Modern Jewish Voice is posting this article with the permission of Abbi Schorr. Please feel free to explore more of her articles at http://www.floridajewishjournal.com/ and http://www.floridajewishjournal.com/.
Abbi Schorr South Florida Sun-Sentinel
It’s been more than 65 years since the end of the Holocaust yet people are still making anti-Semitic and Holocaust-related comments.
And what’s worse, those who are making these comments think it’s acceptable. Earlier this month, designer John Galliano, who led the fashion house of Christian Dior, is finding out how his cruel words have come back to haunt him.
An online video (visit http://www.youtube.com and search “John Galliano”) shows an allegedly drunk Galliano sitting in a Paris café professing his love for Adolf Hitler to some patrons at a nearby table. He said, “I love Hitler” and “your mother, your forefathers would be [expletive] gassed and [expletive] dead.” Drunk or not, these kinds of comments are unacceptable. This type of thinking is what sets society back when we have come so far.
Thankfully, the powers at Dior realized that even though Galliano is enormously talented, his comments would not be tolerated. The fashion house fired Galliano and released a statement saying that it has “zero-tolerance regarding any anti-Semitic or racist statement or attitude.” Also taking a stand was actress Natalie Portman who has appeared in ads for Miss Dior Cherie perfume. Portman, who is Jewish said, “as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in anyway.” It’s not looking good to be Galliano right now.
Galliano isn’t the first person to be accused of being anti-Semitic. Actor Mel Gibson has been famously accused multiple times of anti-Semitic rants and I’m sure you know of or have heard about someone saying something cruel, inappropriate or hurtful.
This isn’t about “freedom of speech” or how “everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” This is about respect. Having respect for other people’s feelings and beliefs goes a long way. Be observant of where you are and who you are surrounded by. You are entitled to your own opinion but there needs to be boundaries set before you share it. You also need to keep in mind that in today’s age of new media, anyone’s comments could go viral and the very next minute everyone knows what you said.
But why are people still holding on to anti-Semitic beliefs? Don’t they know that the Holocaust was a horrendous event? What we need to do is educate future generations from every background on this dark period of history. It is so important to not only preserve the memories of those lost, but also in making sure the lessons learned from the Holocaust are treated with respect and understanding. This shouldn’t just be a chapter in our history books; tolerance and appreciation should be a lifelong lesson. If we let intolerance get the best of us, then a another Holocaust could happen. So, kudos to Dior and Portman for taking a stand and not letting intolerance win.
I have a few choice words for Mr. Galliano, since he had no problem sharing his unsolicited thoughts. But I choose to follow this golden rule: If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.
Abbi Schorr, a resident of Coral Springs, represents the future generation of Judaism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.