Before leaving Chicago last weekend, I had the chance to visit a large Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of town. My great-grandfather and great-grandmother are buried there, and I was grateful for the opportunity to look at the photographs on their footstones and connect, even for the short time allowed by a looming thunderstorm and need to get to O’Hare International for our flight out of town.
I don’t know enough of my family history to know if and how we were affected, firsthand, by the Holocaust. What I do know, however, is that in the rows and rows of headstones and footstones in that cemetery, thousands likely were. And while I’ve never had the chance to visit any of the concentration camps throughout Europe–though this summer, while in Poland, I’d like to–I’ve never shied away from reading anything and everything I can get my hands on. History has a way of repeating itself, and has a greater chance of doing so if its lessons are forgotten.
Today, President Barack Obama stood at the entrance of Buchenwald and vomited forth some empty rhetoric about recognizing evil and making sure the tragedies which took place on those grounds and places like it never happen again, all one day after he stood in Cairo and lauded Islam, all one day after he compared the horrors of the Holocaust with the sixty years the Palestinians have spent wandering the desert without a homeland. Hmm . . . six million Jews die at the hands of the Nazis, or 60 years of a nomadic-but-sedentary existence?
(NOTE: After being challenged in a comment, let me just be clear — Obama’s words at Buchenwald were very nice. They were well said, well written, and delivered in a heartfelt manner. The problem, for me, is that they were empty words, at least when contrasted with his speech yesterday.)
Afterward, NBC’s Tom Brokaw actually asked Obama–I kid you not–what the Jewish people could learn from the things he saw and said at Buchenwald . . . and how those lessons could contribute to their treatment of the Palestinian people.
When I saw that, later this evening, I just about fell out of my chair.
“There’s no equivalency there, Tom,” Obama said, about 24 hours after he applied a moral equivalency between six million Jewish lives snuffed out and a wandering people without a homeland. Then, Obama said that the the only way for a “lasting peace” is through a two-state solution. Essentially, that Israel must trade land for peace.
The Palestinian people are not interested in land. They proved that during the Clinton years. They proved that when the Israelis constantly conceded land–even land taken by force by Israel in retaliation for being attacked–but the Palestinians continued to harass and attack Israel. Palestinians will only be satisfied when there is no Israel left, and will continue to attack innocent people until they have their way.
You know, sixty five years ago right now, some of our bravest young Americans were eating a final meal, cleaning and lubricating their weapons, packing their parachutes and otherwise preparing for the D-Day invasion. They laid their lives on the line for freedom in Europe, they fought and died so that good could prevail over evil. Now, a president who pretends to honor their tradition and their sacrifice only sullies it by gallivanting across the landscape rich with their blood, deeming freedom an imposition and touting blissful ignorance to a history of evil just begging to repeat itself.
That’s it for me, in terms of the partisan, political aspects of this weekend’s anniversary. Tomorrow is about remembering the sacrifice made by those brave young men.