International Holocaust Remembrance Day: ‘Never Again’ must include everyone

January 24, 2024
Jews Against the Occupation '48 at a Gadi/Sydney rally. Photo: Supplied

Jews against the Occupation ’48 released the following statement for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. Below that Jepke Goudsmit and Haskell Musry share their thoughts on its significance today. 

• • •

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we mourn the victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

Millions of lives were extinguished, the trauma of their unspeakable suffering echoing through the generations. We reflect on the motivations driving its perpetrators, and on the incubation of ignorance and hatred that made such a heinous crime possible.

As Jewish Australians, we insist that the Holocaust not be diminished, nor its memory debased.

We therefore condemn the audacity and hypocrisy of Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in wearing a yellow star with the words “Never Again” to exploit The Holocaust as a pretext for perpetrating genocide in Gaza.

We reject Israel’s weaponisation of Jewish suffering to justify its oppression of the Palestinian people and silence all who resist its egregious brutality. The message of the Holocaust must be that “Never Again” means anyone. 

In remembering The Holocaust, we reflect on the genocide inherent in Australia as a colonial project.

As Jewish Australians, we confront the reality that, while many of us are descendants of refugees from Europe, here we are also colonial settlers.

On Invasion Day, we acknowledge the never-ceded sovereignty of First Peoples and demand an end to policies and practices that continue to exact a devastating toll, not only on individuals and communities, but on the fragile natural ecosystems that their careful stewardship kept flourishing and bountiful.

As people of principle and empathy, we stand in solidarity with all peoples resisting genocide.

• • •


Jepke Goudsmit second from right. Photo: Supplied

The Holocaust is a psychological trap

Jepke Goudsmit

I, like many people of Jewish descent, grew up with the false notion that the unimaginable suffering and trauma inflicted on Europe’s Jews in WWII entitled us to exclusivity.

This was reinforced by the guilt felt by the people of countries who had failed to protect their Jewish citizens against the Nazis.

The establishment of Israel in 1948 as a homeland for the Jews gave a sense of safety, a recompense, a “top prize” for the “top victims”.

It obscured the underlying mechanism, namely that the war(s) and the carving up of the Middle East were acts of imperialism and colonialism, to the detriment of the indigenous populations, particularly the Palestinian people who were left without sovereign statehood.

Obfuscation is a well known power tool of the mighty.

The Zionist colonial project has applied this tool with great effect to this day.

Unravelling myths and lies is one way to free yourself from propaganda, including The Holocaust trap.

To understand how the victim can become the oppressor if the victim does not overcome their trauma is a crucial step.

To understand that if the trauma is wilfully kept alive, it becomes a weapon in the hands of those who set the rules, is a logical next revelation.

Making Israel a Jewish state, not a secular democracy with equal rights for all, is a betrayal of Judaism, freedom and humanity.

By using The Holocaust, and the threat of another possible holocaust, as a psychological weapon, Zionism continues to manipulate Israel’s Jewish population and also Jewish people and their sympathisers around the world.

It fuels fear and hatred for an eternal enemy, and demonises the Palestinian, Arab or anyone who questions, or criticizes, the state of Israel. It calls them antisemites and compares them to Nazis.

How easy is it to press the fight-or-flight button, to trigger psychological patterns that draw down the blinds that shutter out the truth.

Israel claims perpetual innocence for its Jewish population and perpetual victimhood, giving itself a perpetual right to defend itself, even as the occupier of other people and justifying every kind of cruelty, including apartheid and genocide.

Some war veterans will tell you on ANZAC Day that “War is the ultimate obscenity” and they say “Never again”.

On Holocaust Memorial Day, there are some Jewish people who will say that Israel’s genocidal war on the Palestinians is an ultimate obscenity. I am one of them: may this hell stop right now.

May those shutters to the truth be opened. May “Never again” mean “Never again” for all.

May the traumas of The Holocaust heal and become a source of insight and a force for good.

Free Palestine! 

• • •


Haskell Musry speaks at a Palestine protest in Darwin. Photo: Stephen Enciso

South Africa’s genocide case is a watershed “emperor has no clothes” moment.

Haskell Musry

South Africa’s genocide case with the International Court of Justice in The Hague is a watershed “emperor has no clothes” moment.

The United States was unable to prevent this from happening.

The old European colonial and imperialist powers could not prevent this from happening.

This is not just a legal process: this is a powerful political statement of the world’s opposition to Israel’s murderous regime.

The implications are enormous, even if the trial may take years to conclude.

Comparisons between Zionism and Nazism are now inescapable.

This trial of the now pariah apartheid state of Israel will simultaneously be a trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that will invite parallels with the trial of Adolf Eichman.

Africa, Asia and South America, with clear memories of historical colonial and imperialist cruelty, will see the US’s hand behind Israel’s criminal savagery — the completely unnecessary genocidal slaughter of more than 20,000 innocent Palestinians.

Australia, Britain, Germany and France, all staunch defenders of Israel, will also be seen as complicit.

South Africa has unmasked the moral bankruptcy of the so-called “free”, “democratic” and “developed” West.

We will see supporters desert the Zionist ship with increasing momentum over coming years.

We should have no doubt that our Free Palestine protests across Australia and around the world have had an effect: The South African ICJ action has also been undertaken on behalf of supporters of justice for Palestine.

Our protests can save Palestinian lives in a situation where Israel is now on the back foot. They remain vital.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.