February 21, 2008 at 10:10 am
Palestinians should seek reparations from Germany
By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
In the early months of the Aqsa intifada against the Israeli occupation, an Israeli officer in the Nablus region told dozens of handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainees that “we are treating you like the Nazis treated us, and maybe when you are free from our grip, you will find another people whom you will treat the same way we are treating you.”
These were not facetious remarks. That officer was actually displaying definitive symptoms of a chronic collective psychosis permeating through the Israeli Jewish society. It is this collective mental sickness that make Israelis commit the most heinous crimes without feeling the slightest shred of guilt.
Didn’t Dan Halutz, the former Israeli air-force commander and later chief of staff boast that he slept well at night and felt no compunctions after he ordered an F-16 fighter warplane to drop a one-ton bomb on a residential apartment building in downtown Gaza , killing sixteen sleeping people, including 11 children.
In truth, there is an umbilical relationship between the holocaust and Israel’s nefarious behavior toward the Palestinians. In the final analysis, the Palestinians are the victims’ victims as the late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said put it.
In fact, one would not cross into the realm of the absurd by arguing that had Jews not been victims of the holocaust, the Palestinians would most likely have not been victimized by Jews in such a diabolical manner and for that long.
In a certain sense, one can say with very little exaggeration that it was Nazi Germany that created Israel. Yes, Zionism predated the holocaust; but it was the holocaust that gave Zionism the ultimate argument for Jewish statehood.
Not only that, the holocaust proved to be, even today, the ultimate blocker of any meaningful objections to Israeli criminality against the peoples of the Middle East. This explains why and how Israel, which can be viewed, more or less, as an incarnation of Nazi Germany, is treated by the world community as above the laws governing the rest of the world.
Moreover, Israelis continue to evoke the holocaust to justify their harsh repression of Palestinians. Even calls by Jewish settlers for “sending the Arabs to the oven” (which any visitor to Hebron can see scrawled on the walls at the Jewish settler enclave in the city) are justified by the holocaust. Every criticism of Israeli criminality and supremacy, every legitimate objection to the wanton repression meted out to the Palestinian, every criticism of the marauding settlers is always met with the holocaust mantra.! In short, every Palestinian, man, woman, and child, is made to suffer and die because of the holocaust.
Today, every conscripted Israeli soldier, especially those serving in the West Bank, is made to visit the Yad va Chem holocaust museum in Jerusalem right before he or she is deployed to Palestinian population centers to repress and torment these helpless people who had nothing to do with the holocaust.
And one doesn’t have to be a great psychologist to connect the dots and understand the real ghoulish implications of associating the Nazis, the tormentors of the Jews, with the Palestinian, the victims of Zionism
For most Israeli soldiers, the mental message is unmistakable. The Palestinians are today’s Nazis…and by killing and brutalizing them in the harshest of manners, the Jews are only preventing the recurrence of another holocaust. Some Israelis feel that by savaging the Palestinians they are actually avenging the holocaust vicariously, which gives them immense psychological satisfaction.
In their subconscious thinking, many Israeli Jews actually admire the Nazis and their brutality. This is why some of these soldiers and officers often seek to emulate Nazi brutality and project it on Palestinians, since for them might is always right.
This brings us to post-war Germany and its moral surrender to Zionist blackmail. For nearly sixty years now, Germany has been trying to atone for the holocaust by enabling Israel to commit another holocaust against the Palestinians, never mind that it is a holocaust without gas chambers.
Germany from Konrad Adnauer to Angel Merkel behaved toward Israel in a manner that callously and completely disregarded the monumental oppression meted out by Israel to the Palestinian people.
Germans in general and the German political elite in particular passively watched Israel commit every conceivable crime against the helpless Palestinians, but turned their faces away for fear of displeasing their powerful former victims who came to be in control of powerful nations, such the United States.
Germany was always afraid and reluctant to call the spade a spade, especially when the spade happened to be in Jewish hands, lest it be reminded of the brutal ugliness of its recent past.
Germany, an economic and political giant, but obviously a moral dwarf, actually not only kept silent in the face of Israeli crimes all these years. Germany gave Israel the technical wherewithal to murder Palestinian children. Germany also gave Israel, reportedly free of charge, state-of-the art submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
I don’t know when Germany will wake up from its long moral slumber and deliver itself from the sinister stranglehold of Zionism.
Is it not the time Germany realizes that the holocaust was diabolical in itself, , not necessarily because its victims were primarily Jewish? Would a holocaust against any other ethnic or religious group have been less diabolical? Would Germany have behaved differently had the holocaust targeted non-Jews? Are Germans absorbed so much in the holocaust because of its moral enormity or just because of the post-war Jewish power?
Such questions are vital and relevant since they can eventually contribute to liberating Germans from this haunting moral dilemma whereby they are morally bound to help their former victims savage, murder and brutalize another helpless people that had nothing to do with the holocaust, a people whose sole crime is their weakness and helplessness and determination to be free.
It is probably useless to appeal to the political establishment in Germany, which like its equally evil sister in the United States, is not based on morality but sheer immediate political expediency.
Non the less, one is encouraged by certain recent indications that Germany might finally be getting sober from decades of moral blindness and criminal indifference toward the Palestinians, its ultimate victims.
According to media report, a group of German intellectuals have called on Berlin to change the holocaust-rooted blind support of Israel, arguing correctly that the creation of the Jewish state turned the Palestinians into victims of the Nazi holocaust as well.
The intellectuals, who include 25 prominent figures, argued that it was the holocaust which Germany perpetrated that brought about the suffering that has persisted in the Middle East for the last six decades and has at the present become unbearable.
Furthermore, these intellectuals argued that “without the holocaust of the Jews, Israel wouldn’t see itself as entitled, or forced to ride over the human rights of the Palestinians and the inhabitants of Lebanon.
Of course, the language used here is extremely mild since what Israel has been doing in Palestine and Lebanon goes far beyond merely riding over Palestinian and Lebanese human rights.
Israel is effectively committing genocide. For example, the dropping of 2-3 million cluster bomblets over populated areas in southern Lebanon is par excellance a genocidal act of the highest order since 2-3 cluster bomblets are sufficient to kill 2-3 million children. The same can be said about the ongoing blockade of Gaza which is killing innocent Palestinians in the hundreds.
In light of the proven umbilical relationship between the holocaust and the ongoing Palestinian plight, one can say that the Palestinian people have a legitimate moral right to demand holocaust reparations from Germany.
The Palestinians nearly lost everything. And every Palestinian under the sun has a story of suffering. This writer for example lost three paternal uncles to Zionist bullets on a single day. And up to this day, there has been no acknowledgment of guilt, no compensation, nothing from Israel.
I know such talk is likely to raise many eyebrows in Germany. However, if Germans have the moral courage to look deep into their souls, they undoubtedly will discover that the Palestinians are more than justified in seeking adequate and just reparations from Germany for the enormous calamities Nazi Germany had inflicted on us.
Psychology of the ShoahHolocaust educators hold reunion conference
by Debra Rubin To understand evil, one must understand the psychological proclivity to prejudice.
That, says Aaron Hass, is an important lesson of the Holocaust.
A psychology professor at California State University and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles, Hass made his remarks Saturday evening during the 13th national alumni conference of the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers’ Program, co-sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The program ‹ sponsored with the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, the American Federation of Teachers and the Jewish Labor Committee ‹ each summer takes Holocaust educators on a study mission to Poland and Israel.
A winter reunion conference, open to all program alumni, allows further study. This year’s reunion, held Saturday through Monday at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, brought together some 155 teachers from more than 20 states, including Hawaii. Agenda topics included “Using the Works of Young Writers to Teach About the Holocaust” and “Holocaust Denial: Flat Earth Theory or a Clear and Present Danger?”
In his remarks, Hass said that people often wonder how Nazis, “who went to church on Sunday, played with their children and saw themselves as wonderful family men with wonderful values” could commit such heinous acts and be able to maintain a positive self-image.
There is a tendency among people, he said, to “want to feel superior to others.”
Acknowledging this is “not a very seemly part of ourselves,” Hass said, “Why do we enjoy gossip? Because it makes us feel superior.”
This superiority extends to groups, as well. “Every group seems to have a need to feel superior to other groups,” he said. The next step for the Nazis was to take that feeling of superiority and then dehumanize Jews.
“In order to persecute innocents,” Hass said, “you have to first dehumanize them. You have to dehumanize them in order to quell your conscience.”
Hass worries about today’s emphasis on pride in diversity, saying it is a “little wrongheaded,” in that there is a very thin line between asserting pride in one’s group to “then go over and feel your group is better than the other group.”
Looking at other psychological aspects that allowed the Nazis to commit their crimes against humanity, Hass pointed to “moral drift” and group pressure to demonstrate loyalty.
Seeing other people lie, cheat and steal lowers inhibitions “because everyone does it,” he said. “You don’t have to hate Jews to kill them. You need individuals who are insensitive and willing to engage in heinous acts in order to maintain their comrades’ respect.”
Warning that “you can’t look at history backwards,” Hass indicated that it is wrong to blame the Jew themsevles for not more actively resisting their perpetrators.
“There is a human tendency to keep your head down, hope that you’ll survive,” he said, pointing out, in fact, that when the Jews were rounded up into the ghettos, “they thought this was the end of their persecution.”
Plus, he said, resistance requires outside assistance. “Most people were quite happy the Germans were eradicating Jews from their midst,” Hass said.
Conference material had billed Hass’ topic ‹ erroneously as it turned out ‹ as “Once the Eyewitnesses Are Gone: The Future of Holocaust Education.”
Asked prior to the dinner to comment on that topic, Stan Malm, who teaches in the Johns Hopkins School of Education Division of Public Safety Leadership, stressed the importance of videos and testimonials by survivors and eyewitnesses.
“Someday, that’s all we’re going to have left,” said the Columbia resident.