Fighting Hate & Intolerance

by Arliene Botnick, January 31, 2019

Some interesting statistics…

  1. More than 54% of Canadians surveyed by the Schoen Consulting Group didn’t know that 6,000,000 Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
  2. More shocking – in the millennial age group, the percentage of those who didn’t know is 62%.
  3. 43% of Canadians did not identify Poland as a country in which the Holocaust took place, even though 90% (3,000,000) of the Polish Jews were murdered, and Birkenau, Chelmno, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor were in Poland.
  4. 4. Only 19% of Canadians knew Canada employed a, “None is too many” stance towards Jewish refugees fleeing from the Nazis.

All these statistics were in an article by Naomi Azrieli, in the Globe and Mail (January 24, 2019).

On January 27th, 2019, we marked the 74th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and history is being forgotten (or perhaps never learned). This is our story, our people!

But as it is being forgotten, a new set of “alternate facts” are being believed:

  1. That there was no Holocaust (the Holocaust deniers have a strong voice).
  2. That the Holocaust has really been exaggerated (the Holocaust Revisionists also have loud voices).

The less we know, the less we learn, the less we understand, the more hatred grows; prejudice and ignorance win.

This is not only dangerous for us as Jews, but as we can see from the global increase in prejudice, hatred and persecution, it is dangerous for so many. Anti-Semitic incidents ballooned in 2018, as did Islamophobia; the LGBTQ community is consistently under attack; equal rights are not given to indigenous people and people of colour; women are denied human rights and children are still used in slave labour.

The lessons that should have been learned from the Holocaust, and from so many other hateful, senseless acts of violence, have not been learned. As Jews, it is incumbent on us to make sure our painful story is not forgotten, to make sure that “Never Again” are our watchwords, and that those words should be the watchwords for all peoples.

The only way to stop the growing poison of hate and intolerance is to speak out against it, to teach our story and to listen to the narrative of others who have been or are being persecuted.

Quoting from Hillel, “That which is hateful to us, do not do to other human beings. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn”.

Filed under: Educator's Message

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