The Second Case: Essay about Gaza and the German silence between 1945 and 1968
The Second Case
Anis Hamadeh, February 5, 2009
Summary: This essay is about Gaza and the German silence between 1945 and 1968, about Israel's myths and the situation of the Palestinians who are labeled with negative stereotypes, while Jews are labeled with positive stereotypes. The Gaza pogrom was carried out with the participation of German desk-perpetrators and this would be the pure form of racism, emerging from the middle of society, something untenable in Germany. This second case of a participation in a pogrom has awoken many citizens, while others demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice. The question is asked: is it really possible after the Gaza murder to say that this is not even comparable to Germany in 1938? Do we have to say it only is no holocaust YET? What does Israel want to do with the people of Gaza? The Hitler genocide, according to the essay at hand, became mystified and covered with dogmas which would belittle all other violence, even a pogrom. It also would lead to violence when the reproach of anti-Semitism is used to oppress Palestinians. Would this be a shift of anti-Semitic racism to one against Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs? And why is there no Palestinian representation in our public life? The first issue would not be a "peace" with Palestinian suspects, but the rights of the Palestinians that they have been deprived of for many decades, because peace would mean trust. After the paradigm shift there shall finally be a unified standard for all people and no more humiliation of the victims. The German responsibility today would be to examine in how far the post-WWII silence can have caused the former victim group to understand the traumatic primal experience from out of the complementary role.
It took the German public more than twenty years to start discussing the Nazi era in 1968. During this time, the official relations between Israel and Germany had been spookily good - apart from an assasination attempt against Adenauer that was played down. In this crucial phase of silence Israel has ethnically cleansed a large part of Palestine and occupied the remaining parts in 1967. Today - especially since the publication of "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" (Ilan Pappe 2006) and "Myths of Zionism" (John Rose 2004) - the major myths of the foundation of the State of Israel and of Zionism are refuted by facts. The Palestinians, who have lived in the land of Canaan for centuries and millennia, today are the biggest group of refugees in the world, numbering over five million.
The Palestinians have had to put up with a lot: the loss of a major part of their homeland, because Europeans and Americans would have it so; partitions of the land, occupation, discrimination, and most of all: they are systematically demonized. The Palestinian, that is the Arab, the Muslim (even though 20% of the Palestinians are Christians), the terrorist. Palestinian? Suicide bomber! With ease you get one predominant image of "the Palestinian" from movies, books, plays and news, and this image helps structure our minds. Like in Eliam Kraiem's play "Sixteen Wounded", the Palestinian is the one, who - although human like "us" in many respects - ends up as a murderer and a criminal, while the Jew is the good guy. He is not the armed illegal settler, who terrorizes indigenous farmers during the olive harvest. Neither is he the navy soldier shooting at the fishermen in Gaza in their own waters, and neither is he the journalist, who calls for hate against Arabs and Muslims in the news magazine. No, he is the good guy who stands as the victim of Hitler's genocide and who has suffered. The roles are set. And now Gaza.
Professor Rolf Verleger, a Jew himself, writes in the new edition of his book "Israel's Irrweg" (in German, review on Anis Online): "People puzzled a lot over Israel's strategic aims in this war against Gaza. All that did not seem to be rational. And that's right. A pogrom is irrational. The motif of a pogrom is pure hate. A pogrom has a clear message for the surviving victims: 'We do not want you here. Get lost!!' This is how it was in Kishinev in 1903 and 1905, in Berlin 1938, in Kielce 1946, and now Gaza, in 2009. The degree of hate with which Palestinians are talked about in Israel is underestimated in Germany."
Gaza was a pogrom and Germany took part. The chancellor, the foreign minister, important representatives of the political parties from left to right, editors-in-chief of all major newspapers, the silent professors, the silent churches, NGO's like Attac; they have all more or less strongly participated in this atrocity by supporting, justifying, belittling and ignoring the murder of 1360 people, mostly civilians, among them more than 430 children, despite knowing better. But this time something new has happened.
Citizens, who had never really been interested in politics, started to ask questions. And others, who already had been interested, are becoming more convinced. They are no longer satisfied being fobbed off with the dogma of the eternally menaced Jew, when they see what is happening in Palestine in the name of the Jews. Anyone with any awareness of the situation knows that such behavior promotes hatred against Jews in the whole world. They will no longer be befogged by abstract academic constructions of a "secondary" and "latent anti-Semitism", realizing that it is the originally uninvolved Palestinians who have to pay with their blood for this ideology of historical contortion by being made revenants and successors of the Nazis.
So let us stop pretending that a German chief editor does not know the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism! Or that he could mix up attack and defense by accident. Let's not talk ourselves into the belief that our politicians do not know what racism and what ethnic cleansing is. Every teacher in every school knows what mass murder is, and when they get Zionist propaganda from the "media service" MEMRI, then they can assess the information, because it is part of their job. When someone denies or belittles a mass murder in Germany, where the worst pogroms against Jews, Sinti and Roma, artists and communists, free thinkers, homosexuals, Serbs, Poles and other groups were committed, even a mass murder that can be understood as a result of World War II, then he or she, as a German perpetrator, must be prepared to be taken to account personally. This is how it was last time. They were sent to Nuremberg.
The current second case may be secondary, because Germans did not start it - they supported and justified it -, but it is just as real as the first case, when Jews were victims. It is revealing that the pogrom in its relevance went unnoticed by our public. The liberation struggle of the Palestinians, legitimate by all standards of international law, here is largely perceived as being anti-Jewish. Biased intellectuals call it "secondary anti-Semitism" and the like when anti-Jewishness would hide behind criticism of Israel. It is obvious how the responsibility for violence and terror is being projected here onto the Palestinian victims and their supporters, while the freedom of the Zionist state to use any kind of violence remains virtually unchallenged.
It is important to talk about the reproach of anti-Semitism, for it ALWAYS appears when it comes to the nitty-gritty of Palestinian rights. This is what I call a narcistic projection, serving the ego only, not the situation. This is also where I see the nucleus of the problem and thus an involvement of Germany.
It is easy to trace who said and did what between December 27 and January 18, 2009. And who said nothing. The names and quotations of the respective individuals can without difficulties be put into a context and can be evaluated. An internet publication already is a success. At the same time, some networkers in Germany and elsewhere are seeking to expedite legal consequences. They are no longer willing to accept the situation. There are clearly responsible people who have made the public believe that it was Hamas who broke the truce. The refugees, the occupation of Palestine and the merciless siege of Gaza have not been pointed out to be causes of the conflict. A glimpse on www.theheadlines.org already suffices to unmask the audacious manipulators in our mainstream media, especially when substancial news is left out, news that is needed to understand the situation. This happens bona fide, certainly, for it is meant to protect Jews. Just like the stab-in-the-back legend after World War I allegedly was meant to protect the state. We remember how this ended. But did we draw the consequence and no longer lie to the public? No. We hang the Nazi genocide so high that nothing can reach it and everything else becomes relatively small and basically unimportant. When we make clear that there must never be a "schluss-strich" (final stroke, i.e. forgetting the past) and simultaneously prohibit every comparison, then we cannot have a meaningful discussion. When the genocide gets mystified and cemented with dogmas, then the memory of what happened will get lost and this is a schluss-strich. There is no place more revealing of this than Palestine, especially Gaza now.
Something is different now. There is, for example, a Palestinian Holocaust Memorial Museum (PHMM), see IslamOnline.net- Islamic News, Shari'ah, Society, Family, Culture, Science, Youth, and Health English/In_Depth/GazaHolocaustMuseum/index.shtml . There it reads: "The museum will feature the photos, names and stories of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in the context of a new Holocaust. PHMM will highlight the elements of the new Holocaust; the locations, weapons and impacts. Testimonies of the survivors will also be published." - Maybe our public says: this comparison must not be. Of course, there is no Auschwitz in Palestine. Looking at it in a sober way it is no holocaust. But where do we stand now in Palestine? Have we not already surpassed the stage of 1933, the stage of simple discrimination? Is it really possible after the Gaza murder to say that this is not even comparable to Germany in 1938? Where are we now? 1939? 1940? 1941? So, when looking at it in a sober way, do we have to say it only is no holocaust YET? What does Israel want to do with the people of Gaza?
What is behind the ban of comparisons and the philo-Semitic dogmas of the good Jew? Can it be that our society just wants to continue being racist, and now, that it is no longer allowed to hate Jews, people turn to Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims instead? It also seems to be very practical to shift the Nazi guilt on to the Palestinians psychologically. An extreme case of this is Antifa Saar / Projekt AK - Saarbrücken, who distributed stickers in the city of Mainz on which the "Palestinian anti-Semites of Hamas" are put on a level with German Neo-Nazis. Obviously, this has little to do with anti-fascism, for Hamas in the first place does not care for Jews so much as for a life with self-determination and dignity. Before Hamas, the PLO was "the evil" and before Iran it was Iraq. There is no end to this. Therefore we, who have a conscience, collect the names of the Palestinian victims of this butchery and the names of the perpetrators, also the desk-perpetrators in Germany. Enough! We demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice and that their high tech mass murders and their humiliation of the victims stop forever!
It is easy to find them. They always say "radical Islamic", before they say "Hamas", and they always portray Jews as victims, even when they are mass murderers. They have a clear-cut measure for Jews and another clear-cut measure for Arabs and Muslims. It needs to be sharply formulated that this is racism and it needs to be fought. It is not a maybe or a little racism, but it is the pure form and it emerges from out of the middle of society. We all know how our public would have reacted if it were 1360 Jews that had died - this is the most plausible indicator.
Not a single Palestinian of the 200.000, who live in Germany, is known to the public. Especially none of those who demand equal rights for the Palestinians in the world. Our TV stations even manage to discuss Gaza in talkshows without the voice of Palestinians. This is not a coincidence, but the only way to keep up the stereotypes and to dismiss facts. Had the Palestinians voices and faces, everybody would see that they are normal human beings like all the others. The audience is led to believe that the deal is about "peace" with some basically suspicious Palestinians. But, first of all, it certainly is about the liberation of the Palestinian people from the deadly danger that blatantly contradicts all Human Rights and all international laws and that has persistently been covered with dogmas for decades. Only afterwards can there be peace, for peace means trust. Nobody trusts a brutal and unjust occupier.
There are villains, heroes and disinterested people on all sides, this is the message that needs to be conveyed in Germany today. There certainly are Jewish heroes and Palestinian villains. There also are Palestinian good guys and Jewish bad guys. The stereotypes of our media and culture are always harmful when they are based on a double standard. Therefore it is important to make sure that after the paradigm shift the Palestinians are not conceptualized as the good guys in turn, or the Jews as the bad guys again. This time we have to learn to dispense with double standards completely. Palestinians and descendants from Palestinians in Germany and elsewhere are in no way different from other people. They laugh when they are happy and cry when they are sad. They have all the qualities nature has bestowed on man and they do not like it when their brothers and sisters are killed and when their cemeteries are defiled. As human beings they have - we have - rights. Those rights we demand after an aggressive army, under the enthusiastic support of the majority of the Israeli population and with the collaboration of the western world, committed a pogrom in Gaza. Nothing more and nothing less.
To conclude, let us come back to the German silence between 1945 and 1968 that was mentioned in the beginning. It is necessary to examine how far this silence has made the former Jewish victim group a perpetrator group in Palestine. For when the Nazi perpetrators and their surroundings had not been able to at least openly talk about everything with the surviving victims, as an expression of repentance, then this increases the probability that the victims - and be it unconsciously - seek to understand the traumatic primal experience from out of the complementary role. This is what the German responsibility is about today, no matter what the papers write. We don't need any more German arrogance. Humility before life is the call, after this horror.
Anis Online Essay 23
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