The office of the Canadian prime minister claims that his neglect to mention six million Jews in his Holocaust Remembrance statement was an error, but it seems that not everyone is convinced.
Following a social media storm over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s omission of the word Jew in his International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement last week, his office told the Toronto Sun that it was an incorrect draft issued in error. The PMO also linked the statement to a new tweet, saying, “On this Holocaust Memorial Day, we honor its victims & vow to fight intolerance and anti-Semitism.”
The statement remained the same on the PMO website.
Canada’s Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) seemed satisfied with the claim that the omission was merely an error.
“Prime Minister Trudeau corrected any unintended impressions left by the initial statement on Holocaust Remembrance by issuing a further comment that addressed the issue of anti-Semitism in a direct and explicit way,” Shimon Fogler, CEO, wrote on the CIJA website.
The Sun’s Lorrie Goldstein, for example, in a follow-up editorial, wrote, “I find it difficult to understand how anyone in the PMO with even a rudimentary grasp of history could issue a statement marking the Holocaust without mentioning the six million Jews who died in it.”
Trudeau, however, was certainly aware of the Holocaust. In fact, in a statement issued on Yom Hashoah in April as Leader of the Opposition, he said:
“On Yom HaShoah, Jewish communities in Canada and around the world commemorate one of history’s darkest periods. While it is impossible to fully comprehend the evil and terror of the Holocaust, which saw six million Jews systemically killed, it requires our deep reflection…
“Our remembrance is an act of rejection of the evil that fueled an attempt to extinguish an entire people; an evil we all bear a collective responsibility to ensure is never forgotten.”
As Goldstein points out, “stating the obvious — that millions of Jews died in the Holocaust — wasn’t a problem for Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair or U.S. President Barack Obama, who all did so in their statements commemorating the Holocaust and the liberation of Auschwitz. Same goes for [former Prime Minister Stephen] Harper in his statement of a year ago.”
“This may be OK with CIJA but not with me,” Ted Belman, a retired attorney, wrote on his Israpundit blog. “Issuing such a tweet in no way suggests that the omission of Jews from the Holocaust was not deliberate. In fact, it reinforces the conclusion that it was deliberate.”.
“When Canada issued their infamous statement on the Holocaust without mentioning Jews, I said Canada embraces holocaust denial because to deny that the Holocaust is essentially a Jewish tragedy is to deny the Holocaust,” he stated.
One can only speculate as to the reason for the omission. As suggested by Yair Rosenberg in Tablet, Trudeau “fell prey to the false choice between depicting the Holocaust as either a universal warning against the human propensity for prejudice or as a particular one against the special evils of anti-Semitism. In reality, it’s both.”