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The Holocaust Museum Shooting Considered

June 12, 2009

Michael Gerson at the Washington Post has a sobering reflection on the history of anti-semitism and its role in the recent shooting at the United States Holocaust Museum by a far right wing Holocaust denier.

…we do know that anti-Semitism has always been a kind of test — a reliable measure of a nation’s moral and social health. When the rights of Jews are violated, all human rights are insecure. When Jews and Jewish institutions are targeted, all minorities have reason for fear. And by this standard, America has cause for introspection.
The museum that von Brunn assaulted is the best answer to his hatred — the aging survivors who still volunteer, photographs revealing the vanished lives of the dead, the happy pictures drawn by murdered children. Not far from where von Brunn entered the museum, there is a black wall inscribed with a quotation: “All men are created equal . . . they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights . . . among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
This is what anti-Semitism ultimately must deny, and this is the reason anti-Semitism must always and everywhere be confronted.

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