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Why the Holocaust Was More Than a Genocide

Dec. 29 2017

The Shoah is generally thought of as the archetypal genocide, but to Dan Michman that term is inadequate for describing the plans and actions of the Nazis. Genocide—as defined by Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term—constitutes “a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.” In an interview with Manfred Gerstenfeld, Michman says:

Hitler and an enormous number of his associates . . . believed . . . that the world was poisoned by the “Jewish” idea of human equality, which was carried over the ages by the Jews all over, and thus had penetrated into Christianity, liberalism, socialism and Communism, capitalism, democracy, etc. Through these political and religious systems, the pollution had also penetrated into other domains, such as the arts, science, and medicine.

[Thus the] Nazi goal went far beyond the physical murder of Jews. It aimed also at a Sisyphean struggle against all expressions of assumed Jewishness. In the Nazi worldview, that meant all ideas and political systems that are based on equality. In the Nazis’ fantasies Jews were the only group whose members were—or had an influence—everywhere in the world, and who were thus the binding element of all enemies of National Socialism.

Hitler indeed had a grand vision of restructuring the world along racial lines, as scholarship has demonstrated very well, but also of healing it—an aspect [of his thought that is] often neglected. In this context, the war against the Jews was a long-term central obsession. Already in 1919 he coined the expression Entfernung der Juden überhaupt, the total removal of the Jews. . . . Hitler’s view was shared by many lower-echelon functionaries [in the Nazi party]. . . .

[Thus] the Holocaust is much more than the murder of six million Jews. The mass murder (the Final Solution policy) was an essential part—yet only a part—of the much larger anti-Jewish campaign.

Read more at Israel National News

More about: Adolf Hitler, Anti-Semitism, Genocide, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Raphael Lemkin

 

Being a Critic of Israel Means Never Having to Explain How It Should Defend Itself

April 23 2018

The ever-worsening situation of Jews in Europe, writes Bret Stephens, should serve as a reminder of the need for a Jewish state. Israel’s critics, he suggests, should reflect more deeply on that need:

Israel did not come into existence to serve as another showcase of the victimization of Jews. It exists to end the victimization of Jews.

That’s a point that Israel’s restless critics could stand to learn. On Friday, Palestinians in Gaza returned for the fourth time to the border fence with Israel, in protests promoted by Hamas. The explicit purpose of Hamas leaders is to breach the fence and march on Jerusalem. Israel cannot possibly allow this—doing so would create a precedent that would encourage similar protests, and more death, along all of Israel’s borders—and has repeatedly used deadly force to counter it.

The armchair corporals of Western punditry think this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t.

It would also be helpful if they could explain how they can insist on Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders and then scold Israel when it defends those borders. They can’t. If the armchair corporals want to persist in demands for withdrawals that for 25 years have led to more Palestinian violence, not less, the least they can do is be ferocious in defense of Israel’s inarguable sovereignty. Somehow they almost never are. . . .

[T]o the extent that the diaspora’s objections [to Israeli policies] are prompted by the nonchalance of the supposedly nonvulnerable when it comes to Israel’s security choices, then the complaints are worse than feckless. They provide moral sustenance for Hamas in its efforts to win sympathy for its strategy of wanton aggression and reckless endangerment. And they foster the illusion that there’s some easy and morally stainless way by which Jews can exercise the responsibilities of political power.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism