What Arab Holocaust-Deniers Should Learn from Mandela

Haganah fighters take aim: Survivors of the camps arriving in Israel in 1948 having been denied anywhere else to go weren’t going to see the war as anything but a matter of physical survival

No, this is not another one of those idiotic diatribes by Americans or Israelis who know nothing about Nelson Mandela, but use their fantasy picture of him to add authority to their claims that the Palestinians should embrace whatever Israel deigns to offer them. For the record, in making peace with the apartheid regime, Nelson Mandela did not significantly compromise on the ANC’s core demand – he agreed to end the armed struggle only when the white minority had conceded to the principle of democratic majority rule after decades of trying in vain to force the national liberation movement to settle for less.

Still, there is a very, very important lesson that the Palestinian national movement and its Arab allies – and certainly, those in Iran who claim to speak on its behalf – have failed to learn. Mandela made it his business, as a responsible leader of a national liberation movement fighting apartheid’s unique form of colonialism, to understand the motives of the system’s die-hard supporters. Not simply their tactics and strategies, but the historical narrative within which they constructed their system of minority rule as an “historic necessity” by which they could justify the suppression of others. Because all systems of oppression are ultimately founded on fear, and their claim to offer protection to their adherents from the things they most fear.

When Mandela stood in the dock in 1964 and told the court that one of his prime sources of inspiration for waging guerrilla war was the great Boer War general Deneys Reitz — whose book “Kommando” was an early manual worthy of Giap — he was not simply being cute. He was telling the Afrikaners that he connected with their own national liberation struggle waged against the British, and that he was representing his own people in a narrative they should understand from their own experience. The Boers built the system that guaranteed their privileges and power on the basis of the common historical experience of the Afrikaners at the hands of the British – and for those of you who didn’t know, the very term “Concentration Camp” was actually a British invention during the Boer War. The highly mobile Boer guerrilla forces were more than a match for Britain’s large conventional formations, saddling up and riding into battle and then simply disappearing back into the civilian population. So the British responded by simply rounding up that civilian population, burning their farms, and imprisoning them in what they called “Concentration Camps,” where 26,000 Boer women and children died of starvation and disease.

And it was that sense of victimhood and outrage at the hands of the Brits that drove the Afrikaner-Nationalist ideology of Mandela’s foes. Both from prison and in power, Mandela never belittled or dismissed their experience; instead he honored the suffering of the Boers and their courage and ingenuity in their war against Britain. Mandela’s message, in essence, was “we understand your suffering, but we were not your oppressors, and you have nothing to fear from us; your suffering cannot excuse the suffering you have imposed on us.”

Mandela went out of his way to incorporate Afrikaner suffering, and even Afrikaner national pride, in his articulation of a new national identity. The ANC government celebrated the centenary of the Anglo Boer war in 1999, commemorating it as part of the legacy of South Africans’ fight for freedom. And five years earlier, Mandela had donned that most potent of symbols of Afrikaner pride — the Springbok rugby jersey — to cheer on the national team at the Rugby World Cup, a gesture more powerful than any words could convey to many ordinary Afrikaans people fearful of their place in Mandela’s new South Africa.

The reason we’re talking about this, of course, is that Iran is hosting an international gathering of Holocaust deniers, as if assembling a rogues gallery of neo-Nazis and Klu Klux Klansmen to “negate” the experience of history can somehow strengthen the Palestinian cause. In truth, of course, President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad is not concerned with the Palestinians; he’s fighting his own power struggle against more pragmatic elements inside the regime in Tehran, his strategy involving repeat symbolic provocations of the West in order to foment a crisis that sabotages the efforts of those in the regime seeking a pragmatic coexistence. His tactics are those of the 1979 U.S. embassy seizure — create a confrontation with the West that polarizes the situation, forcing Iranians to rally against an external enemy and sabotaging any effort to cooperate with the U.S. and others.

And in inviting Palestinians and Arabs to deny the Holocaust, Ahmedinajad is doing their cause a profound disservice. Ahmedinajad’s Holocaust-denial is hardly unique. It’s been echoed even in recent weeks by representatives of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and even Mahmoud Abbas — although he has since disavowed it — wrote a PhD thesis in the early 1980s in which he claimed that the number of Jews killed by the Nazis was less than 1 million.

This offends me profoundly, as a Jew, as an advocate of justice for the Palestinians, as a global citizen. Because even if Holocaust denial arises among Arab intellectuals largely as a result of the uses to which the Zionist movement has put the Holocaust to justify all manner of injustices against the Palestinians, that does not excuse it. To deny the Holocaust becuase of the way it has been exploited is like denying that the attacks on the World Trade Center took place because you don’t like the Patriot Act or the way 9/11 has been used to cow a frightened nation into supporting the invasion of Iraq.

Arab Holocaust denial is a feeble-minded distortion that puts its adherents into the bizarre company of people who today would just as soon butcher Muslims to get them out of Europe as they once did to Jews (or, indeed, of the diseased minds in the Zionist camp who spend all their time bashing out emails and journal articles purporting to show that there are no Palestinians, that Edward Said never lived in Jerusalem and that sort of thing…). But that’s not the worst of it: Arab Holocaust denial also evades confronting the fact that not only did the Holocaust happen to the Jews of Europe, but because it happened to the Jews of Europe — and because of the reaction by other Western powers before and after the fact — the Holocaust profoundly changed the Arab world. Indeed, in this sense, the Holocaust may have been one of the most important historical events shaping Arab history over the past century.

No, Ahmedinajad would say, not the Holocaust, but the “myth” of the Holocaust. But does he think we’re stupid? The vast majority of the world’s Jews before World War II had rejected Zionism and its idea of colonizing Palestine in order to build a Jewish nation-state as a fringe movement of zealots. In terms of Jewish political affiliation, Zionism accounted for less than 20 percent. The vast majority of Europe’s Jews had identified themselves with the parties of the Left (and also secular liberalism in the case of elements of Western Europe’s more prosperous Jewish communities) — they were socialists and social democrats, Bolsheviks and Bundists (the Jewish Workers Bund was a Yiddish-speaking organization for Jewish workers but aligned itself with the broader socialist movement, as compared with the entirely secular currents of Bolshevism in which many Jews participated, but as individuals rather than en bloc).

And, of course, among the massive Jewish population of the main Arab cities of the time, such as Cairo and Baghdad (and also Tehran, of course, which is not Arab, but Persian), there was no statistically significant presence of a Zionist movement at all. And it is important to remember, here, that it was in the Muslim world that Jews had historically sought refuge from persecution in Christian Europe, at whose hands Jews and Muslims shared a common fate.

The Holocaust wiped out the pre-war (mostly anti-Zionist) European leadership, and the Zionists were ready to take advantage of the opportunity presented by universal horror at what had transpired in the camps to make a case for a Jewish State in Palestine — a cause for which they had fought long before the Holocaust, but in which they hadn’t won the support of a majority of European Jews. Ben Gurion notoriously remarked, circa 1938, “‘Were I to know that all German Jewish children could be rescued by transferring them to England and only half by transfer to Palestine, I would opt for the latter, because our concern is not only the personal interest of these children, but the historic interest of the Jewish people.” Indeed, Ben Gurion warned that as a result of universal outrage at the Kristallnacht pogrom, other nations might be moved by conscience to open their doors to Jewish refugees — “Zionism is in danger!” Ben Gurion warned.

Indeed, after the war, the Zionist movement actively agitated to ensure that the survivors of the Holocaust were transferred to Palestine, and nowhere else. Morris Ernst, a Jewish adviser to President Roosevelt, wrote later of a plan he devised and had pressed the U.S. president to accept that would throw open the doors of the U.S. to at least 150,000 survivors. “It would free us from the hypocrisy of closing our own doors while making sanctimonious demands on the Arabs,” Ernst wrote, in reference to the fact that Arabs in Palestine were being told to make room for the survivors, while the main Western powers kept a tight restriction on Jewish immigration even after Auschwitz. When he proposed the plan to Zionist activists in Jewish organizations, he was shocked at the reaction: “I was amazed and even felt insulted when active Jewish leaders decried, sneered, and then attacked me as if I were a traitor…I think I know the reason for much of the opposition. There is a deep, genuine, often fanatical emotional vested interest in putting over the Palestinian movement [i.e. the move to settle Jews there].”

And in his excellent book The Seventh Million: Israeli Jews and the Holocaust, Israeli historian Tom Segev reveals that for the first 15 years after the liberation of the camps, Israelis were not much interested in hearing the testimonies of Holocaust survivors or discussing an episode they saw simply as connoting Jewish weakness. It was only after the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem that Israel began to actively claim ownership of the Holocaust as part of its national narrative, and the reason was political: the first generation of Western Jews who had settled in the new state was beginning to lose faith and emigrate, and a sense of gloom had settled over the Zionist project — reviving the memory of the Holocaust became a way of promoting national unity behind Zionist goals. (And my personal Zionist experience was intimately bound up with the Holocaust, and the sense the Zionist movement had created in me that we were always on the brink of extinction, and that Israel embodied the spirit of the Warsaw Ghetto, of not going meekly to the gas chamber — take a 17-year old to Yad Vashem, then tell him that our only insurance against another Holocaust is the IDF, and you’ll add another true believer to the ranks.)

For the Palestinians and their supporters, however, the point is simple: The memory of the Holocaust is such a powerful ideological tool for Zionism precisely because of its reality — it speaks the collective memory of Ashkenazi Jews of our fate in Europe, and it pricks the conscience of the perpetrators and those who preferred to turn away.

To respond by trying to deny the reality of the Holocaust is as profoundly immoral as it is idiotic — creating a kind of binary game in which if Israel says mother’s milk is good for babies, the likes of Ahmedinajad will convene a symposium to prove the superiority of formula. The point about the Holocaust is that it happened to the Jews of Europe, and afterwards, as a result of the efforts of the Zionist movement and some combination of shame and latent anti-Semitism in the West, many of its survivors had no choice but to go to Palestine, where they were willing to fight with every fiber of their being for survival, without the luxury of considering the history and context into which they’d been thrust. In the war that followed, Palestinian Arabs, who had been 55 % of the population and had controlled around 80 % of the land, now found themselves displaced and dispossessed, confined to a mere 22 % of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza), and prevented by a series of ethnic-cleansing laws passed by the State of Israel at its inception from reclaiming the homes and land from which they’d mostly fled in legitimate fear of their lives.

So, the Holocaust, in a very real way, reverberated traumatically in Palestinian national life: It was the narrative that fueled the ferocity with which many of those who drove the Palestinians from their homes in 1948 approached the struggle. And, as Morris Ernst wrote in his reference to “sanctimonious demands on the Arabs,” the Palestinian Arabs had been asked to pay a steep price for Western guilt over what had befallen the Jews of Europe.

Ahmedinajad ought to pay attention to one particular guest, a Palestinian lawyer from Nazareth called Khaleed Mahameed, who runs a small Holocaust exhibit at his office in Nazareth, and argues that it is essential that the Palestinians understand the Holocaust because in it lies the root of their own suffering. Addressing the Israelis on the basis of an understanding of their experience was essential for the Palestinians to make progress in their own national struggle, he argues. He was invited to the conference after writing to Ahmedinajad telling him that the Holocaust was an historical fact that should not be questioned, and that doing so only played into the hands of right-wing Zionists. Indeed, the Zionist establishment doesn’t quite know what to make of Mahameed, because he’s directly challenging Ahmedinajad at the same time as making clear that the Holocaust has been abused in order to justify suffering inflicted on the Palestinians. That’s how a Palestinian Mandela would put it — the Holocaust, in fact, is part of the legacy of suffering that is the common history of Israel and the Palestinians.

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86 Responses to What Arab Holocaust-Deniers Should Learn from Mandela

  1. Ziad says:

    @ Pdan

    Thanx for a curteous reply. I would only emphasize that Sikhs, Pakistanis, etc don’t go to England? with a claim of territory, the intent to take it by force and the argument that the British have to go somewhere else. After all, they speak English in America and Canada, don’t they?

    If that were the case, I’m sure you and your countrymen would do whatever it takes to survive and rightly so.

    The Palestinians, being weak, will accept help from anyone who offers it. You spoke ofearly Jewish settlers seeking protection from extremists. I’m afraid there’s a lot of that going around.

    Best Wishes,

  2. Tony says:


    We’ll leave Husseini vs. the Stern gang (and numerous other instances of collaboration with the Nazis by the Zionist leadership before the war) for a different post. I find this pretty amusing though:

    “The principle claim of Jews however to Palestine I believe rests on the fact that they were forcefully expelled from there two thousand years ago, were systematically oppressed both by Christians and Muslims and forcibly prevented from returning to Palestine for the past 2000 years. The Muslim armies conquered Palestine by force and butchered its previous inhabitants. There is little honor or justice in their possession of the land.

    The European acquiescence in the cause of Zionism as represented by the Balfour Declaration had nothing to do with the Holocaust, and everything to do with the recognition of the facts as presented in the above paragraph.”

    Uh, actually, it wasn’t the Muslims that drove us out of the Holy Land at all, they actually welcomed us back when they drove the Crusaders out of Jerusalem. I’m not sure that we were “systematically” oppressed by Christians and Muslims — were were certainly viciously oppressed by Christians at many points in our history in Europe, but also had hundreds of years of prosperity and security in different parts at different times. And actually, I think we did a lot better under Islam in general. That’s one reason there was no Zionist movement of any significance among the Arab Jews before the emergence of the State of Israel — and as yoiu say, many were expelled, in a context, I’d argue, of the hostilities generated by the emergence of the Jewish State — and yes, I have no hesitation in supporting their right to full compensation or return.

    To suggest that the inhabitants of Palestine in the 19th century bear whatever responsibility for Muslim conquests hundreds of years earlier and therefore have no legitimate claim is just plain silly — it’s like saying the U.S. government is illegitimate because of the slaughter of the indigenous Americans by its forebears…

    BTW, the idea of a “return” to forcibly set up a Jewish state in the Holy Land was actually forbidden by the Talmud until the Messiah comes.

    And d’you really think the Balfour Declaration was based on the idea of redressing the Jews expulsion by teh Romans? Yikes! It was a response to active lobbying of hte British by Zionist groups, based on teh condition of Jews in Central Europe — and they always made it clear in their discourse that such a state would be an outpost of Western colonialism and its “civilizing” mission.

    But even with the Balfour Declaration and the Peel Commission etc,, I’m not sure that the international community would have been willing to put in place a Jewish State in Palestine had it not been for the Holocaust. (Roosevelt when talking about it to Saud says you have to accept this becuase of the terrible things that have been done to the Jews by the Nazis; not you have to accept this because Jews not Muslims are the proper owners of the Holy Land…)

  3. Pdan says:

    You know Ziad,

    I don’t wish to bore you with the details of Jewish History. But let me tell you Jews know what it’s like to live in a Ghetto, to be spat upon, to be prevented from working among the common populace, to starve and to be defenceless, to be raided in pogroms, to be burned at the stake, to be tortured on the rack, all the while others tilling their land in Palestine. No one cared for them, there were no UN resolutions, no UNESCO, no donations from other countries, no help from NGO’s. They bandaged their sick and wounded, buried their dead, cared for their widows and orphans, and wept in silence. And for two thousand years, on every Passover, they would say, today in captivity, may be next year as free people in Jerusalem.

    You may ask, if they suffered so much how can they not understand the suffering of the Palestinians. The answer is they do. For that reason the road to peace has always been open. But every time they invited the Palestinians to take it, they would walk the other way. That’s why the road keeps getting longer and longer.

    I know that looking back today, it seems that they intended all along to set up their own state and expel the Palestinians. I will never convince you that it didn’t have to be this way. They did not engineer the terrorist attacks in pre-war Palestine, nor the Holocaust in Europe, nor the invasion of the new Israeli State in 1948, to gain the world’s sympathy, or to give an excuse for statehood. But each of these drove them closer to the Israel of today, and the Palestinians further away from their objective.

    It’s not too late to turn back, and I hope the Palestinians will do so. I believe that the innocent women and children targeted by terrorists are not the only victims. The terrorists themselves, the suicide bombers are also victims. Victims of anger and hatred, of an irrational death wish. I hope the Palestinians will turn back some day and choose life.

  4. Pdan says:

    Dear Tony,

    You are right, they were not always oppressed with equal vigor. But they were not given equal status with other citizens of any country, neither in Europe nor in the Middle East, until the 19th Century. While the discrimination against Jews was not as harsh in Arab countries, they were not allowed to own land, had to wear at times distinctive clothing and did not enjoy the same rights under the law.

    However in Europe they were emancipated and this gave them the opportunity to think about returning to Palestine. In the Arab lands they continued to be second class citizens. There were few Zionists in the Arab lands because the Jews there were not convinced that they would fare any better in Arab Palestine than elsewhere in Arabia.

    I never said that The Palestinians of the 19th Century were responsible for the Muslim conquests. Yes, it was the Romans that expelled the Jews, but the Muslims did not allow them to return either, except for brief periods during their long history there.

    Palestinians and Jews both have legitimate historical claims that need to be respected. Were it not for the violence and brutality with which the Palestinians have been pursuing their objectives, the conflicting claims could have all been accomodated a long time ago.

  5. Pdan says:

    @h. kim

    “These “larger” pictures strike me as delusions, irrelevant to “solving” the problem on the spot and serving only to distract–and very much intended to distract, by the parties on all sides.”

    I guess I will never convince you that the “Political Wing” of Hamas does not control Mashaal in Damascus, and the military wing of Hamas, even though Haniyeh has denounced some of their actions.

    Nor do I have any hope of convincing you that Fatah does not control the Al Aqsa Matryrs and neither Fatah nor Hamas controls the rest of the half dozen militias.

    As a result you will never believe the futility of negotiating with politicians who have no control over the territory they have been elected to govern.

  6. Pdan says:

    You are a funny man Tony

    “…and they always made it clear in their discourse that such a state would be an outpost of Western colonialism and its “civilizing” mission…”

    Are you suggesting that the British expected Polish Jews from the Shtetle to civilize the Middle East?

    I think there is a movie script here for Mel Brooks that will out gross ‘Blazing Saddles’.

  7. blowback says:

    Some sources have suggested that Ahmedinajad’s conference is to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the West on the “Danish cartoon” issue. Many in the West said that freedom of speech is absolute so the Muslims must shut up. However, it turns out that in much of the West, freedom of speech is not an absolute when it comes to the Holocaust.

    As to the “myth” of the Holocaust, I would be interested to know who did the translation (I have heard it was MEMRI) and whether the word Ahmedinajad used could also be translated as mythology. There was certainly a “mythology” of the Holocaust. .For example, in earlier years the numbers exterminated at each camp, the presence of working gas chambers in concentration camps, the manufacture of soap from human fat, etc.. It is ironic that one effect of the Holocaust deniers such as David Irving is that while their claims have been proved wrong, the accepted view has changed as a result of research to rebut their claims.

  8. h. kim says:


    I guess I will never convince you that the “Political Wing” of Hamas does not control Mashaal in Damascus, and the military wing of Hamas, even though Haniyeh has denounced some of their actions.

    And your point is? You were the one suggesting that they can be better dealt with by bombing (figuratively or literally) Damascus or Riyadh. If these guys aren’t controlled by their local “politicals,” can you do better by dealing with the regimes even farther away? If you don’t deal with them through negotiations, what will be the solution that you suggest? Send Palestinians to Uganda?

    BTW, the way IDF has been “dealing” with the Hamas and Fatah suggests that they have a rather different set of beliefs about who “controls” who than you do. Perhaps you’ll never convince the government of Israel that bombing the “official” Palestinian leadership to stone age will never stop the terrorists either–and they should probably set up gas chambers to exterminate the brutes (yes, I realize that this is incendiary–but it is also very much intentional. Genocide all too often seems like the only “logical” solution in dealing with intractible populations.)

  9. Pdan says:

    @h. kim

    For the record again I made no suggestion for the IDF. My suggestion was for the Palestinians to turn away from control by militias and towards loyalty to their elected government. Simple and rather benign idea. Your frothing at the mouth is once again completely unneccessary.

  10. blowback says:

    Pdan – sometimes you spout complete garbage.

    Were it not for the violence and brutality with which the Palestinians have been pursuing their objectives, the conflicting claims could have all been accomodated a long time ago.

    It is time you faced the fact that Israel does not want a settlement with the Palestinians. It would rather the Palestinians just disappeared from history.

    My suggestion was for the Palestinians to turn away from control by militias and towards loyalty to their elected government.

    Since their elected government is Hamas, and since the US, the EU and Israel are boycotting Hamas, what is the point? Would you have suggested that the French be loyal to the Vichy government during the German occupation?

  11. h. kim says:

    Who’s frothing? I’m merely asking, if it is impossible as far as you can tell to deal with Palestinians, would you rather that they be sent to gas chambers? (Again, with the disclaimer that I’m using the term intentional to make a point). After all, as per the comment above, the only “solution” that you seem to be suggesting is to make them disappear?

  12. Pdan says:

    I wish for them the “gas chamber” no more than for myself or any one else. I only wish them a happy and secure future. May they be well and prosper. I don’t see why turning away from violence is the same as making them disappear. If that’s how you fell, that’s your problem.

    As for Hamas, its mandate was for honest and good government, not for continuing the Intifada. If they wished to pursue the latter, they should have put it to a referendum.

    In any case the “political wing” of Hamas which was elected does not contol the agenda, which was my point. They are being directed by the un-elected militias. A democracy requires that the rule of law govern, and that is not the case.

    I would also like to remind you that as wonderful as the “Democratic election” without security and freedom of expression in the Palestinian Territories may have been it was not unique. Israel is a real democracy as is the U.S.

    If democracy gives validity to people’s desires then the democratic wishes of Israelis should have equal weight.

  13. Tony says:

    Pdan, I’m sorry, but Blowback is right — and not only are you spouting rubbish, it’s supremely arrogant rubbish to boot. Or do you Zionists take it upon yourselves to lecture Hamas about the nature of its mandate. Hamas’s election was a repudiation not only of Fatah’s venal style of government (the same one that the US and Israel are now trying desperately to reinstate); it was a repudiation of their strategy. Even today, the PCPSR poll in September that found 54% of Palestinians unhappy with Hamas’s performance in government nonetheless found 65% saying that it should resist Western pressure to recognize Israel.

    And spare us your moralizing about how Israel is a real democracy while the Palestinians aren’t because they voted for Hamas. BTW, the apartheid regime was very democratic also, but only white people were allowed to vote. Sure, Israeli Arabs have voting rights, but the vast majority of Palestinians who live under the power of the Israeli government have no right to vote for the government that determines their fate (i.e. Israel’s).

  14. Pdan says:


    Obviously you believe that Palestinian terrorism is the result of the “occupation” while I believe that the occupation is the result of the terrorism.

    That terrorism began in 1920 and has not stopped for any appreciable length of time. Israelis hung tough and would not let themselves be bullied, but were always willing to make peace.

    They built a viable society and made peace with two out of three of their hostile neighbours. The Palestinians, addicted to hatred and violence saw their prospects go from bad to worse.

    I believe that a change in their tactics is indicated, and yes, I do have the temerity to take it upon myself to state my opinion.

  15. Pdan says:


    Do you really want to know why the Palestinian Territories are not democratic?

    Because they have beaten to death anyone who aspoused moderate views on the streets of the West Bank and Gaza.

    Haaretz will publish your diatribes in Israel. but just try to defend the Israelis on the Arab streets and see how long you can stay alive.

  16. Tony says:

    “Occupation is the result of terrorism”. You’re joking, right? Or do you think we’re stupid? Frankly, I’m beginning to think you’ve been sent here to waste my time… Keep me busy responding to your shtuyot when I could be writing diatribes for Haaretz! I’m onto you, Hasbara Boy!

  17. Pdan says:


    While I honestly don’t know what ‘shtuyot’ , or ‘Hasbara’ mean, it is obvious that we disagree. You seem to live in your own bubble of hatred and intolerance, may you find happiness there.

    All the best.

  18. h. kim says:

    Funny that the most hate-filled, intolerant people like to accuse everyone else of hatred and intolerance…. But I suppose that’s what siege mentality does to people. I don’t know the degree to which pdan is representaive of Israeli perspective (and, at the same time Palestinian, since they too must be suffering from much siege mentality themselves), and, as some of the earlier poster pointed out, neither is quite so desperate enough to be willing to come to a bargaining table any time soon (I think it applies to Israelis more than Palestinians in the short- to medium-run, but to the Palestinians in the long-run) is as desperate as the white South Africans were to bargain (in the sense of being shunned by the rest of the world and facing much less favorable numerical odds)., the situation in Israel/Palestine seems difficult indeed!

  19. Pdan says:

    @h. kim

    I have to agre with you on that. I for one, am at a a loss to explain how advocating non-violence can be interpeted as a hostile act.

  20. Tony says:

    Sorry, I forgot to mention earlier, the other point about the centrality of the Holocaust to the Zionist project is that it settled the issue among Jews decisively in favor of the Zionists — before the Holocaust, the idea of creating a Jewish state in Palestine and resettling Jews there had the support only of a minority of Jews, and the mainstream Jewish political and social organizations were non- and even anti-Zionist.

    After the Holocaust, Jewish anti-Zionism — while it persisted — became the minority position. By a two thirds majority, Jews continue to choose to live in the Diaspora rather than in a Jewish state. But from within the Diaspora, a far greater number support the principle of maintaining a Jewish state in Israel, even if they don’t intend to ever live there.

  21. h. kim says:


    I hate to sound pedantic, but there pratically never has been anyone who advocated violence just for the sake of violence. Every military adventure in history has been presented as a response against some act of intolerable violence of some kind done by the other side, a litany of all the wrongs done by the other side that justifies the use of violence–every war that has ever been fought was justified as defense of “something” sacred. So spare me your sanctimonious about the violence-prone nature of the Palestinians justifying Israeli actions. The only morally superior action that Israel can take, in my view–functionally equivalent to Palestinians recognizing the moral validity of the Holocaust–would be to completely withdraw to the Green Line, fortify it, and lay down the law against anyone violating it–but do nothing to unilaterally violate the Green Line itself–while offering “compensation” (without calling it as such) to the Palestinian refugees from 1948 as a take-it-or-leave-it offer. This ought to restore Israel’s bargaining position–since it would have given Palestinians everything they can legitimately ask for–and give a moral sanction to future responses if an agreement cannot be reached. But this is just an opinion from a goyim.

  22. Tony, I’d just like to know which “Arab” Holocaust deniers this post is addressed to?

  23. Pdan says:

    ” I hate to sound pedantic, but there pratically never has been anyone who advocated violence just for the sake of violence. Every military adventure in history has been presented as a response against some act of intolerable violence of some kind done by the other side, a litany of all the wrongs done by the other side that justifies the use of violence–every war that has ever been fought was justified as defense of “something” sacred.”

    I believe that violence is indeed justified if there are no other options. It seems to me that this is not the case here. I understand that in the rarified atmosphere where Tony seems to live, it is universally accepted that the violence is caused by the “occupation”, but I can assure you that there are millions around the world who like me, think it is the other way around. Thus I find it unfortunate that he thinks it to be a ‘waste of time’ to debate this point.

    I am not an Israeli, but my parents were survivors of the Holocaust. Despite this I feel that the above discussion would be far more important.

    Perhaps you may find it ironic that I don’t disagree with you about the ‘two state’ solution. I don’t think that it is necessary for Hamas to give up its objections to it, before negotiations begin. What is necessary however is for the Palestinian government regardless of how it is constituted to demonstrate its willingness and ability to enforce its authority. Without it any agreement reached would be meaningless in my opinion.

    You may disagree with me and I will still respect and value your opinion. Just do it without yelling or calling me names. If we agreed on everything what could we possibly talk about.

  24. Mary Beale says:

    You mention that many Arab cities had substantial Jewish populations. Is there a simple answer to when and why this changed? How significant was Israel as a destination for emigrants from Arab cities?


  26. Round Robin says:

    They are all illegal in the states so they function overseas. They can pack up shop tom and leave you high and dry and there is nothing they can do about it. PERIOD no matter how old you are.

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