Friday, January 29, 2010

The Cynical Use of the Holocaust

by Dee Newman

Yesterday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Efforts to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive are imperative. The Holocaust must never be forgotten!

For Israel to take part in these efforts is, of course, fitting and proper. However, in doing so, the Israeli government must be free of any ulterior motives, designed to use the memory of the Holocaust to obscure and justify the Israeli government’s past and present war crimes and human rights abuses. Regrettably, their words and actions have rightly stirred suspicions that it has and continues to cynically use the memory of the Holocaust to do just that.

How fitting and proper it would have been if on this international day of remembrance Israel had taken the time to look inward and examine itself, its own motives and despicable conduct . . . to have asked why it had found it necessary a year ago to dropped white-phosphorous bombs on the innocent people (men, women, and children) of Gaza.

How appropriate and magnanimous it would have been, if Netanyahu had declared a new policy for integrating refugees into the Israeli culture instead of a strategy to remove them, or had finally lifted the horrific blockade of Gaza, now in its fourth year, forcing 1.5 million people to live in conditions that are unbearable and disgraceful.

As long as Israel continues to descend into a xenophobic state of fear and intolerance, as long as it continues its self-righteous blockade of Gaza, and as long as it continues to violate the basic human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories and uses its own security (and the Holocaust) to try and excuse its criminal and discriminatory actions, Netanyahu’s Holocaust speeches will forever remain specious and ring hollow.

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