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Anti-Semitism today and Yad Vashem’s changing approach

Only a bold and comprehensive approach to the problem of anti-Semitism will address it properly and to the benefit of all.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Richard Nides visits the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, Dec. 2, 2021. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Richard Nides visits the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, Dec. 2, 2021. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
Shmuel Katz. Photo: Courtesy.
Shmuel Katz
Dr. Shmuel Katz is a fellow of the Israeli Surgical Society, the American College of Surgeons and other medical societies.

The current wave of anti-Semitism is only getting more powerful—for several reasons. One of the main reasons is the relentless propaganda efforts that are pushed by malicious operatives from the radical right, radical left and radical Islam.

Theoretically, a well-financed propaganda effort that is based on deception and misinformation should be relatively easy to expose and, hopefully, defeat. Unfortunately, too many good people around the world are busy with their own priorities and are not paying attention to this malicious wave of anti-Semitism, which may cause even them a lot of trouble, along with the entire free world.

We know from several previous studies that relentless and repetitive propaganda can be very effective in influencing public opinion, and these efforts are even more dangerous when they are directed at brainwashing vulnerable children and young adults.

There are multiple honorable organizations, like StandWithUs, The Lawfare Project, Brandeis Center, OpenDor Media and many others, which pay a lot of attention to this problem and offer some practical solutions. Unfortunately, there are other institutions, like the the Jerusalem-based Yad Vashem, which until recently were focused only on the Holocaust from World War II and practically ignored the creeping wave of the current rise in anti-Semitism.

The Holocaust did not arise out of thin air. It followed a massive wave of anti-Semitism that escalated gradually from verbal abuse to economic restrictions, to educational limitations, to physical marginalization in designated ghettoes, to enslavement and finally to extermination. Unfortunately, this wicked escalation of evil was facilitated by the deafening silence of the media, academia, civic organizations, politicians and even many Jews who hoped that if they did not sound the alarm, they might be saved from that horrible wave of evil.

It is obvious today that we are facing the early stages of a very similar wave of rise in anti-Semitism, which is also caused by the ongoing demonization of the Jewish people and the State of Israel by the three main radical groups and many other oblivious people. Looking at the current situation with open eyes, we can see too many similarities to the anti-Semitic wave that happened before and during WWII. The results of this hatred brought upon the free world a major disaster that included the loss of many lives, the destruction of property and the shaking of the political stability of many nations.

Today, we also notice the silence of too many in the media, in academia, in politics, in the general population and even within some Jewish groups. In addition, there is an ongoing effort by some of them to hurt Jews and the State of Israel, both economically and politically.

So far, these efforts have not been very successful, as there are many honorable people who recognize the just cause of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and who understand that if evil is rewarded and prevails, all good people will become its victims.

Following the Holocaust, some institutions dedicated themselves to teaching what happened during those dark days of history, hoping that if people knew about the horrors of the past, they would be more inclined to prevent it from happening again. Unfortunately, as Jonathan Tobin has opined, there are too many people who readily cry over dead Jews, but simultaneously continue their blind hatred of the living Jews and the Jewish State of Israel.

This can be partially attributed to the ongoing anti-Jewish incitement and the total ignorance of current and historical facts about the just cause of the Jewish people and their absolute legal right to live in their ancestral homeland in the land of Israel.

I am delighted that Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, which is dedicated to the study and education of the Holocaust, has received several major donations from many donors, from the State of Israel and from the wonderful and philanthropic Dr. Miriam Adelson and her family, which have enabled it also to launch an academy to train future leaders in Holocaust awareness.

Additionally, Yad Vashem recently appointed a new chairman, Ambassador Dani Dayan, who joined the leadership of the institution with a fresh vision. As was reported in JNS, he urged the leadership of the Christian world to improve its ways combating anti-Semitism, and to observe International Holocaust Memorial Day as a day of reflection and fight against modern-day anti-Semitism.

The spirit of this statement was very significant, as it set up the wise policy of helping the organization remember the Holocaust, while at the same time seriously addressing seriously current events and related modern anti-Semitism, with the stated goal of preventing the atrocities of the past from happening again. This message will have to be implemented throughout the organization and included in its various programs.

In addition to sharing important and relevant information about the horrors of the Holocaust, and about the just historical cause of the Jewish people and the honorable modern State of Israel, we must also include information about the following three points, to put the big picture into the correct perspective:

  1. The enemies of the Jewish people and the State of Israel are relentlessly using deception and misinformation to promote their malicious propaganda.
  2. When we investigate what these enemies of freedom and liberty stand for, we find that many of them are corrupt, support terror, abuse children, abuse women, etc. All these issues should be despised by the many people whom, unknowingly, support their malicious agenda. Once properly informed and educated, many of these oblivious people will likely discontinue their support of bad operatives.
  3. People must know that these bad operatives will not unconditionally respect those who supported them in the past. Should evil prevail, all good people will become their victims. Therefore, giving evil financial support and political power will only make them bolder and more aggressive enemies of all good people, and not only of the Jews.

The more that people are educated and informed, the better it will be for the entire free world.

Dr. Shmuel Katz was born in Hungary and raised in Israel. He served as an IDF officer in the Six-Day War and gained extensive trauma experience during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He is double-boarded in surgery, a fellow of the Israeli Surgical Society and of the American College of Surgeons and other medical societies, and is on the board of many pro-Israel organizations.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.

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