Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the European Commission, issued a statement on January 27 marking international Holocaust Remembrance Day.
It was commendable that the EU at all chose to note the day, but what Ashton said on its behalf was surreal. She managed to use 121 words without ever mentioning Jews. Her glaring omission in the context of the Holocaust is quite remarkable.
Ashton even lauded “all those who acted with courage and sacrifice to protect their fellow citizens against persecution.” But who were these nameless “fellow citizens?”
It’s highly doubtful that Ashton’s lapse is inadvertent.
Not everything can be plausibly ascribed to unintentional slip-ups. The bizarre homage Europe’s spokesperson paid to “every one of those brutally murdered in the darkest period of European history,” without even minimal reference to their identity, constitutes too great a strain on the commonsense.
Perhaps Europe in general and Ashton in particular find Holocaust Remembrance Day a troublesome, even a disagreeable onus. Hence Ashton obscured the Jewish context with a short collection of hackneyed platitudes on tolerance and human rights.
This is a cogent example of how Holocaust history is increasingly watered down, especially in Europe. Yesteryear’s physical destruction is followed up by today’s distortion of remembrance.
This serves two purposes.
It firstly seems to cleanse European nations – not just the chief genocide perpetrators, but all those who collaborated and/or profited from the industrial extermination of the Jews. By dwarfing the Holocaust, robbing it of its uniqueness and likening it to any subsequent, yet essentially very different inter-ethnic massacre – it becomes less of a moral stain. Any corollary obligation to the Jewish people is also thereby expunged.
Secondly, the disingenuous pretense that the Holocaust’s victims were anonymous and faceless reduces friction with the Arab/Muslim world, which chafes against Holocaust commemoration lest it even theoretically imply sympathy for Jews.
Not mentioning who the six million were and why they were systematically put to death by Europe’s resplendent cultures appeases elements in the Islamic world – Iran foremost – which don’t conceal their sympathy for the Nazi genocide. It’s often overlooked that Hitler’s toxic Mein Kampf is still a best-seller in most Arab lands.
The Holocaust was specifically blueprinted against Jews. Not every last victim was Jewish but every last Jew was earmarked for annihilation.
This was plotted against no other group – not even gypsies, some of whom were persecuted but others left alone. It was haphazard. Much depended on way of life, even on place of residence. Ancestry, however, wasn’t an instant irreversible death sentence. Only with Jews it was.
Only Jews were singled out for eradication because of “tainted” lineage. For Jews their life’s choices were irrelevant. Even social climbers who betrayed the Jewish collective, who turned their backs on Jewish heritage and haughtily despised fellow Jews, weren’t spared thereby. Nothing could save anyone deemed too Jewish to live.
Ashton’s mind-boggling omission is all too reminiscent of her 2012 remarks on the deliberate assassination of innocent Jewish children in Toulouse, where she both appeared blatantly biased and incredibly insensitive.
She managed then to lump together the casualties of a bus crash in Switzerland (where 20 Belgian children died), youngsters caught up in assorted armed conflicts and, without specificity, “what happened in Toulouse.”
In effect, she equated the point-blank shootings in France of three small Jewish children and the father of two of them with an assortment of other misfortunes which are unrelated. She thus plainly diminished from the barbarity of the Toulouse crime.
The Toulouse victims weren’t felled by a chance stroke of bad luck. They were marked for execution with malice aforethought in the utmost extreme. The victims’ sole crime was that they were born to Jewish parents – just like the million-and-a-half Jewish children slaughtered d in the Holocaust.
In both instances Ashton astoundingly feigned ignorance. This moral obtuseness evidences anything but upright impartiality. The same can be said about the EU since Ashton speaks for it. Such recurring predispositions cannot be ignored when assessing EU attitudes toward the Jewish state.