40 Holocaust survivors condemn ‘massacre’ of Palestinians, call for BDS against Israel

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A group of Holocaust survivors and descendants of those targeted by Nazi Germany have harshly criticized Israeli actions in Gaza and called for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Following a letter from survivors of the Holocaust printed in the New York Times on Saturday, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, which helped coordinate the letter, organized a press call Monday, where some of those who signed the letter spoke out against the assault on Gaza.

Participants in the press call included Edith Bell, whose parents died in concentration camps and who was taken to four camps herself; Suzanne Weiss, whose mother was murdered in Auschwitz and who was hidden by French peasants; and Liliane Kaczerginski, whose father Schmerke was a Jewish fighter against the Nazis in Lithuania. Also joining the call were Monadel Herzallah and Hani Jamah, two Palestinians with family in Gaza who expressed appreciation at the descendants’ and survivors’ efforts.

40 survivors of the Holocaust signed the letter and 287 descendants of victims also added their names.

“I resent anybody who will use those events as an excuse to exterminate Palestinians,” said Bell, who said she survived concentration camps by “pure luck.”

The letter printed in the New York Times has garnered international media attention from the likes of the BBC and Ha’aretz. “As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine,” the letter says. “We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. ‘Never again’ must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!”

The advertisement cost $18,000. The funds were raised by some of the signatories.

“I applaud your courage for doing such a statement like that, that speaks from the heart,” said Herzallah, a member of the US Palestinian Community Network whose family was expelled from what is now Israel into Gaza. “I’m not surprised when I see these courageous statements by Holocaust survivors and their families…Our children and grandchildren will learn together in Gaza and all over Palestine that never again truly means never again for anyone.

The impetus for the letter came from Holocaust survivors and descendants of victims of the Nazis who were outraged that Israel used their histories to justify assaults on Palestinians. One of the signatories who helped organize the letter was Dr. Hajo Meyer, a German-Dutch physicist who survived Auschwitz and who died the day before the letter was printed in the Times. Meyer was an outspoken critic of Israel, telling the Electronic Intifada that he “had to quit grammar school in Bielefeld after the Kristallnacht…Therefore, I can fully identify with the Palestinian youth that are hampered in their education. And I can in no way identify with the criminals who make it impossible for Palestinian youth to be educated.”

The letter calls out Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who was the author of another advertisement that ran in the New York Times calling on Hamas to reject “child sacrifice” and casting the Israel/Palestine conflict as a “battle of civilization against barbarism.”

“Reading the Elie Wiesel ad made me literally sick to my stomach,” said Maia Ettinger, whose mother and grandmother survived the Holocaust by escaping the Warsaw ghetto. “The ad is an act of towering and transparent projection because what is barbaric is collective punishment, and what is barbaric is indiscriminate bombing.”

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network says that much of the response they have received has been positive, though there have been violent messages sent to their e-mail address. +972 Magazine’s Ami Kaufman reported that some Israelis have expressed revulsion at the letter on Facebook.

“It’s a shame Hitler didn’t finish the job,” one Israeli named Asher Solomon said, while another, Katy Morali, added that “Holocaust survivors who think like this are invited to go die in the gas chambers.”

Correction: This article originally reported 47 Holocaust survivors had signed the letter. The actual number is 40.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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11 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    August 26, 2014, 11:42 am

    What a world we live in when young Jews tell Holocaust survivors that they don’t know anything about genocide.

    • Jenin Younes
      August 26, 2014, 4:52 pm

      or suggests that they ought to have died in the gas chambers. It’s so bizarre, unbelievable and sad that they do not see the irony of their words.

    • Mooser
      August 28, 2014, 8:09 pm

      One does have to wonder if Zionism values Holocaust victims more than Holocaust survivors. One of those two have a proven value, and the others are, apparently, just old and in the way.

  2. Bumblebye
    August 26, 2014, 12:21 pm

    Wow. Just listening to the tremendous noise in Gaza at the notification of the ceasefire! Every car horn blaring, celebratory gunfire, muezzins, etc.

  3. DICKERSON3870
    August 26, 2014, 12:29 pm

    RE: “The letter calls out Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who was the author of another advertisement that ran in the New York Times calling on Hamas to reject ‘child sacrifice’ . . .” – Alex Kane

    MY COMMENT: Elie Wiesel should call on Israelis to reject ‘child sacrifice’ since some of them recently perpetrated one*. – Alex Kane

    *SEE: “Abu Khdeir murder suspect recounts grisly killing”, by Daniel K. Eisenbud, JPost.com, 8/13/2014 [EXCERPTS] Chilling testimony from the main suspect in the July 2 murder of 16-year-old east Jerusalem resident Muhammad Abu Khdeir confirmed the brutal homicide was indeed rooted in revenge for the three yeshiva students abducted and killed by Hamas operatives in June. . .

    . . . During his testimony, the alleged ringleader behind the kidnapping and subsequent torture of Abu Khdeir, said he first discussed seeking revenge following the funerals of Gil- Ad Shaer, 16, Eyal Yifrah, 19, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16.

    “We began talking about what happened, about the kidnapped youths, and decided that they needed to be avenged,” he said in his testimony.

    “I was furious at [the killers] while the entire country was silently praying.”

    According to Ben-David, the three then agreed to go on a “human hunt” for an Arab victim.

    “We planned to hurt a soul, meaning to kill… to torture him and kill him,” he told police, adding that he wanted his victim “to know that he was about to die as a sacrifice for the Jews that were murdered.”

    To that end, Ben-David testified that he filled three empty bottles with the gasoline used to burn their victim alive. . . ENTIRE ARTICLE – “http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Abu-Khdeir-murder-suspect-recounts-grisly-killing-370911

  4. MRW
    August 26, 2014, 1:17 pm

    From the letter on their site:

    “We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!”

    That’s it. This is the game-changer.

    Put this together with the New Yorker article on AIPAC released yesterday, and something has been broken.

    This is what you send to your congressmen. They’re all on recess now for another few days. Send it to the local office; I doubt there are AIPAC gatekeepers in the local offices to prevent them seeing it.

    Here are the links and labels so you don’t have to look them up:

    Letter printed in NYT , Sat, Aug. 23, 2014 – More than 350 Survivors and Descendants of Survivors and Victims of the Nazi Genocide Condemn Israel’s Assault on Gaza
    http://ijsn.net/gaza/survivors-and-descendants-letter/

    The New Yorker, Sept 1, 2014 – Are American Jews Turning Against AIPAC?
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/01/friends-israel

  5. eljay
    August 26, 2014, 8:55 pm

    “As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine,” the letter says. “We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. ‘Never again’ must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!”

    Not that I would expect “goal + methods” Zio-supremacists to understand it, but THAT, right there, is morality.

  6. Vikram
    August 27, 2014, 2:18 pm

    These people are so twisted. I am not Jewish but I have often heard of what is called a “blood libel”. I think it often refers to absurd charges that Jews would steal Christian babies for child sacrifice. Well, it seems to me that what these Israelis and pro-Israel people have been saying for decades about Palestinians forcing Israel kill their children is a form of blood libel against the Palestinians.

    It is, of course, anti-Semitism to say it about the Jews but who cares about the Palestinians.
    I think Israel is like a psychopathic serial killer, certainly that guy, Arnon Soffer is.

  7. Dan Crowther
    August 27, 2014, 9:11 pm

    Wow – well done by these folks!

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