We have to remember the past to understand the present

editor - 5 May 2023

These are days of remembrance. Over the last week, the Jewish people have remembered those who have fallen in the many wars Israel has faced; the tragedy of the Shoah; and the miracle of Israeli independence. This week, in Europe, we remember those who lost their lives in the Second World War, as well as the freedom that finally came in 1945.

Remembering the past is absolutely necessary if we are to understand the present and prepare for the future.

One of the most important lessons we should learn when we look at the history of the 21st century is that we all have a responsibility to stand up quickly and speak out against the demonization and hatred of Jews. History teaches us that the Jewish people are the proverbial ‘canary in the coalmine’: when the Jewish people are threatened, we should know that freedom for all is being threatened..

This means we must be alert to, and have the courage to stand up against, every form of hatred and oppression of Jews, as soon as it is manifested.

Looking back on the events in the 1930’s, one thing is clear: too few people stood up too late against the growing antisemitism and hatred of the Jewish people in Europe (and also the Middle East). By the time the Nazis were transporting Jews on a massive scale to Auschwitz and Sobibor in 1942, it was too late.

Of course, there were important exceptions, but by and large during the 1930s and early 1940s Christians in Europe were silent when they should have been alert to what was happening.

In an article published this week, Canadian legal scholar Irwin Cotler reminds us, we always face the danger of complicity with evil by way of silence or inaction. As Wiesel put it in his famed 1986 Nobel Prize address: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim; silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented… wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.” He added: “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time where we fail to protest against injustice.”

Today, there is growing antisemitism. We are witnessing a renewed hatred of the Jewish people, often manifesting as ‘anti-Zionism’ and hatred of the Jewish State of Israel. But as Natan Sharansky and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks have explained, hatred of the State of Israel is just a new manifestation of the age-old hatred of Jews.

Let us learn from the past, and have the courage to speak out against this new antisemitism.

The Editorial Team Israel & Christians Today

Yom HaShoah: The imperative to remember, the call to act
Writing in Times of Israel, Prof. Irwin Cotler gives 12 Holocaust lessons that are searingly relevant in today’s era of surging antisemitism, denial, and, yes, genocide.
Read more..

The ugly history of the UNHRC’s Special Rapporteurs
Justin Amler writes at AIJAC: “The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has also become politicised and ineffective, and dominated by serious human rights violators and their sympathisers. In every year of the Council’s existence, no matter what is happening across the globe, Israel has been subjected to more critical resolutions and other forms of negative scrutiny at the UNHRC than any other country. Over the years, Israel has been condemned more than all other countries in the world combined.
Read more..

The Mutation of Antisemitism
In this video, the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explains how antisemitism has mutated over time, and why its return today presents a danger not just for Jews, but for all who care about our common humanity.
Read more..

3D Test of Anti-Semitism: Demonization, Double Standards, Delegitimization
Russian Jewish dissident and human rights defender Natan Sharansky wrote this article almost twenty years ago, but it is today more relevant than ever. “When I was a dissident in the former Soviet Union, one of my regular activities was monitoring anti-Semitism, and smuggling out evidence and records of such activity to the West. I believed then that the free world, particularly after the Holocaust, would always be a staunch ally in the struggle against anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, I was wrong.”
Read more..

March of the Living produces torchbearers of truth in the Arab world
Amit Deri, co-founder of Sharaka, writes at JNS: “Growing up as the grandchild of Moroccan immigrants to Israel, I would have never imagined the scene I witnessed this month: Moroccans comprising approximately half of an Arab delegation to the March of the Living on Yom HaShoah. In fact, the delegation itself would have been unthinkable. Yet it happened, mainly as a result of the power of the Abraham Accords to change hearts and minds in the Arab world.”
Read more..

The Miracle of the Valley
Tal Hartuv writes at C4Israel: “With just a little knowledge of geography, a glance at the infamous 1947 United Nation’s Partition Plan of the Land of Israel, reveals that as far as good land goes, the Jewish people were given the short straw. Land partitioned for the Jewish community – including the remnant of survivors of the Holocaust – was nothing more than the sandy coast, the barren Negev and swampy valleys. None of these areas promised any potential for building thriving communities. Yet with nowhere else to go, and with a Jewish deep yearning to fulfil a two‑thousand‑year‑old dream to return to our homeland, the rest is history. The Jewish people accepted the partition and months later even had to fight to retain it.”
Read more..


Psalm 3

LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”
But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and He answers me from His holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.
Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.
From the LORD comes deliverance. May Your blessing be on Your people.

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