OpinionIsrael at War

Earn the right to say ‘never again’

We must have the courage to understand that Israel is the frontline in the battle for freedom and life itself.

Graves of Kibbutz Be'eri residents who were murdered by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, 2023. Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90
Graves of Kibbutz Be'eri residents who were murdered by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, 2023. Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90
Fiamma Nirenstein
Fiamma Nirenstein was a member of the Italian Parliament (2008-13), where she served as vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day has perhaps never been more difficult to observe. It should be a day to contemplate the antisemitism that murdered six million Jews. It should be a moment to reject viewing history through an opaque glass. It is a moment when we must embrace the moral clarity that prevent us from repeating the atrocities of the past.

Instead, we are faced with a world that refuses to learn. Since Oct. 7, antisemitism has exploded despite the images of the atrocities that are now seared into our memories: The children of the burnt kibbutzim; the mothers murdered in front of their children; girls and boys raped and dismembered.

Israel did not only have to suffer the deadliest antisemitic attack since the Holocaust, but Jews worldwide must now contend with an army of genocidal lies, ignorance, defamation and denial.

The peak of this horrific eruption of racism was the blood libel that the once-noble South Africa brought before the International Court of Justice, falsely accusing Israel of genocide. It was a bitter irony indeed to see Israel in the dock rather than Hamas, which committed a genuinely genocidal assault that it documented with bloodthirsty pride. Instead of moral clarity, South Africa and numerous other international players allied themselves with genocidists, defaming the victim rather than condemning the perpetrator.

The world should not be piling on to this bandwagon. Instead, it should be terrified of it. The last century saw epic massacres committed by murderous ideologues. Millions were sacrificed on the altars of Nazism, Stalinism and Islamic fundamentalism. Millions more were persecuted, oppressed and exiled. Antisemitism and antisemitic violence have played an enormous role in these atrocities. Those who target the Jewish people always have the ultimate ambition of destroying liberal democracy and the Judeo-Christian values on which it is built.

This new antisemitism is not as new as it seems, however. It is only the latest iteration of the ancient hatred. As the great historian of antisemitism Robert Wistrich has pointed out, Nazism’s murderous Jew-hatred survived Nazism’s fall. It was passed on to the Muslim world, driven by Nazi collaborator Haj Amin al-Husseini, the founder of Palestinian nationalism. This Islamic antisemitism is the essence of Hamas, supported by the equally antisemitic Iran.

Antisemitism also passed to the Soviet Union and the dutiful left adopted it as its own. Today, this is personified in woke culture, which pits “oppressed” Arabs—who are not oppressed—against “oppressive” white colonizers and racists. Israel is not white, a colony or racist, but this does not matter to left-wing bigots, who have placed Israel firmly in the category of “oppressor.”

This legacy inherited from Nazism has now been witnessed by some who themselves survived the Nazis’ crimes.

Gina Semetrich was 91 years old. Originally from Czechoslovakia, she emerged from the Holocaust to rebuild her life and family in Kissufim, a kibbutz near the border with Gaza. On Oct. 7, she was beaten and murdered by Hamas Nazis.

Sara Jackson was 88, another survivor of the Holocaust, barricaded herself in her home at Kibbutz Sa’ad, just as she had done during a pogrom in Poland decades ago. She helped shelter three boys who had managed to escape the Nova Festival, where 360 innocents were massacred.

Avigdor Neuman, 93, speaks simply as he shows the blue number tattooed on his arm: “There are things that cannot be erased.”

To earn the right to say “never again,” we must courageously face what is happening. We must accept that Israel has no choice but to end this war by destroying the new ISIS on its border, wiping it off the face of the earth.

This is today’s “never again”: Victory in a war on the most difficult battlefield imaginable. One in which every inch of land hides a tunnel from which terrorists can emerge. One in which every civilian building, every house, hospital, school or mosque, can hide missile launchers and RPGs. One in which every civilian can be a protector or human shield of Hamas—which alone is responsible for their deaths.

“Never again” means having the courage to understand that Israel is now the frontline in the battle for freedom and for life itself. And it is fighting for all of us.

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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