I recently posted the only existing video of Anne Frank, a Dutch Jew who lived in hiding from 1942 until 1944. She, as well as her family and others cloistered in the “secret annex” of a friend’s house, were arrested in 1944 and transported to the camps. Of the seven arrested, only one (Otto, Anne’s father) survived. Anne and her sister Margot died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945, only a few weeks before it was liberated by the Allies. Anne was 15, Margot 19.
Anne intended that book she composed in hiding, now called The Diary of a Young Girl, would be published as a novel after the war, but of course she never saw that. Her grieving father ensured that it was published, and it’s well worth reading. Predictably, there were “diary deniers,” who asserted that the entire composition was a fabrication. But forensic analysis, handwriting comparison, and other techniques showed without any doubt that the diary was authentic.
If you’re in Amsterdam, a visit to the house and “secret annex” is mandatory.
Sadly, Anne Frank’s image has been coopted in the crassest way by BDSAmsterdam, the Dutch wing of the BDS Movement (“Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions”). The movement aims to use the three weapons of its acronym to force Israel to stop what BDS sees as the apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians.
Although the movement is supported by people like Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, and Stephen Hawking, I think it is misguided, taken in by a victim narrative perpetrated largely by the left. Indeed, although Israel bears some guilt in the continuing conflagration (most especially in their refusal to give up the West Bank and encouraging settlement in that area), so do the Palestinians, who engage in deliberate, targeted murder of Israeli civilians. Indeed, the Hamas charter of 1988 not only calls for the extirpation of the State of Israel, but touts the fictitious and anti-Semitic document “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as evidence for a Jewish plan of worldwide domination.
I am especially opposed to academic boycotts of Israel, as I would be of academic boycotts against Palestine or anyone else, for I see academics, like sports, as a community that is international, transcending political differences.
But that aside, and regardless of how you feel, about Israel, I think most of us will agree that the new Twitter image of BDS Amsterdam, showing Anne Frank in a keffiyeh (the Palestianian scarf, now a symbol of the resistance), crosses the bounds of decency:
Many members of BDS favor not a two-state solution (my choice), but the complete elimination of the State of Israel. They are living in la-la land.
If Israel had existed in the 1940s, Anne Frank would have celebrated her 84th birthday on Wednesday.