Gaza and the Diaspora Jews’ Responsibility

In the ghettos of Warsaw during the Second World War, the Jews defended themselves against an imperious executioner, as the Palestinians have recently in Gaza. Neither Germany nor Israel had the remotest legal or moral right to even touch the inhabitants, and the planned massacres were part of the policy of genocide. The ghetto inhabitants, on the other hand, had every right to defend themselves. I’m just sorry they didn’t have more and better weapons with which to defend their human dignity – then as now.

Since the end of the 19th century, the Palestinians have been gradually forced out of their country. Today they amount to only 20% oft the citizens of Israel and do not have the same rights as the Jews. Others live in walled-in enclaves on the West Bank and in the Gaza ghetto. Many have lived for 60 years in refugee camps or in exile. The situation of the Palestinians is now similar to that of the Jews in Europe during the Second World War.

But the Palestinians have never had anything to do with Hitler and Palestine is their country. The Second World War has been portrayed as a holocaust mainly concerning Jews. But there were Japanese at Hiroshima, Germans in Dresden and Russians on the Eastern Front. The Jews have wrongly been allotted an exceptional position as victims in order to justify Israel’s policies. The `Jewish State’ becomes taboo and anyone who touches it is stigmatised with `anti Semitism’.

Those of us who live outside Israel and have Jewish family backgrounds or who identify ourselves with Israel as a `Jewish State’, hold a responsibility, like everyone else, to raise our voices against Israel’s crimes. Besides, it is in our own interests. The more we keep quiet or try to smooth over the crimes, the more politically motivated hatred towards the Jews worldwide will grow. And what will happen when the only superpower, losing its dominance, starts looking for scapegoats?

It is also about being able to look at oneself in the mirror every morning, with respect. Because, to be honest, do you really enjoy having your identity linked to a racist society of robbers whose policy is genocide towards the robbed?

I therefore challenge anyone who identifies him or herself as a Jew: cut the ties of identification with Israel’s `Jewish state’ and support the evicted Palestinians and their right to return and that all people between the Mediterranean and the river Jordan may live with equal rights and in agreement.

It works, I promise. I have done it myself.

Lasse Wilhelmson

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