The recent rise in anti-Semitism in the US and worldwide has made Holocaust Day in Israel much more meaningful. The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, just three years after the Nazi slaughter of six million Jews, was an incredible juxtaposition of events, unparalleled in history.
How has the world changed since then? Has the world's attitude towards the Jews evolved, or are we back to square one?
I pose some questions and answers in an attempt to understand the Holocaust, the rise of the State of Israel and the reasons for the recent rise in anti-Semitism.
How do Israelis commemorate Holocaust Day?
Answer: We have a nationwide siren in the morning and everything in the country stops - cars, people, construction sites - everyone stands for a moment of complete silence and reflection. After that, there are official ceremonies, speeches, and educational forums all over the country.
2. Was the State of Israel established because of the Holocaust?
Answer: The Jewish people were exiled from their sovereign country by the Roman conquerors almost 2,000 years ago. Then, about 150 years ago, small groups of Jews started returning, but in the first three decades of the 20th century, the pace of Jewish return increased. The efforts to bring in Jewish refugees and overturn the British colonial rule had become more intense and urgent in the 1930s with the rise of Hitler, and that intensity reached its peak during and after the Holocaust in the 1940s, culminating in Israel's reestablishment as a sovereign nation again in 1948.
3. How has the nature of anti-Semitism changed in recent years?
Answer: The new anti-Semitism uses classic anti-Semitic tropes to attack Israel. They disingenuously claim that they are just attacking Israel, but the truth is that they're creating an atmosphere conducive to attacks on defenseless Jews in other countries, such as the United States.
4. How do we know that such an atmosphere leads to violence?
Answer: Dangerous words lead to more dangerous actions. Adolph Hitler also started with words.
5. What role has some of the media played in the recent rise of anti-Semitism?
Answer: So-called respectable media like the New York Times have been playing with fire for years with their fiercely anti-Israel rhetoric, but recently they've ignited the flame. The blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon that they published last week revealed the very fine red line that connects anti-Israel media to anti-Semitic attacks.
6. Where may people get a copy of my book, "Trump and the Jews"?