Dara Horn's thought-provoking new book, People Love Dead Jews has been much discussed. But one point she makes is worth questioning – that we should stop claiming that anti-Semitism is the “canary in the coal mine” of hate, the idea that when acts of animosity start with the Jews, they invariably escalate and spread to other groups.
Horn said, in an interview:

How degrading it is to yourself to make that argument, the whole “first they came for the Jews” idea. You’re forced to erase and denigrate yourself in order to gain some kind of public empathy. Because then what you’re saying is that we should all care when Jews are murdered and maimed because, you know, it might be an ominous sign that real people might later get attacked.
Her point has validity. Why should hatred against Jews be condemned only because it portends other, supposedly more evil hatreds? Why should subsequent attacks on other groups be seen as an escalation? All hate is created equal. All hate is, or should be, equally vile - and it's troubling that after the Colleyville synagogue attack, many people didn't act that way. At first, the FBI even denied that the Jewish community was even specifically targeted. The FBI director later cleaned that up.

Dara Horn's point, however, remains valid. I will grant that.
But there is another aspect of the canary-in-coal mine analogy that is quite valid. The dead canary is not warning us about the escalation of hate, but the degradation of truth.
See what Deborah Lipstadt wrote in 1993 in her seminal book, Denying the Holocausta work discussed in this week's "New Jewish Canon" course:
Those who care not just about Jewish history or the history of the Holocaust but about truth in all its forms, must function as canaries in the mine ones did, to guard against the spread of noxious fumes. We must vehemently stand watch against an increasingly nimble enemy. But unlike the canary we must not sit silently by waiting to expire so that others will be warned of the danger. When we witness assaults on the truth, a response must be strong, though neither polemical nor emotional. We must educate the broader public and academe about this thread and historical and ideological roots. We must expose these people for what they are.
This week is the fifth anniversary of the 2017 International Holocaust Day proclamation that left out any mention of Jews, an enormous error by the new administration, and one that emboldened White Supremacists. My guess is that it was inadvertent, a result of the incompetence and confusion that marked those first weeks (and beyond) in the Trump White House. But of course, the last thing Press Secretary Sean Spicer could do was to admit an error and clean it up, and the denial of the uniquely Jewish nature of the Holocaust is perhaps the most egregious form of Holocaust denial.
That was a classic "canary in the coal mine" moment, which I discussed in Embracing Auschwitz:
Holocaust denial is the canary in the coal mine of Orwellian doublethink, the mother of all fake news, and that not only does it defined all standards of empirical science and reject meticulously documented history, which any active historical denial might do, but in this case, doing so also attempts to whitewash the greatest moral crime ever perpetrated. There is, and there never has been, a greater, more bald-faced lie than the denial of the holocaust. That fact alone warranted an official immediate White House retraction. 
That retraction never came, and 30,000 lies later, it still hasn't, though in his book, Spicer did admit to Holocaust-related mistakes.
And so, Dara Horn, I respect what you are saying. Jewish deaths should not be seen as noteworthy only because they portend threats against other groups. They are not the appetizer to the real meal. "First they came for the Jews..." (actually, in the famous quote, it was the socialists) should not be the reason people stand up for the Jews. They may or may not eventually come for you, but you should defend Jews because anti-Semitism is evil, not because of the canary's warning. And we should fight hate wherever it is found.

But Holocaust denial is a special form of evil - it is an attack on truth itself, and one that can lead to other attacks, until truth becomes so degraded that even an armed insurrection in broad daylight and a free and fair election can be questioned. No lie is more malignant than Holocaust denial.

If the veracity of Auschwitz is allowed to be defiled by denial, no truth is safe.

Finally, here's an Olympian challenge for this Shabbat morning...