The following is a personal reflection by Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa on the shocking events of the past week in Israel:
In the wake of the horrors of the Holocaust eight decades ago, the surviving remnants of the Jewish people made a sacred vow: “Never Again.”
Never again would we be mercilessly slaughtered by enemies driven by antisemitic hatred. Never again would we be defenseless in the face of those who seek our destruction.
International institutions, the United Nations most prominent among them, were established following World War II to prevent recurrences of the heinous crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazis, sparking hope for a new era of history based on social harmony transcending borders.
However, this quickly proved to be a fragile illusion. Only three years after the Holocaust, the Jewish people were left to fight alone for our independence in the Land of Israel when we were attacked by genocidal forces from across the Muslim world after the Arab rejection of the UN Partition Plan.
Since then, leading democratic countries have failed time and again, for reasons of political and economic convenience, to intervene in conflicts against forces of evil. And the free world has paid the price, with brutal autocratic regimes like Russia and Iran, and bloodthirsty terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, shaping today’s global order.
At this perilous moment in history, we must remember that words matter. If the world had taken Adolf Hitler seriously when he laid out his diabolical vision in Mein Kampf in 1925, he could have been stopped. Yet the world instead turned a blind eye, doing nothing to hinder Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, allowing him to turn his wicked plans into a terrible reality.
Similarly, Hamas’ 1988 charter leaves no room for equivocation — it is rife with antisemitic rhetoric and explicitly sets the violent and complete destruction of Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, as its primary goal.
This is not an organization that Israel can ever make peace with or even tolerate. Hamas’ very existence poses a grave and mortal threat to the safety of all Israeli citizens, and this is the threat that the Israel Defense Forces will now remove from the face of the earth, no matter how long it takes.
In the coming weeks when you see Hamas supporters in city squares and on college campuses in Europe and the United States chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” ask yourself what they want to do to the Jews of Israel. After this past weekend’s shocking and grotesque images from southern Israel, I think we all know the disturbing answer.
I am a third-generation Holocaust survivor and an IDF veteran, and I cannot describe the shame I felt this week looking at my 92-year-old grandfather, knowing that we had broken the “Never Again” promise. On the darkest day in Jewish history since the Holocaust, we let him, and the six million murdered by Nazis, down.
Despite the unbearable pain and loss we have endured, the Jewish people are resilient. We are touched by the steadfast expressions of support from our allies in the United States and Europe, and we know that will we not be alone on the tough road ahead as we overcome this unfathomable tragedy.
We will do everything we can to ensure “Never Again” never rings hollow again.