OpinionOctober 7

The Holocaust syndrome persists after the Oct. 7 pogrom

Eight decades after the Holocaust, Diaspora Jews still live in fear, and their Israeli brethren are fighting for their lives. 

The aftermath of Hamas's Oct. 7 invasion in Kibbutz Nirim, near the Israel-Gaza border southern Israel, Jan. 21, 2024. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90.
The aftermath of Hamas's Oct. 7 invasion in Kibbutz Nirim, near the Israel-Gaza border southern Israel, Jan. 21, 2024. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90.
Freddy Eytan
Freddy Eytan

The Holocaust syndrome still haunts the Jewish world in Israel and abroad, because the threats are ever-present. Eight decades after the Holocaust, Diaspora Jews still live in fear, and their Israeli brethren are fighting for their lives. These days, the images of the Holocaust are resurfacing even more clearly; the barbarity of the Islamists reinforces the anguish, and the future seems uncertain. 

Europe, which in July 1938 had been indifferent to the fate of the Jewish refugees who had survived the Anschluss, seemed to be ignorant of the true intentions of the Nazi beast. It blindly accepted it, integrated it into society without constraints, thought to master it and tame it as in the past, in the colonial era. Due to a lack of leadership and political will, Europe today is plunging into the abyss, powerless and slowly sinking.

In the Islamic world, Holocaust deniers, led by Iran, deny the very existence of the Holocaust. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the anti-Semitic Russian forgery published in 1898, and Hitler’s dastardly book “Mein Kampf” are widely circulated in the Islamic world. The Israel Defense Forces found copies in the tunnels of the Gaza Strip. 

European Islamist-leftist intellectuals dare to follow the Shi’ite banner of the ayatollahs and raise their heads arrogantly. Paul Rassinier’s book “The Lie of Ulysses,” published in 1950, five years after the occupation of Germany, serves today as a reference for extreme-left activists.

Since Oct. 7, the nauseating slogans of the Nazis have been rebroadcast with impunity. The same anti-Semitic terms are repeated:

“Zionists are dishonest. Their Jewishness is a big lie. They have no religion. They are a handful of lying, power-hungry individuals. Through their control of regimes, financial centers and information and propaganda agencies in the United States and Europe, they believe they run the world.”

Daily, Iran’s leaders call for the destruction of the Jewish state by all means, including nuclear weapons. The members of the United Nations have never condemned Iran’s unequivocal incitement to genocide.

The free world should be more understanding of Israel’s security, daily struggles, sufferings and the misfortunes of the Jews’ painful past. Israel’s people refute pity, and they are not unhappy. It will defend itself alone, but with each threat, in the face of each war, and especially since Oct. 7, Israel has been living in the anguish of its post-trauma disorder—the Holocaust syndrome.

Israel is turning into a besieged ghetto, and its borders into the Auschwitz fences. Inward-looking, Israel’s intransigent views regarding defensible borders and security are natural phenomena and should be taken into account in all negotiations for the release of hostages held in Gaza as well as in the peace process with Israel’s Arab neighbors.

However, despite the barbarity of the Holocaust then and of Hamas today, the Israeli people have managed to maintain a human face. Israel’s implacable justice is always imbued with a universal morality, those of the values of the Bible and Judaism. 

The Holocaust must not be used as a pretext, an alleged reason to hide problems and conflicts, or a kind of alibi for failing to feel solidarity and empathy for the misfortunes of others, especially Israel’s neighbors. The sons and daughters of Holocaust survivors are always capable of making painful concessions to achieve a just and sincere peace. Israel’s strength is to be able, in pain and suffering, to remain generous, to pray for the happiness of all without distinction, and to pursue the path of peace and justice against all odds.

It is also important not to confuse a campaign denouncing Israeli policy in the territories with antisemitism. It is legitimate to criticize an Israeli government policy. European countries such as France, Great Britain, and Germany are not antisemitic countries today, but unfortunately, many notorious antisemites and Holocaust deniers in these countries must be challenged.

Although laws have been passed, only severe sanctions, unrelenting vigilance, and, above all, an educational program at all levels can put an end to Holocaust denial, the revival of antisemitism, and new threats.

The anchoring of morality and the memory of the victims will not allow the Holocaust to be forgotten. Put a definitive end to cowardice, barbarism and genocide so that it doesn’t happen again. Never again.

Originally published by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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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