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What Happens When a Holocaust Memorial Plays Host to Autocrats

The quiet campus of Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial and museum, sits atop a wooded hill on the outskirts of Jerusalem, removed from the rush of the city. It can feel like a secluded shrine, a place not quite of this time. But the famous institution now finds itself at the center of a very 21st-century storm, a barometer of a political climate changing in the world outside its walls.

Yad Vashem, and the state that houses it, were founded by Jews forced from their homes by chauvinistic nationalism and survivors of the European genocide that was the logical conclusion of those ideas. The museum and Israel flourished in years when those ideas were assumed to have been conclusively discredited. 

Today, however, some of those beliefs are rising once again across Europe and in the United States, and Israel finds itself courted by some of their practitioners: right-wing politicians who might stoke animosity to Jews and other minorities at home but who also admire the state of Israel.

Read entire article at NYT