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Red Rag weekly column: Holocaust Memorial Day - Eichmannite mentality - Netanyahu: peace-refuser - Independence Day
By: Gideon Spiro
30 April 2014 (English translation 5 May 2014)

Holocaust Memorial Day

For Netanyahu, Holocaust Memorial Day, which was commemorated this week, has
become Hamas and Iran Memorial Day. Netanyahu uses those two to terrify the
people of Israel and warn them that the danger of destruction has not passed.
To listen to Netanyahu, you would think that it was not Israel that was
besieging Gaza but Hamas that was besieging Israel, not Israel that was
training its pilots, arming its aircraft and threatening to attack Iran’s
nuclear facilities but Iran that was threatening to destroy Israel, even
though we have not yet heard any Iranian leader threaten to bomb the reactor
at Dimona on the grounds that Israel has set the region on a nuclear arms
race, and accordingly “we Iranians” must, with the help of God and the Supreme
Leader Khamenei, destroy the nuclear snake-den that threatens Iran.

The regime in Iran is obscurantist, oppressive, fundamentalist and
contemptuous of human rights, not much different from the Israeli dictatorship
that has been ruling over the Palestinian people for 47 years now. If you want
to know what Israel will look like under the rule of the “hilltop youth” and
the rabbis, all you have to do is take a look at Iran. The regime there is bad
enough without Netanyahu’s nonsense about destroying Israel. Iran’s leaders
speak of Israel in two voices: they say that they will respect any agreement
the Palestinians sign with Israel, and they repeatedly warn Israel not to
launch any military adventures against Iran, because the consequences for
Israel will be catastrophic. My modest proposal: don’t put that to the test,
don’t threaten Iran and don’t set the Middle East on fire. And at an opportune
moment, ask forgiveness of the Iranian people for Israel’s support of the
Shah’s regime.

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2014 was no different from those that preceded it.
Again they play the old tune of enlisting the Holocaust into service of
Israeli colonialism. They did not do their homework and did not learn the
lessons, the most important of which are the need to oppose racism, to respect
human rights for all and preserve democracy in a state of all its citizens.
Instead, Israel continues to perform the redundant and harmful spectacle
called the “March of the Living” to the Auschwitz death camp. This time the
delegation was headed by Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, who asked his
Polish counterpart to join him and to make a commitment to the struggle
against antisemitism.
If the Polish police commissioner was properly briefed, then he certainly
replied to Danino along the following lines: “Let’s make an agreement: I will
struggle against antisemitism – which I do anyway – and you will finally start
to struggle against racism and against the racists who today are flourishing
on both sides of the Green Line. Look: here in Poland antisemites do not burn
synagogues, but in Israel, racists burn mosques. Instead of travelling to
Poland, start working in Israel, and first and foremost root out the racism
that exists within the police, because racist apartheid police cannot
seriously fight racism.” Danino cast his gaze downwards and did not know where
to direct his shame.

Except for those who lit the torches, each one of whom has a wonderful and
moving story of survival, the official opening ceremony of Remembrance Day
runs its course in an orderly and clean routine, with vacuous speeches by the
Prime Minister and the President of the State, a squad of Occupation soldiers
that is ordered to stand at attention, then at ease, the Chief Rabbis, who
have divided tasks between them, the Ashkenazi reads a Psalm and the Sephardi
says Kaddish, and the chief military cantor sings “God full of mercy”.
Religion in its Orthodox form has taken control over the ceremony, which is
supposed to be secular.

The official Holocaust show that mobilizes support for criminal government
policy has a polar opposite in the form of an artistic performance by Natalie
Cohen Waksberg. It is not easy to watch. Natalie gets to the roots of the
distortion that characterizes the official treatment of the Holocaust, and in
line with accepted practice in radical political art, she does not speak, but
scathingly flogs symbols, kicks the consensus, slaughters sacred cows and
exposes the Holocaust Establishment in all its nakedness. Just how a “made in
Israel” young woman arrived at the political insights that produced her daring
show is nearly a miracle in its own right.

Here is the link:

An Eichmannite mentality

On the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, a film telling the story of the Adolf
Eichmann investigators after he was caught and brought to Israel was shown on
Israeli television. One of the investigators related that he had prepared
himself to see a monster, and when the door opened, he saw “the grey form of a
functionary who could be any of us”. (Quote from memory) To that I would add:
the functionary who obeys his masters’ orders and meticulously adheres to all
provisions of the law is a type we meet every day in our encounters with the
government. A disciplined man who does not ask why and wherefore, even when he
receives orders that involve war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Functionaries like that, who are the essence of bureaucracy, can be found in
every governmental establishment. In democratic states the harm they cause is
marginal, but in dictatorial states they constitute the infrastructure on
which a tyrannical regime commits its crimes. Not every such functionary
becomes a mass murderer like Eichmann, but those characteristics are the
foundation on which a tyrannical regime builds its actions. Eichmann acted in
accordance with German law and obeyed the orders given to him, as Professor
Yeshayahu Liebowitz told me in an interview I did with him in February 1992
for a German Jewish weekly. Liebowitz defied those who raise the law and
obedience to orders to a supreme value without consideration for the objective
they serve. Whether or not Eichmann really hated or despised Jews is of no
importance at all. He was assigned a task and carried it out with dedication
and efficiency as befits a loyal functionary.

These thoughts came to the fore after the story in the newspaper
Haaretz (Friday 25 April 2014) according to which the NGO Physicians
for Human Rights received a letter from a functionary in the tax department
named Assaf Lerner, in which the faithful functionary informs the organization
that he has begun proceedings to withdraw the organization’s status as a
charity contributions to which can be claimed as an income-tax deduction. In
his letter, the functionary asks what public interest is served by the
struggle against the Occupation or aid to refugees or medical treatment in
Palestinian villages to which doctors hardly ever go because of the Occupation
or the struggle for medical rights for Bedouin in the Negev, and what interest
the members of the organization have in Bil’in and Ni’lin in the Occupied
Territories, and since when has the struggle for public health-care for all as
a human right been a public interest. In the end it all comes down to some
personal conflict between Netanyahu and Abu Mazen, the Palestinians’ health
problems are an internal Palestinian matter over which Israel has no control,
and those who are wounded in demonstrations in Bil’in and Ni’lin by gunfire of
the Occupation’s soldiers are not entitled to medical treatment, they can all
die, and the state of medicine in Israel is not at all a public interest but
the personal problem of the Minister of Health. Why did we not think of that
before? Now imagine the US tax authorities sending a letter like Lerner’s to
the Anti-Defamation League, informing it that the struggle against
antisemitism is not a public interest and so contributions to the ADL will no
longer be tax-deductible. Imagine the outcry in Israel.

Physicians for Human Rights is one of the most noble and just organizations
that have been created in Israel. A blessed initiative by Dr. Ruchama Marton
that a normal state would have rewarded with the Israel Prize. Jews and Arabs
joined hands in actions that cannot be defined as other than holy work in the
service of lofty ideals at the centre of which is the love of man, who was
created in the Image. All the issues the organization deals with are public
interests, like the struggle against the Occupation, racism, the privatization
of public health-care and for the right to health as a human right. Only a
sterile, right-wing and fundamentalist brain could conceive an attack on the
organization. The organization, with its management, employees and members are
the Israeli version of Righteous Gentiles.

What will happen if the functionary Lerner’s efforts are not thwarted?
Donations to the organization will dry up and it may have to dissolve itself.
The result will be that those for whom medical treatment at the organization’s
clinic was the last defensive wall, because Israel does not recognize their
right to medical treatment, will be in danger of death. The organization’s
doctors, people of conscience who take their oath seriously will feel as if
they have lost their licences to practice medicine. It reminds me of the
cancellation of the medical licences of Jewish doctors in Germany in the
1930s. My father was one of those doctors. The circumstances were not always
identical, but the pretexts were similar. The cancellation of their licences
was rooted in racism, just as the abuse and harassment that is expressed by
the Israeli tax authorities are also motivated by racism. All this is done, of
course, with meticulous regard for the provisions of the law, which can always
be interpreted in the service of crime and injustice. This is the common
denominator of the Eichmannite mentality. True, there is a Basic Law on Human
Dignity and Liberty, but the interpretation in a state in which Jewish takes
precedence over democratic, the Arabs are not on the human level of Jews and
so discrimination against them is taken for granted as part of the essence of
the State, as Supreme Court Judge Edna Arbel ruled recently, with the
agreement of her colleagues on the panel, when she confirmed that Palestinians
are discriminated against but that it is reasonable discrimination. She can
also invoke the precedent of our great friend the USA, the Supreme Court of
which during the era of slavery ruled that the US Constitution did not apply
to Blacks because they were not human in the Constitutional sense. Whereas the
US is making efforts to correct the injustice, Israel is regressing to the
terminology of the society of slavery.

If I had to choose where to live, my choice would be the state of Physicians
for Human Rights. That state does not discriminate between blood and blood,
respects human rights, believes in democracy and takes care of all its
citizens and residents without distinction of religion, race or gender.

Peace Refusers

The Prime Minister of Israel is a peace refuser who is an expert in the Peace
Process, an endless process the only purpose of which is to buy time and to
wear down those who participate in it. Now Abu Mazen has given Netanyhau a
pretext to stop the process – the reconciliation with Hamas. Netanyahu is a
master of deceit. He wears the face of a peace-lover but when it comes to the
objective, we see that it is all illusion, like the wanderer in the desert who
sees a lake and when he reaches its shore there is no lake and no water, just
sand and more sand. To this very day Netanyahu is not willing to say what he
thinks the borders of the Palestinian state should be in a two-state solution,
even though he has been asked again and again to draw a map, both by Abu Mazen
and by our friends in the West. Now we are witness to the absurd spectacle of
the peace-refuser Netanyahu accusing Abu Mazen of refusing peace. I do not
know if Abu Mazen is a peace-refuser, because he has never been presented with
a serious Israeli proposal that would put him to the test.

If Netanyahu were serious on the subject of peace he would call Abu Mazen up
on the phone and congratulate him on the reconciliation and express hope that
now it will be possible to conduct negotiations with a government that will
represent a decisive majority of the Palestinian people. If he were serious he
would already have proposed that Jerusalem should be a joint capital for both
states. If he were serious he would tell Abu Mazen that we will return to the
Palestinians East Jerusalem with its 300 thousand people, and as an act of
goodwill and reconciliation Israel is willing to absorb a similar number of
refugees from the refugee camps. If he were serious he would free the
thousands of Palestinian prisoners and thereby prove that his intentions
regarding peace are more than mere lip-service. If he were serious he would
inform Abu Mazen of Israel’s willingness to evacuate all the settlements,
withdraw to the 1949 ceasefire lines and leave intact the physical
infrastructure and buildings of the settlements to house Palestinian refugees
who will be resettled with the compensation that Israel owes the victims of
the Nakba. All the talk about “settlement blocs that will be annexed to
Israel” is a recipe for prolonging hostile friction rather than a prescription
for peace.

Of course, if Netanyahu were serious he would not be in the Likud. Instead, we
get this “we will not talk with terrorists”. The Jewish terror government
which includes representatives of Jewish Hamas will not talk with terrorists.
What a sad joke.

Independence Day

As in previous years, I will not celebrate Independence Day this year, because
Israel is still negating the Palestinian people’s right to independence.
Secretary of State Kerry, you do not have to apologize for using the word
“apartheid” in connection to Israel. You spoke of a fear for the future, but
in fact we have had apartheid here for many years now. Israel is an apartheid
state and it must be dealt with using the same methods that were used against
South Africa. As for AIPAC, we must act on the advice of Rabbi Nachman of
Breslov, and “not be afraid at all”, and put that racist lobby in its place.

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent

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