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February 5, 2015 0

Lo que aprendimos de Auschwitz

Por Abra­ham H. Fox­man
Direc­tor Nacional de la Liga Antidifamación

Este artículo apare­ció orig­i­nal­mente en el blog de The Huff­in­g­ton Post

El sep­tu­agésimo aniver­sario de la lib­eración de Auschwitz, que se cel­e­brará el 27 de enero en el Día Inter­na­cional de Con­mem­o­ración en Memo­ria de las Víc­ti­mas del Holo­causto, llega en un momento en que algunos se pre­gun­tan: ¿está suce­di­endo nue­va­mente en Europa?

Cono­ce­mos la respuesta racional a esa pre­gunta. A pesar de la gravedad del resurgimiento del anti­semitismo en Europa, no hay com­para­ción con la Europa de los años treinta y cuarenta del siglo pasado. En aquel entonces, un par­tido com­pro­metido con la destruc­ción del pueblo judío obtuvo el poder total en Ale­ma­nia y final­mente llegó a con­tro­lar casi toda Europa, per­mi­tiendo el asesinato sis­temático de 6 mil­lones de judíos y mil­lones de otras per­sonas en el Holocausto.

Hoy en día, los gob­ier­nos de Europa no apoyan el anti­semitismo; lo com­baten, aunque no siem­pre con sufi­ciente fuerza.

¿Si no es el Holo­causto —y, si no es útil com­pren­der los inmen­sos desafíos de hoy com­parán­do­los con el Holo­causto—, Auschwitz nos da alguna lec­ción hoy en día?

Yo diría que varias.

Primero está el papel de las ide­ologías de odio en la pro­duc­ción de com­por­tamien­tos vio­len­tos y anti­semi­tas. Aunque hoy los anti­semi­tas en Europa no con­trolan los gob­ier­nos, son capaces de mov­i­lizar a per­sonas com­pro­meti­das con la vio­len­cia sobre la base de nociones fan­tás­ti­cas sobre el mal de los judíos.

Joseph Goebbels, Min­istro de Pro­pa­ganda de Hitler, con­ven­ció a los ale­manes no sólo de odiar a los judíos sino tam­bién de creer que tenían que pro­te­gerse del mal­vado y todopoderoso judío que estaba enve­ne­nando el cuerpo político alemán. Tam­bién hoy, los extrem­is­tas islámi­cos —ya sea Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas o Hezbolá— con­sid­eran al judío el ori­gen del mal en el mundo.

La Carta de Con­sti­tu­ción de Hamas no sola­mente hace un lla­mado a la destruc­ción de Israel; sostiene que los judíos son respon­s­ables de todos los males del mundo mod­erno desde la Rev­olu­ción Francesa.

Cuando Al-Qaeda decidió atacar el World Trade Cen­ter el 11 de sep­tiem­bre de 2001, fue sólo después de que con­sid­er­aran atacar obje­tivos judíos en Nueva York. Incluso el World Trade Cen­ter era visto como un obje­tivo par­cial­mente “judío”, ya que se con­sid­er­aba que los judíos con­trolan el com­er­cio mundial, según “Los pro­to­co­los de los sabios de Sión”.

Una vez se resuelve que los judíos son la fuente del mal, es casi una respon­s­abil­i­dad actuar con­tra ellos. Y así los ataques con­tra civiles judíos, que rep­re­sen­tan el mal en forma ordi­naria, se vuel­ven admisibles.

Debe­mos luchar con­tra esta ide­ología de odio. No debe­mos titubear al darle el nom­bre que merece y reunir a per­sonas de todas las reli­giones con­tra él.

Una segunda lec­ción es que la vergüenza por lo que el anti­semitismo pudo pro­ducir, que se man­i­festó con la apari­ción de las primeras fotografías de Auschwitz después de la lib­eración, es un impor­tante inhibidor del antisemitismo.

No cura al mundo de la enfer­medad del anti­semitismo —que está tan arraigada y sirve a muchos propósi­tos—, pero sí afecta el nivel y la inten­si­dad del com­por­tamiento antisemita.

El anti­semitismo no explotó como un fenó­meno durante décadas en parte debido a esta vergüenza. A medida que pasa el tiempo y la inmedi­atez del Holo­causto se desvanece, resulta más impor­tante que nunca desar­rol­lar nuevas y cre­ati­vas man­eras de trans­mi­tir a los jóvenes sus horrores.

Recuerdo que hace algunos años escuché a Rita Suss­muth, del Bun­destag alemán, hablando de la necesi­dad de crear nuevos y emo­tivos méto­dos para lle­gar a cada gen­eración de jóvenes que está más y más ale­jada de los acon­tec­imien­tos de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Nunca debe­mos aban­donar la lucha para explicar lo que puede provo­car el antisemitismo.

Para mí, una ter­cera lec­ción es la íntima conex­ión entre el anti­semitismo y la salud de una sociedad democrática. Ya sea la expre­sión de que los judíos son el canario en la mina de car­bón o las famosas líneas del Pas­tor Mar­tin Niemöller sobre las con­se­cuen­cias de no enfrentarse a la mal­dad, Auschwitz no es sólo sobre los males del anti­semitismo sino tam­bién sobre cómo no con­tro­larlo invari­able­mente pone en peli­gro a toda la sociedad.

La lucha con­tra el anti­semitismo nunca debería con­sid­er­arse sola­mente como una lucha moral. Es una lucha prác­tica, como lo expresó con tanta elocuen­cia el Primer Min­istro Manuel Valls ante el Par­la­mento francés después de los ataques ter­ror­is­tas con­tra Char­lie Hebdo y el super­me­r­cado kosher.

¿Cómo -pre­guntó- podría la sociedad francesa no protes­tar y estar indig­nada cuando los judíos eran insul­ta­dos, cuando los ván­da­los vio­la­ban las insti­tu­ciones judías, cuando los man­i­fes­tantes inten­taron invadir una sin­a­goga? Su men­saje fue claro: Toda Fran­cia nece­sita pon­erse de pie y con fuerza cuando los judíos son ata­ca­dos. No sola­mente porque es lo cor­recto, sino porque es de vital impor­tan­cia para el bien­es­tar de la sociedad francesa.

El ataque crim­i­nal con­tra Char­lie Hebdo sigue inevitable­mente al asesinato de tres niños judíos en Toulouse. Los ataques con­tra los judíos en la Ale­ma­nia Nazi invari­able­mente lle­varon a los esfuer­zos de Hitler para dom­i­nar y esclavizar al mundo.

Entonces, el martes, mien­tras con­mem­o­ramos los 70 años de la lib­eración de Auschwitz y el Día Inter­na­cional de Con­mem­o­ración de las Víc­ti­mas del Holo­causto, la impor­tan­cia de saber lo que sucedió allí y trans­mitírselo a la sigu­iente gen­eración es más urgente que nunca.
Hoy, las ame­nazas con­tra los judíos son may­ores de lo que han sido desde aque­l­los días oscuros. Y esas ame­nazas, como lo enseña la lec­ción de Auschwitz, nos ame­nazan a todos nosotros.

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January 26, 2015 0

What We Learned From Auschwitz

By Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

The 70th anniver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz, which will be marked Jan­u­ary 27 on Inter­na­tional Holo­caust Remem­brance Day, comes at a time when some are ask­ing: is it hap­pen­ing all over again in Europe?

We know the ratio­nal answer to that ques­tion. As bad as the resur­gence of anti-Semitism in Europe is, there is no com­par­i­son to Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.  Then, a party com­mit­ted to the destruc­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple gained total power in Ger­many and even­tu­ally con­trolled most of Europe, enabling the sys­tem­atic mur­der of six mil­lion Jews and mil­lions of oth­ers in the Holocaust.

Today, gov­ern­ments in Europe are not espous­ing anti-Semitism; they are coun­ter­ing it, even if not strongly enough.

If it isn’t the Holo­caust – and, if it isn’t help­ful to under­stand today’s immense chal­lenges by com­par­ing it to the Holo­caust — does Auschwitz present any lessons at all for today?

I would say there are several.

First is the role of hate­ful ide­olo­gies in pro­duc­ing vio­lent, anti-Semitic behav­ior. While today’s anti-Semites in Europe do not con­trol gov­ern­ments, they are able to mobi­lize indi­vid­u­als com­mit­ted to vio­lence on the basis of fan­tas­ti­cal notions about the unique evil of Jews.

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s min­is­ter of pro­pa­ganda, con­vinced Ger­mans not merely to dis­like Jews but to believe that they had to pro­tect them­selves from the evil, all-powerful Jew who was poi­son­ing the Ger­man body politic. So too today, the Islamic extrem­ists, whether it’s Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, or Hezbol­lah, see the Jew as the source of evil in the world.

The Hamas char­ter not only repeat­edly calls for the destruc­tion of Israel. It claims that Jews are respon­si­ble for all the ills of the mod­ern world going back to the French Revolution.

When Al-Qaeda decided to attack the World Trade Cen­ter on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, it was only after they con­sid­ered hit­ting Jew­ish tar­gets in New York. Even the World Trade Cen­ter was seen as partly a “Jew­ish” tar­get since it was deemed that Jews con­trol world com­merce, per the “Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”

Once it is decided that Jews are the source of evil, then it is almost a respon­si­bil­ity to act against them. And so attacks on Jew­ish civil­ians, who rep­re­sent evil in ordi­nary form, become permissible.

We must fight this ide­ol­ogy of hatred. We must not equiv­o­cate in call­ing it what it is and in ral­ly­ing peo­ple of all faiths against it.

A sec­ond les­son is that shame about what anti-Semitism could lead to, which man­i­fested itself with the appear­ance of the first pic­tures of Auschwitz after the lib­er­a­tion, is an impor­tant inhibitor of anti-Semitism.

It does not cure the world of the dis­ease of anti-Semitism, which is so deeply embed­ded and serves so many pur­poses, but it does affect the level and inten­sity of anti-Semitic behavior.

For decades, anti-Semitism did not explode as a phe­nom­e­non, partly because of this shame. As time passes, and the imme­di­acy of the Holo­caust recedes, it makes more impor­tant than ever the need to develop new and cre­ative ways to reach younger peo­ple about its horrors.

I remem­ber hear­ing some years ago from Rita Suss­muth of the Ger­man Bun­destag, who talked of the need for new and emo­tional meth­ods in reach­ing each gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple who are fur­ther and fur­ther removed from the events in World War II. We must never give up the strug­gle to explain what anti-Semitism can lead to.

A third les­son for me is the inti­mate con­nec­tion between anti-Semitism and the health of a demo­c­ra­tic soci­ety. Whether it is the expres­sion that Jews are the canary in the coal mine or Pas­tor Mar­tin Niemoller’s famous lines about the con­se­quences of not stand­ing up in the face of evil, Auschwitz is not only about the evils of anti-Semitism, but also how its going unchecked invari­ably endan­gers all of society.

The fight against anti-Semitism should never be seen as sim­ply a moral strug­gle. It is a prac­ti­cal one, as spo­ken so elo­quently by Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls to the French par­lia­ment after the ter­ror­ist attacks on Char­lie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket.

How, he asked, could French soci­ety not speak up and be out­raged when Jews were insulted, when van­dals vio­lated Jew­ish insti­tu­tions, when pro­tes­tors sought to invade a syn­a­gogue?  His mes­sage was clear: All of France needs to stand up early and loud when Jews are under attack. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is vital for the well-being of French society.

The mur­der­ous attack on Char­lie Hebdo inevitably fol­lows the mur­der of three Jew­ish chil­dren in Toulouse. The tar­get­ing of Jews in Nazi Ger­many invari­ably led to the efforts by Hitler to dom­i­nate and enslave the world.

So as we observe the 70th year of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz and Inter­na­tional Holo­caust Remem­brance Day on Tues­day, the impor­tance of know­ing what hap­pened there and of trans­mit­ting it to the next gen­er­a­tion is more urgent than ever.
Threats to Jews today are greater than they have been since those darker days.  And those threats, as taught by the lessons of Auschwitz, threaten all of us.

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November 19, 2014 12

Axe Imagery Proliferates Following Synagogue Attack In Jerusalem

Within min­utes of yesterday’s bru­tal ter­ror attack that killed five peo­ple in a Jerusalem syn­a­gogue, images and car­toons glo­ri­fy­ing the attack began cir­cu­lat­ing online.jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-al-aqsa

The speed with which images glo­ri­fy­ing the killing of Jews with axes and hatch­ets – which the two ter­ror­ists used in their attack – were released demon­strates the ease in which sup­port­ers of such bru­tal attacks can express their sup­port online.

Just last week, a sim­i­lar social media cam­paign glo­ri­fy­ing ter­ror attacks by run­ning over Israelis with cars was launched.

The Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades, the armed wing of the Pop­u­lar Front for the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine, claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the ter­ror­ist attack in Jerusalem and cel­e­brated the oper­a­tion by pro­mot­ing the axe as a sym­bol for “Resis­tance” via its var­i­ous social media plat­forms. (Israeli law enforce­ment say they are inves­ti­gat­ing the claim but pre­lim­i­nary evi­dence indi­cates that the per­pe­tra­tors were act­ing alone.)  

The group’s Face­book page fea­tured an image of the two ter­ror­ists who com­mit­ted the attack, Ghas­san and Uday Abu Jamal, with an axe and a mes­sage read­ing, “Oh Zion­ists, in all the places and by all means, we will har­vest your souls.” Another image posted on the group’s Face­book page shows a masked man car­ry­ing an axe and dis­trib­ut­ing can­dies to cel­e­brate the operation.jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-ghassan-abu-jamal

The group also posted a state­ment on the Face­book page soon after the oper­a­tion, greet­ing the “Heroic oper­a­tion exe­cuted by the two mar­tyrs Ghas­san and Uday Abu Jamal,” and call­ing to “esca­late con­fronta­tions against the occu­piers and the settlers.”

On the group’s Twit­ter page, a post describes the use of axes in the oper­a­tion as “cre­ativ­ity in the forms of resistance.”

Other groups have cir­cu­lated images and car­toons cel­e­brat­ing the use of an axe to attack Jews, includ­ing Ajnad News, a West Bank based news orga­ni­za­tion. A car­toon depict­ing a man with a knife and hatchet in a syn­a­gogue as Jews around him lie in pools of blood or flee out the door, was posted at to Ajnad’s Twit­ter account at 7:19am (Jerusalem time) – only min­utes after the attack­ers had entered the syn­a­gogue at about 7:00am.jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-ajnad

Another car­toon shows an image of a hatchet on a car wind­shield as the car dri­ves towards Jerusalem. And a graphic presents pic­tures of Ortho­dox Jews next to image of a mov­ing car wheel, an axe and a gun, and advises read­ers to learn about news from the Ajnad sub­scriber ser­vice on their phones.

Other images cir­cu­lat­ing on social media include an image of a fright­ened Ortho­dox Jew with a Star of David on his hat sur­rounded by knives, axes, cars and guns.

The Ara­bic lan­guage jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-qassam-brigadesTwit­ter account for the Qas­sam Brigades, Hamas’s mil­i­tary wing, posted images of the after­math of the account and pic­tures of the vic­tims and of the per­pe­tra­tors, as well as a graphic depict­ing a bloody cleaver and an Israeli emer­gency med­ical respon­der in front of a fiery back­ground. All of the images on the Hamas Twit­ter feed have been posted mul­ti­ple times in other loca­tions as well.

Sup­port­ers of other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Jab­hat al Nusra, the Al Qaeda affil­i­ate in Syria, have posted images sup­port­ing the attack as well. The major­ity of these are not car­toons but rather images of the after­math of the attack – per­haps a reflec­tion of the graphic con­tent reg­u­larly shared by those ter­ror­ist groups.

Other images:

jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-anti-semitic

 

jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-car-terrorism

 

jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-murder.png

 

jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-jews.jpg

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