Reader Post: Hitler as a Generic – Have We Lost Our Minds?
In America, we have seen a very disturbing trend as of late. Hitler has become a “generic”. He is being used in memes to point out a commonality in personality traits to a US political candidate. One common meme includes bullets of his leadership capabilities. One of the most obscene memes that I have seen is where “Hitler exterminated 6 million Jews” is missing as a data point. Hitler exterminated 6 million Jews – end of story. It is offensive to me and to anyone else who understands Hitler the brand and all the evil that it entails. I laughed along with all of you in the 90’s when we saw the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. I don’t laugh anymore. I can’t laugh anymore when I see a generic comparison; I can only cry when I see Hitler’s actual playbook being followed, almost to the letter, while the world says nothing.
When I was a child in Hebrew school in NYC, I learned about the Holocaust. I had nightmares for quite a while. Visions of bodies being piled into box cars, suffocating. Concentration camps with emaciated Jews barely hanging on to life. Stories of families being torn apart, based on their ability to do slave labor. The Jews that didn’t survive, being gassed in crematoriums and shot in mass graves. Some knowing where they were going and others who thought they were being showered before being reunited with their loved ones. The nightmares were so horrific that for many years following Hebrew school, I didn’t want to be Jewish. My Hebrew school’s takeaway for me was simple: Hitler exterminated 6 million Jews. That was what they wanted me to learn. I didn’t understand this lesson until much later in life.
So, my not wanting to be Jewish? Well that all changed for me, and my “wanting” to be Jewish only grew in the last several years. So that is who I am writing this for. People just like me. People who have relegated Hitler to a generic. The PM of Canada did this in January. PM Trudeau spoke of the Holocaust ON Holocaust Remembrance Day without using the word Jew or Jewish, once. Play around with that for a moment in your head. Take your pick of any genocide or any human atrocity in the last 200 years and remove all context. Does that ring differently to you now?
So, when I see Hitler being used as a generic to make a comparison, I kinda go berserk, to quote Billy Jack an American film idol of mine.. Yes, let’s bring the Jews in to the conversation via Hitler. Jews love being brought into conversations while the same people say nothing about universities, people and countries boycotting Jewish products – today. Antisemitic crimes in the US are recorded at 60% of all religious hate crimes – today. A study has just come out, just this week, labeling the worse, antisemitic US universities – today. This is happening. Today. In 2016. And the world is silent and says nothing while Jews are being stabbed, virtually on a daily basis. Add to this, the lies that the Arab world, specifically the Palestinians, tell and re-tell. Jews and Jewish history are literally being rewritten. Some of the most obscene lies are being told and re-told. It would make Goebbels deliriously giddy. He saw the playbook. All of this while the world says NOTHING. Not to mention that Iran states constantly about wanting to destroy Jews, constantly. Iran tested ballistic missiles just this week that had “Death to Israel” scrawled on it. It would be helpful for those of you who don’t know, to Google A) What a ballistic missile is used for? and B) How Iran doesn’t have the normal fear associated with what most sane countries would carefully weigh prior to launching a nuclear attack. And Hamas even took the time to write it in their charter – death to Jews, all Jews. And the world watches and says, nothing. The generic then becomes a discussion for those people who carelessly make Hitler comparisons as an exercise in the “hypothetical, what-if” business models. It appears intellectual, even. The totally, disengaged discussion of political attributes and suppositions of all iterations of what could become. Guys, it’s happening today, right before your eyes as you are sipping your Chardonnays. No concentration camps, you say, emphatically! Is that our new bar? Is that what compels us to care? Is that what compels us to speak up? Is that what compels us to act?
Or can someone like me make a case that the playbook has improved in the last 70 years. What if I am right? What if the playbook is tested on a daily basis, just to test the level of the world’s interest. What if no one cares? Then what?
A whole new generation is being groomed, precisely according to the playbook. So here is what I need. I need Jews to get loud. I need you to get proud. And here is what I need from my non-Jewish friends. I need you to get loud and I need you to look at all of your friends. I need you to look at your children’s teacher. I need you to look at every Jew that you know and ask yourself: Will you be silent while Jews in 2016 can be killed for being Jews, in a slow roll with your silence?
Can you do that for me? Will you get loud and not be silent?