On Sunday, Yom HaShoah, America took responsibility for the killing of bin Laden. It is nearly 10 years past the time that he committed his greatest crime in the name of terror against the world. I do not understand the revelry and shouting, nor the huge face of this person on the covers of newspapers and magazines. This murder should have been committed sooner, and no one should revel in murder. It is horrible. Yes, he deserved to die, and should have died after the attacks on our nation. But it is not a time for jubilation. Terror is still alive and well in this world.
We think now of our people, annihilated in the Holocaust. Many of us have few people in our lives because of their deaths. Hitler wanted to rid the world of Jews. He came so very close to doing so. Six million men, women, and children were brutally slaughtered, tortured, or starved to death. The 9/11 attack killed somewhere around 3,000 individuals, each someone’s family member or friend, but not an entire race and their descendants.
One is nothing like the other, yet now we must connect them, at least on the day that we mourn our history and our ancestors who had no chance to see their progeny or their own futures.
Bin Laden did not care whom he killed in the attack on the World Trade Center. It was an attack against all Americans. Hitler cared very much about killing Jews, each and every last one, if he could have. And it’s true that he didn’t much like misfits, the mentally defective, homosexuals, or political persons who despised him. But it was the Jews most of all, as it always has been in history.
The next bin Laden will of course attempt to attack Israel. Israel is always the scapegoat for murderers. But what happened in the past on Yom HaShoah and the life of bin Laden are two different kinds of hate and evil. I do not care enough about a man like bin Laden to cheer his death, but I care very deeply that not one Nazi should live who damaged one Jewish soul. Hate is always directed at the Jew, and always will be. The Holocaust was an evil without cease. It was not simply a murder – it was a genocide.
There is a difference.