“I have such contempt for these individuals. They are justifying genocide!”

Holocaust survivor denounces Zionist slander of protests against genocide in Gaza

An upcoming rally in Michigan against the ongoing genocide in Gaza, organized by Holocaust survivor Rene Lichtman, has been slandered as “antisemitic” by prominent Zionists on X/Twitter. 

Rene Lichtman, an 86-year-old Holocaust child survivor, speaks during a vigil in Farmington Hills, Michigan on June 30.

The rally is scheduled to take place in front of the Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan, on Sunday, July 14. It will be the latest in a series of weekly rallies being held to demand the museum recognize the Nakba of 1948 in its educational programs about the founding of Israel, and to demand that the museum call for a ceasefire in Gaza now.

Lichtman, age 86, is a “hidden child” Holocaust survivor whose Polish-Jewish family was largely murdered by Hitler’s Nazis during World War Two. He has spent his life fighting to uncover and preserve the history of the Holocaust.

He explained to this reporter the conception behind Sunday’s protest: “Museums like this are part of the right-wing, pro-Zionist structure. They indoctrinate the public that shows up, especially the students, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who come through each day, busloads of students. They tell the story of the Holocaust and the Jewish victims and at the end they say the war was over and the survivors created this wonderful state of Israel, with beautiful trees and so on. And that’s the ending!  The lesson is tolerance, and we should love each other and so on. But they never mention Palestinians or the Nakba.

Poster for Rene Lichtman's protest

“We are demanding that the museum change the ending, that they include the Nakba. And, that they demand a ceasefire in Gaza, now.”

“It’s not only the Holocaust Center, in Farmington Hills, that erases Palestinians from history”, Lichtman explained. “I’ve been to most of the Holocaust museums—in Berlin, Warsaw, Amsterdam, Prague—because of my work with the child survivors’ organization. And they’re all the same. At the end they paint this rosy picture which does not include Palestinians.”

Prominent Zionists have taken to X/Twitter to slander Lichtman’s protests as “antisemitic”. 

Zionist social media influencer Hen Mazzig shared the poster for the upcoming rally with his 220.6K followers, commenting, “Imagine arranging a protest against Israel at a Holocaust Museum, and still believing your movement isn’t really about hating Jews. How many times do I have to say this? Protesting outside a Holocaust Museum does nothing to help Palestinians. It is pure antisemitism.”

Aviva Klompas, the former head of speechwriting at the Israel Mission to the United Nations, who has 325.3K followers, also shared the poster, writing, “When you take your protest to a Holocaust museum, you are no longer engaging in political protest. You are sending the message that 6 million dead Jews wasn’t enough.”

The X/Twitter account of the Zionist website “Israel War Room” Tweeted the poster for Lichtman’s protest to its 322.8K followers, labeling it an “anti-Israel” event.

“These people are such hypocrites,” Lichtman said in response. “They are part of the Israeli lobby. I expect this from them.”

He continued, “These museums are major institutions not only in cities like Berlin and Warsaw, but Detroit, New York, D.C. It’s a whole indoctrination system of the Zionists, these right wingers, who are trying to weaponize the suffering of the Holocaust. But it’s no longer working amongst these young audiences. The audiences are now asking questions.”

Lichtman was employed as a lecturer for 10 years at Zekelman Holocaust Center, before recently being fired for his protests against the Gaza genocide. “My orders within the museum when I was there was to only tell my story and not go beyond it, and I was warned more than once by the CEO not to step outside the bounds,” he said.

Sunday’s rally will take place in the wake of the recent report by The Lancet that the true death toll in the Gaza genocide is actually close to 186,000, several times higher than previously reported.

Responding to the news, Lichtman commented, “Those numbers, it’s incredible. For me, I’ve never been able to absorb the million and half Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust. Words can’t describe that. And it’s the same thing going now.  Except now we’re doing it day-to-day. Seeing these numbers and these images, many are traumatized by just seeing this stuff.

“In those Tweets you just read, they’re not mentioning the 186,0000 dead civilians in Gaza. They will say all these people are terrorists, or else human shields. Those are the excuses. But internationally, nobody believes it any more. Israel and the US are seen as war criminals, which they are. So when these people make these comments, I have such disdain and contempt for these individuals.  They say these things to get a check from AIPAC. What they’re doing is justifying genocide!”

He continued, “These numbers, we have to remember each one is a human being. The way I look at it, I have to put each day in the context of what’s going on in Gaza, which is this daily mass murder. When I put it in that context, I feel an urgency, I feel I should do more.”

“I remember the Vietnam war protests, Kent State... If you’re going to do anything important, you have to expect repression. If you put it in the context of the violence going on in Gaza, it’s nothing. Nothing compared to having your whole family blown up by Biden and Bibi.”

Lichtman has previously endorsed the July 24 demonstration in Washington, D.C. called by the Socialist Equality Party, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality and the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees on the day that Netanyahu addresses a joint session of Congress. “Anything like this that exposes the imperialists and what Biden is doing with Netanyahu is very good,” he said. “They are the architects of genocide. People should go, you can’t be bystanders.”