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     MAY 1999      


Holocaust Remembrance Day

Ruth King

April, to paraphrase T.S.Eliot, is the cruelest month for Jews, stirring anxious memories of the Warsaw rebellion and the final days of the Shoah. This Yom Hashoah, hard on the heels of Passover, where we celebrate the Exodus from slavery, will be the last of the century. The 20th century began with pogroms, displacement and persecution of Jews in every corner of the world. Even here in America, surely the sunniest corner of the Diaspora, there was anti-Semitism. There were quotas and restrictions in industry, the professions, the academies, and immigration policies.

The simmering, barely concealed hatred for Jews culminated in the horror of the Holocaust and the extermination of one out of every three Jews in the world. The main perpetrators were, of course, the German and Austrian Nazis, but there is blame all around, even among the Allied nations. The brutal indifference and harsh immigration policies of America and England and the active participation of the French and Eastern European governments in rounding up Jewish citizens remain as moral stains on those nations.

To the credit of most Western democracies, today there are few efforts to paper over the cruel facts. Documentaries, memorials, museums and literature in every language depict the horror, sparing no blame, and sparing no detail. And, almost every narration or portrayal culminates with the rebirth of Israel in 1948, with the declaration of statehood, the onslaught by five Arab nations and the triumph of victory.

One must be made of stone not to thrill at the endlessly run footage of ships arriving in Israel, disgorging the pathetic remnants of European Jewry, a people so traumatized, so grief struck, so persecuted and dislocated that their life remains the abiding nightmare of this century. They were joined by hundreds of thousands of Jews fleeing Arab nations, whose suffering may not be overlooked or diminished.

To the eternal credit of Israel and world Jewry, the ingathering of Jews by a small and poor nation re-
mains the epic rescue of this century. They came with nothing but the clothes on their backs, speaking not a word of Hebrew, afraid and haunted. Israel, with the help of world Jewry, provided shelter, vocational training, counseling, and best of all, the immediate status of citizen. Within minutes of arrival, they shed the status of refugee. To be a Jew, safe at home in Israel, with an army of Jews to protect the land, to till the soil, and create world class social, scientific and cultural institutionsthat was the ultimate victory over the Nazis. That was the ultimate response to centuries of persecution. That was the ultimate refutation of anti-Semitism.

Arab hatred of Israel continued, punctuated with terrorist attacks and primitive anti-Semitic outbursts in the United Nations. But the 1967 war, when Israel liberated Gaza, Judea, Samaria, the Golan, and Jerusalem, was a decisive victory. Diaspora Jews attained sure footing in their host nations. Here in America, all obstacles tumbled for Jews. In fact, to phrase it in the vernacular, "ethnic became cool." Surnames, even in Hollywood, were seldom changed, and Jews, in disproportionate numbers, became presidents of major institutions.

Alas, this heady pride and determination has dissipated, replaced with a self-defeating pacifism, secularism and loss of Zionist zeal. While journals and broadcasts, especially in April and May, abound with material on the Holocaust, the great victory of the Jewsstatehoodseems in greater peril than ever. The weakening of resolve stokes the fires of simmering anti-Semitism. Already, the European Union, unable to define itself beyond a shared currency, has announced a readiness to divide Jerusalem and to recognize an independent Arab state on Jewish land. The celebrations of Israel Independence day are clouded by the creeping dismemberment of the state and abandonment of its national and historic rights. Israel's enemies now gloat openly about their ultimate goal of destroying the Jewish State.

The century that witnessed the two seminal

(Continued on p.9)


Beyond Compliance ...3

Israel's Strategic Opportunities ...7

May 1999               - 1 -               Outpost


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