Lessons of the Holocaust

Does it make sense to say that we should learn lessons from the Holocaust? I believe it does – and they are clear.
For Jews, Menachem Begin, speaking in 1981, said it best:
“First, if an enemy of our people says he seeks to destroy us, believe him. Don’t doubt him for a moment. Don’t make light of it. Do all in your power to deny him the means of carrying out his satanic intent.

Murder of Jews in Ivangorod 1942

 

Second, when a Jew anywhere is threatened, or under attack, do all in your power to come to his aid. Never pause to wonder what the world will think or say. The world will never pity slaughtered Jews. The world may not necessarily like the fighting Jew, but the world will have to take account of him.”

The last Jew in Vinnitsa shot at edge of pit 1941

 

In the 1930s the Jews of Germany, and much of Europe, thought that they belonged to the most advanced and progressive civilisation the world had ever seen. They could not believe that the people who had thrilled with them to Beethoven and Goethe, and together with them had probed the secrets of the universe and the heart of the atom, would unleash on them a merciless barbarism as murderous as that of Genghis Khan. But they did.

Partisan Brigade of Abba Kovner & Benjamin Levin at Vilna Liberation 1944

 

For Gentiles, it is even simpler. Because of our long history of being persecuted, Jews have the most acute antennae for it. So if a Jew calls out antisemitism, don’t question them. Believe them. If you can’t bring yourself to support them, at least don’t try to silence them.
If, however, you dismiss Jewish accusations of antisemitism as being in bad faith, and support anti-Jewish remarks as ‘fair comment’; if you tell Jews that after 75 years it’s high time they ‘got over’ the Holocaust; if you condemn the government and armed forces of Israel for preventing the murder of its citizens by any means necessary; and, most wickedly of all, if you try to demoralise young Jews by lying to them that “Israel is doing to the Palestinian Arabs what the Nazis did to the Jews”; then, deny it though you may, I am afraid you are committing acts of antisemitism.

Woman Soldiers of the Israeli Defence Force

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The Dragon Masters – a Mirror War

In 1962 Jack Vance published an award-winning novella called ‘The Dragon Masters’. On a distant planet humans had bred a race of lizard-like creatures into fighting animals. Like dogs, there were many different breeds, with different characteristics and sizes, from the man-sized Termagants through the Spiders that serve as war-mounts to the elephantine Juggers. Their human masters use them in combat both against each other and against a space-faring race called the grephs.

It turns out the grephs are in fact the ‘basics’ – the lizard-like ancestors of the Dragons. As humans bred some of their captured ancestors, so the grephs captured and bred humans for combat. Against the Termagants they match Heavy Troopers; against Spiders they ride Mounts; and they have bred Giants to match Juggers in size.

We Jews are faced with a similar situation. So many Jews have been seduced into being anti-Zionist, and even anti-Jewish: Gilad Atzmon, David Baddiel, Moshe Ber Beck, Geoffrey Bindman, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Greenstein, Henry Kissinger, Miriam Margolyes, Ilan Pappe, Jacqueline Rose, Michael Rosen, Shlomo Sand, George Soros, Philip Weiss, Yisroel Dovid Weiss – the list is depressingly long.

Against this wealthy and powerful army – and they number hundreds, if not thousands – we seem to be able to muster a bare handful of extraordinarily brave Muslims who understand and sympathise with the predicament of Jews and Israel. Maajid Nawaz, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Noor Dahri – precious few else.

Where are our Giants?

House of Commons Debate on Recognition of Palestinian Statehood

I’m watching this with a sense of utter despair. My own shul’s MP (Mike Hancock) made egregious, mendacious, mischievous and borderline antisemitic comments (in that he denies the facts surrounding the birth of the State of Israel) about Israel’s War of Independence.
The same buzzwords keep coming up: disproportionate, settlements.
The most powerful proponent of the motion, it soon became apparent, was no MP but the BBC: speaker after speaker prayed in favour of the motion the film ‘The Gatekeepers’ and subsequent debate, screened on BBC2 48 hours previously.
The division was not across party lines, but something both older and newer, and far more visceral. The voices in favour were mainly regional, with a preponderance from Scotland; those opposed were uniformly (with the honourable exception of Louise Ellman) received pronunciation from the shires.
As I listened, I was reminded inescapably of Yeats’ famous lines: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.” The pro voices were clear and forceful: the antis were factually correct, but dull, dull, dull, in some cases obviously reading briefs.
Much was made of the second part of the Balfour Declaration, that “nothing should be done which might prejudice the rights of the non-Jewish communities”, and Britain’s historic responsibility and importance as the holder of the Mandate from 1920 to 1947.
So: the motion was amended to read: “That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution.” It was passed 247 to 12.
Not one word was spoken about the White Paper of 1939 which shut the doors of Palestine forever to the millions of doomed Jews of Hitler’s Europe. By that act, the people of Britain, whether they know it or not, forfeited their right to dare to pass judgment on Israel.