Throughout Europe and elsewhere, a series of commemorations are being held this week to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Among the most impressive ceremonies held so far was the one convened by the United Nations General Assembly, which called a special session in New York. It was the first time the UN had ever paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.
It would be easy, of course, to dismiss this, particularly in light of the UN’s long history of anti-Israel posturing and anti-Zionist pomposity. Easy - but mistaken.
The ceremony held at UN headquarters is in fact of great significance. As the number of Holocaust survivors continues to dwindle with the passage of time, it becomes ever more important to remind the world of what was done to our people. There are so many wackos out there insisting the Holocaust never happened, or accusing Israel of inflating the number of victims for political gain, that it is imperative to garner as many voices as possible on behalf of the truth.
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, gave a particularly good speech at the event, the last two paragraphs of which read as follows:
As the number of survivors shrinks all the time, we are on the brink of that moment, when this terrible event will change - from memory, to history. Let all of us gathered here pledge, never to forget the victims, never to abandon the survivors, and never to allow such an event ever to be repeated.
As the Foreign Minister of Israel, the sovereign state of the Jewish people, I stand before you, to swear, in the name of the victims, the survivors, and all the Jewish people: Never again.
Those are powerful words.
Ironically enough, they were said on the very same day that the chief of the Mossad was testifying before a committee in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, about Iran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons.
The Iranians, of course, have made clear that their objective is to eliminate the State of Israel and wipe it off the map, G-d forbid.
And so, six decades after Auschwitz, the Jewish people still find themselves confronted by an implacable foe bent on their destruction.
If the Foreign Minister’s pledge is to have any true and lasting meaning, then Israel may have no choice but to use its military to put an end to the frightening possibility of atomic Ayatollahs wreaking havoc on the region.
As alarming as such a scenario might sound, we can at least take comfort in knowing that this time around, we have the tools and the ability to confront such threats and deal with them.
Whether our leaders have the wisdom and foresight to use those tools – well, that is something only time will tell. Let’s hope and pray that they do.