Written by Joanne Hill
Tuesday, 06 December 2011
TORONTO – Western society is complicit in a resurgence of antisemitism that may lead to a second Holocaust, for which humankind will have no excuses, warned Mark Steyn.
“There is something profoundly wicked in the contortions that Europeans are willing to make with respect to their own complicated history with the Jewish people,” said Steyn. “We are on the verge of the biggest, most disgusting and evil event of all, in part because of the complicity of the West.”
About 1,000 people filled the sanctuary at Holy Blossom Temple last week to hear the best-selling author and political commentator in conversation with Dr. Elliott Malamet, founder of Torah in Motion and associate professor of Jewish Education at York University.
Steyn decried the “nimbleness of the Western mind in regarding a relatively small and peripheral group of people as the source of the problem” in the Middle East. “The Western intellectual says the state of Israel was the imposition of an alien, Western European culture on the Middle East…. It’s easy then to see the next step. You wake up in the morning, there’s a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv, and you see the European foreign minister saying, ‘Obviously we regret the loss of life but it brings to a close this tragic chapter in Middle East affairs.’”
He elaborated in an interview with the Jewish Tribune: “The Holocaust happened because people said Jews are sinister, rootless, cosmopolitan people, who are not citizens [with] allegiance to a conventional nation state. So the ones who were left got themselves a conventional nation state and now they’re hated for that, too. That tells you something about Jew-hatred’s ability to adapt. But the fact that the intellectual class in Europe is able to swivel so swiftly, from hating them for one reason in the 1930s to hating them for this reason now, says far more about Europeans than it does about Jews.”
Some Europeans can sidestep blame for the Holocaust because it truly was unprecedented and inconceivable, he continued. However, “when you go in the space of two generations to the fact that, not only is antisemitism rampant and resurgent, but that we are actually contemplating with equanimity” the genocide of millions of Jews in Israel, “history will be far less forgiving. It’s one thing if it happens the first time and you go, ‘oh, never again…’ If, two generations down the road, so-called civilization permits a crime of that magnitude to occur a second time, it’s far harder to take refuge in the defence that these crimes were literally unimaginable. Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax and the rest of them have that excuse; our generation does not.” Allowing a second Holocaust to occur “would illustrate an almost industrial-scale corrosion of basic humanity.”
When asked by Malamet about Canada’s human rights tribunals, Steyn said members of the Jewish community who support them are making a big mistake. He cited the failure of the Weimar Republic’s speech laws to stop Hitler and the Nazi party.
“The idea that that is the way to go is profoundly destructive and…a lot of …prominent Canadian Jews, are on the wrong side of this…. One of the most fascinating things about the new antisemitism in Europe is the number of people who blame the Jews for the Islamization of Europe, the number of people who say, ‘We wouldn’t have all these mosques in Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Malmo if we hadn’t been so riddled with post-war Holocaust guilt. Those Jews did it to us!’
“And that is why, for that particular reason, Jews – of all people – should know that empowering the state to police what you read, what you think, and what you say, is unlikely to turn out well.”
After Steyn’s talk, many people purchased his new book, After America: Can the West be Saved? and some waited in line for more than an hour to have it autographed. The event was presented by Torah in Motion, and the Gerald Schwartz/Heather Reisman Centre for Jewish Learning at Holy Blossom Temple, and dedicated in memory of Colin Malamet by the Hart and Malamet families.