Yom HaShoah

We are here

It would seem that political analysis, like compassion, is selective and that hearts bleed only for some people.

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

On the eve of Yom HaShoah I could not sleep, because after coming home from a moving, powerful and uplifting commemoration, attended by over 1000 people, I watched the ABC program Compass.

I could not sleep, because like all of us, I felt a deep sadness for all the lives lost. And then I could not sleep, because I felt a deep anger at the selective compassion displayed on the program.

I could not sleep, because there was just a bare reference to 7 October. No expression of compassion for the victims at the Nova festival, no sadness for the loss of Israeli lives, no display of outrage at the rapes, the murders, the violations and the cremations, and not one single mention of the hostages. It was as if they did not exist. The program ignored the reality of 7 October. Not even a passing allusion that this was the catalyst, the incitement to the war. Acts have consequences. If you fire thousands of rockets into Sderot, if you attack your neighbour and wreak destruction and violence, your neighbour will respond.

The program had no context, no framework. The tragedy that is Gaza was depicted as happening in a vacuum.

There was no recognition that Israel is the ancestral homeland of the Jews, an integral part of our liturgy and for most of us, part of our soul. There was no acknowledgment that this tiny country is the only Jewish state in the world, the only bastion of security and nationhood for World Jewry.

And most hauntingly of all, there was no mention or understanding that Israel is facing an existential threat. As I write, news has just come that three Israeli soldiers have died and eleven were wounded, from a Hamas-claimed rocket attack from the Rafah area, the very area that the world is urging Israel to not attack.

What country in the world would not seek to defend itself, to reclaim its hostages whether dead or alive, to protect itself from the ongoing and loudly proclaimed threats of destruction. None of this context was even alluded to let alone discussed.

It would seem that political analysis, like compassion, is selective and that hearts bleed only for some people.

Last night’s Yom HaShoah commemoration had the theme of “We are here” and that is the thought that finally lulled me to sleep in the early hours of Yom HaShoah.

We are here, and we are here to stay.

Nina Bassat is a Holocaust survivor and a former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

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