Today Jan 27 is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp by the Red Army in 1945 at the end of WWII, commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I watched the ceremony held at Auschwitz on TV in Israel, at which several people spoke including three survivors. They all said the obvious, that it was evil and that we must never let it happen again, and this can be done by educating our youth and by concerted action by the 40 national leaders who were present.
I disagree, education doesn’t work, we’ve been trying that for the past 70 years and anti-Semitism is at an all time high and is rising. Head of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder pointed out that again Jews are afraid to be themselves in most of the capital cities of Europe. Jews are attacked in Paris, London, Uppsala, Malmo, Budapest, and in fact Europe is now a dangerous place to be a Jew again, like 1938. The two new factors are the Islamic population that is endemically anti-Semitic and the popular and irrational hatred of Israel, the Jewish State. The Times of London had an editorial suggesting that we stop commemorating the Holocaust.
I think there is an alternative lesson that we Jews learnt and that is that we must have guns to defend ourselves and we must have a State to defend. The State of Israel was not founded because of the Holocaust, its beginning goes back to the first aliyah in the 1880s. But there is no doubt that the lesson of the Holocaust, that Jews who are undefended and unarmed are subject to the whim of the surrounding peoples, was hammered home by the immense and terribly violent and cruel murders of the Jews throughout Europe (only the Jews of Denmark and Bulgaria survived WWII intact). I am a Zionist and I believe that the only guarantee of the survival of the Jewish people is the State of Israel defended by an effective and powerful army and air force.
Furthermore, the plaintive requests by the survivors to the national leaders who sat through the ceremony will hardly make any difference. They all have priorities, they will mobilize their police and their army, such as in France and Belgium, after the attacks occurred. But, they cannot keep this up and they cannot protect all Jews all the time. The problem is popular hatred of Jews as it was before that has many sources and is currently unconstrained in Europe. Time to face the facts, the only place for Jewish survival in the long term is in Israel, with perhaps some possibility of the USA, although the status of fear for Jewish students on the campuses does not lead to great hope for the future.