Truth is Never Relative


Truth is Never Relative

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Incidents of antisemitism are rising dramatically. There are myriad reasons why it’s rising. There are age-old reasons: old canards, ignorance, gross misrepresentations, and pure hate. But if we look closely, we’ll discover new reasons. Recently, in Carroll ISD, in north Texas, educators thought it was appropriate to interpret HB3979 to include “opposing views” about the Holocaust. Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) issued a statement on HB3979 and the Carroll ISD administrator’s gross misunderstanding:

HB3979 states that Texas educators should offer multiple perspectives on “widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy” – this requirement would not apply to the Holocaust which is historical fact. The gruesome atrocities of the Holocaust are the most documented in history and are based on undisputable evidence of every type.

Asking for “opposing views” to be taught alongside Holocaust history will open the door to Holocaust denial and distortion – which are both antisemitic.

Just when we thought that most classrooms and curricula on WWII and the Holocaust addressed the horrors honestly and still in an age-appropriate manner, the environment in which we find ourselves lends itself to conversations about moral equivalency where there is none. None! There are no “good people on both sides” of the atrocities of the Holocaust and those who agitate for more of it. Professor Deborah Lipstadt makes it patently clear in years dedicated to the subject, and in her historical court case in London, against a Holocaust denier. In her book, “History on Trial,” the Truth was the verdict and the only conclusion we should teach, preach, and champion, and not just for Jews, but for all humanity.

Dr. Lipstadt, in a TED talk, “Behind the Lies of Holocaust Denial” (2017), says, “Truth is not relative,” and that all of us must go on the offensive against those who assault the truth and facts. Take 15 minutes and watch her at HMH concluded its public statement with words from Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commanding General of the Allied Forces that defeated Nazi Germany:

“Get it all on record now – get the films – get the witnesses – because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.”

We must do more than “sit idly by.” It’s time to support HMH. It’s time to support Beth Israel’s education programs at MBJLC, and at Shlenker School. It’s time to insist that our children learn about their Judaism, its history, its values, and its hopes. If we don’t teach our children about their Judaism, someone else will. Don’t let it happen the wrong way in Texas, or anywhere they go to college and beyond. Our duty as Jews goes well beyond thoughts and prayers; ours is a religion of action. What are you prepared to do for your family and for others’ families? How can we secure our future with education, advocacy, and Truth?

This Shabbat, give thanks for our place in this great country and seek the courage to advocate for Truth among us.  

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