During a long and eventful history, the Jewish People have encountered myriad shameful situations.
One would imagine that these exposures to the worst acts which nations and individuals could inflict on others might have conditioned us to never be surprised again when they keep repeating in every generation.
As current events unfold in various parts of the world it is worthwhile to pause, take note and remember that we have seen it all before.
The winter Olympics now taking place in China is a classic example of history repeating itself a mere eighty-six years after the last major spectacle in Nazi Germany.
Back then political expediency, moral cowardice and plain old prejudices all contributed towards handing the Third Reich a prize and gold medal for hosting a sports event in the midst of their campaign to delegitimize Jews. By 1936 Germany’s Jews had already been deprived of citizenship and the inexorable steps towards their ultimate fatal fate were well underway. Since 1933 the rest of the international community and the Olympic movement had witnessed how the agenda of exclusion and demonization had gathered momentum. They had plenty of time to transfer the games to a more suitable country but of course, they preferred to pretend that nothing was amiss.
Trotting out the same old tired slogans as today the IOC and notably, Avery Brundage insisted that they had no desire to take into account the lack of human rights or internal policies of the host nation. Having been given a VIP tour of Germany, Brundage was convinced that there was nothing amiss. Others however were not fooled by the smokescreens of propaganda and could see through the transparent barrage of lies and disinformation.
As talk of boycotting the Berlin Olympics gained momentum the IOC revealed its true colours. As an article in the Washington Post revealed just a month or so ago: Brundage would become one of the most forceful advocates of U.S. participation in Berlin, even if that meant taking antisemitic shots at American Jews pushing for a boycott. “Certain Jews must understand that they cannot use these Games as a weapon in their boycott against the Nazis,” said Brundage, who labelled the anti-Olympic campaign a “Jewish-Communist conspiracy.”
Fast forward to the present and the Winter Olympics now taking place in China. Although this time Jews are not the target the situation is not dissimilar. In a country where human rights have a completely different meaning and where incidentally Judaism is not an officially recognized faith, competitors from all over the world will be feted while a minority group in China is incarcerated in “re-education” camps and their religious beliefs are suppressed.
Politicians and sports officials in many countries shamefully advised competitors to keep their mouths shut and not to say anything which might “upset” the hosts. Back in 1936 some foreign competitors and officials gave the Nazi salute as they marched past the dais in the stadium. Either way, remaining mute or demonstrating solidarity with the host regime was and is morally bankrupt.
Those taking part in the competitions have spent years training and preparing for this occasion. They are not the ones who should be ashamed to take part although kol hakavod to any whose conscience precluded them from joining this spectacle. Those who really should be ashamed are the IOC and member committees in all the countries sending competitors. By pretending that sport has nothing to do with political persecution of defenceless minorities and that closing one’s eyes and ears to shameful behaviour is proof that yet again the Olympic Movement has refused to learn the painful lessons of the recent past.
Our own horrendous experiences should have ensured that at least the Jewish State did not give a “hechsher” to this. Unfortunately, political correctness and an overwhelming fear not to offend and articulate uncomfortable truths triumphed over any moral conduct.
On a totally different subject but still shameful yet not unexpected is the news that the former Chief Justice of South Africa has been forced to recant his previous support of Israel. The new Orwellian version of double speak means that anyone, especially if they hold prominent positions, who challenges the lies about Israel being an “apartheid” State must be made to pay for their sin.
Who better than a former Chief Justice of South Africa can there be to expose the fallacies of the libel? That is why the blind haters, inciters and ignorant groupies, from the Government, media and NGO’s are compelled to band together to make sure that the sinner is outed, ostracized, threatened and made to repent.
The latest to jump on the apartheid bandwagon is the United Church of Canada. They are going to consider labelling Israel as an “apartheid” country and refusing to recognize it as a Jewish State. As an added bonus they will support BDS. Presumably, the next step of these historically deficient Church members will be to write the Jews completely out of the Bible. After all, if you leave out all the references to Jews in the Promised Land you can then embrace the fiction that Jesus was a Palestinian Arab martyr, the Temple never existed and Jewish sovereignty was a myth.
That’s how you rewrite history and perpetuate lies which have dire consequences further down the line.
Of course, it is but certainly not surprising.
What is even more shameful however is the deafening silence from Jewish leaders and decent people everywhere.
Fear of upsetting the proliferators of lies is no longer a viable option as we should have learnt from past failures.