Published: March 3, 2013
The International Holocaust Remembrance Day recently commemorated the 68th anniversary for the liberation of the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Presently, we have the leaders of Iran calling for the annihilation of the people of Israel declaring that “the people of Iran are ready to march on Israel to wipe it out.”
The British Sunday Times published an anti-Semitic cartoon of the Israeli prime minister building a wall using Palestinian blood to mark this Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Egyptian aide to President Mohamed Morsi claims that the Holocaust is just a U.S. hoax to justify the existence of the Jewish people in their homeland. Morsi himself calls the Jewish people “descendants of apes and pigs.”
Today we stand in front of an unfortunate reality that consists of the same hatred that led to the Holocaust. The odious fight against the Jewish people focuses mainly on Israel, the Jewish homeland, which is perceived as an easier and acceptable target than just plainly Jews. Criticizing Israel or any other country is legitimate, but holding Israel to higher standards based on anti-Semitic notions is just unacceptable.
We have the power to fight anti-Semitism, and all racial hatred, by exposing it and standing together to denounce the propagating of hatred. In these times, while some leaders continue to preach hate, we must make sure they will never get a chance to practice it.
We are the last generation that has the chance to speak with Holocaust survivors firsthand. We are responsible for understanding the task and challenge that lies on our shoulders – passing the story of how people, not monsters but people full of hate, murdered millions of families in hopes to exterminate an entire race.
And all the while, the world stood silent.
Abir Gitlin is a freshman majoring in international studies and Judaic studies.