‘Never again’ could be happening again

IN THE NEWS

Mark Rosman

Every day, Americans watch TV news shows and read newspaper accounts about the terrorist army known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as its soldiers behead hostages and, in a demonic new twist, burn them alive.

I see this inhumanity continuing with no end in sight and no commitment from our nation’s leaders to take decisive action against a clearly identified enemy of mankind.

And I ask myself, whatever happened to “never again”? That is a phrase I have heard all my life, through years spent in Hebrew school, during religious services and on days of reflection.

“Never again.”

It is the Jewish people’s sworn promise, if not the world’s oath, to never let what occurred in Europe during World War II — when the Nazis exterminated six million Jews and millions of other innocent human beings in the name of a nationalist government movement — happen again.

So here is the question I have today: Does “never again” mean what we have been taught or is it just a phrase that can be tossed off as easily as one might say “have a nice day”?

The World War II-era Holocaust is not only a Jewish issue. The impact of what occurred during the 1930s and 1940s permeates our society.

For example, the Center for Holocaust Studies was founded in 1979 at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, as a repository for artifacts from and stories of Holocaust victims and survivors. Today, that facility is known as the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education. On its website, the center says it addresses human rights and civil rights issues worldwide.

In 1991, New Jersey legislators passed a law that requires every Board of Education to include instruction about the Holocaust and genocides in the curriculum of all elementaryand secondary-school pupils.

Students are expected to know that genocide is a consequence of prejudice and discrimination, and the instruction is required to emphasize the personal responsibility each citizen bears to fight racism and hatred at any time and place.

In terms of the number of people it has killed so far, what ISIS is doing to human beings is not a holocaust — yet. But I sit and I watch and I wonder, who will stand up to the modern barbarians?

Will “never again” translate into action or does it just make us feel good to let those who suffer at the hands of killers believe we are thinking about their dire situation while we take comfort in the fact the terror is not yet at our doorstep?

Mark Rosman is a managing editor with Greater Media Newspapers. He may be reached at gmntnews@gmnews.com.