Anti-Semitism is alive and well, according to Hannah Rosenthal, President Obama’s former top envoy to combat anti-Semitism.
In a grim talk at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, Rosenthal told an audience of more than 200 that Holocaust denial is on the rise, especially as survivors pass on, while Holocaust glorification and relativism also are increasing.
She noted that in the Baltic states, SS veterans marching in uniform consistently get the biggest applause from onlookers. Even among people who accept the truth of the Holocaust, many public voices have minimized the level of suffering experienced by its victims.
Rosenthal, who served from 2009 to 2012 as special envoy and head of the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, was the featured guest speaker at the Yom Hashoa commemoration held April 25 by the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education (Chhange).
Rosenthal, currently CEO and president of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, also emphasized that seemingly legitimate comments about Israeli policies often cross the line into anti-Semitism. It is not just or proper for critics to treat Israel differently from other countries, or to blame Jews for what is wrong with the world, or to deny Israel’s right to exist as a nation, she said.
The Holocaust Remembrance Day event, built around the theme “Never Again: Holding Everyone Accountable,” was sponsored by Chhange in partnership with the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, and the Fort Monmouth Holocaust Remembrance Committee.
Members of the military from the U.S. Naval Weapons Station Earle were in attendance, as were many former members of the Fort Monmouth community, said Monmouth federation executive director Keith Krivitzky.
Joining Rosenthal on the program were Dr. Maureen Murphy, president of Brookdale Community College; Dale Daniels, executive director of Chhange; and the Marlboro High School Chorus and String Quartet directed by Patrick Dalton.
Holocaust survivors escorted by Navy personnel participated in a candlelighting ceremony.
Daniels praised the survivors’ “strength, courage, and resilience to move onto life again when everything has been taken from you. You are heroes to us all, inspiring us to take action to make a difference today whenever hatred rears its ugly head.
“There is no choice; we cannot stand by.”