Failure to Act: Netanyahu & Holocaust Denial
Anti-Semitism is alive and well.
A recent CNN poll of seven European countries confirms this trend big time, as responses alarmingly reflected age-old anti-Semitic stereotypes, like Jews having too much influence in politics, business, finance, the media, and wars across the world. Moreover, people believe that anti-Semitism is a justified response to the everyday behavior of Jewish people. The survey responses do not even come close to the most striking part. The Holocaust, the deadliest genocide in human history, has begun to fade from modern memory, and the poll backs this up:
“One in 20 people surveyed said they had never heard about the Holocaust...a third of Europeans in the poll said they knew just a little or nothing at all about the Holocaust...a third of Europeans said that Jews use the Holocaust to advance their own positions or goals.”
On Wednesday, December 5, Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 news reported that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government is in negotiations with the Israeli government regarding the groundwork for a new “revisionist” Holocaust museum in Budapest. Just like when French Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen stated that France bore no responsibility for the Holocaust, and when the Polish government, with the backing of Polish President Andrzej Duda, passed a law that made it illegal for citizens to attribute any involvement or responsibility for crimes committed during the Nazi occupation to Poland or its people, Orbán’s action further modern Holocaust denialist efforts. Specifically, these world leaders are whitewashing and rewriting the historical record just over 75 years after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and systematic murder of seventeen million people, most infamously six million European Jews, or two-thirds of the European Jewish population.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, has done nothing meaningful to stop these attempts at revising history. On behalf of the Jewish State and the homeland for the Jewish people, Netanyahu has not only tainted the historical record of the Holocaust in the past for political purposes, but in the instance of the Hungarian revisionist museum, he also appears to be accommodating Orbán’s request, despite objections from his own foreign ministry.
Netanyahu’s concept of the new anti-Semitism--“Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, anti-Israeli policies...the idea that the Jewish people don’t have the right for a state, that is the ultimate anti-Semitism of the day”--leads him to prioritize Israel’s security interests, in addition to education, as the greatest threat to the Jewish people today. He said the following:
“When we had no state, we were completely defenseless against anti-Semitic forces that annihilated a third of our people...Well today, we have a state, we have a capacity to stand up for ourselves and to defend ourselves. That ultimately is the best guarantor against anti-Semitism.”
To accomplish these goals, Netanyahu continues to excuse anti-Semitic instances from populist European leaders such as Orbán and Duda and compromise with them on issues of blatant anti-Semitism, especially on the Holocaust. He may view this as a calculated political move to earn the support of the central European governments inside the EU as a means to ensure Israel’s security interests, but it is a betrayal of the “never forget” rallying cry to remember the atrocities of the Holocaust and to ensure that a similar genocide does not occur during the remainder of human history--a cry that Netanyahu himself uses.
Anti-Semitism is alive and well. Netanyahu’s contributions to Holocaust denial has only given it more life.