Israel lobby organizations are going hysterical about any mention of Palestinians in relation to the Holocaust. The latest uproar is about BBC reporter Orla Guerin, who recently reported from the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem ahead of the Auschwitz liberation 75th anniversary, saying:
“In Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names, images of the dead. Young soldiers troop in to share in the binding tragedy of the Jewish people. The state of Israel is now a regional power. For decades, it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival.”
All hell broke loose. The vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who have been trying to muzzle critique of Israel, called her statement “crass and offensive”, and demanded an apology in an official complaint to BBC. The British Campaign Against Antisemitism said she was fueling anti-Semitism. The editor of the Jewish Chronicle said the the BBC has “shamed itself” with a “truly foul” and “sickening” report.
The suggestion is the same – that Guerin was supposedly weaponizing the Holocaust against Israel, as Yossi Klein Halevi claims that the “left” is now doing.
But let us for a moment put the drama aside, and take a sobering historical look at how Zionist leaders and various influential Israelis have made comparisons of Jewish acts against Palestinians to Nazi acts, and how they also weaponized the Holocaust against Palestinians. Because that is the real story.
First the comparisons of Israeli acts and people to Nazis.
Now Jews too have behaved like Nazis and my entire being has been shaken,
said the leftist Mapam leader Aharon Zisling in a party meeting, in reference to the recent reports of the Dawaymeh massacre, the single largest massacre in the 1948 Nakba.
Where did they come by such a measure of cruelty, like Nazis? They [i.e. Jewish troops] had learnt from them [i.e. the Nazis]. One officer told me that those who had ‘excelled’ had come from [the Nazi concentration] camps,
said Jewish National Fund leader Yosef Nachmani, in response to the same atrocities.
David Ben-Gurion called Menachem Begin a “distinct Hitlerist type”, and referred to Vladimir (Zeev) Jabotinsky, founder of Revisionist Zionism that led to Likud, as “Vladimir Hitler”. Ben-Gurion was Israel’s leader during the mentioned Dawaymeh massacre in October 1948. He was pushed into an investigation, which he kept small and quiet, letting it die out with a mass amnesty in February 1949.
There are Judeo-Nazis!,
cried Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the late Israeli Orthodox Jewish professor and philosopher. Former President Ezer Weizman hailed him as “one of the greatest figures in the life of the Jewish people and the State of Israel in recent generations,” and “a spiritual conscience for many in Israel.”
If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it’s the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016,
said Israeli army Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Yair Golan, in a speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day just four years ago. Golan is now contending for the parliament on the list of the left Zionist bloc, Labor-Gesher-Meretz.
Now some weaponizations of the Holocaust against Palestinians as well as regional foes:
In 1969, Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban invoked the term “Auschwitz” in regards to the 1949 ceasefire lines (often regarded erroneously as 1967 borders). Eban was speaking to the UN in his capacity as Foreign Minister:
We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz.
In 1967, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser was widely and regularly called “Hitler” by Israeli leadership, as if he threatened a second Holocaust – although it was clear to them that Israel faced no existential danger at the time.
In 1980, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (who was leader of the Jewish terrorist Irgun in pre-state years), likened his decision to go after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Beirut, to going after “Hitler in his bunker”. Begin said about Arafat:
He will replace the army and police headquarters with his goons, and rule as Hitler did in Germany,
At the time, Begin was presiding over a massive false-flag terror campaign in Lebanon, killing hundreds of civilians.
In 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the idea for the Nazi Final Solution came from a Palestinian leader, the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini. Netanyahu refused to back down from his Holocaust revisionism despite universal denouncement, even in Germany.
But after all that, a BBC reporter cannot even mention occupied Palestinians, not even lightly, at the end of her report from the Holocaust museum.
Who do the Israel apologists think they are fooling? But they have support from all the governments and entities adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which targets any critique of Israel, including “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”
And I’m thinking, Stop it already, you hypocrites. Leave Orla Guerin alone. You are supposedly offended that someone has made a mere mentioning of Palestinians in conjunction with the Holocaust, which is supposed to be a purely Jewish and Israeli historical treasure, and Palestinians are never mentioned. If Jewish Israelis do it, that’s one thing – but don’t do the dirty laundry at BBC! Guerin didn’t even call anyone Hitler or Nazi.
Yet the reflections on the Holocaust and Nazis can be sobering. You don’t have to be a literal Nazi at any point, in order to be on the track to fascism. And sometimes you’re a real fascist anyway. Those who don’t want to look it in the eye are practicing denial, and projecting a weaponization of the Holocaust on the “left”. But the truth is, that Israel has been weaponizing the Holocaust against Palestinians in many ways, and that’s the last thing they want anyone to talk about.