The Holocaust should be a lesson not a template

Nov 11, 2023
Separation wall east of Jerusalem.

“Jewish people exterminating men, women and children in a concentration camp is _______.”

How do you finish a sentence like that? The words should fall like acid into your ear drums. It should be an impossible sentence. And yet, not so. We are witnessing it today in Gaza – the world’s largest open-air prison, home and hell to 2.3 million brutally repressed human beings – carried out by the Jewish State of Israel. Genocide.

If the word seems excessive, then listen to leading Israeli politicians in their own words. Israeli government minister Amichai Eliyahu endorses using a nuclear bomb against Gaza – and told the Times of Israel that the whole Gaza Strip should be conquered and resettled.

A senior member of Likud and recent minister Galit Distal Atbaryan said Israel must invest all its energy “in one thing: erasing all of Gaza from the face of the Earth.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the coded word Amalek in a recent speech. He said: “You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.”

Netanyahu was sending a message of genocidal intent from the Prophet Samuel:

“I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant called the people of Gaza (over 1 million of whom are children) “human animals”. It was he who ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza, cutting off water, food, fuel and electricity.

Moshe Feiglin, a former deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset, calls for a “non-nuclear” Hiroshima. The President of Israel says anyone left in the north of Gaza is either a terrorist or a terrorist sympathiser. Israel has so far slaughtered over 4000 terrorist babies and children.

Unlike the Six Million, these victims are in our midst, are right here, right now. Hundreds of jurists and genocide scholars worldwide have signed letters declaring Gaza a genocidal siege. Israeli Holocaust scholar Raz Segal calls it a textbook case of genocide.

Many thousands of Jewish people all over the world are putting their bodies on the line, and are raising their voices to say Not In Our Name. Four hundred Jewish Americans were arrested in the US Capitol, hundreds more in Grand Central Station New York, hundreds in Wall Street, hundreds of Jewish Voices for Peace protesters in Canada. Heroic Israeli Jews are doing the same at great personal risk within the borders of the Jewish State.

It now appears clear that the Highest Stage of Zionism is Genocide for the Palestinians. The Oslo Accords, signed exactly 30 years ago, was a hollow promise of a two-state solution. PLO/Fatah renounced war with Israel in 1993 and what have they got in return? Blockades, dispossession and repression. Settlers are stealing more land and shooting Palestinians at will in the West Bank, hospitals are being bombed in Gaza, refugee camps flattened under heavy bombardment.

Hamas today is the bitter fruit of US-Israeli betrayal of the Palestinians.

When he spoke at the UN in September this year, Netanayahu showed a map of a “New Middle East”. Absent from the map was Palestine – Gaza, the West Bank and the Syrian Golan Heights were all incorporated into Greater Israel.

Mekomit, an Israeli news site, released a leaked Israeli Ministry of Intelligence “concept paper” a couple of weeks ago. Key points: drive the Gazans to the southern end of the Strip. Clear an opening at Rafah. Establish tent cities in the Egyptian Sinai. In other words: kill or ethnically cleanse 2.3 million Palestinians, ending their long life in Gaza. Netanyahu’s office says it only represents “initial thoughts”.

Where will it end? What depths of depravity will the Western World, including influential parts of the Jewish community, tolerate?

Silence is complicity.

Worse, the Western World is sending bombs, bullets, shells and missiles to enable the dark night of the Palestinian people to get darker. We are witnessing the unmasking of America, the scraping out of the last flesh of decency from the dark heart of Europe and the settler colonies like New Zealand, Canada, Australia. We’re turning a blind eye to what Al Jazeera is showing us daily. We are turning a deaf ear to the screams of dying children.

I was taught a long time ago that if we deny evil, we deceive ourselves; and there ends up being no truth, no decency in us. We become empty nobodies. We become our own punishment. Look at what Israel itself has become.

If Gaza becomes a charnel house for the Palestinians, it won’t just desecrate all memorials to the Six Million, it will be a collective and eternal stain on our entire generation.

On the front page of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is displayed the oft-quoted words of Pastor Martin Niemoller urging us to not ignore the persecution of others because, as he himself found out when the Gestapo sent him to Sachsenhausen, then Dachau concentration camps, your turn may soon follow. I would update his poem with just one stanza:

Then They Came for the Palestinians

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Palestinian.

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