The ongoing one in Gaza and the rest of Palestine…
The ongoing one in Gaza and the rest of Palestine…
Hatnua chairwoman blasts FM after he accused his European counterparts of ignoring calls for Israel’s destruction
Hatnua Chairwoman Tzipi Livni slammed Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday after he compared steps taken by European nations against Israel with their failure to address the threat against Jews prior to the Holocaust.*
“This comparison trivializes the Holocaust, it is wrong and unacceptable,” Livni said. “The state of Israeli citizens today is nothing like that of Europe’s Jews then.”
Speaking at a conference in Herzliya, Livni stressed, “Not everyone is against us and not everyone is an anti-Semite. True, there is criticism of the current policy but we must distinguish between that and the support for Israel as a state.”
Livni criticized the government’s policy saying that it is in Israel’s best interest to change it. “The resumption of negotiations will not only preserve Israel as a Jewish and democratic state but will also restore the legitimacy to launch military operations whenever necessary and maintain Israel’s security interests.”
Lieberman harshly criticized some of his European counterparts on Tuesday following the European Union’s condemnation of the construction plan in area E1 and accused them of intentionally ignoring calls for Israel’s destruction.
“In the eyes of some European foreign ministers, the destruction of Israel is obvious,” he said. He then mentioned Europe’s failure to address the threat against Jews prior to the Holocaust.
Lieberman explained his controversial statements during the conference in Herzliya.
“The Europeans decided to pressure our side alone and ignore the terror organizations on the Palestinian side including the murder of innocents, the smuggling of weapons into Gaza etc. They are shutting their eyes and ears in the face of the incessant rocket fire from Gaza at Israel.”
He cynically remarked, “I’m told that I’m the bad guy and I agree with that but even the good guy would have trouble finding solutions to this situation.”
The foreign minister noted that all of Israel’s attempts to reach peace with the Palestinians “failed because of refusal from the other side.”
Yousef Mohammed Jamal Al-Dalou, 10 years old
Jamal Mohammed Jamal Al-Dalou, 7 year old
Ranin Mohammed Jamal Al-Dalou, 5 years old
Ibrahim Mohammed Jamal Al-Dalou, 1 year old
Jamal Al-Dalou, the grandfather
Sulafa Al Dalou, 46 years old
Samah Al-Dalou, 25 years old
Tahani Al-Dalou, 50 years old
Ameina Matar Al-Mzanner, 83 years old.
Abdallah Mohammed Al-Mzanner, 23 years old
The aftermath of one victim family of ten …
Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman at an EU press conference
The European Union is not “merely hypocritical” in its relationship with Israel, it is “complicit in crimes against the Palestinian people.” This is one of the main conclusions of David Cronin’s compellingly-argued book Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation.
In fact, the European Union is steadily upgrading its relations with Israel while overwhelming, and growing, public majorities across Europe’s largest nations view Israel “mostly negatively.” According to a recent BBC GlobeScan poll, Israel is on a par with North Korea as the third worst perceived country in the world (“Views of Europe slide sharply in global poll, while views of China improve,” GlobeScan, 10 May).
With the entrenchment of its occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinians, its fanatic-right government’s hubristic and bellicose policies, and the impressive growth of the non-violent Palestinian-led, global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, Israel is gradually losing hearts and minds across the world and becoming the world pariah, as South Africa once was, during apartheid.
Desmond Tutu, the South African archbishop, is particularly eloquent in accusing Israel of the crime of apartheid (“Tutu condemns Israeli ‘apartheid’,” BBC News, 29 April 2002). TheRussell Tribunal on Palestine — at its 2011 Cape Town session — determined that Israel is practicing apartheid against the entire Palestinian people, according to the definition of apartheid adopted by the UN in 1973 (“Findings of the South African session,” Russell Tribunal on Palestine, 5-7 November 2011 [PDF]).
Worse than South Africa
South African Christian leaders who played a decisive role in fighting apartheid have condemned Israel’s apartheid as “even worse than South African apartheid” (“An Easter message from South Africa to Palestine,” Oikumene, 31 March 2010). And the publisher of Haaretz, an influential Israeli daily, has recently described a fanatic Israeli ideology of “territorial seizure and apartheid” (“The necessary elimination of Israeli democracy,” 25 November 2011).
Increasingly, international jurists, human rights organizations and activists, as well as international public opinion are recognizing Israel’s unique regime of oppression against the Palestinians as encompassing the crime of apartheid, in addition to occupation, ethnic cleansing and settler colonialism.
With its continued siege of Gaza; its untamed construction of illegal colonies and anapartheid wall in the occupied West Bank, especially in and around Jerusalem; its “strategy of Judaization” in Jerusalem, the Galilee, the Jordan Valley and the Naqab (Negev); its adoption of new racist laws and its denial of the UN-stipulated right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes from which they were ethnically cleansed during theNakba, Israel has embarked on a more belligerent and violent phase in its attempt to extinguish the question of Palestine through literally “disappearing” the Palestinians, asEdward Said would say.
The most criminal and pressing aspect of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians is without doubt its Western and Egyptian-backed hermetic siege of the occupied Gaza Strip, which even British Prime Minister David Cameron has described as a “prison camp” (“David Cameron: Israeli blockade has turned Gaza Strip into a ‘prison camp’,” The Guardian, 27 July 2010). The systematic Israeli targeting of Gaza’s water and sanitation facilities has compounded an already “severe and protracted denial of human dignity,” according to Maxwell Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, causing “a steep decline in standards of living for the [Palestinians] of Gaza, characterized by erosion of livelihoods, destruction and degradation of basic structure, and a marked downturn in the delivery and quality of vital services in health, water and sanitation” (“Humanitarian organizations deeply concerned about the ongoing water and sanitation crisis in Gaza,” Association of International Development Agencies, 3 September 2009).
A 2009 report by Amnesty International affirmed that, “90–95 percent of the water supply [in Gaza] is contaminated and unfit for human consumption” (“Troubled waters: Palestinians denied fair access to water,” October 2009 [PDF]).
The report cites an earlier study by the UN Environmental Programme which correlates the widespread contamination of Gaza’s water resources to the rise in nitrate levels in the groundwater “far above the WHO [World Health Organization] accepted guideline,” inducing a potentially lethal blood disorder in young children and newborns called methemoglobinaemia, or the “blue babies” phenomenon.
Some of the detected symptoms of this disease in Gaza infants include “blueness around the mouth, hands and feet,” “episodes of diarrhea and vomiting,” and “loss of consciousness.” “Convulsions and death can occur” at higher levels of nitrate contamination, the report concludes (“Environmental assessment of the Gaza Strip following the escalation of hostilities in December 2008-January 2009,” September 2009 [PDF].)
At the conclusion of Israel’s war of aggression on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009, which led to more than 1,400 deaths, mostly civilians, EU leaders dashed to occupied Jerusalem to celebrate with Israel’s then prime minister Ehud Olmert, promising to support Israel in fighting “terror” (“World leaders push for lasting truce in Gaza,” The New York Times, 18 January 2009).
So, when the European Union, which is still actively colluding to maintain the Gaza siege, launches a relatively expensive public relations campaign all over Gaza — and the West Bank — with its main slogan, “Your Priorities are ours,” without a hint of sarcasm, it seems to be sending the Palestinians under occupation two blunt messages: first, we could not care less about your loss of human lives, freedoms and dignity, and second, “We set the priorities, you adopt them as yours, or else we cut funding” (“The priorities of the European Union are not ours,” MWC News, 18 July 2011).
Atoning for the Holocaust?
This leads most sober Palestinians to conclude that the Holocaust-guilt-ridden European establishment wishes to wash its hands of its genocide against European Jews, among others, by imposing on the Palestinian people an unjust “peaceful” settlement of this essentially colonial conflict that would leave Israel with almost full control over the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and over the Palestinians’ economy, most fertile lands, water aquifers, borders and their very destiny.
Most crucially, such a funder-driven, unjust political settlement would perpetuate Israel’s denial of the basic rights of the great majority of the Palestinian people, those in exile as well as in Israel. Foremost among those rights is the inalienable right to participate in exercising self determination. It has been declared by the UN as a prerequisite for any nation under colonial rule to enjoy the full set of rights, political, cultural, economic and other fundamental rights.
Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular were effectively forced to pay the price for a genocidal crime that they had no role in, and are now being bribed to accept injustice as fate, so that this dark chapter in Western history can finally reach closure.
But Europe’s collusion with Israel is too intricate to reduce to sheer Holocaust guilt. Economic interest, US influence, Islamophobia, the prevalence of a security mentality and the corresponding growth of the military-security industry, are all very relevant factors, too, in understanding this relationship.
Ever coveting artificially low-priced energy resources and open access to a large, under-developed, structurally dependent market, various Western powers, after all, were the ones who played the most important role in establishing and nourishing Israel as a colonial outpost in the region. Today, the EU’s governments and institutions continue to support Israel economically, diplomatically, academically and politically to maintain its domination and their interests.
A translated version of this article will be published as a preface to the forthcoming French-language edition of David Cronin’s book Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation.
*Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian human rights activist. He is a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israeli (PACBI).
New York, NY, … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged political candidates and their supporters to “stop invoking and trivializing the Holocaust,” after a South Carolina Democratic Party official compared Gov. Nikki Haley to Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun, becoming the third party official in as many days to offer up a Nazi-related reference in a political context.
Earlier today, South Carolina State Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian reportedly evoked Eva Braun when discussing Gov. Nikki Haley’s press briefing from a basement studio at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Harpootlian was quoted as saying, “She was down in the bunker a la Eva Braun.”
“This analogy to Eva Braun only serves to trivialize the Holocaust and is deeply offensive to Jews and other survivors, as well as those Americans who fought valiantly against the Nazis in World War II,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. “I have said this repeatedly, but it bears repeating again that inappropriate Holocaust analogies simply have no place in politics. The Holocaust and Hitler should not be part of the discussion over which party is best equipped to lead this country for the next four years. Politicians and their supporters and surrogates should stop invoking Hitler and trivializing the memory of the six million and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust.”
Earlier this week, the League wrote a letter to the California Democratic Chairman after he compared GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s speech to the Republic National Convention to the big lie promoted by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. According to reports, a similar sentiment was echoed by the president of the Kansas Democratic Labor Committee.
Netanyahu says, You also refused to bomb Auschwitz
Netanyahu holding letters between the World Jewish Congress and the US War Department in 1944(Photo: Cliff Owen/AP)
Hopefully, a lot will be written about Benjamin Netanyahu’s angry and defiant speech to AIPAC last night, and about how the Israel P.M., who was flanked by two heavyset guards with clipped hair and shiny suits, sought to rally the Israel lobby against President Obama.
“Amazingly, some people refuse to acknowledge that Iran’s goal is to develop nuclear weapons. You see, Iran claims that it’s enriching uranium to develop medical research. Yeah– right,” Netanyahu said and went on to envision an ICBM headed your way and suggested you tell yourself it is filled with medical supplies.
The speech was notable for Netanyahu likening the Iranians to Nazis, and Iran’s nuclear program to Auschwitz.
“I will never allow my people to live in the shadow of annihilation,” he said. And: “Some commentators would have you believe that stopping Iran from getting the bomb is more dangerous [than allowing Iran to get one.]”
Then Netanyahu got out copies of two letters he said he keeps in his desk, between the World Jewish Congress and the War Department in 1944, when the WJC called on the United States to bomb the extermination camp at Auschwitz, and the War Department refused. The letters are below. The refusal included the argument that attacking the camp might unleash even more “vindictive” behavior.
“Think about that,” Netanyahu said. “Even more vindictive than the Holocaust!”
The John McCloy letter he read from is widely cited among American Jews as a coded statement of anti-Semitism at the highest level of American society at that time. I grew up hearing about McCloy. The suggestion was clear: America didn’t act the last time either. The New York Times is reporting that Obama told Netanyahu that Israel’s war talk had already caused gas prices to go up.
Netanyahu added that 1944 is not 2012, but the difference is that there is now a Jewish state that will take action to save Jews and preserve the Jewish future. “Never again will the Jewish people be supplicants for our very survival,” he said.
We must ask ourselves, What are Netanyahu’s real aims? Is he trivializing the Holocaust for political ends: in order to knock Obama out of the White House or gain an advantage over a regional competitor? Already Israel has gotten crippling sanctions against Iran, and Obama is promising to do more, and the Republican presidential candidates even more than that. A highly effective politician, Netanyahu has us right where he wants us.
Here are the letters, from PBS:
WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS
August 9, 1944
Hon. John J. McCloy
Under Secretary of War
My dear Mr. Secretary:
I beg to submit to your consideration the following excerpt from a message which we received under date of July 29 from Mr. Ernest Frischer of the Czechoslovak State Council through the War Refugee Board:
“I believe that destruction of gas chambers and crematoria in Oswiecim by bombing would have a certain effect now. Germans are now exhuming and burning corpses in an effort to conceal their crimes. This could be prevented by destruction of crematoria and then Germans might possibly stop further mass exterminations especially since so little time is left to them. Bombing of railway communications in this same area would also be of importance and of military interest.”
A. Leon Kubowitzki
Head, Rescue Department
14 August 1944
Dear Mr. Kubowitski:
I refer to your letter of August 9 in which you request consideration of a proposal made by Mr. Ernest Frischer that certain installations and railroad centers be bombed.
The War Department had been approached by the War Refugee Board, which raised the question of the practicability of this suggestion. After a study it became apparent that such an operation could be executed only by the diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations elsewhere and would in any case be of such doubtful efficacy that it would not warrant the use of our resources. There has been considerable opinion to the effect that such an effort, even if practicable, might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans.
The War Department fully appreciates the humanitarian motives which promoted the suggested operation, but for the reasons stated above it has not been felt that it can or should be undertaken, at least at this time.
John J. McCloy
Assistant Secretary of War
July 29, 2010 at 15:52 (Collective Punishment, Ethnic Cleansing, fascism, Hasbara, History, Holocaust, Illegal Evictions, Illegal Settlements, Israel, Land Theft, Occupation, Palestine, zionist harassment)
The above were taken in nazi occupied Poland during the holocaust….. (IN 1938)
Israeli National Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said two Jewish families entered the Old City home “based on documents claiming that they owned the property.” He described the eviction as proceeding without incident.
After the families entered the homes, police requested the documents upon which the eviction was carried out, and according to Rosenfeld they were being “examined by police to determine whether they are accurate or not.”
If the police deem the documents to be valid, he explained, they would be transferred to Israeli courts.
Fatah official for Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdel Qader told Ma’an Radio on Thursday afternoon the the documents presented to police were fake. He said that the families who entered the homes were part of a Jewish group that lost a lawsuit in 1996, wherein they sought to take over the same home but failed to sufficiently prove ownership.
Palestinian defendants proved to an Israseli court that the home was owned by Kamal Handal and rented by Qarsh family, Abdel Qader said.
“This armed burglary is considered an attack on a Palestinian home and will not pass silently,” he official added.
Evicted family members gathered at the home on Thursday afternoon, and were shortly thereafter joined by ten or more settlers, all hoping to gain access to the home. Israeli police stationed outside the building prevented both residents and settlers from entering, witnesses said.
The home, two stories with 11 small family apartments, is owned by the families of Suleiman Handal, rented by Kamal Qarsh and located in the As-Sa’dieh neighborhood near the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Three of the apartments housed families, totaling 50 residents. It was not immediately clear how many were taken out of the home. According to Fatah Revolutionary Council Member Demitri Delani, many of the women and children refused to be evicted and remained in their homes with barricaded doors.
By noon, Rosenfeld said he believed there were no Palestinians in the home.
Delani said the settlers now occupy five homes, and he fears the building could be taken over as a settler Yeshiva explaining that the building was a school before 1967, after which it was converted into apartments.
We already have Jewish Zionists and Christian Zionists. We certainly don’t need to have Muslim-Zionists as well.
We must not accept holocaust propaganda in our schools
Commentary by Khalid Amayreh
Commemorating one holocaust while effecting another
By Khalid Amayreh
This is the holocaust-carnival season in Israel, or more correctly, the premier annual hasbara event of using the tragic events of World War II to attract sympathy, blackmail the world, and especially divert attention from Israel’s ongoing holocaust against the Palestinian people.
This year, like in every year, more crocodile tears are shed, more hypocrisy is displayed, and more lies are fabricated.
It is a time for the outpouring of lies, including obscene lies, wild-exaggerations, and a surplus of sanctimony and self-righteousness as well as the usual hysterical cries of “Never-again.”
This year, we have been affronted with wide-mouthed Zionist leaders from New York to Tel Aviv, who lie as often as they breathe oxygen, insulting humanity with the same despicable rituals.
And the tacit but clear message remains unchanged, namely that the world has no right to criticize Israel or even prevent her from doing to the Palestinians what Adolph Hitler reportedly did or tried to do to the Jews.
Of course, Jews, like anyone else, have a legitimate right to commemorate the Jewish victims of the Second World War, but they have absolutely no right to manipulate the memory of Hitler’s victims in order to torment and commit a virtual holocaust against another people, the Palestinians.
In fact, doing so, using the memory of Jews who perished at the hands of the Third Reich to justify the attempted destruction by Israel of the Palestinian people, is the worst possible act of identification with and commemoration of these victims.
Yet, this is exactly what Israel is doing, which really makes many people around the world ask questions about the morality of using the holocaust as an industry or even a virtual religion to justify decidedly criminal policies against a people that has been and continues to be on the receiving end of Zionism’s Nazi-like savagery ever since the creation of the evil entity.
This year, the focus has been shifted to Iran as one Zionist leader after the other kept claiming that Iran was about to exterminate Jews worldwide.
The pornographic mendacity would give the impression that Israel which possesses 200-300 nuclear warheads, and is in tight control of US politics and policies, is facing an imminent, mortal, and existential threat of annihilation when in fact a threat of this nature is a million times more unlikely than the occurrence of a collision of a huge meteor coming from outer-space with our planet, say in the next 24 hours.
Benyamin Netanyahu, the pathologically mendacious prime minister of the Nazi-like entity, has also been claiming that Muslims worldwide are inciting against Jews and that anti-Semitism is alive and well thanks to this incitement.
Well, what are Muslims, and for that matter all honest human beings, including many conscientious Jews who wouldn’t sell their souls to the Zionist devil, what are they supposed to do when they watch the emulators of Hitler rain white Phosphorus and huge deadly bombs on civilian neighborhoods in Gaza? Are they supposed to gleefully shout bravo Israel!!!?
Are the people of the world supposed to celebrate and glorify Israeli war criminals that have on their criminal hands incalculable tons of innocent blood?
Interestingly, the holocaust commemorating rituals this year are coinciding with several Zionist crimes which really refute the Zionist claim to sanctimony and victimhood.
On Sunday, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli Wehrmacht, erroneously named the Israeli Defense Forces, issued military orders that would enable it to deport tens of thousands of Palestinian from their homes in the West Bank.
The paper didn’t reveal the destination to which the would-be deportees would be deported or whether the explicitly criminal measure was part of a new policy of Lebensraum aimed at ethnically cleansing more Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.
Nonetheless, the refusal of Israeli officials and leaders to comment on, let alone deny the report, throws a big question mark as to the real trends inside the Israeli coalition government, which includes influential Judeo-Nazi parties advocating genocide and ethnic cleansing against non-Jews in occupied Palestine.
More to the point, the marking of the holocaust anniversary coincides with the continuation of the Israeli policy of strangling the Gaza Strip by barring the entry of essential consumer goods to the blockaded territory.
According to the Israeli press, Israel allows no more than 70 items of commodities and consumer products to enter Gaza, with more than 500 other commodities barred for unknown reasons, probably having to do with classical Zionist sadism and cannibalism.
Israel claims the harsh measures are intended to make life hard for Hamas. However, it is crystal clear that the people who suffer most are ordinary families who have nothing to do with the politics of the region.
Of course, it is futile to appeal to Israel’s (or even to the Israelis’) sense of humanity. After all, a government that orders the extermination and incineration of thousands of innocent civilians by White Phosphorus and other agents of death has no sense of humanity or justice.
It is a government that is as callous and as nefarious as the Third Reich whose victims are cynically being manipulated by Israel for political reasons. The same thing can be said about most Israelis who just contented themselves with basking in their sickening gleefulness and morbid apathy while the smell of the burned flesh of Gaza children was wafting all over Israel.
Zionist apologists cry out hysterically like mad dogs whenever Israeli criminality is compared to Nazi criminality. In fact, the Nazis would have learned much from their yet-to-be born Israeli emulators had it not been for the sequence of time.
The Nazis did it too dramatically, too bluntly, too unscrupulously and too outrageously, thus inviting the rage and wrath of much of the world.
Israel, on the other hand, is trying to destroy the Palestinian people, step-by-step while making sure to desensitize the world’s public opinion.
Sometime, as in Gaza last year, the Judeo-Nazi establishment goes too far in provoking the world. However, Israel’s reliance on an infinitely-whoring international order, led by the United States, always gives the Satanic Zionist entity the assurance and protection needed to shield her not only from possible retribution but also from condemnation as well. (See, for example, how the Goldstone report has been neutralized and rendered nearly irrelevant, thanks to America’s diabolic intervention on Israel’s behalf).
I really don’t know for sure if an all-out physical Zionist holocaust against the Palestinian people is inevitable. However, I have no doubt that such an all-out genocidal onslaught would be possible if the present nefarious mentality in Israel continued to prevail. Another conducive factor, which would encourage the criminal Zionist leadership to “go all the way”, is the persistence of America’s criminal immorality toward the Palestinian plight. After all, the U.S. has been the ultimate tormentor of the Palestinian people if only by allowing Israel and its agents on American soil to manipulate America’s weight and immense resources in order to expedite Zionism’s Satanic goals, including stealing more Palestinian land and endangering the survival of the Palestinians as a people living on their ancestral homeland.
A third factor is the continuation of the scandalous collective impotence of Arab regimes and their inability to deter the mad Zionist dog.
Never the less, an all out Zionist holocaust against the Palestinian people would most likely trigger events that might very well end up with the total or semi-total destruction and obliteration of Israel.
Needless to say, in their overwhelming insolence and megalomaniac arrogance of power, the Zionists may not pay attention to this deterministic aspect of history.
Israeli hypocrisy this Holocaust Remembrance Day
Before you read the following post, please read this one …. THE FORGOTTEN CHILD OF THE HOLOCAUST
The second quote ‘Never Again’ has also lost meaning…. never again to whom? If we look at the suffering of the holocaust victims in the death camps of Eastern Europe… we see the same suffering in the death camp known as the Gaza Strip today. The quote does not go … Never again, EXCEPT…. it’s Never Again! Yet it is happening again…. by the very people that coined the phrase in the first place.
March 23, 2010 at 10:37 (DesertPeace Editorial, Ethnic Cleansing, Extremism, Gaza, Hasbara, History, Holocaust, Holocaust denial, Illegal Settlements, Intolerance, Israel, Nakba, Palestine, Refugee Camps, United Nations, zionist harassment)
|By Khalid Amayreh
Journalist — Occupied Palestine
|it is a moral obligation upon humanity to oppose Zionism and Israel with the same vigor and same determination the world demonstrated in the face of Nazism.|
Whenever Israel’s image suffers a setback, mainly because of its manifestly criminal treatment of the Palestinians, Israel invokes the holocaust. Israel does not openly link the Nazi-like brutality meted out to the Palestinians to the holocaust.
However, the implied message in highlighting holocaust commemorations is inescapable.
The message is that what Germany did to European Jewry in the course of World War II justifies whatever Israel has done and is doing to the Palestinians.
In other words, the perpetration of one holocaust by Germany against Jews should allow Zionist Jews — Israel— to carry out another holocaust against the Palestinians.
These seem to be the unspoken words of Zionist leaders. In the final analysis, their actions speak louder than their denials.
A few years ago, prior to the deadly Israeli onslaught against the Gaza Strip, Elie Wiesel argued that the world had no right to criticize Israel no matter what Israel did.
“I support Israel, period. I identify with Israel, period. I never attack, I never criticize Israel, and the world has no right to criticize Israel.”
While in Poland recently to mark the “Holocaust Remembrance Day”, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu tried to blackmail humanity into supporting Israeli criminality against the Palestinian people and other peoples of the Middle East.
He claimed that the international community had an obligation to defend and protect Israel as if this nuclear-armed state, which also effectively controls the politics and policies of the only superpower in the world, the United States, were seriously under threat by foreign predators and needed immediate protection.
However, what Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders really wanted to say was that the world should turn a blind eye to the unmitigated brutality and repression to which the helpless Palestinians are constantly subjected by the Israeli army, the Wehrmacht of our time.
In short, Israel’s ultimate goal behind the exaggerated and never- ending regurgitation of holocaust rituals is not really to remind humanity of the extent to which man can be cruel to his fellow man.
Rather, it is to obtain a license, or even a carte blanch, to torment and savage the Palestinians, destroy their homes, steal their land, and expel them to the four winds.
As victims of Jewish Nazism for over sixty years, we, the Palestinians, have no objection to remind the world of one of the greatest crimes committed by man against his fellow man. The Nazis, after all, were enemies of humanity and their crimes are outstanding in the annals of history.
However, it should be perfectly clear that the Nazis were evil, not because their crimes targeted Jews, among other peoples.
Their actions were evil, because they were simply evil, and even if six million non-Jews had been killed instead of the six million Jews we are told were killed, the nefariousness of the Nazi crimes would not have been any lesser.
This means that anyone or any people behaving in Nazi-like manner should be compared to the Nazis. In the final analysis, when Jews think, behave, and act like Nazis, as demonstrated in Gaza last year, they should not be spared the Nazi epithet no matter how long and how hard the Netanyahus, Wiesels, Liebermans, and Pipes of the world keep barking.
We are supposed to be living in a moral universe, and as such, none under the sun, “chosen” or otherwise, should be entitled to a special treatment based on ethnic or religious supremacy.
I understand why some Western countries, like Germany are reluctant to call the spade a spade when it comes to the Jewish terror.
However, as consistent recipients of Israeli criminality for decades, we Palestinians should not hesitate to compare what Zionist Jews are doing to us with whatever the Aryan Nazis did in Europe during the World War II.
If the world, especially the West, raises its eyebrows in disgust or disbelief, we must ignore its reactions with the contempt they deserve.
Instead, we should challenge them to come and visit Gaza and the West Bank and see for themselves. This is of course if they dare to face the brutal ugliness of their misbegotten brat.
The issue goes far beyond the size and magnitude of violence and terror here and there. After all, we do not claim that what Israel is doing to the Palestinians is a carbon copy of what the Third Reich did during that World War II in which more than 50 million people were killed.
However, there are shocking similarities between what happened then and what is happening now.
Take, for example, the recurrent pogroms carried out by the para-military Jewish terrorists, otherwise known as settlers, against helpless and unprotected Palestinians in the West Bank.
These thugs carry out all sorts of lynching and assaults on unarmed civilians, including elderly Palestinians, nearly on a daily basis and often in the full view of the Israeli army. The Israeli society watches these crimes rather passively as if what is happening were perfectly acceptable.
The Judo-Nazi Thugs
Now, what is the difference between this and what the Hitler Youth Movement and other Nazi thugs were doing against Jews in the mid and late 1930s which eventually culminated in the Kristallnacht in November, 1938?
A few days ago, David Grossman, a noted Israeli writer and intellectual, spoke about the callousness with which the Israeli Jewish society is treating with settler terror and violence against the Palestinians.
“Sometimes,” he said “it is not possible to sit and be silent. Settlers and the political right aided by the government, the legal system, and economic powers abuse the Palestinians in 1,001 different ways.”
In addition, one could note the manifestly criminal act of taking over people’s homes, land, farms, and vineyards in the name of Jewish nationalism. Is this much different from the Nazi concept of lebensraum?
Germans argued that they needed a breathing space; and the Jews are arguing that “well, Jews have got to live somewhere.”!
When the Judo-Nazi thugs run out of arguments, they simply claim that “Jews are sons of kings, and non-Jews are animals.”
Israel has no right to use the memory of those who perished during the holocaust to justify decidedly criminal acts that differ little in substance from what the Nazis did. Yes, the magnitude is different, but the substance, the mentality, the maliciousness, and nefariousness are the same.
It is true that Palestinians are not being gassed in ovens. However, they are being systematically killed by other means and incinerated by White Phosphorus, as was the case in Gaza last year.
More to the point, we should always remember that the holocaust itself did not really start with Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen and other death camps, for in fact these were ultimate “effects” rather than “causes.”
The real causes had materialized much earlier with the malignant metastasizing of Aryan racism, the kind of which the world is now witnessing permeating throughout Israel.
Now, it is not unusual to see an Israeli settler murders an innocent Palestinian and then claims proudly that “I felt I was slaughtering an animal not a human being.”!
Furthermore, happy-go-lucky rabbis gleefully issue religious edicts permitting the cold-blooded killing of all non-Jews, including babies, on the ground that these babies might pose a threat to Jews when they grow up!
I do not know if 90 percent of Germans supported the holocaust. Yet, I do know that up to 90 percent of Israeli Jews have supported the atrocities in Gaza last year when the Israeli army and its air force were raining death on unprotected civilians, killing, maiming, and incinerating thousands of innocent people.
Likewise, I do not know why most Jews feel no shame when their “soldiers” create fire storms over Gaza, causing the death of multitudes of innocent people. Do they feel empowered? Virile? Or perhaps feel they are vicariously avenging the holocaust 65 years later?
Well, Israeli soldiers who murder innocent civilians knowingly and deliberately are not really soldiers.
They are thugs, hoodlums, and common criminals that ought to stand trial for their evil deeds. They are no different from the German (and non-German) soldiers who committed crimes against humanity during the World War II.
The Israeli hasbara establishment, the most important organ in the Israeli government, wrongly thinks that all these scandalous crimes can be whitewashed through PR action, such as throwing the holocaust in the face of the world or highlighting a propagandistic act, such as the recent rescue mission that Israel dispatched to Haiti.
Nevertheless, as Gideon Levy, a prescient Israeli journalist, argues, no amount of PR lies or speeches will be able to extinguish the flames of shame created by Israel’s criminal campaign against a thoroughly starved and thoroughly beleaguered people.
“It will not help much,” argued Levy. “International Holocaust Remembrance Day has passed, the speeches will soon be forgotten, and the depressing every-day reality will remain, and Israel will not come out looking good, even after the PR campaign.”
He is right. An irredeemable child killer is undoubtedly an irredeemable child killer, and it does not get himself rehabilitated if he helps an old lady mowing her lawn as he returns home from one of his murderous crimes.
Night Without End
Today in every junior high school in America, students read Anne Frank, while in every high school Elie Wiesel’s “Night” is requisite reading. Wiesel is the man who says brazenly that he identifies with Israeli crimes and barbarianism and that he could not bring himself to say bad things about Israel.
The victims of the first Kristallnacht enjoy the world’s approbation and sympathy, while at the same time having succeeded in demonizing an entire people, for whom Kristallnacht still remains a night without end.
However, unlike the German national socialists, Jewish national socialists are falsifying history and reality to justify their crimes against humanity.
The holocaust narrative, which has been elevated to the status of a religion, allows Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, to invoke the mantra of “never again” while it sits on Arab lands stolen from Ein Karem, and overlooking the unmarked graves of the Palestinians massacred by Judeo-Nazi terrorists at Dir Yasin.
The same holocaust industry allows Israel to build a “museum of tolerance” right on top of the Mamanullah cemetery where thousands of Muslims are buried. You see, there is no limit to the brutal ugliness of the Zionist mentality.
It is really sad that most Jews are now finding themselves in the shoes of their former oppressors, knowingly and consciously.
On August 23, 1947, nearly one year before Israel’s birth, Harry Truman wrote the following to Eleanor Roosevelt, apparently in the wake of another Zionist atrocity in Palestine:
“I fear very much that the Jews are like all underdogs. When they get on the top they are just as intolerant and cruel as the people were to them when they were underneath. I regret this situation very much because my sympathy has always been on their side.”
In light of Israel’s Nazi-like behavior in occupied Palestine, it is really hard to view Truman’s prophetic words with indifference. In fact, it is a moral obligation upon humanity to oppose Zionism and Israel with the same vigor and same determination the world demonstrated in the face of Nazism.
Israel uses holocaust memory to effect own holocaust against Palestinians
By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Writing in the Ha’aretz newspaper on Thursday, 28 January, under the title “holocaust remembrance is a boon for Israeli propaganda,” the noted Israeli journalist Gideon Levy accused Israel of employing the holocaust memory as a Public Relations gimmick to divert attention from the savagery and brutality meted out to the Palestinians.
“When the world is talking Goldstone, we talk Holocaust, as if out to blur the impression. When the world talks occupation, we’ll talk Iran as if we wanted them to forget.”
But Levy, like many other conscientious observers, know this won’t help the Israeli goal of making the world forget the Palestinians, or more specifically what Israel has done and is doing to them.
“It won’t help much. Inter national Holocaust Remembrance has passed, the speeches will soon be forgotten, and the depressing everyday reality will remain. Israel will not come out looking good, even after the PR campaign”
To be sure, Levy is not against marking the Holocaust day. In fact, he insists that it is an incomparable event. And it may well be so.
However, he reminds the Israeli establishment that “a thousand speeches against anti-Semitism will not extinguish the flames ignited by Operation Cast Lead, flames that threaten not only Israel but the entire Jewish world.”
He adds: “As long as evil is rampant here at home, neither the world nor we will be able to accept our preaching to others, even if they deserve it.”
This introduction is necessary to understand the Satanic game Zionism and its numerous propaganda outlets are playing in order to divert attention from the genocidal brutality Israel is carrying out against the Palestinian people.
Today, Jewish-Zionist circles are leaving no stone unturned in order to immortalize the holocaust, not so much to warn the world against the recurrence of such an abomination, but rather to obtain from the world a tacit permission to destroy the Palestinian people either in one fell swoop or step by step.
What else explains all this propaganda about the holocaust while the Israeli state and its para-military thugs, otherwise known as settlers, keep up tormenting and savaging the Palestinian people, destroying their homes, stealing their land and denying them access to food and work?
In so doing, Israel and its hasbara doctors not only are displaying spasmodic sensitivity toward any comparisons between the German holocaust and the quasi-holocaust being carried out against the Palestinian people, but are also using every opportunity to divert attention from Israeli atrocities in places like the Gaza Strip.
In recent days, the Israeli hasbara machine utilized to the fullest the highly-propagandistic rescue mission Israel sent to Haiti in an effort to make the world forget what Israel did to the people of the Gaza Strip last year.
But that won’t erase the ugliness from Israel’s face.
A child killer’s ugly face will remains ugly even if dressed in a boy-scout’s uniform. An Israeli soldier who murdered babies in Gaza several months ago shall not be transformed into a charitable figure just because he took part in efforts to rescue Haitians from under the quake rubble. A murderer remains a murderer even if he, on his way home, helped an elderly lady mow her lawn.
In the final analysis, honest and intelligent people just wouldn’t take it. A country that uses F-16 fighters to rain death on school children and prevents milk from reaching babies in order to make them die by way of starvation is a criminal country even if it dispatches rescuers to Haiti where the propaganda teams are filmed rescuing a few victims from under the rubble. It is always difficult to thank people for doing a favor which they never meant to do in the first place.
Zionism has two main goals behind its obsession with the holocaust, an obsession that has been elevated to the level of a religion: First, there is the declared goal, namely to keep the memory of the holocaust alive and to remind the world of what happened to European Jewry at the hands of the Third Reich more than 60 years ago.
This is a legitimate goal as humanity must learn from its tragic mistakes in order not to repeat them. We study the day before yesterday in order to understand yesterday and we study yesterday in order not to spoil our tomorrow.
The second but undeclared goal behind this holocaust religion is to justify Zionism, a racist ideology that eventually bred a gigantic crime against humanity called Israel. In the final analysis, Israel embodies an evil desire to annihilate the Palestinian people and steal their ancestral homeland. And when the Palestinians cry out for justice and humanity, we see and hear the dogs of Zionism shout “holocaust, Auschwitz , Hitler!!”
Last year, the Israeli army and air force rained death on Gaza for three uninterrupted weeks. Warplanes dropped bombs on unprotected civilians throughout the small enclave. Heavy artillery bombarded homes, schools, hospitals, mosques and public buildings, creating a massive carnage. White Phosphoric fire storms raged over Gaza, incinerating numerous civilians. People fleeing for their lives and carrying white flags were systematically gunned down by Israeli army snipers. This happened as army rabbis were encouraging soldiers to murder men, women and children because this is the way to endear themselves to God.!!
There is no doubt that the massive killings and pornographic destruction in Gaza last year was a genocidal act comparable to what was happening during the holocaust. The world shouldn’t raise its eyebrows when such comparisons are made.
After all, the attempted annihilation of European Jewry didn’t begin with Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen. It started much earlier with comparatively innocuous things in the early 1930s. And then in 1938, there was the Kirstallnacht, a pre-taste of which the Palestinian people have been and are experiencing at the hands of the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the holocaust.
In short, the holocaust started with very much the type of things Israel is doing to the Palestinians these days. The unmitigated attempted killing and starving of Gaza are merely an epitome of a larger picture which shows the systematic Nazi-like savagery and brutality to which most Palestinians are being subjected.
Palestinians are not claiming that Israel is gassing Palestinians en mass. However, Israel is occasionally murdering Palestinian en mass by bombing their homes and denying them access to food and essential consumer products. Israel is murdering Palestinians by denying them access to health care abroad or in the West Bank.
Israel denies that its treatment of Palestinians is reaching Nazi proportions. Well, then how can we describe the Gaza Strip which has been morphed into a huge concentration camp?
Besides, must the level of Israeli Nazism be equal to that of German Nazism in order sound alarm bells and alert the world that Jews are going wild? And who says that the Palestinian victims of Israeli brutality must reach 6,000,000 in order to grant Palestinians a hearing before the world’s court?
The holocaust was nefarious not because many of the victims were Jewish. (millions of non-Jews were killed during the WWII). It was diabolical because innocent human beings were killed unjustly. The horrendous killings wouldn’t have been less evil had the victims been non-Jewish and their number a few million less.
The world must make every conceivable effort to prevent the recurrence of genocides and massacres and destructive wars. And one of the key ways to do that is to prevent Israel from using the holocaust to bully the world to keep silent in the face of Israel’s genocidal crimes against the Palestinians.
Yes, the holocaust was evil, but it must never be used as an excuse for tormenting and savaging the Palestinian people and trying to destroy their national existence which they have earned in spite of history.
Indeed, if the world allows Israel to strangulate the Palestinians, starve Gaza by transforming it into an updated version of the Warsaw Ghetto, then the world will be transforming itself into a human jungle, a jungle that is far worse than a real animal jungle.
Mohammed Barakeh will be the only Arab in a contingent of Israeli parliamentarians and government ministers, including Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, at Auschwitz to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the camp’s liberation.
Barakeh has reported receiving a spate of hate mail, including a death threat, since he was invited to the remembrance service by the speaker of the parliament, or Knesset, over the opposition of many right-wing politicians.
Among Israel’s Arab population, meanwhile, commentators and public figures have argued that his involvement in a delegation dominated by rightwing politicians sends the wrong message, especially after Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip a year ago, in which hundreds of Palestinian women and children were killed.
“I have every sympathy with the Jewish people for their horrific suffering in the Holocaust,” said Awad Abdel Fattah, the secretary general of the National Democratic Assembly party.
“But Mohammed Barakeh is participating in a delegation that wants to use the Holocaust as a way to win sympathy not for the Jewish victims but for an Israeli occupation and Zionist settler project that come at the expense of the Palestinian people.”
Barakeh, the leader of the Communist Party, the only joint Jewish-Arab faction in the Knesset, has defended his decision, even while admitting that his involvement can be exploited by Israeli officials.
This month he walked out of a lecture at Yad Vashem, the main Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, after accusing the speaker of blaming modern anti-Semitism on Arabs and left-wingers who opposed Israeli policies.
On Monday Benjamin Netanyahu struck a similar note in an address at Yad Vashem: “There is an evil that can spread and threaten the security of Jews. We know that this just begins with Jews, and then continues on to the rest of the world. There are today new people who hate Jews, with new reasons for [wanting] the destruction of the Jewish state.”
Over the past few weeks a group of right-wing legislators, led by Danny Danon, a member of Mr Netanyahu’s Likud Party, have lobbied unsuccessfully to have Barakeh barred from the commemoration. Danon told a Knesset committee: “Do we want this man representing us at such an important and sensitive ceremony?”
Barakeh, one of 10 Arabs in non-Zionist parties in the 120-member parliament, is reviled by many Israeli Jews because of his opposition to what he calls “racist” government policies, both towards Palestinians under occupation and towards the fifth of Israel’s citizens who are Arab.
A death threat sent to his office this month referred to Arabs as “trash” and contained his photograph with a swastika drawn on his forehead.
A senior member of the Communist Party said in an interview that several of Barakeh’s colleagues questioned him in private over his decision, accusing him of attending with “war criminals.”
Abir Kopty, a Nazareth city councilor in Barakeh’s party, admitted she had doubts. “But after seeing how his participation has shaken up the right wing, I can see there is a positive side. It is important that his attendance at the ceremony challenges the preconceptions and racist attitudes of many Israeli Jews.”
She added that his visit would have a special effect given his image among Israeli Jews as an “extremist.” In December he was charged with using threats and violence against police at four demonstrations since 2005, an indictment he has called “political persecution.”
Barakeh said: “It is my duty to be anywhere I can to demonstrate my very clear position against all forms of racism and genocide. The lesson of the Holocaust, a great tragedy for humanity and the Jews especially, must be that there can be no room for such crimes.”
He added that, although he would join a candlelight march through Auschwitz, he would not take part in symposiums to avoid any danger of colluding with Israeli attempts to manipulate the occasion.
Barakeh’s attendance was backed last week by Ahmed Tibi, an Arab legislator with a rival party.
Other Arab public figures in Israel have been critical. In a commentary, Zuheir Androus, editor of a newspaper in Galilee, reminded Barakeh that his family came from Saffuriya, a Palestinian village close to Nazareth that was ethnically cleansed during the Nakba, the Palestinian name for the 1948 war that founded Israel.
He wrote: “We should be asking Barakeh why he needs to take part in an official Israeli Knesset delegation to the death camp, while other [legislators] in the delegation prevent us, Arab Palestinians, from mentioning the 1948 Nakba.”
Israeli legislators have been seeking to outlaw commemorations of the Nakba.
Abdel Fattah said that, while it was compulsory for Arab children to learn about the Holocaust, the Nakba was excluded from the curriculum in both Arab and Jewish schools.
“The demand from Israel that we recognise Jewish suffering in the Holocaust while we are required to deny our own people?s suffering in the Nakba is just another form of loyalty test,” he said. Far-right parties in the government have proposed that Arab citizens be required to take a loyalty oath or perform national service.
“Barakeh should remember that Israel wants to reshape our political and national identity and is using the Holocaust to do that.”
But Nazir Majali, a journalist who helped to organise a trip of 260 Arabs and Jews to Auschwitz in 2003, at the height of the second intifada, called Barakeh “courageous.” He said the barriers of mutual suspicion between Arabs and Jews needed to be breached.
A poll conducted by Haifa University in the wake of Israel’s attack on Gaza showed that 40% of Israel’s Arab citizens believed that the Holocaust had not happened, up from 28% three years earlier.
Majali said of his own visit to Auschwitz: “I did it for myself, my people and my children, not for the Jews. I don’t expect something back from them because I participated. If it helps them to look at me a bit differently afterwards, that’s great too but it’s now why it was important I went.”
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are ?Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East? (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website iswww.jkcook.net.
Then and Now
Last month I visited the Old Country for the first time. Poland. Land of my grandmother and grandfather, burial ground of countless unknown relatives. For six days, I wandered the country, and for six days I marinated in a deep nostalgia for a Jewish past I have never lived but have always felt far more connected to than, say, the Zionist-dominated present.
In one particularly moving episode, I walked the still-cobblestoned street where my grandfather walked as a boy, a narrow lane of Bialystok called Czysta Street where he, his parents, and eight siblings all lived [old homestead is pictured, below].
In another, I celebrated, cake and all, what would have been my great-grandparents’ 118th wedding anniversary. I visited the synagogue in Tykocin where one of my great grandfathers might have prayed. And I roamed the overgrown cemeteries of Warsaw and Bialystok, wondering which of my relatives were buried there, marveling at the tangled breadth of what once was, mourning its loss, and puzzling over why, if we’re going to insist on having some kind of a “homeland,” so many Jews demand that it be Israel when it so clearly should be Poland. Poland, land of latkes and bialys. Poland shel zahav.
This, of course, isn’t the reaction you’re “supposed” to have. In the popular Zionist narrative, the Old Country – and the unspeakably murderous brutality that Jews suffered there – is the (non-Biblical) justification for the state of Israel. It’s the narrative stepping-stone that gets people from anti-Semitism to Eretz Yisrael, from colonization to justification, and a whole industry of books, teen tours, and UJA-style delegations has sprouted up to help cement the connection.
And yet, when I returned from my trip and one of my more Zionist relatives asked the inevitable question – “So now you understand why Jews need Israel, right?” – I still couldn’t say “yes.” For me, the Old Country opened up a very different set of narratives.
Let’s start with some basic facts. Jews have a long history in the sprawling eastern European basin that is and has been Poland. Some say this history stretches back over 1000 years, and almost all agree that there have been bona fide Jewish settlements in Polish lands since at least the 11th Century. These Jews seem to have come, at least initially, from the wilds of Western Europe, driven by the rabid Jesus-freakery of the crusaders into the relatively tolerant arms of the emerging Polish kingdom (and the word “relative” really does need to be emphasized). It was hardly a picnic, but Poland’s comparative merits meant that Jews kept coming for decades and then centuries. By the mid-16th Century, as much as 75 percent of the world’s Jews on Polish soil, and by the eve of the Holocaust, Poland was home to the largest Jewish population in Europe. My own grandfather’s shtetl-town was a solid 70 percent Jewish in 1939; my grandmother’s town, Warsaw, was one-third Jewish. And as of 1998, it was estimated that more than three out of four American Jews could trace at least once grandparent to pre-Nazi Poland.
As one of these three-out-of-four American Jews, I can attest to the enduring power of my Old Country roots. My childhood was Roman Vishniac photographs and The Fools of Chelm (along, oddly, with unhealthy doses of WASPy Victorianism courtesy of my all-girl private school). It was Yiddish-accented great-aunts and uncles who’d never managed to slough their Bialystoker ticks. It was an ethos of always needing to prepare for the worst – for famine, plague, or pogroms – despite obvious security and plenty. And it was stories, lots and lots of stories, of my grandpa Harry, né Osher, a small man who barely reached 5’ 4”,who had little more than an eighth grade education but amply made up for it with sechel and chutzpa, who was generous to a fault, and who believed, profoundly, that the fate suffered by Europe’s Jews meant that you did everything possible to prevent other people from suffering the same thing.
Or, put differently, if I have any cultural proclivities at all other than those of the deracinated modern-day American, they clearly belong to the Yiddishe world of Jewish Poland – not the aggressive, militarized one of modern Israel.
This sense persisted – pecked at me, really – throughout my Polish sojourn, and by the time I was half way through the trip I’d begun to nurture a stubbornly-elaborate fantasy: rather than settling in Israel, Jews had instead migrated en masse to the Polish Old Country where they re-claimed their homes, land, synagogues, and streets. What’s more, these Jews were joined in my imagination by Romany, gay folks, all the “undesirables” of the Nazi regime along with any other oppressed and dispossessed. After all, wouldn’t that have been a far more just resolution and rebuke to the powers of European racism and brutality – creating a refuge for the persecuted right in the bastards’ back yards – than creating a distant Jewish nation on Palestinian soil? Than repeating the war’s dark lessons of nationalism? And let’s be honest, if there was a land to which Jews had a legitimate, strong connection, wouldn’t it have been the one where the majority (though not all) had spent hundreds upon hundreds of years?
No doubt any Zionists or ultra-religious folk who might happen to be reading this are probably frothing at the mouth right about now, yanking at their beard hairs. “You’re romanticizing the Old Country!” they’ll shout (even as they romanticize Israel). “The Bible makes no mention of the land surrounding the Vistula and beyond,” they’ll cry. And then they’ll accuse me of the greatest crime of all: of failing to understand the lessons of the Holocaust, of shrugging off centuries of hate.
In fact, I would argue that it’s just the opposite (though, if we’re talking guilt, I will cop in this instance to a certain regrettable Ashkenazi-centrism, though I’d also like to think this is more polemical than actual).
Like most Jewish kids of a certain time and place, I grew up with the Holocaust as a kind of cosmic microwave background, glowing radioactive in the distance. From the time I was tiny, I could recite many of the essential, horrendous details the way some young Jews can recite Talmud: six million, Hitler, Mengele, Auschwitz, Einsatzgruppen, gas chamber, death march, Final Solution. And now, having actually had the chance to visit Poland, I suspect I’ll never fully recover from the sucker-punch of the experience: from Auschwitz, Treblinka [where the author is pictured below], and the utter obliteration of an entire way of life. The Nazis (with later help from the Poles and the Communists) really did do a smash-up job of erasing a whole culture. Where there were once homes, synagogues, and artisans’ shops there are now parks, churches, and ruins. Where there were once towns full of families, there are now mass graves. And where Yiddish music and theater once thrived there is now, as we discovered one distressing afternoon in Tykocin, the Polish equivalent of minstrel shows: young Varsovians dressed as if they’d raided the wardrobe department of Fiddler on the Roof – in peyos, tzitzit, black vests, and caps – doing the sorriest wedding-dance I’d ever seen.
But far from freeing me to embrace Israel, this just made me more disturbed – more ragingly angry, frankly – by what Israel has done, and continues to do, to Palestinians. Again and again, as I stared at the remnants of ghetto walls, I wondered, baffled, how a people that was forced to live – and die – behind walls could force another people to live – and die – behind walls? Or how these same people who were pushed from their homes could push another people from their homes? Or force them to cross checkpoints, carry I.D., waste from hunger, dig tunnels to get food, and die at the blunt end of an Israeli missile? These are things I simply cannot understand. And as powerfully as I felt them before going to Poland, I feel them more powerfully now.
So in an attempt to re-wire the discourse just a bit, I would like to reclaim the Old Country from the jaws of Zionism. Instead of tours that whisk young people from Auschwitz to Israel, I would like to see trips that go from the Warsaw ghetto to the Jabaliya refugee camp. In place of a Jewish mainstream that looks only – and mistakenly – to Israel for its identity, I would like to see Jews who reach across time and space, to old countries and new countries, for a sense of who they are – and might be. But above all, if I can’t see an all-inclusive Yiddishe utopia resurrected in Poland, I would at least like to see the true lessons of “never again” enshrined in a single, consummately-inclusive Israeli-Palestinian state – a state that serves, through its unparalleled openness and respect for the rights of all its residents, as a true rebuke to the forces of hatred and genocide. I’ll admit that I don’t know exactly how to make it happen; policy often eludes me. But I do know that every reality begins with the notion of its possibility.
This originally appeared at Mondoweiss
Crossposted at Ibn Ezra
Anniversary of Hiroshima
An estimated 140,000 died from the immediate effects of this bomb and tens of thousands more died in subsequent years from burns and other injuries, and radiation-related illnesses. Pres. Harry Truman ordered the use of the weapon in hopes of avoiding an invasion of Japan to end the war, and the presumed casualties likely to be suffered by invading American troops.The weapon, “Little Boy,” was delivered by a B-29 Superfortress nicknamed the Enola Gay, based on the island of Tinian, and piloted by Col. Paul W. Tibbets.
The Day the Sun Rose Twice
As if that wasn’t enough…..
On August 9, 1945