The State of Israel is not only a symbol of the Holocaust-resurrection nexus; Israel is duty-bound to carry the additional burden of sounding a public alarm when any injustice is committed and it has a unique moral imperative in the conduct of its own affairs. When we deal with the issue of particularism and universalism, it is important to note that Christianity, in its attitude toward secular society, regularly projects a universal normative climate of sorts (at least among the Christian nations) and purports to station Christian humanism at the forefront of its concerns.
One reason that the church is searching its soul (insofar as it is doing so) is Christianity’s failure to stem the tide of Nazi barbarism. Also, the behavior and teachings of Pope John Paul II may be an antithesis to that of Pope Pius XII. If the Holocaust has cast a shadow over Christian humanism, then the Pontiff’s political activity (in the broad sense of the term) has the effect of injecting modern humanism into practical politics.
In this context, the Holocaust has provided an awesome catharsis. Let us bear in mind that the venerable perception of man’s unique station in the universe, the core of Judeo-Christian monotheism, was shattered in the 1930s and 1940s. Since the Holocaust, an effort to revitalize monotheism has been made. Furthermore, the idea that education and scholarship improve the individual, refine his or her soul and make him or her more human flows from Christianity itself. The ‘Christian humanism’ movement, which strives to maintain the significance of religious consciousness in the public mind and, concurrently, to free it from its dependence on the sacramental authority of the Catholic Church, also underlies the development of nationalism.
Rationalism also collapsed during that time; the Holocaust is a manifestation of a political system gone awry, e.g., the Wehrmacht’s frequent subordination of military logistical considerations to the Nazi mass-murder machine.
On February 6, 2000, the Government of Israel held a meeting on the Haider affair. The government decided to recall Natan Meron, Israel’s ambassador to Vienna. Israel considered the formation of the Schuessel-Haider coalition a ‘black day for Austrian democracy.’ It stated: ‘The Government of Israel believes that its task and duty is to stand at the forefront of the nations of the world and warn against such a serious phenomenon – a Western government that includes neo-Nazi elements.’ Thus Israel, as a state, took a political step and urged European and other countries to take political action against a Nazifying Austria.
Concurrently, every media forum and every academic and political setting conducted a probing debate, at the ideological, political and moral levels, about the actions to be taken against Austria. Cardinal questions in matters of ethics and politics resurfaced with greater intensity than occurred when Le Pen in France and Gianfranco Fini in Italy were on the rise. As we recall, Pini, head of the National Alliance, joined Silvio Belusconi’s government in 1994. Thus, the debate concerning the ‘limits of sovereignty’ and the international community’s right to intervene in the ‘internal affairs’ of a sovereign state erupted anew. Consequently, the tension between the principles of