Binding Jews and non-Jews together in a mutual understanding. Is it possible?

The Weekend Report

*** This article is published simultaneously in The Times of Israel ***

By Alan Simons

“As Jews, we will never forget the Holocaust! Nor will we allow the antisemite to forget! For we will take every opportunity, through every legal means possible, to outclass the antisemite on every occasion.”

TORONTO, January 27-29/23  – It’s been written that when a person dies, his or her spirit lives on in those who remember. Tradition is very specific in providing us with ways of remembering our loved ones. In addition, our tradition as Jews does not allow us to forget those who have died. Finding an appropriate way of honouring and remembering the dead is one of the goals of the mourning process.

January 27, 2023 marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. It is also the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Like a Yahrzeit memorial candle ignited every year for our loved ones, there are those misfit individuals waiting on the sidelines to pronounce politically or socially all that is bad with Jews.

Holocaust. For neither the Jew nor our friends can ever be complacent. Deniers, or as they prefer today to label themselves as ‘revisionists’, abound in countless societies, including too many in Canada. The fact is most of those who falsify and distort the reality of the Holocaust label themselves, for the most part, cunningly as ‘revisionists’ and they do so to gain respectability.

After all, as it’s been said, historical revisionism is a legitimate act that re-examines what predecessors have produced.

Denial, by contrast, is not a re-examination of facts, rather it is more or less an explicit attempt to deny the Holocaust. Revisionism is, therefore, only an alibi, used to counter charges of negation.

Denial best reflects the true intention of revisionists rewriting history. And so it is akin to the antisemite.

These insignificant bunch of mostly oddball individuals, who band together under the shield of Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, namely everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, continue to pronounce their zeal, their hate, and intolerance of Jews.

January 27 has a special significance for Jews. It is the day when we pay tribute to all the victims of the Holocaust and ghetto uprisings. Much to the chagrin of the antisemite, we have no intention of forgetting our loved ones. For, as Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor said, “To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”

As Jews, we will never forget! Nor will we allow the antisemite to forget! For we will take every opportunity, through every legal means possible, to outclass the antisemite on every occasion.

There is no letter “L” for love in the word antisemitism

Twelve years ago, the following statement was given in an address by H.E. Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations, on the Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi. Even though the ambassador is referring, by association, to the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi, it is a fitting tribute today that we embrace the words spoken by him.

“… let me also remind you of “The Legacy of Holocaust Survivors and the Pledge of Acceptance of the Second Generation,” which was written in Yiddish by Elie Wiesel:

We remember — and we pledge — and this must not be a matter of rhetoric but must be a commitment to action — that never again will we be indifferent to incitement and hate; that never again will we be silent in the face of evil; that never again will we indulge racism and antisemitism; that never again will we ignore the plight of the vulnerable; that never again will we be indifferent in the face of mass atrocity and impunity.

We will speak and we will act against racism, against hate, against antisemitism, against mass atrocity, against injustice — and against the crime of crimes whose name we should even shudder to mention — genocide.”

Perhaps, more than anything, I believe it is the Ambassador’s passionate speech that creates a common denominator in helping to bind Jews and non-Jews together, in a mutual understanding of what intolerance and hate are all about in our society today.

Dear reader, it’s been said that sadness is but a wall between two gardens.

May all of those who perished and also those who survived the Holocaust be remembered for their beauty and fragrance that grace our gardens.

In peace. ♦

Alan Simons is the publisher and editor of CJNonline Community Jewish News

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