The Holocaust as a justification for the mass murder of Palestinians in Gaza

The claim that Europeans colonized what is now known as “Israel” in response to the Holocaust is false, just like the historical myth that claims the English colonizers came to the U.S. seeking “religious freedom”. The Zionist ideology has been around since the late 1800s, and the first large waves of European Zionist settlers had already arrived in Palestine long before the Nazis came to power. The violence in Palestine is the result of racist European colonizers displacing and killing (with U.S./British military support) large numbers of (Arab) people who they think are subhuman, enslaving the survivors, and stealing their land and resources (much as the Europeans did in the Americas and Africa).

And even if the Israeli nationalist mythology were true, and Israel actually had been created because European Jews were fleeing Nazi persecution, that still doesn’t justify what they’ve done to the people of Palestine. If I’m experiencing violence in my own home, does that make it OK for me to go next door and kill all of my neighbors and take their house to “protect myself”? Of course not. … Did religious persecution in 16th/17th century England justify the colonizers coming over here and killing millions of Native Americans and stealing their land? Of course not. … Did the persecution of Jews (and Communists, disabled folks, homosexuals, Eastern Europeans) in Nazi Germany justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians during the Nakba or the current slaughter in Gaza? Of course not. … It’s horrible that so many people accept Nazi violence in the 1940s as a justification for the murder of hundreds of Palestinian children in 2014.

I think what is really causing most of the Israeli violence is not a fear of Nazis or homemade rockets; it is a toxic mix of racism, nationalism, religion and capitalism. The Israeli politicians, just like those in the U.S. are mostly corrupt puppets of the wealthy capitalist class. Their motivations are primarily to dispossess, enslave and kill off as many Palestinians as possible so their corporate cronies will get rich from the stolen land resources and slave labor. As far as the combat soldiers on the ground, though, I think that their motivations are a bit more varied (like the soldiers who are employed by the US capitalist/political class) — some are there because it’s a decent-paying job, some are there because they were conscripted, some are virulent racist religious zealots who think they’re doing God’s work by murdering “barbaric” Arabs …. The same goes for the Israeli people. Like the U.S., Israel is a thoroughly racist society, where it’s socially acceptable to express joy at the sight of dead Palestinian babies. In addition to the racism which is the norm in Israel, I think there are many other factors (economic, cultural, etc.) that lead the Israeli public to support the mass murder of Palestinians. Whatever their varied motives are for supporting the mass murder of Palestinians, I think that we all need to stop accepting their justifications and find ways to work together to end it.

Gabor Mate: Holocaust, gaza – how is genocide possible?

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City (Tuesday, July 22. 2014)
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City (Tuesday, July 22, 2014)

‘As a Jewish youngster growing up in Budapest, an infant survivor of the Nazi genocide, I was for years haunted by a question resounding in my brain with such force that sometimes my head would spin: “How was it possible? How could the world have let such horrors happen?”

It was a naïve question, that of a child. I know better now: such is reality. Whether in Vietnam or Rwanda or Syria, humanity stands by either complicitly or unconsciously or helplessly, as it always does. In Gaza today we find ways of justifying the bombing of hospitals, the annihilation of families at dinner, the killing of pre-adolescents playing soccer on a beach.

In Israel-Palestine the powerful party has succeeded in painting itself as the victim, while the ones being killed and maimed become the perpetrators. “They don’t care about life,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, abetted by the Obamas and Harpers of this world, “we do.” Netanyahu, you who with surgical precision slaughter innocents, the young and the old, you who have cruelly blockaded Gaza for years, starving it of necessities, you who deprive Palestinians of more and more of their land, their water, their crops, their trees — you care about life?

There is no understanding Gaza out of context — Hamas rockets or unjustifiable terrorist attacks on civilians — and that context is the longest ongoing ethnic cleansing operation in the recent and present centuries, the ongoing attempt to destroy Palestinian nationhood.

The Palestinians use tunnels? So did my heroes, the poorly armed fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto. Unlike Israel, Palestinians lack Apache helicopters, guided drones, jet fighters with bombs, laser-guided artillery. Out of impotent defiance, they fire inept rockets, causing terror for innocent Israelis but rarely physical harm. With such a gross imbalance of power, there is no equivalence of culpability.

Israel wants peace? Perhaps, but … it does not want a just peace. Occupation and creeping annexation, an inhumane blockade, the destruction of olive groves, the arbitrary imprisonment of thousands, torture, daily humiliation of civilians, house demolitions: these are not policies compatible with any desire for a just peace.’

— Gabor Mate (Beautiful dream of Israel has become a nightmare, Toronto Star)

Emma Goldman: Peace-loving Americans … warmongers

“We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that she will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations. Such is the logic of patriotism.”

— Emma Goldman

Top 10 Defense Budgets (2011), by nation -- chart