The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer and Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psychoeducation programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. Today, Ron is a strategic advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria.
Rebranding the Holocaust
This week, Israel will be commemorating not only the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust but also recall the untold stories of the many acts of Jewish resistance that occurred during this period throughout Europe; the Holocaust being the darkest period of Jewish history.
Yet in recent months, as the Holocaust has been cynically used as a backdrop for Jewish liberals in America to attack President Trump, it’s not surprising that in response to this partisan use of the Holocaust, more and more voices can be heard stating that it’s time for Jews to get over the Holocaust and suggest that now is the time for Jews to move on and stop making the Holocaust the most pivotal event in Jewish history.
With mass killings going on in recent years during Obama’s watch, many of his Democratic and liberal supporters have been suggesting that the Holocaust is unnecessarily singled out as if it’s more special than other historical events. They claim that although the Holocaust was on a much greater scale and horrifically well-organized, it was far from the first incident of a dominant power killing those deemed “inferior” on trumped up charges, and essentially not that different from what’s going on in the Middle East over the past 5 years, while the Obama admiration did nothing to stop the killing.
For many of these liberal “Tikkun Olam” Democrats, mankind has been perpetrating horrible atrocities on other human beings for centuries. They seem genuinely puzzled as to why Holocaust denial is even considered a crime in over a dozen countries. Surely, as far as they are concerned, this is an overreaction. Do we arrest those that believe and express the opinion that the world is flat? Why should denial of a historical event even be considered a crime, something detrimental to society?
Historical events, as earth-shattering and history-ending as they seem at the time, eventually fade from the forefront of public consciousness and become memory. When Holocaust survivors will no longer be around, and when there is no more opportunity to let children and educators hear firsthand testimony of the Holocaust, will the Holocaust be just another event studied in world history classes? With all of the effort that has gone into recording testimonies of the Holocaust be enough to preserve historical memory in terms of the magnitude and uniqueness of the Holocaust?
There are few historical events that have undergone greater scrutiny and preservation. Perhaps we can even acknowledge that we’ve done enough to ensure that the Holocaust can never be forgotten. In a moral world, in a world that differentiates between good and evil, right and wrong, this kind of preservation of historical memory would probably suffice. However, today in the age of globalization in which everything is viewed through the prism of cultural relativism, facts and evidence are not enough, the enemies of the Jews and of Israel not only claim that the Jews exaggerate and that the Holocaust was made up so as to justify the establishment of the State of Israel, but they take this one step further and falsely claim that Israel itself is implementing a Holocaust on the Arabs living within Judea and Samaria.
Sadly yet not surprising, many Jews are not immune from the politically correct trivialization of the Holocaust and acceptance of universalism as the intellectual context of interpreting world events. Yet, Jewish identity that ignores or belittles or "moves beyond" the systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish race seventy-five years ago cannot possibly fathom the significance and importance of the establishment of the State of Israel. The Jewish people made a conscience effort to rebuild out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Those that regard the Holocaust as just another unfortunate event cannot be depended on to understand that for modern Israel, in order to deal with existential threats, Israel must do whatever is necessary so that "never again" will not remain an empty slogan.
Those that depict the Holocaust as just another historical event should be reminded of what the Holocaust was all about. In Daniel Mendelsohn's recent The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million, he describes in detail the core horror of Nazi action in collaboration with locals in Bolechow, Poland, September 1942:
The story of Mrs. Grynberg was a horrible episode. The Ukrainians and Germans, who had broken into her house, found her giving birth. The weeping entreaties of bystanders didn't help and she was taken from her home in a nightshirt and dragged into the square in front of the town hall. There, she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall with a crowd of Ukrainians present, who cracked jokes and jeered and watched the pain of childbirth as she gave birth to a child. The child was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and thrown - It was trampled by the crowd and she stood on her feet as blood poured out of her. She stood that way for a few hours by the wall of the town hall, afterwards she went with all the others to the train station where they loaded her into a carriage in a train to Belzec.
In every generation, the Jewish nation has had to deal with the threat of annihilation. In ancient Egypt, it seemed that the Jews would be gone. In ancient Persia, it looked like Haman would have his way and annihilate the Jewish nation. All of these so-called great empires have disappeared and against all odds, we, the Jewish nation are still around. Not just surviving, but thriving.
The enormity of the Holocaust, however, with the majority of European Jewry being systematically murdered, is a singular event that defies comparison in the last millennium. In retrospect, the Holocaust compels Jews to confront their own Jewishness. After such unspeakable events such as the one described above, every Jew must look inside themselves and consider: Hitler tried to exterminate my people and the world stood by in silence. Will I, through apathy and indifference, become a partner to Hitler? Or will my life convey a testimony to the glory of the Jewish people and its resurrection from the ashes? That is the real reason that it's not the time for Jews to "get over and move beyond" the Holocaust nor agree to rebrand the Holocaust as just another sad episode in world history.
Living with Anti-Semitism in America
American Jews and the Jewish organizations that represent them have demanded, in thundering pleas, that President Trump take action and end the current tsunami of anti-Semitic attacks on the American Jewish community. This is just and reasonable. Expecting political leadership not to abdicate their responsibility and at best act as conflict managers only allows a problem to fester and proliferate. Political leaders act to change a situation, leading a nation to a better place, allowing the people to feel secure and not under threat. This is a natural expectation that any normal public can expect of their national leadership.
Despite anti-Semitic acts being a relatively common occurrence way before the presidential campaign, since President Trump's election, these ripples of anti-Semitic hatred have blossomed into a giant wave. American Jews have become consumed with trepidation and are beginning to realize that they have every right to stand up and demand that the president take action and end this vile anti-Semitism. Local television channels in the United States are flooded with footage of small children holding the hands of adults walking next to them and trying to catch up with them. The adults, meanwhile, are seen trying to get the little ones to walk a bit faster without making them panic. From North Carolina to Maryland, from Alabama to Rhode Island, thousands of children have been evacuated from Jewish community centers and schools, as if it is happening everywhere.
Yet this very same American Jewish leadership, who in recent weeks have been banging on the walls of the White House demanding that the current wave of anti-Semitism be stopped immediately, have for the latter part of the past quarter of a century demanded that the Israeli public, and the Israeli political leadership, continue with business as usual, despite the incessant Palestinian Arab incitement and blatant anti-Semitism in Israel.
Palestinian Arab anti-Semitism has long been recognized as the Arab world's prominent vehicle for the hatred of the Jews. From academics teaching that Judaism permits murder and rape of non-Jews to religious leaders teaching that Islam demands the extermination of Jews, Palestinian anti-Semitism is a compelling force driving hatred and terror. The Palestinian Authority depicts Jews as the archetypal force of evil throughout history. Jews are said to be responsible for all the world's problems: wars, financial crises, even the spreading of AIDS. Palestinians have long claimed to receptive ears that Jews are a danger to humanity.
Palestinian incitement to murder Jews has always been a natural outgrowth of anti-Semitic incitement rampant in Palestinian society, expressed at all levels without hesitation and without sanction. In Palestinian society, no one is ever held accountable for anti-Semitic incitement. This has never prevented American Jewish leaders from meeting with and supporting the Palestinian people and their leaders.
When Jews attack Jews, and when Jews deny the State of Israel the basic right of self-defense afforded to all nations of the world, thereby making it OK to express hatred of Israel, then they are invoking hatred toward themselves and hatred towards the Jews of America. Over the years, since the heyday of the Oslo agreement, American Jews, liberal Jews, have bent over backward supporting the case of the Palestinian Arabs, while here in Israel, the Palestinians have made anti-Semitism and incitement the backbone of the Palestinian education syllabus from kindergarten and up. Is it any wonder that the world has gotten used to the hatred of Jews and a culture of unabated anti-Semitism?
In America, the irony of all this is that over the past eight years of the Obama presidency, the administration opened the gates and encouraged millions of Muslims to flood into America. As with the Palestinians, anti-Semitism is rife in the Arab world, with over 80 percent of the Muslim public holding strongly anti-Semitic views. Yet this anti-Semitism, harbored by a large portion of Muslims, has never stopped these same Jewish organizations, these liberal Jews, from being at the front lines of demonstrations or political action when President Trump attempted to stop this unrestricted refuge admission into America. These Jews never ever expressed any concern that supporting this continuing addition of anti-Semitic Muslims to American society would create a breeding ground for the kind of anti-Semitism that the American Jewish community is experiencing today. American liberal Jews have become infatuated with doing "Tikkun Olam" and paving the way for flooding America with Muslim anti-Semites while ignoring the potential problems of admitting an untold number of immigrants from Muslim countries where extreme anti-Semitic sentiments are mundane and unrestricted.
All this will not end well. With no tradition of assimilation or integration into Western societies, Europe being the best example of this, the restive Muslim minorities that have entered America by the millions over the past eight years will only grow louder, and the level of anti-Semitism will get much worse before it gets better. The myth of multiculturalism, propagated wholeheartedly by the American Jewish liberal community, will implode as the volume of anti-Semitism becomes louder and more brazen. The American melting pot, a symbol of America for the millions and millions of immigrants over the past century, will cease to exist, leaving these anti-Semitic and anti-American Muslim minorities to reproduce, in America, the anti-Semitic and cultural squalor they claim to have wanted to flee.
Sanctimonious Jews empower anti-Semites
In the weeks following the election of President Trump, the dams have burst forth, sending legions of demonstrators into the streets of America in the hope of warding off the impending inevitability of a Trump incumbency. Yet despite the tens of thousands of demonstrators and the hundreds of organizations leading them, what is highlighted by the mainstream media are signs like “Never Again – Jews Against Trump” and bold headlines about the arrest of 19 rabbis (or so-called rabbis) while demonstrating opposite the Trump Tower in New York City.
In response to President Trump’s directive to stop the free flow of Muslim immigrants who may pose a potential threat to national security, one would think that the first line of demonstrators would be packed by American Muslim religious leaders or American church leaders who historically have backed Muslim rights in the United States. Instead we see a steady stream of rabbis, Jewish organizations, and Jewish demonstrators who boldly identify themselves as Jews being paraded at the head of these demonstrations against President Trump and against the American electoral process.
Invoking the Holocaust in their message against Trump so as to imply a connection between Trump and the Nazi Party, or having rabbis invoke their religion to convey a message that the Jewish religion is against President Trump, is all part and parcel of a “useful idiot” strategy being implemented by the Democratic Party and other leftist organizations funding the protests.
Over the past months, there have been 57 bomb threats to 48 Jewish community centers; there have been neo-Nazi marches in a number of states; and swastikas have been reported throughout the United States at a rate unseen in recent times. The steep increase in anti-Semitic attacks throughout the United States is being portrayed by mainstream media outlets as coinciding with the election of President Trump, leading the public to believe that the alt-right and anti-Semitic forces are on the march with impunity.
Little if any media attention has been given to the fact that for the past 15 years, since the Durban Conference in 2001, when the BDS and the delegitimization movements against Israel were established, ultra-liberal sanctimonious Jews and leftist Jewish organizations have been at the forefront of political activity demonizing Israel, working to portray it as an apartheid state committing genocide against the Palestinian Arabs.
When Jews attack Jews, and when Jews deny the State of Israel the basic right of self-defense afforded to all nations of the world, thereby making it OK to express hatred of Israel, they are inciting hatred toward themselves and hatred towards the Jews of America and around the world. When we hear Jews vigorously condemn Israel and then condemn Trump, dismissing the legitimacy of the election results while at the same time inflaming the public discourse with vulgar language, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the anti-Semites feel empowered. In such an environment, taking the short leap to single out Jews as responsible for the uncertainty and confusion felt by the American public during the post-election period is inevitable.
With comedian Sarah Silverman calling for a military coup to overthrow President Trump, and Israeli singer Noa calling the President Trump “a modern-day Hitler,” I anticipate that it is going to get worse, possibly much worse, for American Jews before it gets better. What began as an anti-Israel, anti-settler campaign has mushroomed into widespread anti-Semitism that does not differentiate between Orthodox and Reform, between Israel or the “settlers,” between the “start-up nation” and “a light unto nations.” For these anti-Semites, whether they be the alt-right or jihadist Islamic organizations, all Jews look alike, all are equally guilty, and all are equally fair game.
Jews’ overrepresentation among political donors, politicians, activists, academics, and of course as voters for the Democratic Party make them an anathema for those that do not share the Democratic Party’s vision of what America should look like. American Jews are quickly approaching the proverbial crossroads, yet they are too busy running from demonstration to demonstration to notice the writing on the wall.
For the past century, Jews have been the greatest supporters of the Democratic Party. From the days when Jews were garment workers or cabdrivers and until today, Jews have benefited more than any other ethnic group from America’s freedom and economic prosperity. Yet, despite the economic success of American Jews, they continue to refuse to embrace the politics of economic prosperity that produce goods and innovations for all. These Jews continue to reject the capitalist model embodied in the Republican Party and instead blindly continue to support the socialist model of the Democratic Party. It is economic prosperity and not socialism that has made America great.
With President Trump having Jewish in-laws and with his Jewish grandchildren visiting Grandpa Donald at the White House, and with Trump’s long history of Jewish advisers and Jewish associates, let alone the fact that he grew up in the predominantly Jewish environments of Queens and Brooklyn during his formative years, it would be wise for many of these sanctimonious self-appointed Jewish leaders to open up their eyes and their hearts and give the American public and the newly elected American president a break. The alternative will sustain and empower the continued anti-Semitism that is poisoning the minds of so many Americans.
Obama at the UN – the mouse that roared
Obama has been perceived for the better part of the past eight years by many of the world's leadership as a spineless and weak leader, never feeling comfortable or really knowing how to implement the art of statesmanship. Obama caved in to Putin, the leader of Russia, and caved in to Assad, the embattled leader of Syria. China, Iran, North Korea, and Libya have all exhibited nothing but contempt for Obama, who always backed down, stood down, and generally did nothing more than wag his presidential tail.
And then there was Israel.
The objective of the recent Obama-concocted Security Council resolution against the State of Israel is nothing less than a betrayal of the U.S.-Israel alliance and a message to Trump. The Security Council's resolution, which brands the Jewish presence in any part of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) or in parts of Jerusalem as illegal, will also make the 800,000 Jews in these areas international outlaws.
This betrayal of Israel is actually Obama's lame-duck way of signaling to the new Trump administration that he has no intention of letting President-Elect Trump, the democratically elected president, revoke the so-called "transformation" Obama has set for America over the past eight years.
Obama's action in the U.N. comes from his longtime distaste for Israel and from his newly found distaste for Trump and everything Trump stands for. Obama has a lot of "unfinished business" and primal anger concerning Trump's victory, exposing the Democratic Party and its leader for what they are: hated by Middle America and totally detached from the traditional values of so many Americans.
Trump's greatest sin other than actually winning the election has been that he has exposed the true legacy of Obama. Trump, the unapologetic, wealthy champion of Middle America, is everything Obama is not. Trump embodies Obama's worst nightmare and is an antithesis to how Obama envisions America upon leaving the White House, knowing full well that President Trump, in Obama's own words, will "reverse progress" of his presidential period.
Trump has successfully shared with all Americans the true Obama domestic legacy: BlackLivesMatter, cop killings and violence in the streets, transgenderism, the failure and bankruptcy of Obamacare, unrestricted immigration , terror attacks on American soil, and a ten-trillion-dollar increase in national debt. Obama has generally corrupted all three branches of government through the use of presidential directives, ignoring the authority and constitutional mandate of Congress and the Senate, and by empowering government agencies such as the IRS to selectively hound organizations that did not adopt Obama's vision of America.
Internationally, Obama's legacy has been even worse: allowing the Islamic terror genie out of the bottle; half a million dead in Syria; the Muslim refugee invasion of Europe, which could lead to the breakup of the EU; the rise of Iran as a conventional power that is devouring one Sunni country after another; the diminution of American power and prestige; enabling Russia to invade and conquer neighboring countries; and finally, legitimizing the BDS movement and the criminalization of Israel by encouraging the Security Council of the U.N. to make Israel a pariah state.
This showdown between Obama and Trump has been in the making since day one of Trump's declaration to be elected president. In the same manner that the liberal elite and intelligentsia have failed in shoving down Middle America's throat their vision of what America should be, Obama has not yet internalized that his vision, his eight years of empty promises and the attempted transformation of America, has come to an end, with little to show for his efforts.
In the coming three weeks of what remains of the Obama presidency, President-Elect Trump and the State of Israel should prepare for the worst and expect Obama to take revenge against American voters who chose Trump and against Israel for standing up to Obama for the past eight years – exposing his nothingness, his empty beliefs, and his empty panaceas that have failed one by one. Obama will continue with his political carnage until his last day in office in a manner unbefitting the office of the president.
Obama is fond of quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.'s line: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." The Republican Party controls all three branches of government, to the detriment of everything Obama has achieved in the past eight years. President Trump will build an American tent that will include all and be a beacon to the world. Israel will succeed in rescinding the Security Council decision sooner rather than later and continue to build coalitions with neighboring Sunni nations in the coming years and maintain her expanding relations with most nations of the world. Obama will fail in his last-ditch efforts to forge his vision of a brave new world, leaving nothing more than a memory of a mouse that roared.