At the “Never Again for Anyone” program held by pro-Palestinian groups at Rutgers University on Jan. 29, Hajo Meyer and Hedy Epstein profaned the memory of those Jewish victims of the Holocaust who were killed by the Nazis and their all-too-many accomplices.
Meyer perverts history when he suggests a putative connection between Zionism, as a movement, and the Holocaust, as a cataclysmic tragedy that overtook the entire human race. He demonstrates a rank ignorance of the fact, that the Jewish yearning for the restoration of their homeland remained unabated for nearly two millennia. Through the centuries, the fragile flame of hope that Jews would be able to return to Zion was tenderly nurtured, despite the relentless pressure — particularly from Christendom — to condemn them and their aspirations to oblivion.
The Zionist dream flowered again in the early 19th century, under the rubric of hibat Zion, and received an impetus of political realization from Theodore Herzl in the early 20th century, when the ominous implications of a resurgent European anti-Semitism augured the unspeakable events that were to overtake European Jewry.
The processes that led to the creation of the State of Israel predate the accession of Adolf Hitler to the chancellorship of Germany in 1933 and the consequences that he wrought. It was, in fact, catalyzed by the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the momentum leading to the creation of the State of Israel was well underway, even at that point.
Once can make a credible argument that the State of Israel would have appeared on the world scene in any event, but unquestionably was catalyzed by the tragedy of the Holocaust. It is incorrect to see the Holocaust as the raison d’etre for the creation of the Jewish State.
Jews the world over remember the Holocaust because it is integral to our faith — and our value system — to engage in the act of remembering. All too often we are confronted by “deniers” and people of such ilk who would prefer to either forget or turn a blind eye to those predations that we, as human beings, are capable of perpetrating. The only mechanism we have to assure that we do not forget this dangerous possibility, is to remember.
In his evil genius, Hitler understood the role that Jews play in this regard. He said that Jews had inflicted two wounds on the human race: a physical wound in the form of circumcision and a psychological wound in having given the human race a conscience. If nothing else, the Jewish people are the “scorekeepers” for the human race. It is the Jews, at Passover, who recall that “in each and every generation they arise to annihilate us, but the Holy One, Blessed Be He, rescues us from their hands.”
Meyer and Epstein have suffered a great deal. Because of this, they are due the empathy and respect accorded to those who lived through and survived those horrible times. However it does not give them license to tar their Jewish brethren with the same motivations as their erstwhile persecutors at a time when Jews the world over, and, in particular, in the State of Israel, must defend themselves against enemies no less implacable in their hatred and genocidal impulses than their progenitors who flew the swastika.
Jacob Solomon Berger