Barack Obama was at Yad Vashem earlier today. At the end of his visit he commented that "ultimately, this is a place of hope".
Which of course it isn't, or shouldn't be.
Israel is ultimately a place of hope. The ability of the survivors of the Shoah to forge positive lives for themselves, many hundreds of thousands of them, is not only a place of hope, it's a deafening rebuke for all the fools who like to excuse victims or perceived victims for their consequent weaknesses. And yes, the designers of Yad Vashem's museum and grounds succumbed to the temptation and allowed their story to be caught up in the inspirational power of Israel, and at times they are carried away by the justified triumphalism of some survivors; by doing so, they diminish the story they're supposed to be telling.
But Obama, we're told, is extraordinarily intelligent, and sees farther and clearer than most of us. He should have been able to see through the distractions that were set in his path, and he should have been able to set aside the innate optimism of a liberal politician and of the black man who is poised to break the ultimate glass ceiling, and he should have recognized that Yad Vashem is anything but a place of hope. If there is hope for humanity it is in spite of that story, not as a result of it.