In the end, the Holocaust raged until the Allied powers won the war. It didn’t have to be that way. If the Jews had been permitted to leave Europe, the Holocaust could have been averted. But the only place that wanted us wasn’t allowed to take us. The nations of the world closed their gates. Only the Jews in the Land of Israel wanted the Jews of Europe. But the British barred their arrival.
Britain was required by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine to facilitate Jewish immigration to the Jewish national homeland in order to advance the cause of Jewish sovereignty. But legal obligations couldn’t compete with Britain’s belief that its national interests lay with the Arabs. So from 1939 on, the British closed the doors of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people. In so doing, they effectively sealed the fate of six million Jews.
Both the US and Britain were aware of what the Nazis were up to almost from the beginning, but refused to take any effective action to save the Jews. They refused to bomb the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz, or the crematoria at the death camp. They refused to bomb Auschwitz even though Allied pilots were sent on bombing missions five miles away. Likewise, they refused to bomb any of the scores of death camps dotting the landscape of Nazi-occupied Europe.
There were two main reasons that the Allies behaved as they did. First, they were none too fond of Jews. It is not that the Americans or British supported their annihilation, but they weren’t bothered by it sufficiently to do anything to stop it.
Anti-Semitism is not the main reason the Allies did nothing. The main reason was because, love us or hate us, the allies couldn’t figure out why they should care. Dead or alive, Jews weren’t a part of their war plans.
For Britain, the goal of the war was to survive.
For the Americans it was to defend the cause of freedom and pave the way for America’s emergence as leader of the free world. Jewish survival was not considered relevant to achieving these goals, so the Allies stood by as the ghettos were liquidated and the gas chambers began operating at full capacity.
After the war, world Jewry adopted “Never Again,” as our rallying cry. But “Never Again,” is just a slogan. It fell to the leaders of the Jewish people to conceive the means to prevent a recurrence of the Holocaust.
These leaders came up with two very different strategies for protecting Jews from genocide, and their followers formed separate camps. Whereas in the early years, the separate positions appeared to complement each other, since the 1970s the gulf between them has grown ever wider. Indeed, many of the divisions in world Jewry today originate in this post-Holocaust policy divide.
The first strategy was based on international law and human rights. Its champions argued that the reason the Allies didn’t save the Jews was because the laws enjoining the Allies to rescue us on the one hand, and prohibiting the Nazis from killing us on the other were insufficiently strong. If they could promulgate a new global regime of international humanitarian law, they believed they could force governments to rise above their hatreds and the shackles of their narrow-minded national interests to save innocents from slaughter. Not only would their vision protect the Jews, it would protect everyone.
The Jews who subscribed to the human-rights strategy for preventing another Holocaust were the architects of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Genocide Convention. They were the founders of the international human rights regime that now dominates so much of Western discourse on war and peace.
Unfortunately, the institutions these idealistic Jews designed have been corrupted by political forces they had hoped to defeat.
Consequently, the international human-rights regime they created has failed completely to accomplish what they hoped it would accomplish. Instead, the regime they created to protect the Jews is now a key weapon in the political war being waged against them.
Jews are not the only casualty of the human-rights policy paradigm’s failure.
Cambodians, Rwandans, Darfuris and others can also attest to its collapse.
There are two reasons that the human-rights paradigm has broken down. The first is because it failed to recognize the adaptability of Jew hatred. Anti-Semitism is one of the hardest hatreds to pin down because it is constantly updating itself to suit the political and social trends of the day. Since Nazi-style anti- Semitism went out of fashion with the defeat of Germany, the human-rights visionaries believed that people would be embarrassed into putting the hatred aside.
Instead, guided by the Soviets, Jew-haters worldwide simply updated their language.
They stopped talking about Jewish control over world affairs and began talking about Zionist control over world affairs.
Unlike the Europeans, Arab Jew-haters feel no social obligation to hide their antipathy for the Jews from their own societies. But recognizing where the West stands on the issue, they have added the post-war, socially acceptable form of anti-Semitism – anti-Zionism – to their repertoire. For instance, alongside its allegations about Jewish and Freemason conspiracies to take over the world, and its citations of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Hamas charter also includes a paragraph devoted to Zionist apartheid, genocide, imperialism, and human-rights abuses.
When the Palestinians’ Western sympathizers in the media, foreign service, academia, etc. report on Palestinian accusations against Israel, they eagerly credit as fact demonstrably false allegations by Palestinian spokesmen of Israeli human-rights abuses, genocide and apartheid. Tellingly though, those Westerners are silent when the same Palestinian officials they treat as respectable for alleging Zionist criminal conspiracies also engage in politically incorrect anti-Semitic attacks.
Their claims that Israelis poison their wells and infect their children with AIDS are left unremarked.
This Western cherry picking of Jewish conspiracy theories by politically savvy Western Jew-haters demonstrates the absurdity of the claim that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.
Like old-fashioned Jew-hatred, anti-Zionism inverts the reality of Jewish vulnerability and victimization in order to justify irrational hatred of Jews and deny basic rights of self-defense to Jewish victims.
The anti-Semites’ corruption of the human-rights paradigm in the service of their Jew-hating agendas is certainly a major reason the human rights model for genocide prevention has failed. But it is not the only cause of the failure. The other reason the model has failed is because it is premised on a naïve and incorrect understanding of statecraft.
Champions of human rights and humanitarian law believed that if laws were placed on the books, if international conventions were ratified by democracies, then the world would abide by them. But this is not the case.
Just as the British ignored their international legal obligations to facilitate Jewish settlement of the Land of Israel when they felt it served their interests to favor the Arabs, so today governments routinely ignore their international legal obligations if abiding by them runs contrary to their perception of their interests.
This truth was laid bare last December, with the Nixon Library’s release of a taped March 1973 conversation between then-president Richard Nixon and then-secretary of state Henry Kissinger regarding the prospect of a Soviet genocide of Soviet Jews.
Kissinger opined: “If they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.” Nixon responded, “I know. We can’t blow up the world because of it.”
Their views were not merely testament to the two men’s indifference toward the fate of Soviet Jews. They are instructive because they show how leaders prioritize their policies.
Nixon and Kissinger probably opposed the genocide of Soviet Jewry, but it was more important to avoid a policy that could “blow up the world.”
By the same token, the US opted to do nothing in the face of the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur, among others.
US and European treatment of Jews specifically, and of the incidents of genocide generally since the Holocaust make clear that the twin presumptions of the human-rights paradigm were wrong.
Anti-Semitism is not a curable disease.
Israel is the target of an anti-Semitic, genocidal political campaign that employs the language of human rights to justify itself . And otherwise moral men and women simply ignore evil when they believe their interests are best served by not standing up to it.
A secondary casualty of the failure of the human rights paradigm has been intra- Jewish relations. Faced with their preferred paradigm’s failure and corruption at the hands of anti-Semites, many Jewish human-rights activists have opted to abandon their fellow Jews and Israel in order to maintain their allegiance to the corrupt, anti-Semitic human-rights model.
Particularly annoying to these human-rights followers is the stunning success of the other post-Holocaust Jewish strategy for giving meaning to the slogan “Never Again.”
That policy is Zionism.
Zionism doesn’t concern itself with how people ought to behave, but with what they are capable of doing. Zionists understand that people are an amalgamation of passions and interests. The Holocaust was able to occur because the only people with a permanent passion and interest in defending the Jews are the Jews. And when the Nazis rose to power, the Jews were homeless and powerless.
Jews who embrace the human-rights approach criticize Zionism’s vision as lonely and militaristic. What they fail to recognize is that every successful nation depends on itself, and lives by the sword.
Only those who deter aggressors are capable of attracting allies. No one will stand with a nation that will not stand up for itself.
Holocaust Remembrance Day, which we marked on Monday, is nestled between Pessah and Independence Day for a reason. In both ancient and modern times, the only way for Jews – or anyone else – to protect their freedom and their lives is by being capable of defending them, in their own land.
The pseudo human-rights campaign against Israel being carried out in the name of fashionable anti-Zionist anti-Semitism represents a complete vindication of the Zionist model. Zionism is the only way to ensure Jewish survival. It is the only way to ensure that in the face of growing threats, “Never Again” will mean never again.