On Sunday January 8, 2012, twenty-three Australian educators gathered in the seminar room on the ground floor of Prima King’s Hotel, Jerusalem, and officially commenced a seventeen-day scholarship-funded Holocaust studies programme. One of the Yad Vashem co-ordinators of the Teaching about the Shoah and Anti-Semitism course invited us to introduce ourselves and explain why we were foregoing an Australian summer to investigate the harrowing details of genocide. Learning the importance of tolerance seemed a priority for many of my compatriots. The logic of this, I assumed, was that since intolerance played a key role in bringing about the murder of six million Jews, greater tolerance in society (and in the classroom) creates a better environment for people to co-exist harmoniously, thus diminishing the likelihood of another Hitler-style genocide or, at any rate, crimes of a related but lesser magnitude. For an instant I was almost persuaded – but not quite.
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