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When the Holocaust shows up

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This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

What to do when your favorite movie star, a famous sport hero or a writer you’ve been reading all your life shows up in person standing right in front of you?

That’s what happened a few weeks ago when the most talked- and written-about event of modern history, the Holocaust, came to visit Yad Vashem, the memorial museum in Jerusalem that honors the Holocaust. So the Jerusalem Post reports when a video of that appearance was posted on YouTube a few days ago.

When the Holocaust shows up in person and starts speaking her story that you have been speaking for decades you have to be on edge. And that’s just the beginning of the story.

It was Natali Cohen Vaxberg, an Israeli actress, who personified the Holocaust in a performance that is daring, provocative and, depending on one’s interpretation, insulting.

Surprisingly, the Jerusalem Post report is quite matter-of-fact about the appearance of the Holocaust, as if nothing out of the ordinary has taken place. The report is short, to the point and carries a non-judgmental title: “Far-left Israeli actress stages provocative Holocaust monologue at Yad Vashem”:

A far-left Israeli actress known for staging politically provocative plays caused a stir yet again on Tuesday when she posted a controversial monologue on YouTube which she performed in front of the memorial for the Warsaw Ghetto fighters at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

A few weeks ago, the actress, Natali Cohen Vaxberg, arrived at Yad Vashem with camera crew in tow and two men appearing to be bodyguards. After security guards expelled her from the museum, Cohen Vaxberg, whose character in the monologue is known as “The Holocaust,” proceeded to launch into a profanity-laced diatribe that prompted passers-by to shout her down.

“I am the Holocaust, the best thing that ever happened to you!” she began her monologue. “After all of these years, I deserve a round of applause.”

Despite protestations by visitors to the museum, Cohen Vaxberg continued to make a number of statements that drew fire from right-wing critics.

“How could you justify 1948 and 1967 without me?” she said. “Who deserves credit for enabling you to place 3 million people in a ghetto without the superpowers bombing you? Do you think you could get on without me?

Has Frankenstein taken revenge on his creator? Where did you learn this from? The bigger you grew, the more your memory shrinks. Where did you learn to gather people into concentration camps on the basis of their ethnic background? I am your truth!”

In response to the video, Itamar Ben Gvir, an attorney known for his far-right activism, urged the attorney general to launch an investigation over “this cheapening of the Holocaust by left-wing activists.”

“Those on the left are not just sullying the six million who were murdered, but they are doing that to an entire country,” he wrote in a letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. “The time has come for the attorney general to wake up and indict [Cohen Vaxberg] for slander.”

Well, Cohen Vaxberg might indeed be sullying the memory of the Holocaust dead, but her personification of the Holocaust is aimed at Israel and what Israel has done with the Holocaust. She’s saying that Israel – in the oppression of the Palestinians – has already sullied the Holocaust. How could she sully it further?

Thus the title of the video – “The Holocaust Visits Yad Vashem.” Cohen Vaxberg’s appearance as the Holocaust is her attempt to reclaim the Holocaust from the museum that functions in her name – and the state of Israel who claims her as its own.

That’s why Yad Vashem was chosen for the performance. How dare Israel use the Holocaust as a sacred landmark when its actions create so much suffering in the name of the Holocaust?

The symbolism of the Holocaust appearing before the monument dedicated to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising isn’t addressed directly in performance. Is Cohen Vaxberg reclaiming the struggle of Jews before the Holocaust was used for oppressing others? Or is she using the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as a symbol for Jews to rise up against their own oppression by the state of Israel? Perhaps the Holocaust is a clarion call for a joint uprising of Jews and Palestinians against Israel’s oppressive policies.

It’s difficult to imagine such a performance outside Washington’s Holocaust Memorial Museum. I doubt an appeal to the Attorney General would be necessary. In Washington, the Holocaust would be arrested for trespassing and for disturbing the peace.

Would the Holocaust then be placed on America’s No-Fly list?

“I am the Holocaust, the best thing that ever happened to you!” the Holocaust proclaims. “How could you justify 1948 and 1967 without me?”

“What are you without me?” the Holocaust asks Israelis. And American Jews?

Without the Holocaust, Israel would have no state, no army. Israel wouldn’t have even learned how to use collective punishment against Palestinians.

In another video,  the Holocaust introduces herself to Palestinians: “Hello Palestinians. I am the Holocaust. Because of me you had the Nakba.”

Shockingly political, but then the Holocaust introduces a philosophical reflection on memory and power: “The bigger you grew, the more your memory shrinks.”

Or perhaps extended: “The bigger your memorialization of me grows, the more you abuse my memory.

The Holocaust demands a round of applause. Without her to rely on, Jews are accountable.

A security guard stands beside the Holocaust as she speaks. Irony of ironies, the Holocaust needs protection to speak her truth unmolested by those who memorialize her, arm themselves and ghettoize others in her name.

Cohen Vaxberg’s personification of the Holocaust can be understood in a variety of ways. The most obvious is as an insult to Israeli and American Jews who use Jewish suffering to justify the suffering of others. But the personification of the Holocaust can also be understood as the ancient prophetic come back to haunt the state of Israel and Jews.

Like the ancient prophets, the Holocaust cuts Jews no slack. When the Jewish prophets go internal, watch out. Nothing, especially Israel’s holy shrines, is off limits to prophetic condemnation.

In her appearance, the Holocaust is shouting.

How else will Jews hear her?

The Holocaust’s gestures are rude, her language coarse. She grabs her crotch and her breasts.

How else will Jews awaken?

Marc H. Ellis
About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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67 Responses

  1. Kay24
    Kay24 on May 2, 2014, 10:21 am

    Good performance, and she was spot on. It is due to the holocaust that Israel has been able to get away with all it’s crimes against it’s neighbors, lie, and with US support, get away with it all. The gentleman who was a holocaust survivor ended it all with his very astute take on holocaust victims now causing the next holocaust. So true.
    Thanks for posting this.

  2. marc b.
    marc b. on May 2, 2014, 10:23 am

    holy bleep.

  3. on May 2, 2014, 10:47 am

    This type of truth telling gets people killed. I applaud the ability of this young lady to see the truth through the fog of tribalism and propaganda and her immense courage.

  4. hophmi
    hophmi on May 2, 2014, 10:50 am

    “Without the Holocaust, Israel would have no state, no army.”

    That’s nonsense. Israel was well on its way to statehood before the Holocaust occurred. The Balfour Declaration was in 1917. The Peel Commission was in 1937. The Haganah began in the early 1920’s after the first Arab riots, and coalesced into the beginning of a real organized militia in response to the 1936 Intifada. The Holocaust may have sped up the international process. But it would probably have happened either way. Most people would say that the Holocaust showed exactly why Jews needed a nation of their own, but I realize such logic is difficult for people here to handle because it would mean embracing the complexity of the conflict.

    “Without her to rely on, Jews are accountable.”

    Even if the Holocaust had never occurred, the singling out of Israel on the world stage would still be ridiculous in light of all of the world’s problems, and it would still be an example of structural bigotry.

    “In her appearance, the Holocaust is shouting.”

    No, a far-left nutjob with a poor sense of right and wrong is shouting, and you are piggybacking on her trivialization of the Holocaust for political purposes.

    • talknic
      talknic on May 2, 2014, 12:25 pm

      @ hophmi “The Balfour Declaration was in 1917.”

      The Balfour Declaration mentioned a Jewish state? WOW!! Somewhere between 1917 and now someone rewrote it! AMAZING stuff Ziocaine!

      The Peel Commission was was shelved….

      “The Haganah began in the early 1920′s after the first Arab riots, and coalesced into the beginning of a real organized militia in response to the 1936 Intifada”

      Whatever fantasies you need to have

      “Most people would say that the Holocaust showed exactly why Jews needed a nation of their own” In Palestine? Dispossessing people to get it?

      “but I realize such logic is difficult for people here to handle because it would mean embracing the complexity of the conflict”

      The conflict existed BEFORE the Holocaust, still exists 70 years after the Holocaust. There’s nothing complex in Colonization.

      “Even if the Holocaust had never occurred, the singling out of Israel on the world stage would still be ridiculous in light of all of the world’s problems, and it would still be an example of structural bigotry”

      Nothing to do with Israel breaking International aw and the UN Charter …. of course not… that’d spoil your fairy tale.

      ” a far-left nutjob with a poor sense of right and wrong is shouting, and you are piggybacking on her trivialization of the Holocaust for political purposes”

      Phhhhhfffft!!!!

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on May 2, 2014, 12:38 pm

        I often refer to Margaret Macmillan’s book about the Versailles conference, ‘Peacemakers’. I think she makes it clear that the Balfour Declaration, though nominally accepting the rights of non-Jewish people in Palestine, was made with dishonest intent in that respect and that the press was briefed accordingly from day one. That was, I think, because Balfour and Lloyd George were committed Christian Zionists. However, whatever the intent the words are there and anyone who invokes that sinister document and the dynasty of others descended from it should be reminded of them and of the backhanded acknowledgement that there were non-Jewish people with a normal claim to normal rights in that part of the world.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on May 2, 2014, 1:52 pm

        My point was not to litigate the Balfour Declaration. The point is that by 1917, people were already talking about a Jewish state, and by the ’30’s, they were already talking about Partition. It was clear that the British Mandate was going to end at some point. So the notion that the only reason there is a Jewish state is because of the Holocaust is just inaccurate from an historical point of view.

      • talknic
        talknic on May 2, 2014, 7:59 pm

        @ hophmi “.. the notion that the only reason there is a Jewish state is because of the Holocaust …”

        Problem … that’s not the message

      • hophmi
        hophmi on May 2, 2014, 1:49 pm

        “The Balfour Declaration mentioned a Jewish state? WOW!! Somewhere between 1917 and now someone rewrote it! AMAZING stuff Ziocaine!”

        It says “national home.” What do you think that means, exactly?

        “The Peel Commission was was shelved”

        The Peel Commission was the first to recommend a partition. As became the pattern, the Jews accepted it, and the Arabs did not.

        “Whatever fantasies you need to have”

        I’m not sure why you’d deny these historical facts. The Haganah began as a collection of small kibbutz-based militias in the 1920s, and then coalesced in the 1930’s in response to the Intifada/Uprising.

        “The conflict existed BEFORE the Holocaust, still exists 70 years after the Holocaust. There’s nothing complex in Colonization.”

        Yes, there were two competing nationalities there before the Holocaust. Thus the Peel Commission’s recommendations in 1937. There’s a lot that’s complex about this conflict, namely that the Jews there were by and large poor people looking for a refuge, and who established themselves largely by buying up the land, not rich people looking to exploit the land for the home country.

        And yes, even before there was any Naqba, Arabs living in Palestine were still trying to kill Jewish civilians living there.

        “Nothing to do with Israel breaking International aw and the UN Charter …. of course not… that’d spoil your fairy tale.”

        As I said before, if there were one Arab state, and 57 Jewish ones, you wouldn’t hear much about Israel. You continue to ignore the structural bigotry that causes the UN to keep Israel front and center.

        “Phhhhhfffft!!!!”

        A grown-up answer (and typical one) when you’re called out on your hypocrisy.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on May 2, 2014, 2:54 pm

        “It says ‘national home.’ What do you think that means, exactly?”

        Since it doesn’t say “state,” then “something other than a state” is about the only fair reading one can reach. (And it’s a moot point anyway, because the British had no right to dispose of the land anyway.)

        “As became the pattern, the Jews accepted it, and the Arabs did not.”

        Of course, because the land was the Palestinians and the Jews were alien invaders from Europe. I’m sure if I recommend “partitioning” your bank account, I would accept it and you would not.

        “And yes, even before there was any Naqba, Arabs living in Palestine were still trying to kill Jewish civilians living there. ”

        Of course, if you tried to break into your neighbor’s house, steal his stuff and rape his wife, I’d expect that he’d try to kill you, too.

        “You continue to ignore the structural bigotry that causes the UN to keep Israel front and center. ”

        And you continue to ignore the fact that what keeps Israel front and center is Israel’s criminal acts.

      • talknic
        talknic on May 2, 2014, 7:42 pm

        @ hophmi “It says “national home.” What do you think that means, exactly?”

        Article 7 LoN Mandate for Palestine. Get your mom or guide dog to read it to you

        “The Peel Commission was ..” … shelved. Irrelevant.

        “I’m not sure why you’d deny these historical facts. “

        Your historical facts are drenched in the same bullsh*t all colonizers use when they attempt to blame those they’re colonizing.

        “Yes, there were two competing nationalities there before the Holocaust”

        There was one, Palestinians. The other party armed & heavily financed colonizers who were not from the region.

        “There’s a lot that’s complex about this conflict”

        There is nothing complex about colonization.

        “namely that the Jews there were by and large poor people looking for a refuge”

        Odd isn’t it that Jews could have ‘returned’ to Palestine CENTURIES before the Zionist Federation implemented its megalomaniacal money making plan. Herzl didn’t bother taking the refuge he could have had in his life time ….. the Zionist Federation didn’t move to Palestine til 1936. It began colonizing Palestine decades BEFORE the Holocaust.

        “and who established themselves largely by buying up the land, not rich people looking to exploit the land for the home country”

        How typically oxymoronic… in trying to justify the unjustifiable people will say anything no matter how contradictory

        “even before there was any Naqba, Arabs living in Palestine were still trying to kill Jewish civilians living there”

        And armed colonizers were completely innocent … yes yes of course, I understand your need

        “As I said before, if there were one Arab state, and 57 Jewish ones, you wouldn’t hear much about Israel. You continue to ignore the structural bigotry that causes the UN to keep Israel front and center.”

        Israel is in breach of the Law and UN Charter. When you break your end of a contract, the power company issues reminders…. The majority of the UN/UNSC resolutions are reminders, giving Israel hundreds of opportunities to comply with the law and UN Charter. No other country on the planet has been give so many opportunities and ignored them

        “A grown-up answer (and typical one) when you’re called out on your hypocrisy”

        Your accusing others of doing what you had just done was hypocrisy pal. Get yourself a proof reader

      • hophmi
        hophmi on May 3, 2014, 5:34 pm

        “Article 7 LoN Mandate for Palestine. Get your mom or guide dog to read it to you”

        The LoN Mandate for Palestine is not the Balfour Declaration. Stay on task; I know it’s hard. Once again, what I said was that Israel was well on its way to statehood before the Holocaust in response to the ridiculous notion that Israel would not have become a state without the Holocaust. You keep trying to change the subject.

        “Your historical facts are drenched in the same bullsh*t all colonizers use when they attempt to blame those they’re colonizing.”

        Again, my point was to take issue with the idea that Israel would not have become a state without the Holocaust. You can’t seem to process that.

        “There was one [nationality], Palestinians.”

        No, there were two. Again, I’m not exactly sure why acknowledging basic history is so very difficult for you.

        “There is nothing complex about colonization.”

        So exactly what your problem is. You cannot accept complexity. You can’t even acknowledge that there’s a conflict.

        “Odd isn’t it that Jews could have ‘returned’ to Palestine CENTURIES before the Zionist Federation implemented its megalomaniacal money making plan.”

        LOL. Yeah, it was all about making money. LOL. No, no LOL. This is way too sad to LOL about. It’s sad and disgusting that you would cast a movement to look for a Jewish refuge as a “money-making plan.” It’s yet another disgusting comment here from you.

        “Herzl didn’t bother taking the refuge he could have had in his life time ….. the Zionist Federation didn’t move to Palestine til 1936. It began colonizing Palestine decades BEFORE the Holocaust.”

        Buying land is not colonization. Maybe, like most racists, you don’t believe in selling land to groups of people you don’t like.

        “And armed colonizers were completely innocent … yes yes of course, I understand your need”

        Right, I know, Arabs are never to blame for anything ever. #ANTBAE

      • RoHa
        RoHa on May 2, 2014, 9:03 pm

        ” the Jews there were by and large poor people looking for a refuge, and who established themselves largely by buying up the land,”

        But they refused to become part of the society that was already established there, and instead set up a separate, competing society, as a prelude to (and with the intent of) taking over the country. When they bought land, they would drive off the established tenant farmers and hire only Jews to work it.

        We’ve been through all this before. You can’t have forgotten, so you are being dishonest again.

      • Donald
        Donald on May 3, 2014, 10:31 am

        “You continue to ignore the structural bigotry that causes the UN to keep Israel front and center.”

        Over the past year or so every time some hasbarist says this I go over to the front page of the UN Human Rights Council website. And with one exception, I never see Israel mentioned on the front page. Syria has been on the front page every single time I’ve checked, which is as it should be given the current circumstances. Now if I browse further, I can find material on Israel, but I can also find material on many other countries and situations.

        It is true that Israel is almost universally condemned. This is for a mixture of reasons good and bad. The good reason is that it represents a last vestige of old-fashioned 19th century European colonialism, just as apartheid South Africa did. And defenders of South Africa used to complain that other African countries focused on South Africa and not on their own atrocities. That was correct. South Africa was the last vestige in Africa of old-fashioned white imperialism. It’s also correct that dictatorial regimes in the Arab world are going to criticize Israel and not themselves. You probably won’t find universal condemnation of too many other countries because of the politics–Arab countries won’t condemn themselves (though the Arab monarchies will condemn Syria) and you’ll find other countries, like the US, favoring their friends (like Israel) and condemning their enemies. Calling this “structural bigotry” as if it was a global case of anti-semitism obscures what’s going on. What the Arab dictatorships do when they avoid condemning each other and condemn Israel is no different from what the US does when it condemns its enemies and supports Israel.

        But the idea that the UN Human Rights Commission focuses mostly on Israel is just false. And you don’t even need to visit the front page of the UNHRC to see this. Stories in the NYT regarding Syria frequently cite the UN condemning the atrocities of the Syrian regime. It’s common knowledge. I suppose the Syrian regime could say it is structural bigotry that has reactionary Arab monarchies siding with the American defenders of Zionism to condemn their atrocities. They’d sound like self-serving idiots to say it, but no different from how you sound.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on May 3, 2014, 5:37 pm

        “But the idea that the UN Human Rights Commission focuses mostly on Israel is just false.”

        What percentage of the country-specific UNHRC resolutions have focused on Israel, Donald? Close to 50%.

        Again, it’s a simple enough thought experiment. Say there are 50 Jewish countries and one Arab country. Are things the same internationally for Israel? You know the answer. That’s structural bigotry. A lot of states with nefarious human rights records using their power to dump on Israel.

      • eljay
        eljay on May 3, 2014, 11:05 am

        >> As I said before, if there were one Arab state, and 57 Jewish ones, you wouldn’t hear much about Israel.

        If that one state were an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Arab State”…
        – created by means of Arab terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of Jews from their homes and lands;
        – engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder against Jews;
        – unwilling to honour its obligations under international law, including the repatriation of Jewish refugees; and
        – unwilling to enter into sincere negotiations with Jews for a just and mutually-beneficial peace,
        …you’d be hearing quite a lot about that oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Arab State”. And a lot of what you’d be hearing would be coming from the 57 Jewish States.

      • American
        American on May 3, 2014, 11:50 am

        ‘You continue to ignore the structural bigotry that causes the UN to keep Israel front and center.’ ….hoppie

        There is no structural bigotry.
        Israel has violated every agreement and condition of its UN creation.
        And the rest of the world condemns you for what you ‘do’….thats not bigotry either.

    • eljay
      eljay on May 2, 2014, 12:37 pm

      >> Most people would say that the Holocaust showed exactly why Jews needed a nation of their own …

      Most people should say that the Holocaust showed exactly why justice and accountability are needed.

      >> … but I realize such logic is difficult for people here to handle because it would mean embracing the complexity of the conflict.

      But I realize that such logic is difficult for Zio-supremacists to handle because it would mean accepting the fact that, like all other mere mortals, Jews are not entitled to a supremacist state.

      >> Even if the Holocaust had never occurred, the singling out of Israel on the world stage would still be ridiculous in light of all of the world’s problems …

      What is ridiculous – what is very Zio-supremacist – is suggesting that Israel should not be held accountable for its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka on May 2, 2014, 12:58 pm

      “the singling out of Israel on the world stage would still be ridiculous in light of all of the world’s problems, and it would still be an example of structural bigotry.”

      Except that Israel does not get immunity from criticism simply because there are Jews there, no matter how much you really, really, really want to believe it.

    • pjdude
      pjdude on May 2, 2014, 4:49 pm

      Possibly still be an israel but without the holocaust the illegal funding and arms shipments which gave it an edge probably would have. Bad things happened to the Chinese and polish. The polish were gonna be hitters next victim and the Japanese treatment of the Chinese was just evil. So no it didn’t show why jews needed a state. Israel isn’t singled out. It’s just being held accountable. And this girl has a far better sense of right and wrong than you do. She understands wrong doesn’t excuse wrong. I doubt she’d ever say other peoples should sacrifice their existence for the jews unlike some of the zionists here. And she In now way trivialized the holocaust. She gets it you don’t

    • Keith
      Keith on May 2, 2014, 5:22 pm

      HOPHMI- “Most people would say that the Holocaust showed exactly why Jews needed a nation of their own….”

      You have it backwards. Israel needs the Diaspora much more than the Diaspora needs Israel, except perhaps for the American Ashkenazi who profit from Jewish tribal solidarity. And yes, the exploitation of the Holocaust by the Zionists was pivotal in winning over organized American Jewry to the Zionist cause, whose intense organized support seems to have been critical to the creation of the Jewish state. How can you deny it?

      • hophmi
        hophmi on May 3, 2014, 5:39 pm

        Keith, I don’t respond to bigots who blame Jews for their own historical persecution. Have a nice day, until you apologize for the Einstein quote.

    • RoHa
      RoHa on May 2, 2014, 9:10 pm

      “Most people would say that the Holocaust showed exactly why Jews needed a nation of their own”

      Even if it were true that “Jews needed a nation of their own”, that need does not give them a right to have one, and certainly not a right to have one at other people’s expense.

  5. Felixio
    Felixio on May 2, 2014, 10:54 am

    natali has a lot of guts to perform such a monologue in the right place, thanks.

  6. Pixel
    Pixel on May 2, 2014, 11:03 am

    Wow.

    Talk about shouting that the Emperor – oops, I mean the elephant in the living room – is wearing no clothes.

    Bravo!

    Encore!
    Encore!

  7. a blah chick
    a blah chick on May 2, 2014, 11:12 am

    ““How could you justify 1948 and 1967 without me?…Who deserves credit for enabling you to place 3 million people in a ghetto without the superpowers bombing you?”

    Nothing but net, aka the perfect shot.

  8. a blah chick
    a blah chick on May 2, 2014, 11:22 am

    BTW have there ever been attempts to get Haj Amin out of Yad Vashem?

  9. LeaNder
    LeaNder on May 2, 2014, 11:25 am

    Wonderful, Marc, great video thanks a lot. Yes, occasionally one has to wonder about JP too. ;)

    I couldn’t agree more. And strictly the dear late Raul Hilberg, who was too early for the big cloak of silence that descended on all of us, told us about Israeli gatekeepers too in his autobiography, at least he told me: The politics of Memory. Slim book but well worth reading.

    Admittedly, I should be much more interested in our own gatekeepers, or in our own national context, but then again it is all so very, very connected. Since obviously not only Israel and Germany are connected. But what about the American psyche that desperately needs Israel for its own image of savior to the world at large in varying mutations over the Cold War, past the WOT and now? To what extend is that just as important a core narrative that may hard to give up even for non-Jewish elites? That’s the question.

    Thanks Natalie, great performance. ;)

    I should admit that I once was given a PhD in a Yad Vashem event by… maybe not. I have none. I also have to admit an artist friend did pretty much the same based on a simple admittedly longer paper on Barnett Newman and supreme in art dedicated to close to all of my artist friends. Among them Emily the “half-Jewish” daughter of a German Jewish survivor, his later wife. I hope you are well.

    My love goes out to you, Natalie. I couldn’t have expressed it better.

  10. American
    American on May 2, 2014, 11:32 am

    ‘How dare Israel use the Holocaust as a sacred landmark when its actions create so much suffering in the name of the Holocaust?”>>>>

    Because thats all Zionist and Israel have to excuse, justify and shake down the world with.
    I think its accurate to say that if anyone in the universe has insulted, desecrated or perverted the meaning and memory of the Holocaust and its victims it is them.

  11. Boomer
    Boomer on May 2, 2014, 11:52 am

    That took a lot of courage, a lot of passion.

  12. German Lefty
    German Lefty on May 2, 2014, 12:07 pm

    “I am the Holocaust, the best thing that ever happened to you!” the Holocaust proclaims. “How could you justify 1948 and 1967 without me?”

    That made me laugh. This lady has chutzpah – in a good way. She dares to tell the truth. I love her for that.
    In the video, she also states, “Yeah, well, I was in Berlin on my monument.” It’s so weird that someone personifies the Holocaust.
    Another great line of hers: “Do I look like someone you can take advantage of?”

    In another video, the Holocaust introduces herself to Palestinians: “Hello Palestinians. I am the Holocaust. Because of me you had the Nakba.”

    So far, it makes sense to me. However, after that, she says: “So, because of me, you might get a country. And even an army. Who deserves applause?” Why does she say this? Unlike the Zionists, the Palestinians don’t misuse the Holocaust. Therefore, I don’t think it’s fair to demand applause from them.

  13. Citizen
    Citizen on May 2, 2014, 12:07 pm

    It’s always instructive to me how average Americans are played by using the Holocaust as justification for how Jewish Israeli regime treats the natives. What’s more frustrating than overlooking two wrongs don’t make a right, is how do Zionists get to play the victim card in the face of the obvious, i.e., Israel is the regional superpower, a victim of nobody, and supported by the sole superpower.

  14. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on May 2, 2014, 12:08 pm

    I’m trying to recall from the Prophets an instance of personification of a sacrifice either in the sense of a person as an event or of person as animal victim. The New Testament ‘Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us’ comes close, but I doubt if Ms. Vaxberg was intending to invoke Christian rather than Jewish imagery. Mind you, there is only the merest shade of difference between ‘holocaust as redemptive sacrifice’ (an idea implicit in the very word ‘holocaust’ applied to the dreadful events it is applied to) and ‘holocaust as best thing’ and she is pointing that out.

  15. Liz18
    Liz18 on May 2, 2014, 1:49 pm

    A courageous performance art piece and I love that it is in front of Yad Vashem. It says something that the Holocaust has to be personified to get people to listen.

  16. pipistro
    pipistro on May 2, 2014, 2:36 pm

    The more it hurts (and I’m certain it does) the more it’s next to what a large majority knows and chooses not to see. Great performance, by the way, imho.

  17. German Lefty
    German Lefty on May 2, 2014, 3:51 pm

    Cohen Vaxberg might indeed be sullying the memory of the Holocaust dead

    WHAT? No, she doesn’t. Actually, she wants to protect the memory of the Holocaust dead from misuse by the Zionists. What she says is what most Germans think.

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich on May 2, 2014, 5:40 pm

      @ German Lefty,

      Q: What she says is what most Germans think.

      R: And what do most Germans think?

    • Walid
      Walid on May 3, 2014, 7:17 am

      GL, what she says about the Holocaust being milked may be very true and I’m constantly referring to this milking myself, but the way Vaxberg is expressing it is extremely offensive. Lucky that she is a Jew to be able to get away with such vulgarity; any non-Jew would have been crucified for saying 1% of what she said. Nonetheless, she was very offensive and I didn’t like it.

      • American
        American on May 3, 2014, 12:05 pm

        Walid says:

        May 3, 2014 at 7:17 am

        ”Lucky that she is a Jew to be able to get away with such vulgarity; any non-Jew would have been crucified for saying 1% of what she said. Nonetheless, she was very offensive and I didn’t like it”>>>>

        I am not sure it was any more offensive than what a lot of entertainers do in making fun of other sacred cows in society and politics.
        But it is true–and since adressing it in polite terms has never worked maybe it takes some shock jocking to dismantle the H holy cow justifications Israel uses for its crimes.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on May 3, 2014, 3:41 pm

        Lucky that she is a Jew; any non-Jew would have been crucified for saying 1% of what she said.

        I agree with that. In Germany, if you say that Israel misuses the Holocaust, you are accused of anti-Semitism by the media and the politicians.

        Nonetheless, she was very offensive and I didn’t like it.

        What exactly do you find offensive about her performance? I can’t think of anything that could be perceived as offensive. The only thing that I find mildly disturbing is her armpit hair. By the way, her bodyguard reminds me a bit of Norman Finkelstein.

      • Ellen
        Ellen on May 3, 2014, 5:22 pm

        GL, fecale ausdrucke, Zum b. Auch personliche demutigung mit objectification von eigene genitilia.

        Whatever…the performances were good, they are very brave powerful. But it looks like she got it in her to get beyond the limits tools of vulgarity to make her message and go far.

      • Ellen
        Ellen on May 3, 2014, 4:00 pm

        Walid, it is shocking and offensive, and generally that shock routine does not work, but she is fighting the disgusting vulgarity milking the crimes of the Holocaust by the Zio enterprise for its own purpose. I don’t know if it is meant for anyone to like it.

        She is using vulgar performance to fight back at the terrible load of Holohorrors and the sickness of Zio land worship poured down the throats of most every Jewish child from birth on. Much more lasting and pernicious than a shock performance.

        Heck, I’d sponsor her flight to give her performance in front of the Holocaust museum in DC. If toned down just a wee bit, I bet she have applause. Lot’s of it.

      • Walid
        Walid on May 3, 2014, 4:21 pm

        It’s now a crime in a few countries to even question anything about the holocaust, which is absurd of course as one should be free to question anything as long as there isn’t any disparaging being done. Look at what happened to Dieudonné that kept hammering at it until the hammer fell on his head. What she did is much worse than what Dieudonné did, yet she got away with it simply because she was a Jew. Finkelstein talks about its misuse all the time and his message is very biting, but it’s not offensive in any way. What’s next, another show in front of the 911 memorial grabbing her crotch and boobs to disparage the misuse of 911 to demonize all Muslims?

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on May 3, 2014, 4:37 pm

        grabbing her crotch and boobs

        Why are you offended by a woman who grabs her crotch and boobs? Besides, she only did it very briefly and not in a sexual way. She didn’t strip down and masturbate or anything like that. Don’t be such a puritan. It would only have been offensive if she had touched another person without consent.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder on May 3, 2014, 8:16 pm

        Walid: any non-Jew would have been crucified for saying 1% of what she said. Nonetheless, she was very offensive and I didn’t like it.

        Walid, crucified? That’s a pretty Christian symbolism? ;)

        Natali seems to be addressing first and foremost the Israeli public, it feels. Doesn’t she ideally have to be Jewish Israeli to do that effectively. No? And only as artist her audience is beyond, and maybe more Western oriented. Since you find it offensive? I would say, highly provocative.

        I just tried to imagine if it would work as provocation, if she weren’t Jewish Israeli. I don’t think that would.

        I mentally tried a whole series of actresses and ethnicities. Try it yourself.

        OK, lets assume a German personification, using the Holocaust memorial in Berlin as background. See, what I mean?

        Walid: It’s now a crime in a few countries to even question anything about the holocaust, which is absurd of course as one should be free to question anything as long as there isn’t any disparaging being done.

        A crime to ask questions about the Holocaust? Hardly. What do you mean? Or a claim it didn’t happened at all? Well, that would make all the difference concerning laws. But that wouldn’t be questioning. Questioning is not forbidden but claiming certain things, may well be.

  18. ahadhaadam
    ahadhaadam on May 2, 2014, 9:51 pm

    Here is another brilliant iconoclastic slaughter of the “moral army” trope.

    • Ellen
      Ellen on May 3, 2014, 3:45 pm

      Both videos are powerful. She says a whole lot here about the vulgar pathetic pathology of IDF worship in Zio Israeli society. What it takes away from a society and the deep damage done.

      Well done, Natalie!

  19. bilal a
    bilal a on May 3, 2014, 12:50 am

    This is only funny, to some, because of her ethnicity.

    If she was a french african comic, she’d be prosecuted, fined, and banned from MW, Electronic Intifada , etc as an anti-semite.

    • Ellen
      Ellen on May 3, 2014, 3:46 pm

      You thought it was funny?

      • Walid
        Walid on May 4, 2014, 12:17 am

        “The Holocaust’s gestures are rude, her language coarse. She grabs her crotch and her breasts. How else will Jews awaken?” (Marc Ellis)

        Seems like Marc Ellis has a much less respectful opinion of Jews and the Holocaust than the general public. Dieudonné M’bala M’bala is tame in comparison, but he’s already been condemned 7 times to pay over 40,000 euros in fines for his holocaust pineapples song and other antics critical of the holocaust as well as its misuse. Dieudonné of course is not a Jew but a Catholic. I’m not one of his fans either.

      • ziusudra
        ziusudra on May 4, 2014, 5:30 am

        Greetings Walid,
        Habibi, as i’ve stated, you have a good mind & i’m always with you accordingly.
        Natali portrays an allegory of the concept of the Holocaust.
        The Greeks have an allegory of the concept of a Moment of Opportunity,
        the Kairos.
        You know how raunchy the Greeks were in getting their perspectives across.
        Her pespectives are clear & simply portrayed:
        Don’t abuse those that have died for your gains.
        I don’t shave because i’m not your pretty whore, take me as i am.
        You are only here because of the grace of the dead & the Money of the US.
        Stop the crimes against the Falesteeni.
        Walid, didn’t Jesus throw the money changers out of the temple?
        Don’t be so draconian in your catholicness viewing of Natali.
        She brought out the rauchiness of the tactics of the Zionists, basta.
        Mash’Salam, Habibi
        ziusudra

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty on May 3, 2014, 3:57 pm

      If she was a french african comic, she’d be prosecuted, fined, and banned from MW, Electronic Intifada , etc as an anti-semite.

      I agree that there’s a double standard. Non-Jews who say something provocative or politically incorrect about the Holocaust or Israel are much less often given the benefit of the doubt.

      • American
        American on May 3, 2014, 5:55 pm

        ” I agree that there’s a double standard. Non-Jews who say something provocative or politically incorrect about the Holocaust or Israel are much less often given the benefit of the doubt’…German Lefty

        You have to chip away at the double standard on Israel and non Jewish opinions on Israel.
        The more people that refuse to accept it, the sooner it will go away.
        Just tell the truth and take the slurs .
        What can the Zios do about it?….nothing….we arent Palestines they can shoot and bulldoze.

    • annie
      annie on May 3, 2014, 4:31 pm

      bilal, excellent performance art, but i wouldn’t call it funny. shocking but not funny. and i agree w/your last sentence.

      • just
        just on May 3, 2014, 4:44 pm

        Agreed, annie.

        I guess she did not listen to her mom when she told her to ‘never air your dirty laundry in public!’

        Perhaps others will feel more free & motivated (in various forms and venues) to protest the Apartheid State of Hypocrisy within that very state. It could be quite healthy in that self- proclaimed ‘democracy’…..I hope that a movement toward truth emerges.

        Could be quite healthy and provide a positive catharsis of oh so very many things.

  20. Kris
    Kris on May 3, 2014, 1:33 pm

    I think Natali Cohen Vaxberg’s performance is brilliant, shocking, and truthful. Following her performance, there is an interview with an Israeli Holocaust survivor, Gideon Spiro, who says, “The irony in Israel is that the Holocaust victims are the perpetrators of the next Holocaust.”

    As Marc Ellis writes, “Cohen Vaxberg’s appearance as the Holocaust is her attempt to reclaim the Holocaust from the museum that functions in her name – and the state of Israel who claims her as its own.

    “That’s why Yad Vashem was chosen for the performance. How dare Israel use the Holocaust as a sacred landmark when its actions create so much suffering in the name of the Holocaust?

    “The symbolism of the Holocaust appearing before the monument dedicated to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising isn’t addressed directly in performance. Is Cohen Vaxberg reclaiming the struggle of Jews before the Holocaust was used for oppressing others? Or is she using the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as a symbol for Jews to rise up against their own oppression by the state of Israel? Perhaps the Holocaust is a clarion call for a joint uprising of Jews and Palestinians against Israel’s oppressive policies.”

  21. jon s
    jon s on May 3, 2014, 4:53 pm

    Try to imagine a performer standing, say, in front of the Martin Luther King memorial and saying to an African – American audience: ” HELLO, I’M SLAVERY, THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU …THANKS TO ME , YOU HAVE…” and so forth.
    I wonder how such an offensive performance would be received.

    • American
      American on May 4, 2014, 9:36 am

      jon s says:

      May 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Try to imagine a performer standing, say, in front of the Martin Luther King memorial and saying to an African – American audience: ” HELLO, I’M SLAVERY, THE BEST……”

      Big difference.
      Blacks arent oppressing another people on a slavery claim, they arent occupying anyone’s land on a slavery claim, they arent killing anyone on a slavery claim, they arent getting 3 billion a year for a black ‘nation’ on a slavery claim, they havent sued every country and enitity in the universe on a slavery claim.

  22. wondering jew
    wondering jew on May 4, 2014, 1:19 am

    The fact that political theater exists was known to me. The fact that an Israeli left exists is known to me. The fact that these two would intersect in the theater enacted by Cohen Vaxberg might take my breath away, but it is not surprising.

    I have not reread Marc Ellis’s post regarding the video since my first go through. It seemed vacuous. The issue of the Holocaust’s use, overuse, misuse and abuse is something that needs to be discussed in the war of ideas, but this, knee jerk pro forma “nothing can be as obscene as how Israel is using the Holocaust,” so my reaction to this “obscenity” must be muted by one more mea culpa or finger wagging at Israel. Really? Is this where daily blogging brings you to such superficiality. I thought age brought wisdom?

    Could be the missing ingredient is communication or dialogue. Cohen Vaxberg’s theater is pogrom theater, theater to make people react by starting a pogrom either against Vaxberg or against Israel. It is art and not communication. This location web site MW speaks of dialogue, but it is a dialogue of the deaf. Maybe the deafest are the right wingers who wish to silence the left and maybe the non dialogue of MW is merely a reaction to the deafness of the other side. Maybe. But the consequence of the “war of ideas has been won”, no dialogue is warranted or necessary is something like this: highlighting a screaming, non idea like Ms Vaxberg and little is served dialogue-wise by this video and Marc Ellis’s superficial remarks. When everyone is deaf why not shout? Maybe that’s the moral of this story.

    • Walid
      Walid on May 4, 2014, 1:51 am

      Yonah, this time I agree with most of what you said. There’s definitely deafness in the air. That video belongs in the garbage, even if it has the professor’s seal of approval. Vaxberg is doing some milking of her own.

    • Ellen
      Ellen on May 4, 2014, 2:18 am

      Yes, it is a sort of art, but art does communicate. It is vulgar and sick, but that is the very subject of her art. If she could communicate the same without primitive vulgarities, her art would be much greater, communicate more.

      Yes, it is not dialogue. Yes, Ellis’s comments around this are vacuous and superficial.

      Asserting her theater is “pogrom” theater, evoking threats against Vaxberg or Israel is the same and very tired shout down you comment upon.

    • American
      American on May 4, 2014, 9:50 am

      ”When everyone is deaf why not shout? Maybe that’s the moral of this story.”’ …yonah

      Actually you are half right…….the I-People are deaf….that is why others have taken to shouting at them.

  23. wondering jew
    wondering jew on May 4, 2014, 2:30 am

    ms vaxberg is shouting quite loudly. my labeling it pogrom theater is whispering compared to her tone and volume. i will search for a better word in the next few days, but comments will be closed by that time.

    • Ellen
      Ellen on May 4, 2014, 3:44 am

      Yonah, she is speaking to something MUCH bigger than your words.

    • talknic
      talknic on May 4, 2014, 6:59 am

      @ yonah fredman “my labeling it pogrom theater is .. “ .. missing the point completely

      ” but this, knee jerk pro forma “nothing can be as obscene as how Israel is using the Holocaust,””

      Knee jerk? A reaction to Israel spouting the Holocaust as part of its justification for its illegal facts on the ground policies for the last 65 years in territories“outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”, isn’t a ‘knee jerk’.

      That Israel is in breach of Laws and a UN Charter adopted in large part because of what happened to our Jewish fellows during the Holocaust is cause for alarm… We got our state, it was accepted and recognized on all our behalves. We didn’t get the right to raid the whole car yard

      BTW Al Husseini wasn’t in office representing the Palestinians when he met Hitler. No Palestinians served under him in the Balkans. No Palestinian alive today had anything what so ever to do with the Holocaust, they were babies 70 years ago. The Holocaust was over 70 years ago the Nakba continues…

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