APL official Tamir Yizhaq Wertzberger claims in an interview with The Jerusalem Post that the solution to the modern-day politicization of the Holocaust is education.
Tamir Yizhaq Wertzberger, foreign affairs director at the Action and Protection League (APL) told The Jerusalem Post at the European Jewish Association’s annual conference in Budapest in June 2022 that the solution to the modern-day politicization of the Holocaust, which is seen when anti-government protesters make a connection between COVID-19 and Nazi regulations.
According to Wertzberger, the preposterous connection comes from the younger generations’ misunderstanding and ignorance about the Holocaust.
“Antisemitism is like a virus in that it keeps mutating and adopting different forms,” EJA director Alex Benjamin said at the opening of the panel on the topic. Wertzberger believes that the severe lack of education feeds this phenomenon.
The Action and Protection League (APL) is an organization originally founded in Hungary, which is now present in other European countries. It aims to track antisemitism and attempts to tackle it by a several methods.
Nine months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced in December 2020, that blaming Jews for the pandemic is the leading trend in antisemitism. According to Wertzberger’s explanation on the phenomenon, the pandemic was a very extreme situation that forced people out of their comfort zones.
Today, one in 20 Europeans has never heard of the Holocaust, which is a sign of severe lack of education on the matter. “If people are going to the streets and comparing government restrictions during a global pandemic with the greatest genocide in human history, that shows us that [the current education] is not enough,” argued Wertzberger. “If they are actually making these comparisons, they obviously don’t really know what the Holocaust was.” Holocaust education is part of the Hungarian core curriculum, noted Hungary’s Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén during the conference. “We have zero-tolerance towards antisemitism.”
In October 2021, the European Commission presented the EU’s first-ever Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, which sets out a series of measures articulated around three pillars, including education and Holocaust remembrance. In June 2022, Mr Ádam Karácsony, Vice-President of the Pest county and a Hungarian Member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the Committee of the Regions, saw his opinion on the European Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life adopted by the CoR plenary.