Trivializing the Holocaust charge

holocaustgarb
Orthodox children wearing outfits intended to invoke the Holocaust during a rally in Jerusalem, Dec. 31, 2011. (Photo: AP/Bernat Armangue)

Shortly after reading the ”Trivializing the anti-Semitism charge” post on Mondoweiss today, I came across this new Daily Beast article about the Israeli habit of trivializing the Holocaust. The article stems from the recent ultra-Orthodox rallies in Jerusalem which mimicked and exploited iconic Holocaust imagery to protest “an effort by secular Israelis to roll back gender segregation on some bus lines and in certain neighborhoods—a dispute that has surged in recent weeks.”

The article’s author, Dan Ephron, writes that “even as Israel zealously guards the memory of the genocide, many Israelis invoke it frivolously in a manner that can seem shocking to outsiders and might even be illegal in some countries (the EU has a provision against trivializing the Holocaust, as do several European countries individually).”

The litany of “misuses” of Holocaust analogies and references is familiar:

In its more benign form, Israelis might talk about the 1967 line that divides Israel and the West Bank as “the Auschwitz border,” or equate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Adolf Hitler. Bauer recalls that during Israel’s Lebanon war in 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin famously likened the blockade against PLO leader Yasir Arafat in Beirut to the siege on Hitler’s bunker near the end of World War II.

That Ephron uses the word “benign” to describe these ridiculous comparisons is either proof of his own trivialization of the very thing he is seeking to sanctify or, more likely, evidence that he just doesn’t know the definition of the word “benign” (kindly, generous, gentle, benevolent). Surely, a benign reading of Ephron’s word choice would be to assume he meant “banal” instead (i.e. commonplace, mundane, trite, bromidic, clichéd).

He continues,

…it’s not uncommon to hear Israelis refer to other Israelis as Nazis as well. Jewish settlers regularly use the term against Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, as when troops are sent to dismantle unauthorized outposts. The late Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a well-known left-wing intellectual, once described settlers as “Judeo-Nazis.” Israeli traffic cops occasionally complain they’re called Nazis by the motorists they pull over.

Holocaust historian and Yad Vashem academic adviser Yehuda Bauer explains, “People in Israel misuse the Holocaust in politics and other areas all the time,” lamenting, “The comparisons tend to dilute the real significance of the Holocaust.”

Still, the comparisons abound. Just today, a new headline at Ha’aretz reveals that Israeli Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman has “a very hostile attitude toward the media, reportedly calling Haaretz ‘Der Sturmer’ – the Nazis’ propaganda paper.”

After quoting the ever-inane Abe Foxman and describing a new effort in the Knesset to enact anti-trivialization legislation, Ephron ends with another quote from Bauer:

“Israel is a traumatized society that is thrown back onto the trauma all the time,” he tells The Daily Beast. “When a society is traumatized like that, any opponent or perceived enemy is immediately equalized with the worst enemy Israel ever had.”

Read that again. There are two important aspects of Bauer’s observation.

First is the unassailable truth that the idea of perpetual and singular victimhood pervades Jewish Israeli society (and perhaps the American and European Jewish communities at large).

Peter Beinart, in his much-discussed 2010 New York Review of Books article, noted “In the world of AIPAC, the Holocaust analogies never stop, and their message is always the same: Jews are licensed by their victimhood to worry only about themselves.”

Last year, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu used a nearly identical formulation is his speech to an obsequious U.S. Congress. “As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously,” he bellowed. “We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.”

As this writer has pointed out before, Netanyahu’s turn of phrase is ironic considering the title of former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg’s 2008 book, “The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes,” in which Burg exposes the purpose of playing the victim. “Victimhood sets you free,” he writes.

Furthermore, over thirty years ago, in 1980, Israeli journalist Boaz Evron put it another way: “If we assume the world hates us and persecutes us, we feel exempted from the need to be accountable for our actions towards it.”

Though Bauer, as quoted in Ephron’s article, suggests that Israel is “thrown back onto trauma all the time,” Israeli professor and historian Avi Shlaim addressed that particular formulation almost exactly three years ago as Israeli bombs, bullets, and white phosphorous tore Gaza and hundreds of Palestinian men, women, and children to shreds. He wrote in The Guardian:

As always, mighty Israel claims to be the victim of Palestinian aggression but the sheer asymmetry of power between the two sides leaves little room for doubt as to who is the real victim. This is indeed a conflict between David and Goliath but the Biblical image has been inverted – a small and defenceless Palestinian David faces a heavily armed, merciless and overbearing Israeli Goliath. The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. In Hebrew this is known as the syndrome of bokhim ve-yorim, “crying and shooting”.

Seven months before that, in May 2008, Uri Avnery observed that

the Palestinians are suffering from several cruel strokes of fate: The people that oppress them claim for themselves the crown of ultimate victimhood. The whole world sympathizes with the Israelis because the Jews were the victims of the most horrific crime of the Western world. That creates a strange situation: the oppressor is more popular than the victim. Anyone who supports the Palestinians is automatically suspected of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

The second interesting aspect of Bauer’s concluding quote is that the Nazis, who were in power from 1933 to 1945, are described as “the worst enemy Israel ever had.” Israel was founded in 1948. Bauer is clearly – though perhaps unconsciously – equating “Israel” with “Jews” and utilizes his own Holocaust reference to reconstruct history and erase Palestinian existence altogether.

In so doing, Bauer conforms his worldview to the epitome of Netanyahu’s Zionist chauvinism: Israel is a “Jewish State” that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust, rather than one built – violently, colonially, and deliberately – atop the ruins of Palestine.

About Nima Shirazi

Nima Shirazi is co-editor of the Iran, Iraq and Turkey pages for the online magazine Muftah. His political analysis can be found on his blog, WideAsleepinAmerica.com, where this post first appeared. Follow him on Twitter @WideAsleepNima.
Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | Tagged

{ 39 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Those who have not see this video have to see it.
    Part of the “Defamation” movie in which mr Norman Finkelstein addreses the topic of Israel using Holocaust/Nazi/Hitler dogmas , when they deem it necessary.

  2. Dan Crowther says:

    Kid on the left to the kid on the right: This sucks, I hate when my dad makes me wear this shit
    Kid on the right: Just be cool, not too much longer
    Kid on the left: What are we, mascots?
    Kid on the right: Umm, well its either we sit here or go home and clean our rooms
    Kid on the left: Good point, but still
    Kid on the right: Well, its either we live here and have to dress like this every so often, or we move back to Detroit.
    Kid on the left: F That!
    Kid on the right: Agreed

  3. eljay says:

    >> “We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again.”

    “We are a nation that has used the Holocaust to justify all manner of immorality and injustice against those whom we have terrorized, oppressed, cleansed, tortured and killed. When we say never again, we mean ‘never again to us only’. F*ck the Palestinians.”

    So much for Bibi’s journey of enlightened self-inquiry and refinement.

    • Daniel Rich says:

      Hi ejay,

      Q: We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust.

      R: So much for Herzl’s late 19th century work… [you know, way before 'The Great War,' WWII and 55,000,000 dead individuals].

  4. There was a big outrage in Israeli secular world over those orthodox kids dressed as concentration camp prisoners with yellow star on top.
    “It was an overusage of Holocaust symbols, improper, and not neccesarry, yada yada,ya”
    Only Zionists have the right to use Holocaust religion dogmas whenever and wherever they want.
    Many of the Haredi Jews don’t really hold the State of Israel in a huge esteem.
    It looks like they are becoming for Zionists a big , painful thorn in their behinds.
    “A chosen by God nation”, who starts to fight openly with its most devout believers.
    So now it looks like God have chosen even more of the chosen people among already chosen people.
    Gosh, this is confusing.

    • john h says:

      So now it looks like God have chosen even more of the chosen people among already chosen people.
      Gosh, this is confusing.

      Not really, being chosen is actually our choice rather than God doing it apart from us.

      We become chosen by our recognition of God, and our choice of continuing to do that on our life journey, with all that that means.

      That was the basic message and warning of John the Baptist:

      Bear fruit that signifies a change of allegience,
      And don’t presume to say to yourselves,
      ‘We have Abraham as our father’;
      For I tell you, God is able from these stones
      To raise up children to Abraham.

      Matthew 3:8-9

      It is not our physical lineage but our spiritual lineage. And it always was.

      • Every ancient people created their god or gods who then, understandably, chose them (what else could one expect?). What separated Jews from the other self–ooops, god chosen peoples, is that they wrote a book about and later sold the movie rights to….other Jews.

    • split says:

      ‘There was a big outrage in Israeli secular world over those orthodox kids dressed as concentration camp prisoners with yellow star on top’ ,…

      Hipocrytes !!!

      It doesn’t bother them watching their government and holocaust industry milking the third generation of Germans that got nothing to do with nazis.

  5. There is this joke that actually has a lot of wisdom in it.

    Tsar raised the taxes for his peasants ,and then he sent informers to check on people’s reactions.
    ” Oh almighty tsar, they cry and complain”, said the informers.
    “Good” said tsar. “I will raise the taxes even more” .And he did.
    And after that he sent, again, informers to see what the reactions of people would be.
    “Oh ,your Highness they wail, howl, pull their hair out of their heads”.
    “Good”, said tsar. “I will raise taxes once again.” And he did.
    Informers went to check on the public again. They came back and said : “people/peasants are laughing, they are just laughing” .
    “Oh ,that’s bad, that’s very bad ” said tsar. ” I will lower the taxes”.

    Moral of the story??????
    Once you pull the strings too much ,people will start laughing, joke, crack up because this is what they have left.
    Israel is reaching the point that it is becoming a laughing stock for the the whole world.
    The Holocaust is being “trivialized” because it became the ideological/propaganda weapon, the tool to shut/gag people up.
    And I’m not even taking about a “Holocaust shakedown” (“Holocaust Industry” by Norman Finkelstein.)
    It hasn’t become a moral lesson for many, but a way to force their supremacists /racists demands, and then justify them with a “oh, poor, traumitized victim” status.

  6. Sin Nombre says:

    First you laugh, but then…

    A long time ago—months and months I think—on this blog I posted a comment just idly observing the asymmetry of the rhetoric that exists with anything concerning Israel, and while certainly saying that I don’t believe in the extremism of same, wondered about just how much progress the … genteel side, so to speak, could really make by being responsible and limiting its rhetoric.

    The arabs talk about “the jews,” that is, and they get called “anti-semites” if not “Nazis” for being so broad. Or Americans get called “anti-semites” similarly at the drop of a hat, including limiting themselves to only talking of “Israel” or “Zionism.” Look at what Walt and Mearsheimer got when talking not even of any “jewish” lobby but the “Israel Lobby”: Indeed they even got further whacked for *capitalizing* the word “lobby” there. And of course nobody (or very few) go around calling AIPAC folks “traitors” or what they do as “treasonous” or describe them as a “Fifth Column” or etc. and so forth.

    I.e., nobody on the *other* side of the issue using the kind of provocative language that, sadly, works in terms of getting people fired up, mad, outraged and etc. You say an AIPACer is wrong, that’s one thing. Nobody notices. You start calling ‘em “traitors” or in a “Treason Lobby” and I suspect you’ll start getting some hard-core support.

    Well anyway in dropping the last of my pearls of wisdom there I observed that if the Palestinians played by the same rules as the Israelis and their partisans, en masse, especially in peaceful protests and rallies filmed for news around the world, and including their spokespeople and etc., what they’d start to do is … you guessed it … wearing yellow stars.

    I would indeed laugh, except for the fact that extremist language has been so effective and the cause of inciting so much death and terror in the past.

  7. john h says:

    That was so to the point, so well put together Nima, kudos.

  8. Bandolero says:

    “the worst enemy Israel ever had”

    There is a third point to be made to this claim of zionists like Bauer and Ephron, one that’s rarely mentioned in zionist history books. The point is, that that statement totally misrepresents the historical relation of the Zionist movement to Hitler and the Nazi movement.

    The zionist Rabbi Joachim Prinz explained the relationship in 1937:

    Everyone in Germany knew that only the Zionists could responsibly represent the Jews in dealings with the Nazi government. We all felt sure that one day the government would arrange a round table conference with the Jews, at which – after the riots and atrocities of the revolution had passed – the new status of German Jewry could be considered. The government announced very solemnly that there was no country in the world which tried to solve the Jewish problem as seriously as did Germany. Solution of the Jewish question? It was our Zionist dream! We never denied the existence of the Jewish question! Dissimilation? It was our own appeal!

    Source:

    link to marxists.de

    To me that statement doesn’t sound like enmity. It sound more like Nazis and Zionists were allies with a common ideology of blood and soil and persuing a common goal – make the German jews emigrate to Palestine. Both movements, the Zionists and the Nazis, regarded anti-Semitism as something hepfull in this regard. And so it happened: the Nazis have forbidden all non-Zioist jewish organisations and newspapers in Germany to empower the zionist movement in the German jewish organisations, the Zionist movement signed a transfer agreement with the Nazis.

    So, that was in the early years of he Nazi reign over Germany. But then, in the 40s the Nazis committed the crime of the holocaust. So, what was the zionist reaction to this unimaginable horific crime of their former Nazi allies against the jews hich did not emigrate to Palestine?

    Rabbi Michael Ber Weismandel asks ten questions – here are the first three of them:

    #

    IS IT TRUE that in 1941 and again in 1942, the German Gestapo offered all European Jews transit to Spain, if they would relinquish all their property in Germany and Occupied France; on condition that:
    a) none of the deportees travel from Spain to Palestine; and
    b) all the deportees be transported from Spain to the USA or British colonies, and there to remain; with entry visas to be arranged by the Jews living there; and
    c) $1000.00 ransom for each family to be furnished by the Agency, payable upon the arrival of the family at the Spanish border at the rate of 1000 families daily.
    #

    IS IT TRUE that the Zionist leaders in Switzerland and Turkey received this offer with the clear understanding that the exclusion of Palestine as a destination for the deportees was based on an agreement between the Gestapo and the Mufti.
    #

    IS IT TRUE that the answer of the Zionist leaders was negative, with the following comments:
    a) ONLY Palestine would be considered as a destination for the deportees.
    b) The European Jews must accede to suffering and death greater in measure than the other nations, in order that the victorious allies agree to a “Jewish State” at the end of the war.
    c) No ransom will be paid

    Source:

    link to jewsnotzionists.org

    To make more clear what happened back then let Rabbi Michael Ber Weismandel explain a letter the Jewish Rescue Committee in Czechoslovakia received from the Zionist “Jewish” Agency Executive Officers in Switzerland, in a time were the hoocaust ws in full swing:

    The Zionist agent “diplomat” comes to Czechoslovakia and says ‘Now is a very critical time. But comparatively speaking, it is not at all critical for you trapped Jews. For there is an emergency of far greater proportions; namely, BINYAN HA-ARETZ (the prize of Modinat Yisrael). Shed your blood cheerfully, for your blood is cheap. But for your blood, the Land (of Israel) will be ours!

    link to nkusa.org

    Leaders of the Zionist movement didn’t want to rescue jews from the holocaust as much as they could because they intended to use the holocaust as a pretext for founding Israel. And that’s what happened.

    And while this part of history was virtually erased from zionist textbooks of history, the anti-zionist jews know it very well. Their rabbis saw catastrophic consequences coming out of the zionist movement more then hundred years ago, but were not able to stop it. And now they see again catastrophic consequences coming out of the zionist movement.

    And they ty to stop it by all peaceful means – even if it means to send their children protesting on the streets with yellow stars attached. They have got my deepest respect.

  9. pabelmont says:

    “When a society is traumatized like that, any opponent or perceived enemy is immediately equalized with the worst enemy Israel ever had.” So that explains WHY some Jews want to label other Jews (or Israel) with Holocaust and Nazi labels. And if the others don’t like the misuse of the terms? Well, then their feelings are too delicate, so too bad for them!

    BUT IF anti-Zionists from outside Israel use Nazi and Holocaust words to describe the war of 1948 and the permanent occupation, then we go too far! Why? Because Israelis’ tender feelings are hurt!, too bad for them, sorry, too bad for us.

    Everybody is privileged (w.r.t. Nazi language) except the Palestinians and their friends.

  10. Charon says:

    link to forward.com

    When ‘Anti-Semitism’ Is Abused
    Disagreeing With Israel Doesn’t Make One a Bigot
    By Sarah Wildman

    That is why when anti-Semitism is falsely applied, we must also stand up and decry it as defamation, as character assault, as unjust. That is why when we debase the term by using it as a rhetorical conceit against those with whom we disagree on policy matters, we have sullied our own promises to our grandparents. For if we dilute the term, if we render the label meaningless, defanged, we have failed ourselves, our legacy, our ancestors, our children.

    By no means a perfect article, Palestinians barely get a mention:

    When we take apart a speech about anti-Semitism by one of our ambassadors who has, through observation and analysis, come to the reasoned conclusion that the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and the failure of the peace process, has an impact on Jewish communities abroad, we should not call for his resignation. Instead, we must acknowledge that when Israel takes an action against the Palestinians — whether we agree with that action or not — the action may, and often does, reverberate elsewhere. But we cannot call those who acknowledge these things anti-Semitic. We can call that an uncomfortable truth.

  11. john h says:

    Dr. Hajo Meyer, Holocaust survivor, on its misuse:

    link to youtube.com
    link to youtube.com

  12. The picture is offensive.

    I would appreciate if you made the kind choice to exclude it. Its not necessary.

    You have a headline that on the surface seems to object to the trivialization of the holocaust, and then you do it.

    Please take it down.

    • Dan Crowther says:

      Shouldn’t you be upset with the people who ACTUALLY DRESSED THEIR KIDS THIS WAY??

      MW is definitely NOT the first site or publication to use the picture….

      • I am offended by the original use, and of this use of the original use.

        Do we need to offend? Can’t sensitivity be a component of journalism?

        • Bumblebye says:

          RW
          Is the action of using children dressed in these holocaust clothes offensive?
          Is the use of holocaust imagery to claim persecution offensive?
          There are plenty of pictures – even on FailedMessiah – of children so dressed surrounded by their grinning fathers/brothers/cousins etc. Those weren’t chosen here. Just the one punctuated with the blue neon “OY”.

        • Mooser says:

          “Can’t sensitivity be a component of journalism?”

          Richard, anybody who is offended by this picture is free to go to your blog, where this picture is not displayed. Why don’t you give us a link, and start an exodus?
          But wow, if some enterprising sportswear company wants to jump on a trend, I know exactly what I will be giving my friend’s kids next Hanukkah.

          Witty, for God’s sake, see your doctor. Sure, they said the aluminum cookware was perfectly safe, but there’s got to be a reason for your reasoning.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Do we need to offend?”

          Sometimes, yes. Because sometimes those who might be willing to brush the issue under the rug might not do so if they are offended.

          “Can’t sensitivity be a component of journalism?

          Sometimes, but not always. Sometimes the needs of journalism — such as presenting evidence of exactly what these people are doing — takes precident over any sensitivity that people might have.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      Richard,

      You are wrong. The issue here is those people, there, in Israel, trivilizing the Holocaust. Posting this photo here does nothing more than illustrate the level of that trivilization, and no amount of description can match the level of impact that a photograph can have.

    • marc b. says:

      you miss the point as usual, witty. the picture is not offensive: what is being done in the picture is offensive.

      • I didn’t miss any point. Don’t be so naive.

        The pictures are still offensive. They are unnecessary and therefore gratuitous.

        That Nima is presenting them for an essentially demeaning political argument, adds to the offense.

        Its been argued ad nauseum in defense of Norman Finkelstein’s “The Holocaust Industry”, that unwittingly has given room to repost and repost offensive visuals, as if they are some original political statement.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          ” They are unnecessary and therefore gratuitous.”

          They are very necessary. I, for one, was not aware that these freaks abused their children in this way, with these costumes. I was under the impression that they merely put stars on themselves.

          “That Nima is presenting them for an essentially demeaning political argument, adds to the offense.”

          It seems to me that you are most upset that someone is taking a critical position of the use of holocaust references in political contexts by Jews.

        • I’m offended by the pictures, simple.

          The use of grosteque images to foment anger is a theme that this site should oppose, not practice.

        • marc b. says:

          Don’t be so naive.

          thanks for that, witty. there is nothing that inflates my ego more than being condescended to by the ignorant.

          The pictures are still offensive.

          the photograph simply, accurately depicts a public event. there is no valid journalistic basis for its removal. you don’t approve of its publication because of the natural, objective conclusion drawn from it; namely that the event was coordinated to exploit the memory of the holocaust for political purposes, and more particularly because it illustrates the immorality of these children’s parents.

          That Nima is presenting them for an essentially demeaning political argument, adds to the offense.

          wrong. the picture is an illustration of nima’s two-fold point that cynical, ritual regurgitation of the holocaust defiles the history of that tragedy, and sanctions the persecution of the palestinians and amoral treatment of any potential enemy of the people, which, not so curiously, means nearly every single human on the planet. as for nima’s sarcastic tone, for example correcting ephron’s bad english, i’m all for grinding enemies into dust, metaphorically speaking.

          Its been argued ad nauseum in defense of Norman Finkelstein’s “The Holocaust Industry”, that unwittingly has given room to repost and repost offensive visuals, as if they are some original political statement.

          that’s just nonsense. if finkelstein’s argument was no longer relevant, then you might have a point. but it is still relevant, as this article shows. every post here doesn’t have to open up an original political topic. if fact, that’s an impossible standard since there are no political events completely independent of past events.

        • This is the second article on the event on this site.

          At this point it is gratuitous, made for Nima’s political purpose.

          I had this argument on another blog, where Norman Finkelstein pointed out a single use of fictional exageration of a holocaust story, which a reader used to conclude that ALL holocaust description was opportunistic and false propaganda, then proceeded to repeat the gruesome story over and over and over, for political purposes.

          The same person then started collecting nazi propaganda against Jews, and posting dozens of demeaning pictures on the blog, then started posting dozens of references to holocaust “researchers” to prove that the actual holocaust was “different” than the popular story.

          If you or Nima Shirazi believes that it is immoral to use the holocaust for current political ends, then the ethical thing to do is to not do it himself.

          A journalist is a surgeon, or a soldier, (professionally willing to see blood and gore) responsible to collect and maybe describe otherwise morally repugnant material, without judgment, to support the public’s right to know.

          What happens when a journalist selects blood and gore, otherwise morally repugnant material, for their partisan political purpose.

          Is that morally repugnant? Or, just making an argument?

    • Citizen says:

      What happened to “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Yes, pics can be misleading, but they can also be directly to the point–which is the case here. Merely reading about how Zionists use the Shoah memory and their own innocent kids to claim righteousness in their thieving and oppressing cause is not the same in power as the picture here in question.

  13. Froggy says:

    Crazy thought for the day:

    I have no idea what uniform they made my grandfather wear when he was in Dachau. It has never occurred to me to think about it. It wasn’t a Star of David. It wouldn’t have been, because my grandfather was a devout French Catholic.

    I can’t ask him. He’s dead.

    So I rang his sister, my great-aunt, Tante Lolo up in Landivisiau. She’s ninety. ‘What kind of crazy question is THAT?’ she shrieked, not in French, but in Breton (so I knew she was really, really irritated at my question). ‘Go make dinner for your children, AND DON’T THINK SO MUCH.’ ~SLAM~

    Nobody can trivialise the atrocities of WW2. Dignity lies with the victims. We can only make fools of ourselves.

  14. edward says:

    Israel reminds me of a story about the wise men of Chelm.

    What if one day it happened that no non-Jew could dictate to the wise men ? So the Goyim are neutralized. That would be nice. But what happens next ? Would the fabulist really expect all Jewish inhabitants to share this power peacefully with each other for all time ?

    Zionism is a dream of unlimited power in a limited area. Every knee must bend and so on. It’s not really a political philosophy, an attempt to balance legitimate interests. It’s more messianic – do this one thing (establish the state) and goodness will result. And it did not. Many toes will be stepped on, not excluding those of Jews.

  15. PilgrimSoul says:

    The rightwing leaders and political class of Israel have followed a policy of constant reiteration of the Nazi Holocaust for political reasons, to make good soldiers. Even more tragic is that they want young Jews to base their identity on “the worst trauma in human experience,” because they want to use that trauma—that is why these trips to Auschwitz are encouraged so intensively in Israel’s schools. Adolescents hardly able to comprehend their own bodies, much less the rise of fascism in Europe, are the subjects of the indoctrination—because they are so young, they are far more likely to be traumatized by the Holocaust if they are forced to think about it, which means the state can use their disorientation to indoctrinate them.

    There are plenty of government apparatchiks present on these little jaunts to Auschwitz, to show the teenagers how to make sense of Auschwitz. And what they tell them is that Auschwitz could very well happen again, if they aren’t willing to join the army and do what the state tells them to do. The only way to live in a world with Auschwitz is to become a loyal, unquestioning citizen-soldier of Israel. Otherwise you are a traitor to the tribe as defined by Likudnik Zionism. The aggression of religious nationalism is multiplied exponentially by identification with past trauma.

    Israel will reiterate the trauma of the Holocaust to insist, repeatedly and insistently, that the world hates them because they are Jews, that Jews can trust nobody, and that anyone that criticize Israel is an anti-Semite. To survive, they must defeat Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular, whom the Liked government portrays as simple continuations of the Nazi menace without any kind of self-interest or intentionality whatsoever—they are evil golem that exist solely to hate Jews. (Pity the poor Palestinians that must go through check-points manned by teenage soldiers indoctrinated at Auschwitz on these little all-expense-paid expeditions to the European heart of darkness.)

    These kids are not just being conditioned for war. They are being conditioned for something much worse. By constantly reiterating a the past trauma, the Israeli political class has created a trauma bond to the past. This causes young people to identify with the violence of the Holocaust, and to internalize it. And this kind of aggression operates out of a victimology so powerful that a person indoctrinated in this way will feel like the victim while hurting others–the essential posture of the sociopath, who always feels like he is the victim despite the manner in which his crimes devastate other human lives.

  16. Clif Brown says:

    Self righteousness is one of the great dangers of life. It is so comforting and excuses anything in the mind of the holder.

    In Christianity, Jesus exemplifies innocence that is punished. We are told that because of his complete innocence vs the total guilt (evil) that opposed it, the result of the opposition was cosmic – enough to make up for all the sins of mankind from the beginning of time.

    That is one heck of a lot of righteousness, ready made for those who wanted/want to latch on to it to make themselves righteous or, better said, to make them self-righteous. One can comfortably get behind Jesus in this way that is antithetical to everything attributed to him.

    So off to get the Christ-killers people went, filled with hatred but convinced they were acting with a pure, the purest possible, motive!

    We all tend to wear a wolf’s clothing while seeing ourselves as the most innocent of sheep. One can bellow about Christ, but that is very old hat and has a very odious history that can’t be denied. Bellowing about the Holocaust is far more contemporary – the odious history of this bellowing is only now being written.

  17. split says:

    Can you still trivialize it after the holocaust industry turned it to a cash cow ?