By DAN MARGALIT, ISRAEL HAYOM—
An unprecedented Israeli delegation will attend Monday’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day events in Poland. In a week where SS commander Heinrich Himmler’s personal letters were unearthed, it is only symbolic that the sovereign Jewish state makes this symbolic gesture. The renewed interest in the Holocaust can be attributed to the new report on anti-Semitism, excerpts of which were mentioned by Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett in Sunday’s cabinet meeting. It is on the rise. The world’s Left and Right may be at odds over every possible issue, but when it comes to hating Jews they find common ground.
Why harass the already low-key Jewish community in Italy? Why try to have the Israeli delegation stay out of the Auschwitz ceremony? Why has anti-Semitism reared its ugly head in Poland, the epicenter of Himmler’s extermination efforts? Poland’s Jewish community is all but non-existent, it comprises only a scant number of Jews and a handful of Israelis who have emigrated from Israel — which saved their lives — only to return to the country where their families had been wiped out. Several decades ago, such expatriates would have been looked down on by Israelis as a “refuse of weaklings” .
Anti-Semitism’s deceptive nature has yet to have been fully understood. Even those who associate anti-Semitism with the expansion of Israeli settlements knows deep inside that there is little evidence to establish causality. Hatred toward the Jews in Muslim and Christian countries has no particular reason; it has nothing to do with their place of residency, be it in Beit El or in some other community.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni traded barbs with Bennett during Sunday’s cabinet meeting. Their exchange was a microcosm of the dispute over the “two-state solution.” Even if the Jews were to redraw their sovereign borders along the lines proposed by the Peel Commission in 1937, hatred toward Jews will have been unaffected whatsoever.
Anti-Semitism was turned up a notch and it is inching toward its pre-Holocaust levels. The fact that anti-Semites seek to glorify the Holocaust rather than continue to deny it says it all.
That the radical right in Poland seeks to declare Auschwitz off limits for Jewish visitors is hardly surprising. You would not expect them to be in favor of having the blue and white flag of the Jewish state hoisted on a pole above the crematoria. But then there is the radical Left here in Israel — which cannot come to terms with Israel’s war of self-defense in 1948 but gladly embraces the so-called Palestinian “Nakba” .
Why has the Israeli radical Left tried to water down the bond between Israelis and the six million who were murdered in Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka and in other chapters of this hell-on-earth? Why does it insist on linking its political persuasions to this unprecedented crime and to the atrocities that were carried out against the Armenians in 1915? Does this just boil down to self hate? Every historian can recite what former Minister Yigal Allon said, about how those who forget their past essentially obscure their future.
If I were a radical leftist I would have many pangs of conscience if I felt that the loss of my grandparents — who died in the Polish upheaval and whom I never met — interfered with my efforts to see a two-state solution implemented, even if that means the return to the 1967 borders. On that planet called the Holocaust, the murderers could not be bothered by the youth group affiliation of any particular Jew, be it Hashomer Hatzair or Beitar. Today, the anti-Semites in Europe and the Arab world make no such distinction either. As the years go by, the Holocaust assumes a more central role in the battle over the hearts and minds. The Jews cannot run away from it.