On Thursday, Israel will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah. As has been the custom for over six decades, a 2-minute air raid siren will be blared across the entire country and citizens from all walks of life will interrupt their daily routines for a moment of solemn reflection. Jan. 27 of this year also marked the decade anniversary of the United Nations-designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which member states are encouraged to commemorate. Though an Israeli initiative, International Holocaust Remembrance Day has gradually been subjected to the universalizing prescriptions of those who would water down the particularly Jewish aspect of the Nazi extermination of the Jews.
The evolution of two different days of Holocaust commemoration and the ways they increasingly run counter to each other are symptomatic of the seizure of Jewish history and suffering for ulterior purposes. This victim displacement appropriates the most traumatic experience in Jewish history, pointedly erases the specificity of the events supposedly being commemorated, and then harshly chides Jews for inserting their own particularistic concerns into the discussion. At a certain point, these phenomena become a continuation of a specific form of oppression and erasure rather an antidote to “hatred.”Kirchick describes two strains of universalization--the malign sort that's being exercised by the likes of Britain’s National Union of Students, and the "innocuous" sort, say like Justin Trudeau's:
Sometimes, the speaking of a Holocaust without Jews can be innocuous, the result of a muddle-headed utopianism that desperately avoids singling out any one group’s suffering as having been worse than any other’s. When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau omitted any mention of Jews or anti-Semitism in his first commemorative statement for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it was not due to any conscious bigotry on his part but a sort of purblind, mushy progressivism. Still, it is distressing that the sort of Holocaust revisionism that was always the sole province of the far right and Arab nationalists—simultaneously denying the Shoah while hijacking it to bully Jews as “the new Nazis”—is, in newfangled form, becoming a badge of progressive virtue.The point to make here is that "purblind, mushy progressivism" can be every bit as dangerous/damaging as the splenetic Jew-hate of the "conscious" bigots.