A man is standing in the city plaza, holding a sign in his hand and the sign reads “עם אחד, מדינה אחת, מנהיג אחד” (One People, One State, One Leader), and the man does not know the origin of that slogan, or who used it before and why. It sure looks like a good and catchy slogan, and standing there with the placard in his hands helps him to express his solidarity with the people and the country he belongs to, in the presence of existential threat he is sure his friends and himself are facing. And the man would be extremely pissed off had I told him that this slogan was the most popular one in Nazi Germany, and that it was printed on posters and stamps and placards and coins all over, and that the Nazi propaganda repeated the slogan in every radio broadcast and every speech and every rally and every event, until eventually there were only a handful of Germans who did not identify with the slogan. If I told that man about the slogan, he would yell at me how I dared I to call him a Nazi, and that I have no shame, and that I lost my path and how do I dare to compare. But someone made sure to print the placard the man is carrying, and the man holding it in his hands at least agrees with the wording, or even worth, he believes in it wholeheartedly. And he does not even know he is like the Nazis. He does not know he is like the Nazis because what was taught in school about the Nazis was that they murdered six million Jews, and he was sent to Poland to see the camps with his own eyes, and when he grew up and enlisted he was presented with documentary films about the concentration camps, and his leaders repeat day in and day out that the enemies of Israel are like the Nazis who murdered six million and thus both Hamas and Iran and the European Union and almost everyone else also want to. Destroy him. But no one bothered to teach him how democracies rise and fall. And how difficult it is to maintain the checks and balances and how easy it is to destroy these checks and balances until at the end “One People, One State, One Leader” sounds logical and worthy to put on a placard and take it to the plaza in a Jewish city. So the man with the sign is like the Nazis, and he does not even know he is. And those who see him and his friends with these signs in their hands and go home like nothing happened because they are afraid to confront them, at best, or because deep in their heart they agree with the slogan, which seems to be appropriate for the hour and the events because it strengthen unity, at worst, those people will stand tomorrow in the city plaza with these placards in their hands, and they also will not understand why they are being told that they are like the Nazis.
Photo of Israeli protester: Noam Lester