The more we hear that we’ve had enough of Holocaust education, the more one realizes that we haven’t had enough…
Dr.Gerstenfeld’s latest article, Why the Holocaust does not fade away, was published originally in INN, and republished here with the author’s consent.
WHY THE HOLOCAUST DOES NOT FADE AWAY
One may wonder why the memory of the Holocaust does not fade away with time as do most historical events. Why are the Holocaust and several related World War II issues mentioned increasingly in the media? Why do these aspects seem to draw increased attention as time passes?
Even though one cannot quantify the phenomenon, similarly the increase of Holocaust abuse seems evident. It is only when one starts researching this, that the frequency and diversity of the distortions become apparent.
When looking for reasons for the frequent mention of the Holocaust, a number of disparate possible causes emerge. One is a trend toward increasing chaos in the world. In such a reality many look for extreme points of reference, while others distort them. A second reason is the increased removal of barriers of what is acceptable in the public domain or in certain environments. A further source of increased Holocaust distortion is the largely unregulated social media arena.
The exposure of antisemitism has greatly increased in recent years, together with the growth in incidents expressing hatred toward Jews. Holocaust abuse and distortions to some extent overlap with antisemitism.
The promotion of a new Holocaust is not a distortion category in the strictest sense of the word, even though the two are related. This promotion of a second Holocaust has many gradations. Some are explicit. In the 1960’s George Lincoln Rockwell was head of the American Nazi Party. He said that, “If he came to power he would execute Jews who were traitors. He furthermore stated that 90% of American Jews were traitors.”1
Nowadays explicit institutional threats of genocide against Jews mainly come out of parts of the Muslim world. Iran and Hamas are two of the major perpetrators. Others are usually of an indirect and far more limited nature. Neo-Nazi movements can be direct or indirect promoters of a new Holocaust. Much international publicity was given to a march of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the town of Charlottesville, Virginia on 12 August, 2017. Arms were outstretched in Hitler salutes. Some had tattoos of swastikas. There were also chants of the Nazi slogan “blood and soil.”
All this is documented in photos and video footage. The demonstration quickly turned violent, as white supremacists intimidated and attacked counter-protesters. A car, driven by a white supremacist man, reportedly also an antisemite, rammed into counter-protesters, resulting in the death of a woman.2
In September 2017, the British police announced that three men in the UK were charged with terror offenses, in connection with the banned neo-Nazi group “National Action.” Two of the suspects were active soldiers.3 Other aspects are a mix of hooligan behavior and neo-Nazism. In September 2017, when the German soccer team played against the Czech Republic in Prague, tens of German soccer fans shouted Nazi slogans. There were also calls of “Sieg Heil.” In bars, fascist music was played at the request of these Nazi supporters.4
A lengthy case in South Africa concerning the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) resulted in the Equality Court unequivocally upholding a South African Rights Commission ruling that international relations spokesman, Bongani Masuku, had been guilty of antisemitic hate speech for which he must apologize to the Jewish community.
The hate speech written a number of years ago against Jews — including South African Jews — stated that Hitler was their friend. Masuku added that those Jews whom he defines as “Zionists” should be “forced out of South Africa.” He also threatened violence “with immediate effect against families in South Africa whose children had moved to Israel and served in the army.”5
Antisemites know that saying to Jews “Hitler should have killed you,” or “The Nazis forgot to gas you,” are extreme insults. While the main occurrences of this take place in the Arab and Muslim world, the original Hamas charter said it explicitly: “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.” The revised charter still aims at the same target.6 7 8
There are also slightly less evident ways in which the same genocidal aim is indicated. For instance, when Palestinian and other Arab sources present a map of the geographic area in which Israel does not appear. This can only be achieved through genocide, which usually is not stated outright.
While originally being largely confined to the world of neo-Nazis, the extreme right and part of the Muslim world, this genocidal talk can now be found in mainstream environments. At least 150 million citizens of the European Union agree with the statement that Israel conducts a war of extermination of the Palestinians.9 This is tantamount to saying that Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like the Nazis did to the Jews. From there it is only one step to conclude that just like Nazism had to be stamped out, Israel has to be eliminated, even if this is not said. One can conclude that many in the mainstream go along with some of the preparatory and simplified demonizing positions of Holocaust promotion.