The aim was lofty, and like so many ideas that germinated after the end of the Cold War, it seemed attractive because it didn’t demand much effort or expense. (…)
Genocide Studies has become an academic specialty and a fundraising bonanza, with professional organizations and prizes. Great books have been written and beautiful museums have been built — all in the conviction that they will prevent the production of future mass murderers and their willing executioners. (…)
The theory of Holocaust education, I think all except Jennifer Peto will agree, has been one of the great failures of our time.
But it’s important to know how it has failed—and even more, to understand that our sentimental attachment to Holocaust memorialization can fail us with greater consequence in the future, as can our sentimental horror at those villains who deny the reality of the Holocaust.
What happened as we learned about the Holocaust? Generally, nothing at all. (…)
Holocaust education may have done more than fail. It might also have produced an unintended, but measurable effect that is even worse. (…) On campuses around the world, not just in Protestant Europe, it is fair to say that the more the current student generation have been taught about the evil of the Holocaust, the more Israel seems to them to resemble Nazi Germany rather than itself. Even if we resist the false suggestion that Israel is conducting a genocide of Palestinians, our Holocaust-instruction has left us all with an equally false notion: that Israel was created by Europeans in the Middle East in order to make amends to European Jews for a European Holocaust. (…)
Those who hold on to the uniqueness of the Holocaust and the Nazi “gold standard” of evil are unwittingly allying themselves with the hard-left activists who are leading the ideological war against Israel’s existence and against the ability of democratic states to maintain their identity and protect their citizens.
Nazis no longer threaten western democracy or Jewish existence — the danger lies elsewhere.