ROME (JTA) -- On the same day next week, Israeli President Shimon Peres will address the German Parliament and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel will appear before a special session of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome.What happens when you stress the "universal lessons"--the squishy Ceej's M.O.--is that the specificity of the Holocaust becomes lost in the shuffle. What ends up happening is that a false dichotomy is set up between those "good Jews"--the helpless masses who went compliantly to their deaths--and the "bad Jews"--those ee-ville Zionists who rough up the "new Jews," the saintly Palestinians. Ironically, Holocaust remembrance has now become one of the prime vehicles for slandering/bashing the Jewish state that arose from its ashes--a shocking development that has yet to--and, indeed, may never--fully penetrate Jewish consciousness.
The timing is not coincidental.
The events are focal points of international Holocaust Memorial Day, an annual observance on the anniversary of the Soviet army's Jan. 27, 1945 liberation of Auschwitz, which is marked now by the United Nations and more than two dozen individual countries.
Each year, hundreds of events take place on or near that date. Britain, Italy and Germany have particularly extensive programs.
"There is a great sensitivity to this theme on both the local and institutional levels," said Alessandro Ruben, a Jewish Italian member of parliament in Italy, where Holocaust Memorial Day has been marked since 2001. "Every year there are more and more events connected with it, including many, many educational initiatives in schools."
The nature of the commemorations is a reflection of the times, too.
While most Holocaust Memorial Day initiatives are linked directly to the memory and impact of the Nazi genocide against the Jews, there is increasing emphasis on what the experience of the Holocaust can teach in the face of other genocides and persecution, such as those in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia and Darfur. World War II-era persecution of Roma (Gypsies) and gays also is examined.
Rabbi Andrew Baker, the American Jewish Committee's director of international Jewish affairs, said the shift in focus is to be expected.
"For Jews,” he said, the Holocaust “was a unique and unprecedented tragedy. But national and international commemoration events by their nature also stress the universal lessons that should be drawn from the event. As survivors and other eyewitnesses pass from our midst, those universal expressions naturally grow larger."
At the same time, pro-Palestinian groups are trying to transform the international day of remembrance into an opportunity to criticize Israel...
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The Downside of Holocaust Remembrance
We Jews--silly us!--like to think that Holocaust remembrance is a good way to help prevent a second Shoah from occurring. As Ruth Ellen Gruber explains, however, these memorials have been hijacked by mushy multicultists and Jew-haters alike, and are now being used against us (my bolds):