Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bits and pieces

  • About two days a year most Israeli media talk about only one subject, the Holocaust. Of course the Shoah is discussed and mentioned during the rest of the year as well, but on Holocaust Day and the day preceding it we are simply overfed with excellent, very good, good, reasonable, bad, very bad and horrible documentaries, interviews and movies that somehow deal with the Shoah. I am very much interested in the subject, both personally and professionally, but I can understand why some young Israelis ( my wife is one of them ) are very uncomfortable with it, or simply ignore it for 363/4 days a year.
  • It is a known fact that Israeli politicians love to abuse the Holocaust to further their own interests, thereby contributing to falsification of Holocaust/Nazi historiography and Holocaust denial, and making it even easier for our enemies from within and without to make unhistorical and unjustified comparisons and analogies. But why is it that a major Likud politician such as Yuval Steinitz has to choose Yom HaShoah to make a stupid and historically ridiculous remark ( " Hamas is Nazi movement " ) that insults not only the intelligence of all of us, but also the memory of the victims of both Nazism and Hamas terror?
  • That highly intelligent people can do dumb things is no news, but this really struck me as gross and foolish.
  • I recognize some of my own feelings and doubts in this article.
  • This article, written by a non-Jewish Greek blogger and editor of Ha'Aretz in English, I read with great interest. I agree totally with his conclusion: "The Holocaust does not make Jews or Israel infallible. Nor did the Holocaust alone make Israel - that is post-colonial gibberish of hateful extremists. But so long as there are those out there dreaming of another Holocaust, I know whose side I am on. "
  • There are a lot of unjust, stupid and bad things being done in and by this country, and the last sixty years have given Israel and the Israelis not only many, many reasons to be proud and grateful but also many, many reasons to make amends, do some soul-searching, improve our own lives and those of the people around us. Still, when I hear an Auschwitz survivor tell me during an interview how she listened with tears in her eyes to the radio broadcast of the UN vote for the partition of Palestine ( November 29th 1947 ) and what she felt at that moment ( "I was so happy that I, a little girl from the camp, had been able to live and see this day" ), and when I hear and see our daughter ( 9 ) and son ( 5 ) (*) sing Israel's national anthem in beautiful Hebrew, I feel hardly anything but a lot of pride and joy that I have been able to play a tiny part in the history of this state.

    (*) Grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and great-grandchildren of a man of exactly my age who was arrested in France, deported from Drancy and murdered in Maidanek; our 1 1/2-year-old son is named after him.

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