In the Jewish community, the name Simon Wiesenthal is sacrosanct — which is why Rabbi Marvin Hier chose to establish his West Coast empire on the bedrock of the Nazi hunter’s reputation when Hier entered the institutional Judaism vacuum of Los Angeles 30 years ago. Over the course of the past three decades, the Simon Wiesenthal Center brand has been enhanced by its Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, but recent developments in Israel have begun to tarnish the institution’s reputation.
A number of emotions vie for top billing in the wake of the tragic exchange that took place this week between Israel and Hezbollah. Sadness and sympathy for the Goldwasser and Regev families, of course; shock and disbelief at the inhumane callousness of Hezbollah, naturally; but outrage and disgust for the Israeli government should be right up there as well.
Last month’s 25th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatilla massacre passed by largely unnoticed. At the time, however, the atrocity perpetrated by Lebanese Christian Phalangists against hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians in the two refugee camps outside Beirut horrified the world.