More Than Six Million Reasons To Remember - The Jewish Voice
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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

More Than Six Million Reasons To Remember

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“The Book of Esther … it speaks to our time, for our Sages saw in it the kind of lessons from which everyone should learn – or which we may be doomed to repeat…. How naïve it now seems that people seriously believed that mass extermination of human beings could never be contemplated by civilized people. Now we know that Haman was the first, but, lamentably, surely not the last. Nor have we recovered from the Holocaust perpetrated by the modern Haman, who came six million souls closer to achieving his goal than his ancient model…” (The Book of Megillos, The Artscroll Mesorah Series) Who would have guessed that almost seventy years later another Haman, Ahmadinejad, (sometimes referred to as Hamandinejad) would rear his ugly head again.

This year, as they had last year and the year before that, New Yorkers and others from the tri-state area will turn out for a Yom Hashoah Memorial at the Iranian UN Mission, on Sunday, April 7, to bring attention to Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its sponsorship of global terror. Last year three members of the U.S. House of Representatives, three members of the New York State Assembly and local community leaders attended as well.

The event is sponsored by the Yom Hashoah Mobilization Committee, an umbrella organization, led by Lynne Tammam and assisted by Jeff Wiesenfeld. Some of the organizations supporting this event include the Orthodox Union, the New York Region of NCSY, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), New York Association of Holocaust Survivors, AMCHA-Coalition for Jewish Concerns, Friends of Ateret Cohanim/Jerusalem Chai, and Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI).

At last year’s memorial, members of the New York Association Holocaust Survivors members wore yellow stars of David to remind us of the stars they were forced to wear under Nazi occupation. Association leader Fira Stuckelman recalled the horrors that occurred during the Nazi Holocaust. She stated that she is one of the few survivors from a large family and declared that “we must not remain silent, never again.”

During the past few years, we have witnessed a growing chorus of dehumanizing rhetoric against Israel voiced loudly and unabashedly by the political left, spurred on by Islamists, and spread throughout American college campuses. Hatred of Jews is being promulgated under the guise of anti-Zionism. Let us not fool ourselves into believing that it will go away; it may get worse as long as apathy prevails.

According to Pastor James David Manning of the ATLAH World Ministries in Harlem, there is a growing anti-Semitism not just from Iran, but among peoples of all colors and races and that must be met with a response. Manning warned that, “Nations and peoples are turning their backs on you.” He then pledged, “I will lift up my voice.”

“Seventy years ago, when Hitler said he would wipe the Jews off the face of the earth, the threat was tragically dismissed as empty rhetoric,” Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) said. “Today, when we hear Ahmedinejad echoing Hitler’s call for the destruction of Jews, we know that the threat is real, and we must be prepared to use our military power to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capability and fulfilling their malicious and malevolent dream of a world that is Judenfrei.”

While some differ on the position of the Obama administration regarding the best approach to preventing a nuclear Iran, all of the speakers agreed that Iran must not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons and that the threats leveled by the Iranian regime must be taken seriously.

Congressman Bob Turner, (R-NY) described what is currently a “difficult timeline” regarding the Iranian nuclear program, criticizing the administration’s decision to allow Iran continue to develop its nuclear arsenal during the latest round of negotiations as an “awful mistake that hopefully we can recover from.”

Regarding Iranian threats against Israel, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) stated, “If we have learned anything from the history of the last century, when someone says ‘I intend to kill,’ he must be taken seriously.” Nadler added, “War must be a last resort.” He called for continuing sanctions to “squeeze” Iran economically, but warned of the possibility of military action.

According to U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, (D-NY) a nuclear Iran “could blackmail the world….It could have the ability to do in minutes what took the Nazis six years to do.” Maloney stated emphatically, “We must make sure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons–period,” and emphasized that “Israel has the right and sole discretion to take whatever steps necessary to defend its own people.” She added that a “nuclear Iran is a threat not only to Israel, but to the entire world.”

Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens) expressed regret at the audience Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmedinejad had received at the United Nations over the past few years and made reference to Ahmedinejad’s denials of the Holocaust and warned that “the more someone speaks the language of Holocaust denial, the more credibility it will have.” Weprin exhorted the audience to continue to speak out. He ended with the words, “Am Yisrael Chai” (The Nation of Israel Lives).

This year, additional communities are making an effort to organize buses to transport participants to the U.N. Iranian Mission on Yom Hashoah. In addition to commemorating the millions of innocents who perished in the Holocaust, the event, according to the press release issued by the Committee, “will remind the public and our elected representatives of the imminent danger posed by Iran’s nuclear program and anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

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