Antisemitism: A unique evil that must not be ignored - opinion

In memory of my four aunts – Miriam, Penina, Sophie, and Gerda – and my grandmother, Chana Steinberg, murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz

A ONCE-DEADLY electrified barbed wire fence surrounds the site of the former Nazi Auschwitz death camp in Poland. (photo credit: KACPER PEMPEL/REUTERS)
A ONCE-DEADLY electrified barbed wire fence surrounds the site of the former Nazi Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
 The six million Jews slaughtered by Nazi Germany and its allies did not build an army to attack Berlin. And they were also not bystanders killed accidentally (“collateral damage” in the modern hi-tech and impersonal parlance) in the middle of a war. 
My aunts, grandmother and countless others were slaughtered by the Nazis for one reason alone: because they were Jews. They posed no threat to anyone; indeed, many Jews, including my maternal grandfather, were drafted and served in the German military during World War I. When the doors of the Third Reich closed, they could not leave because the goal was not merely to rid Germany and then Europe of its Jews; the goal was to destroy every single Jew.
The hatred reflected by the monstrous German killing machine – from the mass round-ups to the carefully constructed and operated system of transport trains to the concentration camps and then to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Treblinka and the rest – was a unique form of evil. It was the culmination of centuries of antisemitic incitement that was the product of a deeply rooted religious and cultural psychosis, with the occasional addition of more mundane factors such as greed and avarice. 
This history is reflected in what has become the consensus definition of antisemitism prepared under the auspices of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA): “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
For all of these reasons, the tendency to casually conflate the premeditated and industrialized slaughter of the Jews with entirely different situations, devalues, often knowingly, the particular inhuman behavior of the Nazis and their allies. All the more so in falsely comparing what the Palestinians call the Nakba (catastrophe) during the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Yes, they suffered, like other peoples who suffer amidst wars (including the Jews who were attacked and expelled from Arab countries in similar numbers). But there is absolutely no comparison to the mass murder machine used in the Shoa. 
And for this reason, the authors of the IHRA working definition included this example of antisemitism: “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” Such accusations and allegations have become commonplace what has become known as the “progressive” discourse on Israel.
In United Nations frameworks, such as the notorious 2001 Durban conference held under the façade of eliminating racism, and in the sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the insidious drawing of parallels between Israel and the Nazis is a central and frequent theme. When Israel is accused of ethnic cleansing and even genocide, the audience of diplomats and UN employees remains silent – some even nod their heads in agreement.
The same is true for officials of powerful organizations claiming to promote moral principles, such as Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch and the leaders of Amnesty International. And when they are not making the direct comparison, as is often the case, their frequent accusations of Israeli “war crimes” and “collective punishment” create the same message for their audience. As they march closer to their 20-year goal of bringing Israel before the International Criminal Court (the successor to the Nuremberg Tribunal that condemned the Nazi war criminals), the intensity of this repulsive campaign increases. At the same time, the repeated refusal of these individuals and frameworks to include antisemitism on their agendas and to document the renewed hatred speaks volumes.
With the same immoral purpose, the so-called Jerusalem Definition of Antisemitism, which is being marketed cynically as a means of displacing the IHRA text, the rejection of the comparison between Israel and the Nazis is conspicuously absent. Not surprisingly, this campaign is led by some German “intellectuals” on the far Left who obsessively target Israel in the effort to offset the guilt of their parents and grandparents. By seeking to turn the Jews (Israel) into the new Nazis, and the Palestinians into Jews, they are trying to mitigate the evil of the concentration camps and the Final Solution.
But the Nazis and their accomplices did not behave like other conquering armies by blindly pillaging, looting and killing the enemy. Their cold inhuman killing machines stand out as a uniquely calculated form of evil.
Our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, their neighbors and every other victim were killed by monsters who hated them for one reason – because they were Jews. In honoring their memories, we must not be silent when Jews – individually or collectively - are again singled out for the same reasons.
The writer is professor emeritus of political science at Bar Ilan University and president of the Institute for NGO Research in Jerusalem.