January 26, 2017
Dear Friend of Israel
Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was General of the U.S. Army during World War II, wrote of the first time he encountered a Nazi death camp:
“I have never felt able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality … I have never at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.” He added, ““Of all these DPs [Displaced Persons] the Jews were in the most deplorable condition. For years they had been beaten, starved, and tortured.”
Eisenhower documented Nazi atrocities so that the world would know the truth about what had happened. Since that time, Holocaust memorials and museums have sprung up across the world. Israel has its own Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) in the spring. And, in 2005, the United Nations designated January 27 – the date of the liberation of the notorious Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in 1945 – as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The U.N.’s effort to commemorate the Holocaust is admirable. But it is a sad irony that, throughout its existence, the U.N. has consistently shown a harsh bias against Israel, the state that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. One outrageous U.N. resolution, adopted in December, declares Israeli “settlements” – including communities in the West Bank (biblical Judea and Samaria) and East Jerusalem – to be illegal, and an obstacle to peace, while ignoring the threat posed to Israel and the entire free world by Islamist terrorism.
And yet, on January 27 I will choose to think not of the folly of the United Nations, but of the millions of innocents murdered by the Nazis. I will think of the many Christians who put their lives on the line so that Jewish people might live. And I will think of those who survived and are still struggling both with bitter memories and crippling poverty. The Fellowship is committed to helping these men and women not just to survive, but to thrive, in their final years.
No amount of the United Nations’ harsh judgements on Israel can denigrate the memory of those who died and those who resisted, and no resolution can take away the dignity of those who survived. Those memories, and those lives, stand as a harsh rebuke to a world governing body that consistently fails to support the lone democracy in the Middle East.
On January 27, let us all take a moment to remember those who died, those who fought evil against seemingly impossible odds, and those who miraculously survived. And let us pray for the day that God will bless us with His most precious gift of shalom, peace.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President