Holocaust tattoos 370.
(photo credit: reuters)
Once a year, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we recall the Holocaust in which so
many European Jews lost their lives. A large number of us have family members
and friends who perished during those years. We use slogans such as “Never
Again!” We’ve convinced ourselves that our new enlightened world would never
allow another holocaust to take place. But we tend to forget that the world is
not actually enlightened and that it actually does allow such events to occur.
All we need to do is look around at what’s happening right now.
II began in 1939.
The Western world watched from the sidelines as Britain
stood alone against the Axis powers until 1941.
Almost all of Europe had
been conquered and thousands of Jews were being sent to their deaths. Even after
the Americans were well aware that millions of European Jews were being
systematically murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau and other camps, they did
Only in 1941 did the US begin supporting Britain sending
military equipment. It was only after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on
December 7, 1941, that the US decided to enter the war. The Allies succeeded in
striking back only in the middle of 1943 and the Germans finally surrendered
only in May 1945. It took six years for the world, and especially the Americans,
to wake up and come to its senses.
By then, the world had six million
fewer Jews; three million fewer Russian soldiers who were murdered in captivity;
three million fewer non-Jewish Polish intellectuals; 300,000 fewer sick and
disabled; 800,000 fewer Roma (Gypsies); and 25,000 fewer
This totals about 13 million people who were slaughtered by
the Nazis all over Europe and the world did nothing to prevent this from
The Yugoslav Wars broke out in the early 1990s and were
characterized by bitter ethnic conflict between six peoples living in the
region. Between 1992 and 1995, 100,000 people were murdered as Serbia attempted
to maintain control of Bosnia through the ethnic cleansing of Croats and
About 1.5 million Bosnians in Yugoslavia became refugees. And
the world remained silent.
In Bosnia, too, racist and effective
propaganda was used to convince a nation to commit unimaginable crimes against
another nation. In this case, Muslims fought against Croats. Educated citizens,
the rich and intellectuals who opposed Serbian control were taken prisoner and
sent to internment camps. Just as the Nazis had done, the Serbians loaded people
into sealed train cars and deported them to remote areas where they were abused,
raped and murdered.
And the world remained silent.
Here, too, the
men were separated from the women, and made to stand beside pits which became
mass graves when all of them were shot to death. And the world remained silent.
Only in 1995 did US-led NATO forces attack Bosnia, eventually leading to an end
of the massacres.
In 1999, another war broke out in Kosovo. The Serbians
once again engaged in ethnic cleansing, but this time the world – including the
US – woke up and prevented the war from turning into another bout of ethnic
In March 2011, a rebel uprising began in Syria, part of what
came to be known as the Arab Spring (but would have been more accurately called
the Middle Eastern Winter.) Over the past two-and-a-half years, Bashar Assad’s
regime has used tanks, artillery, missiles and aircraft to bomb civilian
population centers. And it is now considered a fact that Assad recently used
chemical weapons to carry out mass killings of his own people.
onset of the conflict, more than 100,000 Syrians have died, tens of thousands
have been injured and more than a million people (half of whom are children) are
now living as refugees outside Syria. According to human rights workers inside
Syria, at least 130,000 people have disappeared and thousands have been
kidnapped. And the world remains silent. Pictures of the mass graves in which
thousands of men, women and children lie have been exposed in the international
media, and the world remains silent.
The Egyptian military has massacred
thousands of its own people and the world remains silent. In the modern era of
satellites and the Internet, everyone sees and knows everything, and the world
remains silent. Even when the hallucinatory Turkish prime minister declared to
the world that Israel was responsible for the revolution in Egypt, almost no one
paid attention. Even when the Iranian president declares that the Zionist entity
should be destroyed, the world remains silent.
Except for mumbling a few
words here and there, no country has lifted a finger. The UN is useless, the US
holds negotiations and summits dealing with truly “important” issues, such as
the evacuation of Israeli settlements, and the Europeans are just hanging around
waiting for someone to do something.
But don’t be mistaken. Neither is
anyone going to support us when Israel once again becomes the victim. If at any
time we cease to be an important strategic interest for the US, no one else
would protect us from once again being led to the slaughter like
In the end, all we have are ourselves and our defense forces to
keep us safe.
The writer is a former brigadiergeneral who served as a
division head in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).