In this skewed world of moral relativism, where good is evil and evil good, where Haman is Mordechai and Mordechai is Haman, we must never give up the fight to identify hatred and violence and address them directly. Whether the neo-Stalinism of Putin, the apocalyptic vision of Iranian mullahs, the ruthless barbarism of ISIS, and the Jew hatred of Hamas and Hezbollah—the good fight must be fought. The myth that the Second World War was America’s “last good war” ignores the supreme evils of Soviet Communism and Al-Qaeda.
I recently observed the yahrzeit of my father. He died sixteen years ago right after the end of the fall holiday season. He was an interesting, respected and gentle man—but also a Jew who fought in the American Army against the evil forces of Nazism in World War II.
I am proud of my Dad. On May 8, 1945, the day of Allied victory in Europe, my father knew that the Jews of Europe faced unprecedented catastrophe and persecution. He met with Jewish women from Hungary who survived a “death march,” he discovered a synagogue that had been desecrated and turned into a garbage dump and tried to clean it up with no success, and he forced German civilians from their homes to billet American troops, telling the Germans he was a Jew carrying a rifle. He was proud of being a Jew and understood well from his experiences that Nazism represented a peril to the world and meant the eradication of the Jews from the world.
My father wrote to his parents in Queens, New York from Bohemia on the day of victory: “Folks, I have seen enough proof of the atrocities the Nazis committed all through the countries they overran. You can readily believe all the stories now slowly drifting back to the States.” The Jewish infantry sergeant wrote of his experiences in the hope that his entire community back home would know of the destruction of European Jewry. This was long before the age of instant information on the Internet. It was only later on that the Holocaust was identified as one of the worst crimes in the history of humanity, but my Dad sensed, as a young man, the nature of that Nazi evil.
Western civilization is doomed if we are unable to identify evil and destroy it. America cannot withdraw from the world or “lead from behind.” The US must be engaged in the battle with forces that want to destroy and dismantle our civilization. As Jews are butchered by terrorists in Israel today the world’s silence is harsh and deafening. No—one man’s terrorist is not another man’s guerrilla patriot. We must not be afraid to identify enemies and we must never turn away from the truth. To do so is to grant a victory to the malevolence in the world and succumb to it.