April 25, 2017

In Blog News

The Holocaust for Daily Use

Jews were murdered in the Holocaust because they were Jews. Not so that a state would be established that day after day keeps proving the anti-Zionists right

Amira Hass

Apr 24, 2017 3:18 AM

After the Palestinians, Israel has other victims: the Jews who perished in the Nazi murder industry.

They are the victims of exploitation, exhibitionism and extortion – all to justify the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homeland. And as the expulsion was not fully successful, to justify their forced concentration in disconnected enclaves and bombardments of the enclosed Gaza camp and of Lebanon and the killing of many thousands.

Our dead have no way to object. The still-living survivors of the Nazis and many relatives of the victims believe that Israel honors the memory of the murdered. The vast majority keep silent in the face of its actions. My parents, who did not keep quiet, died 16 and 20 years ago.

So violent and persistent is the exploitation of these victims that the Palestinians and their supporters tend to deny or minimize the Nazi murder machine. A Palestinian friend once explained to me: Because Israel lied so much regarding the Nakba and the Palestinians who lived here before their catastrophe, it was natural for the Palestinians to conclude that it also made up the murder of the Jewish people. To conclude that Israel lied and then exploited this lie to justify the expulsion of the Palestinian people. Or at the very least exaggerated. Palestinians believe that perhaps a hundred thousand were murdered. Maximum, one million. Surely not six million. And so the Jews who perished are also erased.

As a result of the commercialization that Israel carries out with the history of the Jewish people, opponents of Israel or its policies, including leftists inside and outside of Israel, tend to deny the magnitude of the killing and repression during the brief period of the Third Reich. Just 12 years into which were compressed practices of murder, conquest and racial superiority, nation-states, capitalist profit-making, bureaucratic rationalism, irrational motives and purist ideologies developed by Europe over centuries of colonialist expansion.

And then the victims are scolded because millions of victims of slavery and colonialism have been forgotten, and reminded that the Palestinians are not responsible for their deaths. This is a natural response to Israel’s dubious success in dubbing the Jewish genocide the most awful thing in human history. Natural but not justified: because the correct response to manipulations is to keep on seeing all the dimensions.

Israel’s opponents vie with the hierarchy of victimhood it created. The first genocide committed by Germany was against the Herero and Nama people in Africa. And Stalin murdered just as many people within the Soviet empire. And let’s not forget Leopold II of Belgium and the 10 million killed in Congo. Or the African slaves in America. The gypsies and homosexuals. All true, and utterly horrifying. But none of this negates the fact that all Jews were the target of an elaborate and calculated murder program. This program was partially realized and by methods that defy imagination.

This is a historic fact. Not a statement asking for retroactive solidarity, pity or justification of the Nakba. Germany’s Third Reich and its murder industry are part of the historic background and context of Israel’s founding. Not only Sykes-Picot, the Balfour Declaration, imperialism and Zionism. Also part of the historic context is the refusal by nations of the world to let in Jewish refugees when they still had the possibility of fleeing.

True, Zionism, as a colonizing movement that drew inspiration from European colonialism and its contempt for native non-white peoples, arose prior to the Third Reich. But up until the Jewish genocide, only a minority of Jews chose Zionism as a solution to the problem of anti-Semitism and persecution in Europe, or for the way it presented itself as a national liberation movement.

They had other solutions, in the diaspora where they chose to remain, despite the traditional religious affinity to the Holy Land. These options included immigration, assimilation, cultural autonomy (the Bund in Poland, traditionalism in the Arab countries), the socialist and communist movements.

Could Israel have been established without the masses of Jewish refugees who had nowhere to go after 1945 (for one thing because they were not welcomed with open arms back to their countries of birth)? Could Israel have come into being without the UN vote, and without the enormous sums received from Germany? Devout Zionists, on the one hand, and Palestinians and devout anti-Zionists on the other do meet at one point: They think Israel is a linear result of Zionism, the realization of an ideology. The latter view it as a terrible plot, with a policy today that is a direct continuation of the ethnic cleansing of 1948, which was planned long before that. The former believe it is a just, noble movement, and that the Jewish genocide is further proof of its justness, though not the reason for the state’s establishment.

I personally think Israel could not have come into existence without the Nazi murder industry. My Aunt Serafina and her husband and son were taken from their home in Sarajevo, and perished somewhere unknown. My grandfather Yakov Michael died alone, in hiding in Sarajevo. My grandmother Rivka Atias and my Aunt Rosa were taken from their home in Belgrade. I’d always thought they died in Auschwitz, but then a few years ago I heard that the Nazis had evidently loaded them and other Jews onto trucks, with the exhaust pumping inward, that drove back and forth near the Belgrade airport.

They and all the other Jews were murdered because they were Jews. Not so that a state would be established that day after day keeps proving the anti-Zionists right.