I’m not a fan of Bibi and his speech last night (see link above) did border on political self-promotion but, on the whole, he spoke well and the points he made were valid – quite what the UN knew in 1942, what could have been done etc., I don’t know but it’s not relevant in the sense of telling us something about the UN that we don’t know….we aren’t sitting here thinking the UN is wonderful and that it comes to the rescue of the suffering – we know what it is and this latest revelation, if anything, just confirms it.
We have ‘always’ known that the ‘allies’ knew what was going on, we have always asked why the British and the Americans didn’t bomb the railway tracks to Auschwitz etc and there have been many answers, i.e. flying sorties so deep into Poland and Germany etc etc would have been very dangerous missions without any certainty of hitting targets – Churchill wanted quick ins and outs (that is just one of responses posited).
The point to take from what Bibi said is not so much the one relating to what the UN did or didn’t know, what they did or didn’t do, it is the point about the now and the future. Rwanda, Biafra, Bosnia et al, now Syria, evil is still running amok and, to all intents and purposes, unchecked. Innocent people continue to be slaughtered, massacred, regimes still smite their people with genocidal abandon, the short-signed, ill-informed, largely ignorant, arrogant, financially-focused ‘West’ gets it wrong over and over again – and this is THE point: no one who can do something to help actually DOES anything to help (and on the odd occasion that they do, it usually makes things worse!).
The point about the point (if you know what I mean) is that the cry, “Never again” is defunct: different numbers, different methods but the hatred, the evil, the indifference, the absence of rationale, the “how does this affect me?” thinking and basis of policy-making”, it still rules today, it still dictates the state of the world.
We Jews cannot afford to be laid back, to relax on the “it couldn’t happen today” easy chair. Every minute of every hour, our enemies are plotting to destroy Israel and whilst I am sure that the mere existence of Israel has, in some respects, increased anti-Semitism since ’48, I say this – those who hate Jews supposedly because of Israel would have hated us anyway, even if there was no State of Israel and, crucially, I have absolutely no doubt that if we did not have Israel today, if we had nowhere to call home, we would be living an increasingly perilous existence and we could not, I honestly believe this, we could not relax in the belief that if the chips were down, the US would come to our rescue.
Ultimately, we have to look after ourselves. I do not believe that Bibi is the man to take us forward but that is not the issue today. We have our State, our home, and that can, and does, engender a false sense of security, it can give rise to existence in a bubble of complacency. I’m not saying that we have to live our lives in a constant, 24/7, state of fear – thankfully, our Defence Forces and Intelligence Service allow us to live relatively ‘normally’ but we must appreciate the reality of the world we live in, we must be aware. Politics, of course, dictates how we react to that awareness and I don’t want to get into that in this post/blog.
Today is a day to remember ALL the victims of the Shoah (the Holocaust), Jews and non-Jews, those tortured and murdered and their families and friends, a day to acknowledge that ignorance, intolerance and hatred, that absence of rational thinking, kept hatred alive after 1945, that it has claimed millions of lives since 1945 and that it continues to do so today.
Today is a day to remind ourselves that, as Kissinger apparently once said, repeating, I believe, the words of Lord Palmerston (UK Prime Minister 1855-1858), “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests”.
(It is now 10.07am – the siren of two-minutes duration which sounded nationwide [10:00-10:02] and brought the country to a standstill, in respect and honour of those who lost their lives during the Shoah, made the above all the more poignant for me).