By Khalid Amayreh
Imagine, just imagine, the outcry that would follow an imagined call by a European Muslim or Christian religious leader suggesting sending hundreds of thousands of Jews to concentration camps. The Sheikh or priest or bishop would be lambasted beyond imagination, and his denomination or church would immediately distance itself from his foolish remarks.
Political authorities would also declare that Nazi-minded Sheikh or bishop has no place in modern Europe and that governments would nip the hateful and racist elements in the bud. In short, he would be looked upon as a pariah, to say the very least. He even might be forced to commit suicide under public pressure.
As to Jewish circles, their protests would be clarion and omnipresent.
But how would things look like if such a call took place in Israel and was made by a popular rabbi, with hundreds of thousands of followers?
According to a weekly Hebrew magazine, several rabbis, including the rabbi of Safad, Shmuel Eliyahu, recently proposed the establishment of death camps for the Palestinians.
The magazine indicated that the creation of these camps would be the duty of all devout Jews.
The Yedeot Ahronot’s YNet on Saturday, 15 January quoted the rabbis as stating that the Torah requires Jews to wipe out any trace of the so-called Amalek in Palestine . Many religious Jews refer to their perceived or real enemies as Amalek.
The YNet quoted Jewish intellectual Audi Aloni as saying that calls for the extermination of Palestinians are openly made in the synagogues as the genocidal idea has become a practical option.
“No one objected to Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safad and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Chief Rabbi of Beit El, who undersigned the advisory opinion, which suggested approval for their opinion.”
I realize that these evil men don’t represent Jews everywhere, nor do they even represent the entire rabbinic community. There are many esteemed rabbis who reject outright the satanic mindset permeating through the landscape of the sick minds of people like Elyahu, his cohorts and evil colleagues.
The Torah, after all, was supposed to be a light upon humanity. But when it becomes, thanks to those rabbis of Satan, a tool for genocide, there is obviously a huge catch-22 hanging over Judaism’s conscience.
Again, the fact that these nefarious rabbis don’t represent the entirety of Judaism is no guarantee that their damage will be limited. A fool man’s fire could frustrate a thousand wise men who wouldn’t know how to put it off.
Isn’t this the way the holocaust started? It didn’t start with concentration camps, or even with Kristalnacht. Such death camps as Auschwitz , Treblinka, Mauthauzen and Bergen Belsen became only known much later.
The purpose of this small piece is not to vilify or demonize Jews. Nor am I particularly enthusiastic about hurling Nazi epithets at Jews. However, nothing should be further from truth.
The call for sending millions of Palestinians to concentration camps means that a sizeable segment of the Israeli Jewish society is capable, at least mentally, of embarking on the unthinkable. It means that a real Jewish holocaust against the Palestinian people is not outside the realm of imagination.
This matter is well known, even known too well for us who live in this part of the world. After all, Israel demonstrated two years ago, during its Nazi-like onslaught on the Gaza Strip, that it could do the unthinkable.
And that was not the first time Israel behaved manifestly nefariously. In 2006, during the Israeli aggression on Lebanon , the Israeli air force dropped more than 2,000,000 cluster bomblets on South Lebanon civilian areas, arguably enough to kill or maim at least 2 million Lebanese children.
The scant media coverage of the latest diabolic statements by the rabbis of evil in no way lessens their gravity and seriousness. After all, these are not marginal or isolated figures in society.
In fact, paying not sufficient attention to this phenomenon is tantamount to encouraging it. If Germans and others had not kept silence in the late 1920s and early 1930s, many things wouldn’t have occurred.
I would want to be cautious drawing historical analogy between every thing happening in Israel today and everything that happened in Europe several decades ago. However, there are certain parallels that shouldn’t escape our attention, and the latest outrageous statements by these diabolical rabbis are one of them.
Let no one say that words are innocuous and can’t kill; nay, words can kill and do kill. A few years ago, a Jewish immigrant from France decapitated a Palestinian cabby from East Jerusalem after the taxi-driver gave the killer a ride to his home north of Tel Aviv. And when the murderer was eventually arrested and interrogated by the police, he said he heard his neighborhood synagogue rabbi say that the lives of non-Jews had no sanctity.
More to the point, it is abundantly clear that thousands of Israeli soldiers would rather heed and obey their respective rabbis’ homilies than their army superiors’ instructions when it comes to treating Palestinians. This fact was revealed during the Israeli onslaught on Gaza two years ago when Israeli soldiers knowingly and deliberately murdered innocent civilians, including children, by the hundreds.
But this is not the time for demonization; it is rather the time for action. Jewish leaders of all orientations should speak up as strongly as possible against those who are besmirching the good name of their religion.
The likes of Shmuel Eliyahu must be told that there is no place in Judaism for those who advocate genocide for non-Jews. In the final analysis, when Jews or anybody else think or behave or act like the Nazis acted, they simply become Nazis themselves.
Finally, Jews shouldn’t keep silent in the face of these abominations just because the media and public opinion in the West are more or less keeping silent. Well, since when a moral stance was decided by other people’s apathy or silence? In fact, the immoral silence of much of the west toward what is happening in Israel these days is bad and dangerous for Jews and their future.
Anything that causes moral desensitization to occur is definitely bad, and this is putting it mildly.