultra-traditionalist Christians, Jewish history is either built on a fiction, or has become fictionalized, so think nothing of denying Jews of their history.
A Secular Perspective: Schemers and Scapegoats
The falsification of Jewish history occurs outside of religious denominations as well.
“The Protocols of The Elders of Zion,” was a notorious anti-Semitic forgery written in the Russian Empire in 1903. It attempted to portray Jews as schemers who were plotting to create havoc to control the world through the banks, media and provoking wars. It spread throughout the world by radical anti-Semites including Henry Ford and the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas.
While some people might hate Hindus, no one took time to create a false document about Hindu community leaders to make them look evil.
So why the Jews?
Jews were often viewed with suspicion because of their position.
The Jewish diaspora spread a small people to the corners of the earth. While some assimilated and converted (forcibly and otherwise), many held on to their traditions. They did so in clustered communities – both voluntary and forced – to facilitate the production of kosher foods and participate in communal prayer.
That insularity bred suspicion. A small group that insisted on holding onto an unpopular belief system either lived on one extreme of abject poverty or became leaders in various professional fields. They were resented for both because they were considered as foreigners.
Anti-Semites were ready to embrace the Protocols forgery. They jumped at the opportunity to believe blood libels that Jews stole babies for baking matzah or were behind the Black Death. Jews were considered aliens in their midst, and easy scapegoats for the root of problems. Falsifying history helped foster that foreigner narrative, and an evil one at that.
The foreigner label attached to Jews everywhere, including in Ethiopia where Black Jews were called “falashas,” which means “foreigners” in Amharic.
In small, cloistered communities stretched around the world, Jews were vulnerable. Their non-Jewish neighbors were able to cast their opinions onto this minority, and craft stories to enlist others to embrace their hatred. Jews were left protesting the absurd charges to an audience that was both instigator, prosecutor and judge at once.
The secular falsification of Jewish history is anchored in xenophobia, and a desire to expel the foreign bodies, whether they be the “unclean,” poor Jew, or the “powerful,” puppet-masters “behind the curtain,” exploiting the noble masses for profit.
The unique nature of denying and falsifying Jewish history is embedded in Muslim and ultra-traditionalist Christian religious bias as well as anti-Semitic xenophobia. Holocaust education will not cure those ills.
Whoopi Goldberg, a liberal Black popular personality on television described the Holocaust of European Jewry as matter of “White people doing it to White People,” and therefore not a matter of racism. From her vantage point, the Jews were not an “other,” a people apart, but merely a group of White people that other White people didn’t care for. For Whoopi – and many Black people and liberals – Jews are White, and possess power and therefore cannot claim racism.
To set the matter straight, the Nazis did view the Jews as an inferior race. Here is just one section of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, in his introduction to the Jew:
“One day when I was walking through the inner city, I suddenly came upon a being clad in a long caftan, with black curls. Is this also a Jew? was my first thought. At Linz they certainly did not look like that. Secretly and cautiously I watched the man, but the longer I stared at this strange face and scrutinized one feature after the other, the more my mind reshaped the first question into another form : Is this also a German?
“As was my custom in such cases, I tried to remove my doubts by reading. For the first time in my life I bought some anti-Semitic pamphlets for a few pennies. They all started with the supposition that the reader already knew the Jewish question in principle or understood it to a certain degree. Finally, the tone was such that I again had doubts because the assertions were supported by such extremely unscientific arguments. I then suffered relapses for weeks, and once even for months. The matter seemed so monstrous, the accusations so unbounded that the fear of committing an injustice tortured me and made me anxious and uncertain again. However, even I could no longer actually doubt that they were not Germans with a special religion, but an entirely different race; since I had begun to think about this question, since my attention was drawn to the Jews, I began to see Vienna in a different light from before. Wherever I went I saw Jews, and the more I saw of them, the sharper I began to distinguish them from other people. The inner city especially and the districts north of the Danube Canal swarmed with a people which through its appearance alone had no resemblance to the German people.“
The entirety of Hitler’s work is a screed against the Jews as an entirely alien being, vile in every form. His propaganda machine borrowed from the prior works of anti-Semites, and expounded upon them, riling up a continent to exterminate these foreign beings from their midst.
The matter of whether Jews are a different race is not the point. To debate that matter is to give air to noxious evil. The Whoopi comments which were broadcast to millions, must be considered for other insights:
Holocaust ignorance and denial on various platforms
Non-Anti-Semitic Black Perception of Jews
Holocaust Ignorance and Denial on Various Platforms
A few days ago was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution against Holocaust denial. The resolution pointed out “the global and open nature of the Internet and the significant role of social media in spreading information,” but failed to discuss how the distortions about the Holocaust occur regularly in the mainstream media, both in the news and on popular shows like Whoopi Goldberg’s “The View.”
Various forms of anti-Semitism and Holocaust distortions are also becoming mainstreamed in American politics from the likes of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). It is important to call it out everywhere and not pretend it is only promoted on social media.
Non-Anti-Semitic Black Perception of Jews
There are certainly a large number of Black anti-Semites like Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, who attracts loyalists like Keith Ellison and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). Whoopi should not be dumped into this anti-Semitic camp.
Whoopi, as well as many Blacks and liberals, perceive of Jews as White, powerful “one-percenters.” They see American Jews and Israeli Jews as oppressors of Black and Brown people for profit, as stated by Tlaib to her loyalists in the Democratic Socialists of America. Marc Lamont Hill claims that only the powerful can be racists, both making it impossible for Black people to be racists, and that Jews cannot be the victims of racism since they’re White and powerful. This twisted logic has permeated the mindset of those who are not openly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.
The reality is that an average Jew in the United States is over 40 times more likely to be attacked than an average White person. Proportionately, Jews suffer more hate crimes than Blacks as well. These are plain facts.
Jews are marked as “the other” by White Supremacists as well as Blacks. It binds KKK leader David Duke with Ilhan Omar in their open hatred, but also blinds others like Whoopi Goldberg.
Black people insist on holding the mantle of Victims of Preference, and cannot let such security blanket drop for a moment, even when discussing the Holocaust on broadcast television.
Whoopi apologized for her Holocaust remarks that offended people but missed the opportunity to teach people about the common evil of racism and anti-Semitism: don’t turn your neighbors into “others” to demonize and despise. Jews suffer from “othering” around the world, and this Black liberal should educate her listeners to stop doing it to Jews themselves.
To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, The New York Times posted an editorial by Jan Grabowski about “The New Wave of Holocaust Revisionism.” The essay described how Poland was setting up monuments for Polish non-Jews who helped Jews during the Holocaust – directly in the location where hundreds of thousands of Jews were slaughtered, often with the help of other Poles.
Grabowski warns that this distortion of history is a new form of Holocaust denial – one that tries to whitewash Polish collaboration with the Nazis. It is taking flight since Poland passed a law in 2018 to penalize those people who attribute some of the blame of the Jewish Holocaust on Poland. The historian faces a number of lawsuits from the country for his detailed published research, including his book “Hunt for Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland” which won the Yad Vashem International Book Award in 2014.
It was appropriate for the Times to publish the lengthy essay shortly after the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning Holocaust denial. Alas, the paper did not do the same when Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) distorted the role that Palestinian Arabs played in the murder of European Jewry.
In May 2019, Tlaib said that she got a “calming feeling” thinking about ancestors who helped “create a safe haven for Jews.” Jews and many Republicans denounced the Holocaust revisionism as pure anti-Semitism, while fellow Democrats and liberal outlets rushed to her defense. The plain facts are that Palestinian Arabs pushed the British to limit Jewish immigration to Palestine during Kristallnacht, and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem met with leading Nazi officials to support the annihilation of the Jews. When Jews arrived in Palestine after the war, Arab armies came to slaughter the Survivors.
The Times similarly avoids writing that the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, wrote his doctoral thesis distorting the Holocaust.
It is wrong of Poland to reorient history from the complicity of Poles in the Holocaust and to come after those who discuss the actual history, much as it is shameful for Tlaib to twist history that Palestinians were saviors of European Jews and the Democratic party loyalists to rally to her defense and demand silence on Muslim anti-Semitism.
Holocaust revisionism is finding a home in the alt-right, the alt-left and among radical Islamists. If the mainstream media selectively highlights the poison only among the racist right, it is complicit in the same Holocaust denial.
On January 20, 1942, Germans met in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to develop the “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem.” The persecution of Jews was already well underway, and on that day, the Nazi regime put into place a program to push the Jews to extinction. They succeeded in wiping out nearly all of the Jews in Europe, about one-third of global Jewry.
Since the end of World War II, the Arab and Muslim world picked up the fight to “the Jewish Problem.”
The Arabs in Palestine were successful in lobbying the British in impeding Jewish immigrants desperate to leave the Holocaust in Europe with the “White Papers”, likely causing well over 100,000 Jewish deaths. The remaining Holocaust survivors landing on the shores of Palestine after World War II were very vulnerable targets. The Palestinian Arabs enlisted the help of neighboring Muslim countries to complete the genocide of the Jews, killing nearly one per cent of the region’s Jews in the 1948-9 Arab-Israeli War. The Arabs then ethnically-cleansed all Jews from the lands they seized, and forbade Jews from visiting their holiest locations in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Angry at the survival of the Jewish nation, Muslim Arab countries purged their Jews. Roughly 99% of the region’s Jews were forced out, an estimated 850,000 Jews, a total which does excludes the Jews who fled Afghanistan and Iran.
Arab countries attempted to kill all of the Jews in Israel again in 1967, though they failed spectacularly. Stinging from the loss, the Arab League adopted the Khartoum Resolution which called for “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel.” The Arabs soon launched another war against Israel – during Judaism’s holiest day, Yom Kippur – in 1973, while pushing the noxious idea that “Zionism is a form of racism” at the United Nations under the watch of former Nazi, Kurt Waldheim, who was serving as the UN Secretary General.
Meanwhile, Christianity rethought its complicity in the European Holocaust and declared in 1965 that Jews were no more responsible for the death of Jesus than anyone else, and declared clearly that Jews should not be persecuted. Less than 25 years later, the “Iron wall” in the Soviet Union crumbled and allowed thousands of Jewish “refuseniks” to leave the country to Israel and elsewhere.
But the bile in the Arab Muslim world did not let up during this time, even as Egypt made peace with Israel in 1979.
The Palestinians declared themselves to have an independent state in 1988 on all of the land of Israel including the “West Bank” and Gaza, a move which was rejected by much of the western world. At the same time, Hamas introduced its foundational charter calling for the death of Jews and complete destruction of the Jewish State. The group (and other Palestinian terrorist groups) became immensely popular and received funding from Iran and Syria.
Iran and its proxies like Hezbollah, together with Palestinian Arabs, targeted and killed thousands of Jews around the world in the following decades. Iranian leaders have continued to hold Holocaust denial conferences, call for the destruction of Israel and pursue nuclear weapons and long range ballistic missiles.
On the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, the United Nations approved a resolution condemning Holocaust denial, with only Iran standing in opposition. The story was covered by The New York Times and other media outlets which wrote about the resolution and described today’s prevalent “right-wing” anti-Semitism and completely ignored that the vast majority of anti-Semitism stems from the Islamic world.
Not only will Muslim anti-Semitism not go away by ignoring it, but it may enable the leading state sponsor of terrorism and Holocaust denial to obtain weapons of mass destruction to carry out another genocide of the Jews.
The evil of the Holocaust has no comparison. An elected government systematically targeted and killed a defenseless minority in its midst and enlisted its citizens and allies to participate in the atrocity.
The Jews were vilified by the Nazis and deemed guilty, guilty of an ever-evolving list of charges ranging from being dirty and lazy to infecting Aryan purity and stealing precious resources. The verdict was degradation, dehumanization and destruction. The Germans constructed an enormous infrastructure to annihilate the Jews under their sphere of influence, even importing Jews for slaughter.
While Nazi Germany was ultimately defeated in the battlefield, they were largely successful in the genocide of European Jewry. Six million souls were extinguished. World Jewry has still not replenished that number, and the world will never realize the value of their contributions, including those from their unborn descendants.
After the war, the United Nations established the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to address the depravity. It took roughly sixty additional years for the global body to take a stand against Holocaust denial as a critical component to “prevent genocide from occurring again.“
But shortly after the UN General Assembly’s adoption of that November 1, 2005 resolution, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a “myth” and a “fairy tale.” In March 2006 he said
“They have fabricated a legend under the name Massacre of the Jews, and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves. If somebody in their country questions God, nobody says anything, but if somebody denies the myth of the massacre of Jews, the Zionist loudspeakers and the governments in the pay of Zionism will start to scream.“
In December 2006, Iran hosted a Holocaust denial conference. Speakers included American Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and Australian denier Frederick Toben. Coupled with Ahmadinejad’s statements that Israel should be “wiped off the face of the earth,” the tether connecting the denial of genocide and the call for genocide was abundantly clear.
In response to the Iranian screed, in January 2007 the United States advanced a resolution before the UN General Assembly to confirm the November 2005 resolution on Holocaust denial. It called for all countries to “reject any denials of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, or any related activities” because “humankind must remember to ensure that such events were never repeated.“
Iran used the opportunity at the global platform to continue to attack the Jewish State, stating that “the Israeli regime, [leverages the Holocaust] to exploit past crimes as a pretext to commit new genocide and crimes.” It added that “the Israeli regime had manipulated the sufferings of the Jewish people as a cover for crimes committed against the Palestinians, including ethnic cleansing and State terrorism. The international community should take strong action against such atrocious crimes,” attempting to turn the victims of genocide into the perpetrators – yet another form of Holocaust denial.
The speaker from Venezuela supported the Iranian position adding that the Holocaust was not unique and the resolution should “cover the deaths of those killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the Palestinian people, who were the victims of excesses perpetrated under the pretext of self-defence and security, as had occurred in November 2006 at Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip,” belittling the Holocaust and attempting to keep Israel from protecting itself from terrorism.
The United States condemned the statements and sentiments of Iran and Venezuela at that time. But lately, the US is warming up to both.
The United States had concluded that Iran was developing a secret nuclear weapons program in October 2003 and the Bush Administration initiated an effort to halt it in 2006. The Obama Administration continued those efforts and ultimately reached a deal in 2015 (known as the JCPOA) which simply paused the Iranian nuclear program for a decade, after which time, Iran would have the legal path to nuclear weapons. The Trump Administration pulled out of the JCPOA noting that the leading state sponsor of terrorism and country which called for the destruction of an ally should not have the capabilities to cause nuclear mayhem. Ever.
The Biden Administration disagrees.
In February 2021, the Biden team said it wanted to rejoin the JCPOA and would join the European Union in talks with Iran. It also moved to curtail the sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration.
Several Democratic politicians are also coming to reverse Trump era sanctions imposed on other Holocaust deniers like Venezuela. In March 2021, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), a member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged Biden to change course on the socialist country. Perhaps not surprisingly, Murphy is also leading the charge (along with Senator Tim Kaine) to pressure Biden to engage with Iran and reenter the JCPOA.
On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, call the offices of Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy at (202) 224-4041 and (860) 549-8463 and demand that he stop supporting countries which actively deny and belittle the Holocaust which also seek to promote another genocide of Jews today.
The United Nations plans on having a webinar on October 29, 2020 called “Educating against Racism” as part of its series related to societies dealing with painful histories. The goal is to “develop a deeper understanding of the legacies of these painful histories – and through examining the past, consider how best to build a world that is just, where all can live in dignity and peace.” The Holocaust of Europe’s Jews is set to feature prominently alongside other atrocities.
One hopes that Palestinian Arabs will be directed to the site as their leaders have flatly refused to teach about the Holocaust in any manner.
In August 2009 the United Nations said that its would begin to discuss the Holocaust with the hundreds of thousands of children which it educates via UNRWA. The reaction from Palestinian leadership was fast and furious: absolutely not.
Hamas leaders in Gaza said that the Holocaust was “a lie invented by the Zionists.” The group penned a letter to UNRWA stating that they “refuse to let our children study a lie invented by the Zionists.”
UNRWA back-tracked but tried again to advance a review of the Holocaust in 2011. The reaction was the same.
Hamas Education Minister Mohammed Asqoul said “playing with the education of our children in the Gaza Strip is a red line.” Zakaria al-Agha, a member of the PLO’s executive committee said that “teaching the Holocaust to Palestinian students in U.N. schools is unacceptable.” A school teacher at one of the locations added “the agency [UNRWA] will open the gates of hell with this step.“
Holocaust education for Palestinians was stymied again.
Even after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced a normalization of relations with Israel in September 2020, Qatar continues to teach its students that there were valid reasons for the Nazis to hate Jews and that the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust has been grossly exaggerated. It is no coincidence that Qatar is Hamas’s biggest sponsor.
The October 2020 UN program is the second part in the series, the first one having been aired in July with a five person panel. The moderator was scheduled to be Maher Nasser, who served as Chief of the New York liaison office for UNRWA. It is perhaps no surprise that he failed to ultimately moderate the discussion, as he likely came under intense pressure from fellow Palestinians to not discuss the Holocaust.
That first webinar ran for one and one-half hours discussing how museums and memorials impact memory and their role in forming a just society today. While it touched upon recent decisions to remove statues of slave traders in Britain and the United States, it did not reflect on the dozens of Palestinian memorials to Arabs who slaughtered Jews.
As the UN prepares to educate people about racism this week, it must finally insist that its own schools educate Palestinian children about the Holocaust and the role Arabs played in the 1930’s and 1940’s which enabled the murder of tens of thousands of Jews. With such action, perhaps the next generation of Palestinians will not elect a leader who wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial (like Mahmoud Abbas) and establish an enduring peace with their Jewish neighbors.
There is a new placard being burnished around the world. It calls for justice and an end to the hatred and excuses for the racist, misogynistic, antisemitic and homophobic actions of Palestinian Arabs. #PalestinianActionsMatter
Since the Palestinians gained control of Gaza, they launched three wars (2008, 2012 and 2014), fired thousands of rockets at Israeli cities, and dug tunnels to penetrate Israel for attacks, rather than build an economy
Palestinians set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus and painted the dome green, the color of Islam
The world is waking up to the systemic racism and antisemitism of Palestinians with calls to defund the Palestinian Authority and questions whether yet an additional Arab state in the region should be created which has been instilled with such a toxic culture.
World leaders gathered in Jerusalem in January 2020 to both remember the Holocaust on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp, and to show unity in a fight against antisemitism.
It is right and proper to not only recall the horrors of the Holocaust but also to recognize that world action can defeat the scourge of antisemitism, if it so desires. It is right and proper to hold the event in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish State of Israel. And it is right and proper to unite against antisemitism, as the attacks on Jews have never dissipated, and have become more common, more violent, and more mainstreamed around the world.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) developed a “working definition of antisemitism” and has been achieving some success in getting countries and institutions around the world adopt its definition. In it, the IHRA focused on Israel and the Holocaust in many examples of antisemitism including comparing Israel to Nazis, saying that Jews and Israel exaggerate the Holocaust, stating that Jews have no right to self-determination and that Israel is a racist endeavor.
These were good examples as were the others listed by IHRA which have existed for centuries including “[m]aking mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions” and “[a]ccusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.”
But the IHRA did not mention another form of antisemitism that has gathered momentum in recent years: the open and complete denial of Jewish history.
People do not just deny the Holocaust or twist its history to fit a narrative to benefit a political agenda like the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas. People around the world – including world leaders – are denying the essence of 3,700 years of Jewish history in Israel and around the world.
Denying the thousands of years of Jewish history in Israel, the world calls Jews “colonial invaders” stealing land from the “indigenous” Arabs;
Denying that Jews built their two Temples in Jerusalem and that the site is Judaism’s holiest location, the United Nations backs the Arabs’ antisemitic declaration that Jews should be limited access to the site and denied the right to pray there, while the UN only calls the site by its Muslim name;
Denying that Jews made Jerusalem their capital city 3,000 years ago and have been a majority population in the city in excess of either Christians or Muslims since the 1860’s, the United Nations passes resolutions condemning the “Judaization” of the city and others stating that it is illegal for Jews to live there
It is both obvious and correct that denying the Holocaust and using Nazi imagery against Jews and Israel is antisemitic but so is denying the long history of Jews and their rights in the holy land.
Israeli flag at the Kotel (photo: FirstOneThrough)
Limiting the definition of antisemitism narrowly to the Holocaust and Israel ties the two together in a false narrative that the world gave Israel to the Jews as penance for European crimes of antisemitism, which in turn produces more antisemitism, as it strips Jews from their three and one-half millenia history in their holy land, and turns them into invaders and thieves.