Monday is Holocaust Remembrance Day.
What does that mean?
It seems so last century. There are those who doubt it even happened.
The current "moderate" Iranian prime minister questions its severity, in contrast to the nut bag prime minister who questioned its authenticity.
It happened. It was as real as the Nazis who committed it.
To those who doubt it happened, I will not try to convince you. You will not believe me. I say, ask the Germans. They will tell you it happened, they did it, they are shamed by it, except that shame is too weak a word. If you do not believe the Germans, if you deny facts, you are hopeless, and almost certainly energized by hate. What other explanation can there be?
So, Monday, here in America and in many civilized nations around the globe, the 6 million Jews slaughtered by the Nazis will be remembered. They were not the only victims of the Nazis -- there were millions more -- but the 6 million were shot or blown up or gassed or starved simply because they were Jews. That is both unique and horrible, eclipsing any of the past, numerous pogroms against Jews that happened all around the world throughout recorded history.
But, still, it is so last century to be hated because you are Jewish.
But is it, really?
In recent weeks, an anti-Semite, Frazier Glenn Miller, murdered three people in a Jewish community center in suburban Kansas City, targeted simply because they were Jews. Ironically, but still tragically, none of his three victims was Jewish.
And the mayor of the murderer's home town, Daniel Clevenger of Marionville, Mo., was quoted as saying he agreed with the murderer's principles, but not his actions. (Or so he says.)
Also in recent weeks, leaflets were circulated in the eastern part of Ukraine demanding that Jews "register," as Jews, or face loss of citizenship, deportation or worse.
It is almost certain the Russian government was behind it and it illustrates that whether under the czars or the communists or the current plutocrats, the Russian heart remains bitter. It causes me to freshly bless my grandparents for leaving that hell hole to come here, so I could be born an American citizen. Yes, in that respect I hit the birth lottery, even though for many decades there was anti-Semitism here. It is not fully erased today, but it has been marginalized -- at least until a hater picks up a gun.
Monday I will remember the 6 million, members of my family among them, but I will also remember the Roma people, the trade unionists, the physically and mentally imperfect, the Catholic priests and others who resisted, also the socialists and, yes, even the communists, imprisoned and executed for their beliefs.
In most of the Free World, anti-Semitism is officially condemned. Since it is no longer chic to be anti-Jewish, a fig leaf has been designed.
It is now chic along some parts of the political spectrum (centered mostly on the Marxist Left) to be anti-Zionist, or anti-Israel. See? We are not anti-Jewish! We just hate the Jewish state.
In recent decades, there has been a rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe.
I am not saying that if you criticize the actions of the Israeli government or its people you are automatically an anti-Semite. Many Israelis criticize their own government (they are free to do that, Jew and Arab and Christian citizens), as do Americans and others. Fair criticism is not only permitted, but encouraged.
One of the Arab talking points -- shared by others -- is that Israel was created because of the Holocaust. There is a smidgen of truth in that. It is more accurate to say that had there been an Israel, there would have been no Holocaust because Jews would have had a place to escape. This is what happened after Israel declared its independence in 1948 -- it was not "created" any more than the United States was "created." Maybe 800,000 Jews living in Arab lands "voluntarily" left to start new lives in Israel. They were refugees and there has never been a movement to restore to them the value of the businesses and homes they were forced to leave behind.
Jews have lived, continuously, in what is now called Palestine and Israel since long before the birth of Jesus, who was Jewish and born in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. There has been a Jewish majority in Jerusalem since the middle of the 19th Century and Jews were promised a homeland after World War I -- the First World War, not the second. The first modern mass migration by Jews to Palestine was in the late 1800s when Jewish immigrants bought land from the owners, often Arab absentee landlords.
Those immigrant Jews -- mostly from Russia and eastern Europe -- bought the land from its owners. It was not stolen, which would be unthinkable, as the land was under the control of the Ottoman Empire, which was Muslim. Yes, those Muslims were OK with that Jewish migration. Why? Most of the land was useless. The immigrants worked the land and made it valuable.
The second mass migration did come after World War II, when the world was finally shamed into keeping its earlier promise. And why were the Jews allowed to migrate to "Palestine"? Because Jews had always been there and it is their historical homeland.
Arabs have lived there for centuries, too, and the two could not get along.
That is why in 1947 the U.N. partitioned the remaining part of "Palestine" (after Britain gave more than half the land it promised to Jews to create Jordan), into a Jewish part and an Arab part. The Jews had seen what they were promised reduced by three-quarters, but said yes. They took the land and created a state.
The Arabs said no and started a genocidal war against the Jewish state to finish what the Nazis had started. Egyptian President Nasser openly called for a war of extermination. He was not alone.
In case you are confused by what Zionism means, it is the idea that Jews should have their own state, as they once did. Since 1948, they have it.
Those who think Jews (unlike Palestinian Arabs) should not have their own state are, in fact, anti-Semitic.
And that is why Holocaust Remembrance Day remains a necessity.