On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019, Ateret Violet Shmuel, human rights advocate, indigenous rights activist, artist, director of Indigenous Bridges, takes stock of the current state of things for her people.
Today begins Yom Ha’Shoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Today, a third of Americans and nearly half of British people do not believe that 6 million Jews, more than one-third of the entire population of Jews in the whole world, were systematically murdered by the Nazis. Those who believe that the Holocaust happened at all, far under-estimate the death toll.
Today, the global Jewish population is still only about 12-14 million, whereas before the Holocaust we were about 18 million. We have still not recovered.
Today, about 2.6 million British people don’t think the Holocaust happened at all. They believe Jews made it up.
Today, the British (Left) Labour party has hardened its open antisemitic stance, and are solidifying their relationships with genocidal antisemitic terror organizations, while kicking Jews out of the party.
Today, Poland has passed laws to restrict what can be said about Polish involvement in the Holocaust.
Today, we have seen Polish nationals take to the streets in both Europe and the US to demand that those evil Jews stop trying to make them look bad.
Today, we are watching as European Jews leave France, Belgium, England, the Netherlands, etc because of the sharp increase of normalized antisemitic hate speech and violent hate crimes.
Today, we are watching a global trend of far right antisemitic political parties beginning to gain power.
Today, almost one quarter of generation Z and millennial North Americans are not sure that they have ever heard of the Holocaust, or know what it was.
Today, we are watching the vandalisation of Jewish cemeteries with swastikas.
Today, I am watching in horror as people within *my* human rights, social justice, and grassroots peace groups justify the murder of Jews, by Nazis, white supremacists, and Islamic extremists. I have seen people who claim to be anti-fascists, spout fascism.
Today, even the most widely read centrist papers in the US “accidentally” run cartoons that use the old antisemitic tropes about those disgusting, inhuman, conniving Jews running the world and leading world leaders astray.
Today, we are dealing with the aftermath of the second deadly synagogue shooting in the US this year.
Today, antisemitic attacks against Jews have sharply increased in the last year.
Today, we are watching as most major news agencies publish intentionally misleading or objectively false stories about Israel in order to drum up hatred for the Jewish country under false pretenses.
Today, we are seeing Nazis and white supremacists openly marching in the streets, emboldened by current politicians.
Today, we are seeing fliers claiming Jews are pedophiles and murderers posted in suburban American public spaces.
Today, we watch as the Internet overflows with hateful memes about Zionists and Jews (left, right, and center).
Today, we watch as those who spout pure racist hatred under the guise of “legitimate criticism of Israel”, claim they are being unfairly attacked by Zionists and are undeserving of being labeled “antisemitic”. They claim, as they always have, that they are not the aggressors, but really the “victims” of those horrible Jews.
Today, we are watching as leaders on both the far right (Davis Duke, Richard Spenser, Patrick Little, Andrew Anglin, etc) and those on the far left (Louis Farrakhan, Linda Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, Jeremy Corbyn) meet in congratulatory agreement about the sinister role that Jews play in the world.
Today, we are watching western Jews branded as ‘whites’ in order to delegitimize their lived experience of oppression, sweep them into the category of oppressors, and reject their claims of victimhood.
Today, I think it’s time we acknowledge that we may have collectively forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust, and we should all be working much harder to make sure we are not complicit in spreading or normalizing hate. Today we really have to ‘up our game’ to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Because, friends, we really do have a problem.