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Michael Oren’s misuse of the Holocaust

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Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren
Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren

Have we all gone mad? When I read former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren’s statement, I was dumbfounded. Oren states that Palestinians and Jews “choose to live apart” from one another and that to attempt to brand the “complex” historical situation in the West Bank as apartheid is an effort to delegitimize Jews that is reminiscent of the Holocaust.

He insists we owe our allegiance to Zionist Israel despite information recklessly skewed and cruelly manipulated. That Oren himself expresses such distorted words is at once frightening and untrustworthy. Why has he not shown the courage to speak out against what he surely knows to be reality: Palestinian suffering occurs under the cruelest occupation in the form of Apartheid and ethnic cleansing. All too familiar are the footprints of nationalism and exceptionalism. Oren betrays his own fear of speaking the truth. He mouths lies spewed out haphazardly to distort the crimes against humanity.

Lillian Rosengarten
Lillian Rosengarten

Is it not familiar to some of us old enough to remember? “We do what we are told.” But where is personal responsibility? I have no respect for Oren, for sadly he too has lost his humanity as he pledges his allegiance to the fantasy of a once-hoped-for beacon of light that lives no more.

Anti-Semitism has been distorted and applied to dissenters as a means to cover up lies and crimes. It is a true crime to use the label “anti-Semite” to keep the status of apartheid and control in place. By now, many of us know the idealized vision for a Jewish State only does not speak for most Jews. Zionism and Judaism are not interchangeable. Zionism today is a distorted incarnation of what was once created from the ashes of the Holocaust to be a safe haven for Jews within a model of a secular nation state. The Jewish community throughout the world but especially in the US and Europe, must learn to distinguish between secular Jew and Zionist Jew. This gives permission to stand up and say “No” and to debate the issues from a human rights perspective.

To support the apartheid directives and the brutal forms of ethnic cleansing is to do an enormous disservice to what it means to be a Jew. To pretend Israel is a peace loving democracy is to be cajoled into a deception that pretends Israel is something it is not. Most important, what has been done to the Palestinians by the Zionists in the name of Jews is false. Attempts to blur the distinction between Zionist nationalism and Jewish religion is both flagrantly dishonest and desperate. To twist the memory of the Holocaust that was an indescribable hell meant to create an Aryan utopia, is revisionist history and an outrage of immense proportions.We must say “No” to the worn-out, tired attempts to use Holocaust language to create fear and guilt for Jews who live outside Palestine/Israel as well as Germans who in large part are afraid to criticize Zionist Israel’s human rights abuses for fear of the label, “Anti-Semite.”

Oren states Palestinians and Jews “choose to live apart” from one another and that to attempt to brand the “complex” historical situation in the West Bank as apartheid is an effort to delegitimize Jews that is reminiscent of the Holocaust. The charge of “delegitimizing Israel” requires one to question what the Zionist Israeli government is hiding and whether Israel has not delegitimized itself after more than six decades of illegal human rights violations. In the words of Tony Judt, “The delegitimization issue is a fraud. I know no one however angry about Israel’s behavior who thinks the country has no right to exists.”

He adds, “Delegitimization is just another way to invoke anti-Semitism as a silencer.” (Palestine Chronicle, 15th February 2012.)

What an offense to the struggle by Palestinians for liberation and freedom with dignity, and what an offence to the memory of the Holocaust.

A Jewish State created through subjugation, occupation and collective punishment and humiliation of Palestinian neighbors is not a democracy. This is not news. But these same people cry “Anti-Semitism” at those who deplore Israel’s actions and dissent in any form it takes. I wish to reiterate, as I have written about many times about a government that has fallen into a black hole without the ability to reflect or empathize: Israel’s hard line has taken away its humanity. It is not healthy to occupy another country, for it violates the rights of individuals to be free, to live their own culture and religion with dignity.

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The end of the world rhetoric of Michael Oren and his ilk remains the same as it has always been, it is Netanyahu’s overplaying his hand and the Israeli refusal to “negotiate” during the latest round of “Peace Talks” that places the silliness of their comments in a new, more skeptical public light.

“It is a true crime to use the label “anti-Semite” to keep the status of apartheid and control in place.” very well said, no perfectly well said!
if i was president i would, indeed, make it a “true crime'” punishable by no less than imprisonment(no sweetheart backroom connection deals)if the label was actually used to quash free speech rather than its real purpose.

I agree with much of what Lillian wrote. Here’s what I disagree with: In the words of Tony Judt, “The delegitimization issue is a fraud. I know no one however angry about Israel’s behavior who thinks the country has no right to exists.” Numerous people are of the opinion that NO country has a RIGHT to exist. “Numerous people” includes me. “No country” includes Israel. If Israel actually had the RIGHT to exist, then we… Read more »

Lillian Rosengarten writes, “The Jewish community throughout the world but especially in the US and Europe, must learn to distinguish between secular Jew and Zionist Jew. This gives permission to stand up and say “No” and to debate the issues from a human rights perspective.” I assume Lillian Rosengarten specifies secular Jew in the first sentence because she wishes “to debate the issues from a human rights perspective” in the second sentence. And I guess… Read more »

Lillian Rosengarten, bolding added by me, eG: Zionism today is a distorted incarnation of what was once created from the ashes of the Holocaust to be a safe haven for Jews within a model of a secular nation state. (no: Zionism was racist from patient zero). as I have written about many times about a government that has fallen into a black hole without the ability to reflect or empathize: Israel’s hard line has taken… Read more »