POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MICHAEL GOVE IN THE TELEGRAPH
I certainly do not wish to speak against remembering The Holocaust, but I do believe, as with all titanic and ghastly historical events, it is the natural (and proper) human tendency to eventually consign them to our history texts and a few monuments.
You cannot constantly remember horror: doing so works against innate human tendencies. In our private lives, we have, most of us, a built-in capacity to allow horrors to fade gradually. Otherwise, many could simply not function. Perpetual mourning is not the way Nature built us.
Of course, I’m not in the mainstream of thinking about this, being one of those who believe that war remembrance ceremonies in general have outlived their usefulness, and they are associated with events which extinguished twenty million lives in WWI and fifty million in WWII. But some distinguished old veterans have expressed the same sentiment: it is war which causes or induces our greatest horrors and society should start moving beyond glorifying it.
The Holocaust itself was only possible under the cover of the invasion of the Soviet Union, itself the most destructive and murderous event in all of human history.
I do not believe claims that genuine anti-Semitism is on the rise in the world, and I’m not sure what legitimate procedure could even be used to accurately collect statistics saying otherwise. What we have today, however, is a great deal of criticism of the state of Israel, but that is not the same thing as anti-Semitism, and any statistics which support the notion it is must be viewed as spurious.
I wouldn’t want to live in a society where inexcusable brutality such Operation Cast Lead did not produce revulsion: a society not revulsed by such treatment of others provides exactly the set of conditions which allow barbarism like The Holocaust to occur.
Sadly, Israel in its desire to leave the possibilities of a repeat of barbarism has also managed to leave behind a great many other things, including any consideration for its neighbors.
And every time someone dares to criticize, he or she is immediately accused of anti-Semitism, a shabby trick to shut honest people up.
In a roundabout way, Michael Gove joins this unpleasant practice in this piece.
Israel is a state, and if it is to be treated as any other state, then it must behave as we expect other states to behave.
When you start making exceptions to ethics and humanity, you have started down the road to God knows what. After all, Hitler’s early anti-Jewish activities during the 1930s, before the Wannsee Conference, consisted of beating up people in the street, burning down their homes and businesses, depriving them of equal rights, stealing their property, excluding them from many privileges in society, pushing for their emigration, and even declaring who was fit to marry whom.
Does that all not sound familiar to those who follow events in the Middle East?