The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins is tired of our “obsession” with Nazism and the Holocaust

The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins is just bored to death with the continuing pedestrian “Nazification of evil”.

In “Britain’s Nazi obsession betrays our insecurity“, Jenkins complains that the topic of Nazi genocide, in one form or another, continues to pervade the British national curriculum, the arts, history, and our politics – what he refers to as a national “obsession”.

Jenkins writes:

“We might have hoped that the new century would see this phase of Germany’s past set in some historical context. It was not to be.

[Yet] The British book-writing, book-selling and book-buying public seems obsessed with recounting its forefathers’ triumphs over the Germans… In 2000 there were 380 English-language titles on the Third Reich, adding to some 30,000 with the word Hitler in the title. [emphasis mine]”

Jenkins adds, wearily:

“Nazis are still a favourite [representation of evil within] the cultural wild west, the video games industry, with little sign of their being replaced by Russians or mujahideen.”

Jenkins’ diagnosis of the UK’s Nazi obsession:

“Only insecure nations should rely on creating or memorialising “necessary enemies”, as Britain appears to do with Nazism. Only frightened people seek sustenance from ancient rivalries and past victories. [emphasis mine]

Evidently, for Jenkins, Nazism should not be seen as history’s most dangerous and murderous political movement, but, rather, just one political actor in a tired national rivalry which needs to be put to rest.

Of course, Jenkins’ waning patience for the West’s continuing historical reckoning with the moral lessons learned from a Europe which allowed a totalitarian movement to arise which attempted to enslave a continent, and annihilate every Jew on the face of the earth, is a broader commentary on the post-modern relativism which informs the political zeitgeist of our day.

History since the Holocaust has demonstrated that the antisemitic evil which was presumed to be buried in Auschwitz, Dachau and Treblinka may have changed form but is still, most certainly, alive and well.

But, those intent on denying this tragic fact are typically the ones who also arduously attempt to frame the West’s war with militant Islam as merely a political rivalry to be negotiated or appeased rather than an existential threat and a moral challenge to the values of tolerance, pluralism and liberalism to be ardently resisted.

The Guardian’s endemic hostility to Israel is partially informed by this moral failure – an incapacity to see the annihilationist antisemitism which informs the Jewish state’s Islamist enemies (as with evil more broadly) clearly and without illusions.

As Barry Rubin observed recently:

“Part of the problem here is that all too many Western intellectuals no longer believe in fighting—or even sacrificing–for your country; patriotic pride or nationalism or religion; or even the nation-state itself.”

Israel’s fierce willingness to use force in defense of its existence, and the Jewish state’s unique national purpose, may lie at the root of Europe’s hostility towards Zionism.

Again, Rubin:

“Yet all of this also shows why Israel is the key to understanding today’s world. Israel’s survival shows that democratic societies can fight and defeat dictators and totalitarian ideologies.” 

The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins isn’t merely tired of hearing about Hitler, Nazism, and the Holocaust. 

He’s tried of the moral burden of waking up each day with the sober realization that there are real threats to our existence, and that there are some things in life worth sacrificing,  fighting, and even dying for. 

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