Having posted my experiences in Poland, before I post about Israel, I feel that it is important to draw some lessons from the horrors of the Holocaust. Clearly, the Holocaust was the worst crime ever perpetrated by humanity. It is our duty to ensure that it never occurs again, either to the Jewish people or to any other nation. Did we learn anything? Is the world any different? Is there hope?
As Hitler intensified his persecutions of the Jews, culminating in the pogrom of Kristallnacht in 1939, the world decided to close its doors to those who needed asylum the most. During the war, when Allied intelligence reported the extermination of European Jews, the world still chose to keep silent. Allied airplanes even bombed a factory attached to the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex yet didn't feel that bombing the gas chambers or crematorium was an important goal. There was a conspiracy of silence against the Jews: half of the world tried to wipe us out, while the other half prefered to sit silently and watch. Only once the war was over did world leaders open their eyes to their complicity and began to realize how they could have prevented such a tragedy. If only we had known before! If only we saw! Never Again, they cried as they cried crocodile tears for the murdered Jews. They beat their chests in anguish and pledged never again would they be apathetic in the face of hatred and genocide. Unfortunately, 63 years since the end of the Holocaust, their words ring hollow.
Since 2003, Arab janjaweed militia backed by the Sudanese government have been systimatically murdered, raping, torturing and killing black Darfuris. They have massacred entire villages and destroyed food and water sources to exacerbate the drought and famine. About 400 000 thousand lives have already been lost. While some may claim (erroneously) that the Holocaust was hidden from public knowledge, no such thing can be said about Darfur. The horrors of ethnic cleansing, massacres and rape have happened in full view of the international community. Endless parades of diplomats, world leaders and officials have visited Khartoum with sporadic, unclear and incoherent messages. Diplomacy has failed the people of Darfur as thousands are slaughtered each day. We are our brother's keeper. It is not enough to build museums and monuments after the genocide, but to stop it or prevent it from happening in the first place.
Neither has the world learnt the dangerous and deadly results of unchecked anti-semitism. In recent weeks, violent attacks against Jews have taken place in Los Angeles, New York and London. In LA, a 58-year old man wearing a kippah was attacked by two men who called him a "dirty Jew" before punching him and beating him down. The police report a steep rise in anti-semitic attacks, including vandalism and a improvised bomb at a Jewish community center. In Germany, an Arab man was sentenced to three years in jail (only?!) for stabbing a rabbi repeatedly. Walls, shops and sidewalks outside four synagogues in northeast London Clapton Common and Stamford Hill neighborhoods were desecrated with anti-Jewish graffiti last week. The slogans called for 'Jihad to Israel' and 'Jihad to Tel-Aviv'. A 16-year old Jewish boy was severely beaten and mugged last week. A Jewish man living in Ireland last week had his home defaced with Nazi symbols and swastikas, with the slogan "Go Home, Jew". In fact, anti-semitic incidents are up almost 400% worldwide in recent years. It is actually the most worrisome increase in attacks since the Second World War. Violent attacks and desecrations of synagogues and cemetaries is commonplace in much of Europe. Jewish communities, such as those of Paris and London, feel as if under siege and live in constant danger. In Western Europe, fanatical imams incite their flocks against the Jews and the Zionists, the source of all of their problems. In the East, where the Muslim population is insignificant, neo-Nazi groups are undergoing a revival. During the first year of the commemoration of Berlin's Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, it was defaced with swastikas five times.
Once Iran bombs Israel, G-d forbid, the world will be quite to realize its fault. Leaders will beat their chest in sorrow and cry bitter crocodile tears at their willful blindness. Surely, monuments will be built to commemorate the now-extinct Jews. International money will pour in to build museums to memorialize the tragedy and people will use this blood money to atone for their collective guilt. No! This is not enough! Now that there is still a chance, Ahmadinejad must be brought to justice for inciting hatred against the nation of Israel. We do not want another Yad VaShem or a Holocaust memorial day. What we want is for the world to wake up and to make good on its promise of never again. As Jews, we must know that the world will never realize until its too late and that we cannot go once more like sheep to the slaughter.