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Coronavirus: Holocaust Remembrance Day Moved Online

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Holocaust Remembrance Day this year is playing out in an unprecedented way with many ceremonies and services taking place virtually amid the coronavirus crisis.

Although not in-person, the silver lining to having to adapt events to comply with social distancing orders, the day is made even more accessible at a time when our younger generations should be reminded of the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Earlier this year, this reporter spoke with a group of American university students considered to be part of generation Z, who were mostly in their early 20s and late teens, about a 2019 Pew Research study that found that less than half of American adults could recall that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. I learned that the memory is only continuing to escape the minds of the succeeding generations after speaking with seven students, only one of whom could tell me that 6 million Jews were killed, about their knowledge of the Holocaust.

The history is slipping away and the coronavirus pandemic is a reminder of that as we’re seeing a rise in antisemitic attacks promoting false accusations that the Jewish people are spreading the virus, often floating false conspiracies similar to the medieval blood libels.

Yoni Michanie, a former paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces, pointed to the historic trend in his recent column for the Jewish New Syndicate writing, “Europe’s Black Plague, Russia’s 1917 Communist Revolution and Germany’s economic turmoil following the conclusion of World War I all saw a disproportionate rise in anti-Semitism. The logic is simple: When a crisis hits, the Jews will serve as worthy scapegoats. Following the Nazis systematic extermination of 6 million Jews, it seemed that the world had finally understood the dangers of anti-Jewish hatred. If it did, it only lasted a short while.”

The rise in hate wasn’t absent this year as many groups gathered online to reflect on the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished. In fact, a Zoom meeting co-hosted by the Israeli Embassy in Berlin and Holocaust survivor Zvi Herschel was disrupted by antisemitic “Zoombombers” who entered the chat room “posting pictures of Hitler and shouting anti-Semitic slogans,” according to Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff.

“To dishonour the memory of the #Holocaust and the dignity of the survivor is beyond shame and disgrace and shows the blatant antisemitic nature of the activists,” Amb. Issacharoff wrote on Twitter Monday night.

Images comparing the Jewish people and the Jewish state to the coronavirus with the hashtag #Covid48 were also trending across Palestinian social media pages on Monday.

The recent campaigns of hate are a sobering reminder for people of all faiths to continue to remember the Holocaust and keep the memory of the 6 million Jews who died in Hitler’s genocide alive. Those horrors must be remembered if it is to never happen again and using the virtual space to honor those lives with Holocaust Remembrance Day gives not only those willing to attend these events an opportunity but allows the world the same access to knowing the truth.

Click here to watch a series of testimonies from Holocaust survivors provided by Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem.

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International

More Deadly Fentanyl Has Been Seized at U.S. Borders Than Heroin For First Time in History

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Photo by SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images

History has been made in the worst of ways. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data shows 2021 was the first time in American history that federal law enforcement seized more of the deadly drug fentanyl than heroin at our borders.

Data shows 11,200 pounds of fentanyl was seized in 2021 compared to 5,400 pounds of heroin. The numbers were double that of 2020’s fentanyl seizures. 319,447 pounds of marijuana, 190,861 pounds of methamphetamine, 97,638  pounds of cocaine and 10,848 pounds of ketamine were also seized in 2021.

Taking the 2022 fiscal year into account, 2,158 pounds of fentanyl has already been seized. 277 pounds of heroin have also been seized in the same time period. The Washington Examiner reports:

Not only were fentanyl seizures at the highest level ever recorded, but fentanyl overdoses within the United States also hit new highs, indicating the success that transnational criminal organizations had in pushing their deadly products to the public. A DEA investigation this fall found a direct link between criminal drug organizations in Mexico and fentanyl-related overdose deaths.

Many drug users are unaware they are taking the substance because street drugs are being laced with fentanyl, making even the most dangerous of illicit drugs deadly.

The Examiner adds, “Because just a few grains of the substance is all it takes for a user to feel its effect, its value per ounce is higher than other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine. For example, the DEA states 2 milligrams is enough to kill someone who inhales, consumes, or injects it.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) additionally “seized 20.4 million pills that were fake versions of prescriptions and pumped full of fentanyl. The pills were enough to kill every American, according to the DEA.”

Due to small dosages of the drug being so potent, “it also makes it significantly easier for the criminals transporting it to sneak into the country.”

The Examiner also reported on the deadly drug’s connection to Wuhan, China:

Mexican cartels purchase the ingredients for fentanyl from labs in Wuhan, China . The cartels will produce the fentanyl from those ingredients and push it into the U.S. Chinese-based financiers launder the profits for the cartels out of the U.S., back to China, and on to Mexico.

The cartels are in the business of selling whatever drug brings in the most money and is easiest to produce. Through the decades, federal law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border has seized millions of pounds of drugs — most of which was marijuana.

Over the past five years, marijuana seizures have significantly declined as U.S. states legalized recreational cannabis and legal grow operations began in the U.S. Because marijuana can only be grown in certain climates, similar to cocaine, it made drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamines more attractive because they can be produced anywhere, any time.

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