The Holocaust was not a childhood disease. Having experienced it gives the Jewish people no immunity. And it requires extraordinary optimism to believe that the worst crimes against humanity are behind us, rather than still to come.
Many people dismiss comparisons between Nazis and militant Islamists. The Nazi goal was a Europe without Jews. The militant Islamist goal is a Middle East without Jews. Is it really so far-fetched to perceive similarities? True, the Nazi project largely achieved its goals whereas the Islamist project looks forward to accomplishing its mission over the decades ahead. But does that justify complacency?
I made this point recently to the commentator Pat Buchanan, generally viewed as no friend to Israel. I cited the Hamas charter that calls for Israel to be "obliterated." Hamas, I pointed out, receives funding and instruction from Iran's Islamist rulers, who have called Israel "a black and dirty microbe," a "stinking corpse," a "dead rat" that must be "destroyed," "wiped out," "eliminated." Despite this, Buchanan replied that Hamas probably would be satisfied if the "Jewish state" were replaced by a state with an alternative concept of national identity.
Even if you buy that--I do not--it is absurd to suppose that Jews would be able to remain in such a re-conceptualized country. A largely ignored fact of recent history is that about a million Jews have been driven out of almost all Arab and Muslim majority lands (e.g., Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen; an oppressed and shrinking remnant remains in Iran) where they had made their homes for centuries, in many cases since before the advent of Islam. It has not mattered whether these Jews were Zionists, anti-Zionists or ambivalent about Israel. They were Jews. That was enough.
It also seems unlikely that Israelis would be able to pack their bags and board planes bound for other places where they'd be welcomed. An orderly exodus is not what groups such as Hamas have in mind. Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV has promised: "We will wipe out the people of Zion and will not leave a single one of them." Hamas spokesmen Sheikh Ahmad Bahr has pledged that not just Israel, but also America "will be annihilated" and urged, "Kill them all, down to the very last one." Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has said because so many Jews have gathered in Israel, "It will save us the trouble of going after them world-wide."
In global capitals, such genocidal threats stir little concern. "It is a mark of disgrace for humanity," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently told the Knesset, "that several decades after the Holocaust the world's response to the calls by Iran's leader to destroy the State of Israel is weak, there is no firm condemnation and decisive measures."
To the contrary, anti-Semitism is resurgent. In Europe, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the first three months of this year exceeded the total number for all of 2008, according to the European Jewish Congress. …