Lack of Holocaust Knowledge Fueling Rise of Hatred of Jews and Israel, American Journalist Warns
Laura Goldman is an American freelance journalist and former Wall Street stock broker. A vocal advocate for Holocaust education, Goldman recently sat down with the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) to share her insights on the fight against Jew-hatred, particularly its contemporary manifestations in the United States.
Why is the fight against antisemitism so important to you personally?
“Both my parents were Holocaust survivors, and I learned over the years, when I told my family’s story, that most people weren’t aware of many of the things in their background.”
“When my mother recently died, I had a section of her obituary where I talked about how the British wouldn’t let her and her family into Israel [after WWII], and leading British journalists who I’m friends with had no idea that the British had a quota in 1947 when Jewish survivors from Europe were trying to get to Israel.”
“I feel that the lack of knowledge about the Holocaust has fueled a lot of the hate about Israel and the Jews, because people don’t understand why people like me, whose family died because there was no Israel, are such sincere and fervent advocates for Israel.”
You describe yourself as a progressive. What do you think can be done to address the issue of growing antisemitism in some parts of the progressive movement in the U.S.?
“I’m very disappointed in the progressive wing’s reaction to the funding of the Iron Dome. I was particularly upset by the reaction of AOC [New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez], because she clearly didn’t understand the whole thing, but thought opposing it was the ‘progressive’ point of view. That was just not acceptable to me.”
“The Iron Dome has been a wonderful way for Israel to defend itself against rocket attacks, and also limit the number of Palestinian deaths. And for progressives who claim they are about saving human life to hold up funding for that just told me that the only Israelis they like are dead Israelis.”
“Many people don’t understand why, as a progressive, I’m so pro-Israel. And I say to them, ‘Well, if your family died because there was no Israel, even if hopefully there is a remote chance that a Holocaust of that nature can be repeated, you have to be for Israel, and you have to be for a strong Israel.’”
Do you think the battle over Israel in progressive spaces is winnable for the pro-Israel side?
“Well, I’m losing a little hope. But I do know that when I personally discuss it with people individually, they start to understand.”
What concerns you the most about current antisemitic trends in the U.S.?
“What’s happened in recent years is white nationalism and discrimination, and saying things that weren’t allowed previously to be said, are ok now. In Charlottesville, they were chanting, ‘Jews will not replace us.’ That was never allowed before. There was no question, it was unequivocal that was not ok. And now it seems to be ok.”
You are an advocate for Holocaust education initiatives. Can you speak to the importance of Holocaust education in the fight against antisemitism?
“I feel very strongly that we need more Holocaust education, because my generation is the last to know a Holocaust survivor, and maybe a little younger they heard one speak in school once. And no one has told me how we’re going to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. I really think that’s something missing in the fight, and I think one of the reasons that it’s easier for white nationalists to be antisemitic now is because they don’t know a survivor, they don’t know personally the story of what happened.”