Sunday, May 29, 2011

Your Daily Mandatory Holocaust Reminder

Israel must stop overplaying the Holocaust card - from Haaretz

"As this week draws thankfully to a close, we are all suffering from a severe Bibiobamal overdose. Before we allow ourselves to switch off and hopefully begin to forget these historical speeches, just one question: What did we learn over the past week?

Four speeches in Washington sought to redefine the history, present and future of the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the strategic alliance between Israel and the United States and the Jewish People as a whole - but aside from marveling once again at the rhetorical brilliance of Barak Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu, which we knew about anyway, everything is still depressingly the same: Two failed messiahs delivering empty promises and no chance of deliverance from the cycle of violence, which is turning to another round of almost inevitable bloodshed come September.

Netanyahu and Obama are more eloquent and telegenic than their predecessors, Yitzhak Shamir and George Bush the elder, but it is as if we are back in 1991 and Shamir is saying on the eve of the pointless Madrid Conference, "the sea is the same sea and the Arabs are the same Arabs."

While Shamir's life-mission was simple - get up every morning to fight the Arabs trying to throw us back into the sea - Netanyahu's historical arc is much grander. "We've been around for almost 4,000 years," he lectured Obama last Friday in the White House, and when Bibi gets going through the millennia, you know where he's going to stop. "We've gone through expulsions and pogroms and massacres and the murder of millions. But I can say that ... even at the nadir of the valley of death, we never lost hope and we never lost our dream of reestablishing a sovereign state in our ancient homeland, the Land of Israel."

Yes, the millions again, though you have to give him credit for coming up with that elegant turn of phrase - why say Holocaust when you can go for "the nadir of the valley of death."

"We don't have to give up on the Holocaust - it is our history and holds central lessons for all human beings - but we have to stop using it as a justification for Israeli policies."


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