September 30, 2004
I believe that it's a major error, both politically and academically, to refer to genocides other than the Nazi holocaust as holocausts. Zionists like to make out that the holocaust is unique in terms of sheer numbers, aims and methods. But all histories are unique if only in terms of time and space and many genocides, like the slave trade, outweigh the holocaust for sheer numbers. Calling the holocaust, "the holocaust" does not make it bad. What it consisted of was what made it bad. Similarly the slave trade was bad enough without it being called a holocaust. Those who call it such seem to lack confidence in the description of what actually occurred sufficiently arousing people to condemn it.
Nowadays we are used to hearing the Israelis and Zionist movement compared to the Nazis and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine compared to the holocaust. This doesn't exaggerate Palestinian suffering. Holocaust survivor the late Israel Shahak said that any holocaust survivor would testify that a quick death is better than a slow torture. If that is the case then you could say that Palestinian suffering surpasses the holocaust. But it is not the holocaust. That name belongs to a different episode in history.
Returning to my earlier point, many identity groups, Jews, Irish, Palestinians, native Americans, Africans - the list is literally endless as new genocidal campaigns begin and/or continue - calling their collective and historic suffering holocausts doesn't amplify the suffering, it doesn't (as the Zionists argue) minimise the holocaust; it minimises the suffering by implying that the suffering would not count as suffering en masse if the word holocaust wasn't applied to it.
Perhaps we can agree that the Nazi holocaust was unique, but that that "uniqueness" is shared with the slave trade, the Irish famine, the conquest of the Americas and many many more genocidal campaigns. Not unique by any dictionary definition then.
Finally, the use of the expression "Jewish holocaust" is also an error. It was the Nazi holocaust and killed many more millions than just the Jewish millions.
*Updated 18/1/2005 in the wake of an adverse comment from Dave of the Den.
September 28, 2004
September 26, 2004
"We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly."
[Theodor Herzl - Zionism's Founding Father - Diary, 1895]
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine ..."
[Lord Arthur James Balfour - November, 1917]
"In Palestine we do not propose to even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country ... Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes of far profounder import than the desire and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land: In my opinion - that is right."
[Lord Arthur James Balfour - August, 1919]
"Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French ... It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct."
[Mahatma Gandhi - 1938]
"Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it's true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we came here and stole their country. Why should they accept that?"
[David Ben-Gurion, first Israeli Prime Minister - quoted by Nahum Goldmann, former president of the World Jewish Congress]
"The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established "normally" ... Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children ... Palestinians are not struggling for a "state" but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa ..."
[This quote is often attributed to Mandela but it was not by him. It was by a Palestinian journalist, Arjan el-Fassed emulating a kind of "letter from" style from the New York Times - March, 2001]
"For me, this business called the state of Israel is finished ... I can't bear to see it anymore, the injustice that is done to the Arabs ... All kinds of scum coming from America and as soon as they get off the plane taking over lands in the territories and claiming it for their own ... I can't do anything to change it. I can only go away and let the whole lot go to hell without me."
[Rivka Michaeli - Israeli actress (household name) - Aug, 1998]
"Mom ... I'm witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I'm really scared and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has got to stop. I think its a good idea for us to all drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop... I still want to dance around to Pat
Benatar records and have boyfriends... But I also want this to stop."
[Rachel Corrie - US citizen and ISM member, murdered in Rafah - e-mail to home Feb, 28, 2003]
September 25, 2004
September 24, 2004
September 21, 2004
b) Nelson Mandela (who refused to renounce armed struggle against apartheid)
c) The Chief Rabbi: Jonathan Sacks (lying Likud, or is it Labour, supporter)
You guessed didn't you. It was the old liar himself, the Chief Rabbi, on Thought for the day, slap bang in the middle of the Today. programme that he lied to about an interview with Jonathan Freedland. But I shouldn't sneer at him just because he's a lying supporter of ethnic cleansing and apartheid laws. Consider his words this morning. "No society was ever built on terror". This is a guy who purports to know Israel inside out. Does he really not know that Israel exists thanks to a terror campaign against the native population? And why is a proven liar so welcome on the programme he was caught lying to? Tomorrow's Thought for the day. is going to be presented by Jonathan Aitken, or is it Jeffrey Archer, or even Tony Blair? Sorry, that last one was just plain silly.
"To oppose sanctions against Israel on the grounds that these did not work in Iraq or Cuba and "would have no impact upon the Israeli government" is to ignore their decisive effect upon a country much more similar to Israel - apartheid South Africa.
Israel is, as the latter was, essentially a western colonialist state, both in its continuing attitude towards the people it has dispossessed and the need for its legitimacy to be accepted by the west, and crucially in its overriding need for the west to continue to bankroll it.
Therefore, like South Africa before the sanctions brought down the apartheid regime (both in denying it funds, and in ostracising it culturally and in sport), sanctions are the only viable means available to force those running Israel to understand that the west is no longer prepared to underwrite what has essentially been an invasion and creeping occupancy of Palestine against the wishes of its inhabitants, to give thanks that the Palestinians are prepared to give up attempting to recover their land and accept Israel within its 1967 borders, and to withdraw immediately from those territories.
UN resolution 242 of 1967, calling for the withdrawal from the occupied territories, has been ignored by Israel for over 35 years, with no action from the west except "the gentle art of persuasion" - precisely that which allowed apartheid to continue for over 45 years. No wonder the rest of the world condemns us for our double standards."
September 20, 2004
September 19, 2004
September 18, 2004
September 17, 2004
September 16, 2004
* such a panic they haven't posted the information to their website yet.
September 13, 2004
September 12, 2004
The juxtaposition of the names Gandhi and Mandela to denounce political violence is absurd (Comment, last week). Mandela was an active member of the military wing of the African National Congress and served as long as he did in prison, specifically, because he refused to renounce the armed struggle against apartheid. For this reason Amnesty International refused to take up his case.
Also, given Aaronovitch's support for the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, who on earth is he to invoke Gandhi?