Apr 19, 2012
By Joel Moskowitz
This year the one-week separation between Yom Ha Shoah, Holocaust Memorial Day and Israel Independence Day has special resonance to me. Much is being written about Jewish power versus Jewish victim-hood. Victim-hood is embedded in Jewish culture, after all had we not been victims; Passover might just be a regular holiday. On the other hand Jewish resilience and the Jewish people’s ability to survive and thrive shows a power that transcends conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic lore (and not a little divine intervention).
Never before has Jewish power and Jewish victim-hood been so obviously at odds. Israel, one of the smallest countries in the world is one of the most militarily powerful. The economy of this small “start-up” nation is one of the world’s largest and despite much unrest and 60 plus years of being at war the Jewish State thrives as never before. In the Diaspora, Jews have attained wealth and influence beyond anything in history and are disproportionally represented in positions of power from the United States to South Africa. Yet Jewish vulnerability has never been higher.
Anti-Semitism has a not-so-new face, but it has picked up in intensity, it is called anti-Zionism. Those who hate Israel are free to interchange their hatred of that country with their hatred of the religion of her inhabitants as if that gives their hatred legitimacy. A French national goes on a murderous rampage and kills school children in cold blood all in the name of Jihad, holy war against Jews. Iran is nearing the completion of building a nuclear bomb and the only country that she swears to use it on is Israel.
It is hard not to listen to the crying and lamentations of Yom HaShoah without realizing how blessed we Jews are to live in a time when a Jewish State exists. It is also hard not observe how close these two days of commemoration are not just in the annual calendar but also in history. “Never again” doesn’t just mean no more genocide but also to never be stateless again. Israel, like the Jews that make up most of her population is far from perfect, but Jewish imperfection has shown to be much more humane than those of her haters.
It is a sign of Jewish power that much of the criticism directed towards Jews comes from within. However, that self-introspection enables our enemies — and yes, I too, am guilty as charged. But therein lies the difference, we can self-criticize even self- deprecate but at the end of the day all we want, is just simply to be. We may pray for divine vengeance against our enemies but we don’t often act on it on our own, Israel’s military might not withstanding.
Jewish power is derived exclusively from the vulnerability and victim-hood throughout history. Would so-called Jewish power even be relevant if not for the fact that Jews seemingly rise from the ashes time and time again? Would there even be a discussion of Jewish power if a third of the world Jewish population wasn’t destroyed during the Holocaust? Most importantly, the Shoah (Holocaust) and much of Jewish history has taught that complacency is what leads to victim-hood. A whole generation is growing up knowing only Jewish power while victim-hood seems like a droll historic dinosaur, a sober reminder of the importance of Yom HaShoah preceding Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day).
Filed Under: Joel Moskowitz
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