By Amy Zewe
May of our followers and supporters here with The Jerusalem Connection Report are open to learning and are already aware of issues such as antisemitism, Arab-Israeli tensions and violence, the need to support the Jewish people worldwide as well as the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland, and the need for Jesus’ salvation—an invitation open to all humanity.
But do you know how many people in the United States don’t know even basic history dating back less than 100 years?
In our forums we discuss history via the Bible, of course, and via archeology and its findings and discoveries with Shelley Neese’s insights. We discuss insights within Judaism through valued Jewish scholarly input and teachings. We examine the roots of theological antisemitism including replacement theology. We explore the needs of Israelis and seek ways to offer help. We discuss and explore modern manifestations of antisemitism including the trifecta of (1) the radical left/secular humanism and its ally (2) the Islamic tier of power and political influence and (3) the more familiar fascist tendencies of neo-Nazis still present in American and Europe.
These are all topics that we didn’t really expect to explore too deeply in our public-school upbringing and likely not find in our college level history classes.
However, World War II and the Holocaust are recent enough that we still have firsthand accounts of them, and recent enough that modern technology such as photographs, films, audio recordings, and 20th-century record keeping provide evidence. This era is so close to who we are today and so accessible. It seems like educational mal-practice that Americans, through various educational avenues—public schools, community, state, and private colleges and universities, and even the access to things like the History Channel and the Learning Channel—all lead to a counter-intuitive result that, alarmingly, shows a too-large percent of ignorance regarding the Holocaust.
Several studies recently have indicated some frightening results:
The Tribune News Service reported recently one-tenth of young adults surveyed by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany believe Jews caused the Holocaust, and another 10 percent think it may not have happened all! That is 1 in 5 young adults, 20% think the holocaust did not happen or if it did, it was somehow the victim’s fault. How can anyone arrive to either of those two conclusions?
According to Yahoo News, a survey found that 80 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 were ill-informed about the Holocaust.
The insidious field of Holocaust denial is alive and well among University professors, which, no matter how great the documentation of the Holocaust, they believe it is appropriate to present the history to their students as an “alternative viewpoint” in order to persuade or indoctrinate students to see Arab-Israeli issues through their lens. This is demonstrable through the actions on university campuses over the last two decades including Israel-Apartheid week and various terrorists and openly antisemitic speakers being invited year after year to speak to students. Campus organizations provide evidence such as Students for Justice in Palestine who are openly hostile to Israel to the point of generating false narratives and propagating lies. As well SJP expresses overt outright hostility to any person either of Jewish culture and religion or with any Zionist support. In fact, the very word Zionist has been turned into a dirty word—a derogatory term!
In addition to the academic world (largely liberal and leftist and aligning closely with the my second trifecta member, the Islamists) politicians, celebrities, pop-culture all seem to sway the American of any age away from learning truth and critically thinking. Moreover, the lack of educators dedicated to counter this is sad. We have the issue of social media and its bent muddying the waters of clear thinking and proper accounting of history.
Prof. Zachary Braiterman of Syracuse University has research focusing on Jewish issues noting…
…reports about young American adults not knowing anything about the Holocaust or having weird ideas about the Holocaust are not surprising. Each passing decade puts more and more cognitive distance between people today and the historical past about which they know only through platforms like Hollywood movies and social media platforms, now including Tik Toc. The Holocaust becomes more and more unreal, especially in a culture like ours that seems untethered from reality. Educators can only do so much in this current context.
What is the solution? For generations Americans have trusted its public and private schools to provide sound and complete educations to our children to produce young adults and eventually mature adults who end up as teachers, policy makers, business people, scientists, doctors, parents, aunts, and uncles who are equipped with enough knowledge and moral fortitude to develop sound wisdom and make society better, not worse.
I implore all of you to engage in prayer regularly for America’s schools, universities, and culture. That our teachers will be academically objective and exercise intellectual honesty. Keeping the history of the Holocaust only within the Jewish communities (a too small percent of our population) and perhaps the Christian communities, particularly its private schools, is again, a too small portion of the population to make a difference. Our secular, American schools, colleges, and universities and our social media platforms must be dedicated to truth and critical thinking. If corporations and schools can endorse particular political movements such as Black Lives Matter, the 1619 Project, or curriculum lenses such as colonialism and gender studies, then it can embrace and endorse sound teaching of all history—particularly the history that brought the 20th century to its knees and the ramifications of which are not even 75 years out—when we still have survivors to personally tell us the story.
Shavua Tov, have a great week.