Holocaust hypocrisy: commemorations guilty of shocking double stand.

Morning Star, UK
January 26, 2008 Saturday

Feature – Holocaust hypocrisy

John Wight argues that governments commemorating the nazi Holocaust
this weekend are guilty of shocking double standards

by John Wight

Holocaust Memorial Day has been an annual event in this country since
2001, marked each year on the anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation
by the Red Army on January 27 1945.

It is sponsored by the British government and, besides a national
event, local events are held around the country sponsored by local
government and various religious and civic groups.

Among the millions of victims of the nazis were Jews, Gypsies, gays,
communists, trade unionists, political dissidents, the disabled,
mentally ill – and the Palestinians.

In fact, the Palestinians hold a unique place as the Holocaust’s
forgotten victims, at least in the eyes of those charged with
maintaining the objective of colonising the Middle East in the
interests of the Western neoliberalism.

In short, the long-suffering Palestinians have been sacrificed upon
the altar of the West’s continued blind support of that apartheid
state otherwise known as the state of Israel.

How else are we to interpret an event which elevates one group of
victims above the others mentioned and above the victims of other
genocides that took place during the same century as the nazi
Holocaust, namely the Armenian and Rwandan genocides?

Supporters of the current formulation of Holocaust Memorial Day, many
of them well meaning, point to the industrial scale of the genocide
of the Jews and others under the nazis as justification for the
exclusive nature of its commemoration. I wonder if the millions who
perished in either the Armenian or Rwandan genocides considered their
suffering and slaughter any easier to bear due to the manner in which
it was carried out?

Genocide is genocide, regardless of method, and to confuse means with
ends in this way is to diminish the suffering of the Armenians and
Rwandans who also suffered the unspeakable crime of genocide in our
recent history.

The undeniable reality – and one that cannot be ignored – is the fact
that a self-declared Jewish state, which was founded on the ethnic
cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians, has manipulated the international
guilt which exists over the Holocaust in order to continue its
barbaric treatment of the four million Palestinians who are left and
currently living under a military occupation that grows ever more

This is a fact which must be recognised by all concerned with
ensuring that nothing like the genocide of the Jews or either the
Armenian or Rwandan genocides can ever take place again.

The use of Holocaust Memorial Day as a justification for the ongoing
crimes of occupation and ethnic cleansing in Palestine must be
challenged, no matter how difficult it may be given the huge
resources and influence of the zionist lobby and apologists for
Israel in the US and around the world.

In so doing, it is essential that we bear in mind that the Holocaust
was not the starting point of the nazi persecution of the Jews in
Europe. Rather, it was the culmination of a process which took place
over a decade.

It began with the slow but steady demonisation of the Jewish religion
and culture, then government-sanctioned attacks on their communities,
businesses and places of worship, then the implementation of
apartheid laws, followed by ethnic cleansing and the forced removal
of the Jews to specially designated ghettoes. The logical conclusion
of this process was the Holocaust.

It is an irony of history that the Palestinians are being subjected
to much the same methods of oppression today by the state of Israel
that were visited on the Jews by the nazis throughout the 1930s. It
is an irony that takes on the form of an ominous portent which we
ignore at potentially catastrophic cost.

Ultimately and, again, ironically, the only truly fitting tribute to
the millions of Jews, Gypsies, communists, gays and others who
perished in the nazi death camps over 60 years ago is to campaign for
Palestinian human rights today, understanding as we do that both are
inextricably linked.

Moreover, it is vitally important that we understand this link when
we consider then Israeli prime minister Golda Meir’s chilling
statement in 1968 that "there are no Palestinians."

Presented as a statement of historical fact, it was in reality a
statement of intent and all socialists, trade unionists and people of
conscience and consciousness must act accordingly lest the
Palestinians are allowed to disappear into the night of history as
the state of Israel continues to exist at their negation.

Yes, by all means, an annual officially sanctioned event to remember
the millions of victims of all the genocides that have occurred in
our recent history should be held. But, for this event to have any
relevance, it must be linked to atrocities and gross human rights
violations that are still taking place today. Prime among those is
Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian land. Also falling into
this category would be Britain’s role in the break-up of Yugoslavia
and the invasions and occupations or Iraq and Afghanistan, both
involving a catastrophic and needless loss of innocent human life.

Ultimately, the hypocrisy of a government which has blood on its
hands sponsoring any event designed to recognise the victims of
state-sanctioned slaughter is hard to stomach.

Finally, perhaps the last word should to Howard Zinn, a man who has
dedicated his life and work to unmasking the crimes of empire and
economic power in our world.

He said of Holocaust Memorial Day: "The memory of the Jewish
Holocaust should not be kept isolated from other atrocities in
history. To remember what happened to the six million Jews … serves
no important purpose unless it arouses indignation, anger, action
against all atrocities, anywhere in the world."