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Holocaust Remembrance Day/ Yom HaShoah 2024

Today is Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance day. This year, this day carries a particular weight. While the comparisons between the October 7th pogrom and the Holocaust are exaggerated and unhelpful, the collective historical memories and emotions evoked by the pogrom cannot be denied. Discovering that the pogrom was merely a catalyst for a resurgence of antisemitism in a new-old form was profoundly disturbing.

The most insidious form of antisemitism lies in the latent prejudices of many in the Western mainstream, especially among the self-appointed gate-keepers of justice and morality, rather than in the overt violence witnessed on campuses in North America and Europe. This is often an unconscious bias, unintentional, and not necessarily driven by overt hatred. It's a subtle form of antisemitism that fails to capture the Jewish perspective, let alone the Israeli one, often filtering events in the Middle East through morally and historically distorted lenses.

Such antisemitism stems from naivety and ignorance. In the 21st century West, it's challenging to comprehend the existence of "pure evil." Thus, even when the explicit desire to destroy Israel and harm Jews is voiced or translated into actions like those on October 7th, the Western mainstream often hesitates to acknowledge it. Rooted in a severe moral distortion stemming from guilt over colonial legacies, there exists a racism of low expectations towards Islamist organizations, leading many to overlook the truth of events like those on October 7th: a murderous assault aimed at killing, assaulting, raping and kidnapping Jews, not merely establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza serves as a deliberate objective of Hamas, a means to end the war that is started while still in power. Hamas will undoubtedly perpetrate further incidents akin to October 7th as soon as it is able. In order to reach these conclusions, the simple thing to do is to listen (and believe) the explicit statements of Hamas and Iran's leaders.

This bitter truth may sound conspiratorial, exaggerated, and hysterical even to many of my wisest friends in Europe and North America. At best, the truth is downgraded to the status of just another "narrative," competing with that of …. Hamas. What disturbs us more than a masked protester at an American university decrying Israel, is the "balanced" stance of seasoned European and American friends equating Israel with Hamas.

The Shoah

The suffering of Gazans is real, and this isn't an attempt to absolve Israel, an imperfect country. The aspiration to reduce civilian casualties and prevent further humanitarian crises should be a guiding principle for Israel, and it is legitimate to criticize Israel for not fully committing to these objectives. In such a protracted and intricate war, deviations from the norm are likely, and Israel must address them.

However, attributing genocidal intent to Israel, exclusively blaming it while it fights against entities and states committed to its destruction, turning away Western allies, and the growing antisemitism there - all these distortions exacerbate the already intense emotions experienced on Holocaust remembrance Day. For many of us, this is the first time this Day is not merely about commemorating the past but also about sounding a warning against the present.


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