I am in Amsterdam for a short family vacation, my fourth visit to the city, and it’s still gorgeous and historic yet cutting edge, filled with the most amazing art and buildings. Also as always, the lines for the Anne Frank House are around the block.
Indeed, they seem longer than ever, people seemingly lined up from dawn to well past dusk to get what must be a short glimpse of the tiny apartment where the twentieth century’s most famous teenager awaited her untimely and tragic death. It has become one of the world’s great tourist attractions.
I didn’t go in. It wasn’t just those lines. I had been there on several occasions, but this time, given the current global situation, I didn’t think I had the stomach for it. But I did walk past two or three times — we’re staying in an apartment not far away on the edge of the Jordaan — and got to stare at the crowds waiting patiently.
It certainly put me in a melancholy mood — actually something considerably worse. In this globally connected world, news is never far away, and I had been reading on my iPhone of the ever more hideous details of the Iran deal, that it was now clear that it wasn’t even a deal at all but just a license to enrich the imperialistic impulses of a religious fascist state sworn to the obliteration of Israel. The checks on Iran’s nuclear development in the deal were almost comically weak — so feeble, in fact, that you could not have made them up in your wildest imagination. Incomprehensibly, it had been left to the Iranians themselves to monitor their own nuclear installations. The difference between that and the promised “anytime, anywhere” inspections is the other side of the moon.
I wondered what Anne would have thought of this, seventy years out from her death in 1945, all those tourists waiting to weep over her short life, while in today’s world Barack Obama, John Kerry and Wendy Sherman acquiesce to what could become a second Holocaust, and a more immediate one at that.
The irony that two of these people have Jewish roots would not be lost on her. Sherman is the daughter of a prominent Jewish family in upstate New York, a former social worker and a graduate of Smith. She is also the “negotiating genius” behind the nuclear weapons deal with North Korea that left the NORKs armed to the atomic teeth. You would think that with such a “success” they would have chosen someone different. But perhaps it was always intended to be this way.
Kerry is, of course, that great “Zionist” who suddenly discovered his Jewish roots when they were exposed to him by a Boston newspaper while he was running for the Senate. Until then, I guess you could call him Yale’s least curious graduate.
Is it too extreme to say that Ann knew these types from Auschwitz, where she was transported in 1944, the sonderkommandos and kapos that cooperated with the Nazis in the extermination of their fellow Jews? I’m sure Sherman and Kerry would recoil at the thought. But not the Ayatollah Khamenei to whose benefit all of their so-called negotiations accrued.
As for Barack Obama, the less said the better. This man thinks he knows what’s best for all of us under any conditions. But those of us who grew up in the Jewish tradition, almost no matter how secular, should recognize Haman when we see him.