23 December 2006

holocaust denial

al-falasteenyia posted three articles written by Arab journalists, on Ahmadinejad's Holocaust deniers convention. Please take the time to go read the articles. The most interesting viewpoint expressed was that of a Palestinian former militant who, through the reading materials he had access to during his 18 years in an Israeli prison, changed his mind from disbelief to belief after reviewing documents and articles by Palestinian intellectuals. It is interesting to me that all of this Holocaust denial is purported to be for the sake of the Palestinians, yet it does NOTHING to help Palestinians and does everything to contribute to the feeling of persecution that is commonly used to justify the state of Israel.

The *other* most interesting thing was an analysis of the way this discourse seeks to equate Zionism with Nazism, while also revealing an identification with Nazis and a desire to "finish" what they started. What do you think we end up with when those who are oppressed seek to become the oppressor? This discourse turns the question of Palestinian human rights from one of social justice to something entirely different, something that creates ethno-religious hierarchies and puts one group on the bottom and one group on the top. This mentality is no different than the mentality that causes groups to feel entitled to land, resources, and women that are not theirs.

I am so tired of hearing Arab Americans speak about yahoodi this, yahoodi that. How exactly does it benefit us to advance a narrative that says that all Jews are Zionists? This narrative is already widely advanced by Zionists in an attempt to shut down conversation. I have noticed this topic discussed by several bloggers recently, here (you can read my comment at this one), here and here.


JJ the Inquisitive said...

This is a brilliant post!

I've always been confused as to why some folks insist on equating Israel with the Nazis. Not only is it HIGHLY disrespectful to those who went through the Holocaust and who died in it, and those of us who lost family in it, but it's also HIGHLY disrespectful to the Palestinians whose very real, CURRENT oppression becomes occluded by the shadow of an old tragedy and the arguments thereof.

And you're right - Holocaust denial tends to send Jews running to defend Israel, in an "if they'll believe this insanity, what other crazy things will they believe/do?" sense. Just as Jews denying the reality of Palestinian life helps to foment Palestinian unity and opposition to Israel - if Israel is willing to deny that Palestinians are even a people, then what else are they willing to do/deny?

I've written before about the fact that due to my religious education, I didn't even know that there were territories in Israel until I was in my late teens, even after I visited there for a summer on a teenage go-to-Israel program - it was all one country on all the maps I saw, and it belonged to Israel. Once I found out, I immediately began my process of becoming anti-Zionist - but I suppose I can empathize somewhat with those people who have never learned about the Holocaust. Not those who have seen the evidence and deny it, that is unforgivable... but those who do not know, or those who have just begun their processes of becoming believers.

Anyway, this is sort of rambly, but basically: your post encapsulates what I believe to be the biggest fallacy of the equation of Nazism and Zionism; it helps no one and hurts everyone. Thank you for it.

(And thank you for the link! I have linked you as well; I really like your whole blog!)

JJ the Inquisitive said...

(OK, I just realized that in my second paragraph I seem to have suggested that Palestinian unity is a bad thing - I promise I didn't mean it the way it came out! What I meant to say was that Holocaust denial tends to send Jews running BLINDLY to support Israel and helps them to discount all the terrible things it does to Palestinians, while Israeli oppression of Palestinians and denial that they are actually a people does approximately the same thing to Palestinians. These things destroy the fragile lines of dialogue and snow everything under a load of ideology and hate.

You'll find that I tend to need two comments whenever I comment on anyone's blog - one to write the comment and the other to correct myself. ;)

Nadia said...

JJ: thank you for your comments and your assessment. i agree with your words and i look forward to future dialog =)