Holocaust Remembrance Day: Are We Doing Enough?
By Solomon Schoonover
              This past Friday was the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and many people all around the world are taking time to remember the 6 million Jews, and 5 million non-Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. It is an extremely important day for the Jewish people. It is also a vital moment for the entire world to unite in common understanding in order to ensure that no atrocity of such magnitude will ever occur again.


When thinking about the holocaust and the anti-Semitism that inspired it, it raises questions each of us should ask ourselves. Are our political leaders responsible enough to prevent and avoid such events? Are we doing enough to make sure it never happens again? How do you prevent something of this sort from happening in the first place? These questions are vital to preventing another Holocaust, and a recent incident shows that maybe we are not doing enough to prevent another Holocaust.


 You might not have heard the news, but in the past few weeks there were several major incidents that shook the feeling of safety and security of the American Jewish community. On Wednesday, January 18, robo-calls were made to 27 different Jewish community centers in 17 different states threatening to bomb the community centers. Many of these centers were evacuated and all of them were shut down. This comes 9 days after a similar round of phone calls were made to Jewish community centers around the nation threatening to bomb them.


            These threats may be a foolish prank by some youngsters, or it may be a credible threat by a fanatic. It could be a global Islamic terrorist organization, or it could have been the Klu Klux Klan. No doubt, the responsible party should be brought to justice with the full force of the law. While the event is extremely alarming, what is more disconcerting is the increasing frequency of threats against Jews in the U.S. and around the world, and how dull the world’s reactions to such threats has become.


            If you have been watching as closely, then over the past couple of years you have seen a shift in attitude in the United States and Europe towards physical and violent threats to Jews. There have been various studies conducted by the Anti-Defamation League showing this trend. In the United State in 2014, anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose by more than 21%. In 2015, violent anti-Semitic attacks on Jews rose by more than 50% in the United States. Attacks on Jewish students on college campuses have doubled between 2014 and 2015. Such incidents on college campuses are often sparked by leftist anti-Israel advocates. In 2016, as you might have seen, the election of Donald Trump coincided with the rise of the alt-right and I can only assume anti-Semitic incidents increased alongside. This has not only been happening in the United States, but around the world as well.


            The problem is more than just an increase in separate incidents over a time span. There has become, in the political, judicial, educational, and governmental institutions around the world, an acceptance of anti-Semitism as legitimate political expression. Here in the United States, the left has become the anti-Israel party, as shown by President Obama's allowance of the recent United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334. Similar political positions have been expressed in Europe by leftist leaders such as Margot Wallstrom and Jeremy Corbin. The Far-right has also been more active, with the detested David Duke running for Senate in Louisiana, and Marin Le Pen and other far-right leaders making slow gains across Europe. The basis of their argument is this: holding an anti-Israel political position is not akin to anti-Semitism. While that may sometimes be true, the institutionalization of anti-Israel positions has become a cover for anti-Semitism and provides ample opportunity for attacks against Jews.


This phenomenon is not isolated to political leaders and institutions. You may have seen the recent ruling out of a regional court in the Federal Republic of Germany, which affirmed a lower court ruling that the firebombing of a local synagogue by three men was not an anti-Semitic act, rather, it was a legitimate form of anti-Israel expression. Or you may have been watching as countless universities and educational institutions boycotted Israeli academic leaders, products, and businesses. The growth of the Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement on campus has been accompanied by assaults on Jewish student groups and refusals to allow Jewish speakers on some campuses. There have been many municipalities in Europe which have instituted BDS policies at the local level, ensuring that those Municipalities officially practice anti-Semitic discrimination. On a larger scale, the labeling of Israeli products across Europe is another form of discrimination. The institutionalization of anti-Semitism within municipalities, political entity’s, universities and other organizations around the world has led to what seems to be a societal acceptance of anti-Semitism.


            My point is this: we must do more. The fact that there has been a repeated and coordinated threat against Jewish institutions across the United States is a warning sign that anti-Semitism is alive and well today. The fact that the threat barely roused the public’s conscious is proof that we are currently not doing enough to make our society aware of the threat. When I played for Coach Will Muschamp on the University of Florida football team, he used to say: “You are either coaching it, or you are letting it happen.” Clearly, we have been letting it happen. From now on, lets’ coach it up. Tell your friends, family, public officials, and anyone who will listen, that anti-Semitism is evil, and we will not allow another Holocaust to happen again.

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