There is a reason that many Jews have never been comfortable with direct comparisons with the Holocaust. Historically, the Nazis managed to conduct the systematic trivialization and destruction of Jews, the disabled, and others on such a massive scale under the guise of a governmental norm that they threatened Jewish existence.
The atrocities committed as a matter of course during the twin experiments by Joseph Mengele in Auschwitz, for example, a highly trained physician with a Ph.D. in anthropology, revealed that depravity can exist simultaneously with an advanced civilization.
In fact, as Gerald Posner has detailed, Mengele managed to return to normal life in South America after the war with a seemingly clear conscience.
Before Oct. 7, 2023, when systematic rape and torture and dismemberment and burning people alive were conducted by Hamas in Israel, it was too easy to forget that systematic depravity and animal cruelty could still occur randomly, but Hamas reminded us.
Also disturbing in the wake of these horrific crimes is the state of moral equivalency that much of the world has found itself caught up in. It isn’t that protest isn’t valuable, but only that it can be so ill-informed.
It is one thing to justifiably cry out on behalf of suffering Palestinians without power or food or clean water in Gaza, it is another to ignore that Hamas is intertwined and difficult to separate out.
Anti-Israel protests on college campuses that don’t take into account the actions of Hamas undermine the very philosophy these protests are built on and too often are based on antisemitism. Let's treat Jews with the same respect that college leaders ask for when it comes to treating all minorities.
Academic freedom should not include open mockery or cheering on the systematic violence that deprives people of dignity and humanity. For that matter, freedom of speech or academic freedom shouldn’t extol or support mass execution or inhumanity of any kind.
This is not unique to the Jews, but includes the Armenians who were massacred or died of starvation or disease during WWI, the Hamidian massacres of 1895, and the Simele massacre of 1933, where Assyrian Christians were killed.
As a physician, I am as much affected by the finality of death and the contagiousness of psycho-terror employed by Hamas and others as a deliberate technique as I am by the nature of the killing and the condition of the bodies. I rail against dehumanization and fight for dignity of all kinds. We must not normalize or rationalize depravity in any way.