On January 27, we marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a date set by the United Nations to honor the memory of Holocaust victims. This day also serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of unchecked hatred and intolerance. This year, our commemoration is shadowed by recent disturbing trends and events, including a rise in antisemitic rhetoric and attacks, both globally, within the United States, and here in Minnesota.
The recent attack by Hamas on October 7 is a harrowing example of the ongoing threats faced by Jewish people. This attack, among others, underscores the urgency of our work at the Institute for Holocaust Research and Education (IHRE). We are reminded daily that the lessons of the Holocaust are not just historical, but painfully relevant.
In the United States, we are witnessing a troubling increase in antisemitic incidents and rhetoric. Phrases like “from the river to the sea,” which have been adopted by some groups and individuals, including in academic and political circles, are deeply concerning. Such language, often used to deny the right of Israel to exist, echoes the dangerous rhetoric that has historically been used to incite violence against the Jewish people.
Here in Minnesota, we have just witnessed the shameful passing of a cease-fire resolution by the Minneapolis City Council. Cloaked in the theme of “justice,” the resolution is nothing more than a one-sided litany of antisemitic rhetoric that is so prevalent in the progressive left movement devoid and ignorant of history and context.
This resurgence of antisemitism is not just a threat to the Jewish community; it is a threat to our collective values of tolerance and diversity. As a society, we must be vigilant against all forms of hate and discrimination. We must recognize and challenge antisemitism wherever it appears, whether in public discourse, on university campuses, or in city councils.
The alarming data reveals gaps in understanding antisemitism and in Holocaust awareness among Millennials and Gen Z. This data highlights the crucial role of education in combating ignorance and hate. At IHRE, we are committed to bridging this gap through our outreach and educational programs. We believe that by empowering younger generations with knowledge about antisemitism and the Holocaust, we can inspire them to stand against antisemitism and all forms of hatred.
Remembering the Holocaust is not just about honoring the past; it is about shaping the future. We must all take responsibility to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are never repeated. This responsibility extends beyond remembering the victims; it involves active engagement in combating antisemitism and all forms of discrimination.
As we commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to these principles. Let us pledge to be vigilant in our fight against hate, to educate ourselves and others, and to stand in solidarity with those who face persecution. Only then can we truly honor the memory of those who suffered and perished in the Holocaust.
Mitchel Chargo is the founder and president of the Institute for Holocaust Research and Education. He is also a partner in a national law firm with an office in Minneapolis. The IHRE is dedicated to raising awareness about the Holocaust and combating antisemitism through education and outreach.