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Echoes of WWII in silence about atrocities and anti-Semitism

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5 December 2023, The Australian, Letters to the editor

As a proud Jew I have a question to pose to your Christian readers.

It is something that has disturbed me for a long time. It’s important to state upfront I am not religious, and both my wife and my lifelong best friend are Christians.

In the early 1930s Adolf Hitler began an intense campaign of vilification of Jews. This grew in intensity and ugliness and culminated in the Holocaust, the greatest genocide in history.

All in all, six million Jews, 40 per cent of the small Jewish worldwide population and twothirds of Europe’s Jews, were murdered, many of them after years of violation in concentration camps.

I was born in 1945 and many of my relatives, whom I had never met, were victims of this genocide.

While this stain on the human race was being committed, many Christians risked life and limb to protest and save Jews from the slaughter. We can never express our deep gratitude adequately.

However, most of them went about their daily lives for an entire decade without raising their voices against the savagery being perpetrated. This, tragically, includes the Christian churches and even the Vatican which, under the guise of neutrality, never even publicly admonished the perpetrators of these monstrous crimes.

Fast forward to 2023. History, as it usually does, is repeating itself.

Whatever one’s views on the war between Israel and Hamas, the rise of anti-Semitism across the globe is reminiscent of the terrible events that occurred nearly a century ago and, again, Christianity generally and the Catholic Church specifically are ominously silent. Any criticism of the savagery of October 7 is softened by a series of “buts” that follow.

Absolutely nothing justifies that type of barbarism, and every nation on earth would take up arms in response. Israel and the Jewish people are depicted as the aggressors, who must conduct a war with restraint never before asked of any nation in a wartime situation. Why only Israel? What have we Jews done to deserve the terrible growing hatred and, where hatred does not exist, the total disdain we see and feel daily around us? I would appreciate an honest response.

Wolpert, Randwick, NSW


Although a long since retired international law academic, I certainly would have endorsed, if asked, Mark Leibler and his cosignatories’ letter justifying Israel’s response to Hamas terrorism (“Lawyers tell Albanese Israel has ‘responsibility’ to defend itself”, 4/12). No lawyer with any understanding of international law could disagree with its cogent analysis. Israel’s military response to the October 7 illegal invasion of its territory and the brutal war crimes committed by the Hamas invaders was not only justified by customary and conventional law, it was also its duty to protect its citizens.

Such is particularly the case given Hamas boasting of yet more prospective brutalities, not to mention the persistent bombardment of Israel’s territory. As for Israel’s response, the IDF, even at risk of strengthening Hamas, has bent over backwards to protect as far as possible the lives of innocent Gazans. How can any nation, given continuous attacks on its existence, not be right, legally and otherwise, in defending itself? One prays that Israel has might as well as right on its side.

John Kidd, Surfers Paradise, Qld


Thank you for publishing Christina Lamb’s shocking account of Hamas’s unspeakable atrocities against women (“First Hamas fighters raped her. Then they shot her in the head”, 3/12). I fear, however, that the truth will do nothing to shake the bilious historicism of the terrorists’ useful idiots in Australia, whether they be camp followers in theatres and high schools or smug strategic analysts.

For them, the fallen angels of “liberation” are like Gilbert and Sullivan’s pirates, no more culpable than noblemen gone wrong. We should weep for Israel and more.

Alastair McKenzie, Kambah Village, ACT


I will have my 91st birthday on Saturday and I’m scared. Not of dying but for my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as Australia faces a future with a weak and ineffective government.

During World War II fear of invasion was palpable, but it was nothing to what my fear is today with pro-Nazi marches in Ballarat, “gas the Jews” in Sydney and the general anti-Semitism in the population. It was only after the war that we learnt of the gas chambers. Do we have to wait until our Kristallnacht to wake up and put a stop to all protest marches that emanate from religious and cultural differences?

Pat Cannard, Murrumba Downs, Qld

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Article source: The Australian | Letters | 5.12.23

2024-02-22 05:36:48.000000