Never again for anyone
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the(IJAN) launched a 12-city speaking tour titled "Never Again for Anyone," co-sponsored by the American Muslims for Palestine and Middle East Children's Alliance.
Designed to spotlight Israel's dehumanizing treatment of the Palestinians, the tour has been attacked by Zionist groups. At a recent tour stop at Rutgers University, the campus Hillel group, along with other organizations, disrupted the event and falsely claimed that Jews were being turned away from the door--a particularly outrageous slander against Holocaust survivor Hajo Meyer, who spoke on the tour about his experiences at Auschwitz and his condemnation of Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
Below is a statement from IJAN about the tour and the need to build an opposition to Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people.
"The Israelis tried to dehumanize the Palestinians, just like the Nazis tried to dehumanize me."
-- Dr. Hajo Meyer, holocaust survivor
"My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza."
-- Sir Gerald Kaufman, MP
"The world said we would never allow that to happen again. The uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto--the Intifada of the Jewish prisoners in Poland in 1943--actually inspires us here in Gaza."
-- Dr. Haidar Eid, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza
FOR MORE than six decades, Zionists have dominated global discussion of the Nazi genocide. By their account, the Holocaust unleashed a level of suffering unmatched by any other event in history.
The lesson, they claim, is that Jews require a separate state in which they are a demographic majority and exercise legalized supremacy over the non-Jewish indigenous population.
This Zionist narrative withstands neither historical nor moral scrutiny.
Far from being the unique tragedy Zionists have proclaimed it, Jewish suffering under the Nazis has numerous historical parallels. The Holocaust itself targeted and massacred not only Jews, but also millions of others whom Nazis likewise regarded as "subhuman," including Roma, Slavs, gay people, and people with disabilities.
Rather than standing outside of history, Nazi crimes against these various populations reflect a much longer trajectory of violence, colonialism, dispossession, slavery and genocide--the systematic decimation of national, religious, racial, political or ethnic groups--that accompanied the rise of Western imperialism.
Thus, it is no accident that, in pursuing lebensraum ("living space") in the East, Hitler was inspired by the U.S. government's extermination of Native Americans, even referring to Russians as "Redskins."
YET ZIONISTS have distorted or ignored this history, covering up the fact that their goal of a "Jewish state" in Palestine preceded the Nazi atrocities by decades. Jewish statehood as a method of achieving political power was born out of the same 19th century European ideal of a "racially pure" nation and Western "civilization" of which Nazism was the most pernicious expression. In pursuit of this goal, Zionist leaders made "transfer" agreements with the Nazis, but only for Jews willing to settle in Palestine.
As part of this collaboration, Zionists refused to observe the international boycott of Nazi Germany initiated by Jewish labor groups, and even kept silent about impending plans to deport Jews into Nazi death camps.
These decisions reflected the anti-Semitic premises at the core of the Zionist world-view: that landless life in the Jewish Diaspora led to physical, moral and spiritual decline, and that the genocide was made possible by Jewish "weakness." However, the state they sought to redress this "problem" could only be achieved by forcibly expelling enough of the indigenous Palestinian population to ensure Jewish control over the land and its resources.
To this end, Zionism both exploited and hinged upon the rise of Nazism, and later, the Holocaust, to transform what had been a small nationalist movement with little support (even among Jews) into one capable of achieving statehood, based on support from the United States and other imperial powers.
The Zionist state that emerged from this project has been an ongoing catastrophe for the indigenous people of historic Palestine: driven from their land and refused their internationally recognized right to return, those allowed to remain in 1948 Occupied Palestine ("Israel") are treated as third-class citizens on the basis they are the "wrong" ethnicity; those in the 1967 Occupied Territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza are living under brutal military rule.
As Jews of conscience, we reject the claim that the Nazi Holocaust, or the long history of Jewish persecution in Europe, justifies such a state and the systematized oppression of Palestinians necessary to establish and maintain it. Self-segregation, political control and the persecution of others is never an answer to oppression and persecution.
"From Auschwitz came, symbolically, two peoples," wrote Israeli academic Yehuda Elkana. "A minority that proclaims this will never happen again and a scared and anxious majority who proclaims that this will never happen to us again."
The Israeli state and its supporters assert the latter, claiming "special" status for Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust. We assert the former, and, along with the majority of humanity, stand in solidarity with all communities that resist dispossession and genocide.
There is no hierarchy of suffering. Oppression based on any identity is wrong. We stand with those who resist that oppression--whether in Warsaw 1943, Soweto 1976, or Gaza 2011.
Join us in declaring: Never Again for Anyone.