The Final Solution Was about Something More Than Racism

April 23 2018

Racism—not occasional prejudice but a worldview that posits the “biological” inferiority and superiority of different groups of humans—constituted a crucial component of Nazism. Yet while the Third Reich applied this set of ideas to the Jews—not to mention Africans, Slavs, Gypsies, and others—racial thinking alone does not explain what motivated the Holocaust, as Jeffrey Herf writes:

[R]acial anti-Semitism, with its elements of physical revulsion, sexual panic, and assumption of clear, easily recognizable physical differences, had obvious parallels with European and American racism toward Africans and, later, African-Americans. Like other forms of racism, including that of the slaveholding American South, this anti-Semitism associated [deficiencies] of inward character with specific physiological attributes. . . .

The core, [however], of the radical anti-Semitism that justified and accompanied the Holocaust was a conspiracy theory that ascribed not inferiority but [instead] enormous power to what it alleged was an international Jewish conspiracy that sought the destruction of the Nazi regime and the extermination of the German population. Its key component was prefigured in the infamous forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. . . .

The evidence of Nazi wartime propaganda indicates that the legend of a murderous international Jewish conspiracy—more than the biological obsessions about blood, race, and sex of the Nuremberg race laws [which imposed legal discrimination against German Jews in the 1930s]—lurked at the core of Nazi propaganda, and indeed constituted the distinctively genocidal component of Nazi ideology. The Nazis claimed that because “international Jewry” was waging a war of extermination against Germany, the Nazi regime had an obligation to “exterminate” and “annihilate” Europe’s Jews in self-defense. . . .

From the perspective of the Nazi leadership, “the war against the Jews” was not only the Holocaust. It was also the war against Britain, the Soviet Union, the United States, and their allies. . . . These were two components of a single battle-to-the-death between Germany and international Jewry. .

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More about: Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Nazism, Racism

The Riots on the Gaza Border are Carefully Coordinated Attacks on Israel, and Should Be Treated as Such

Jan. 16 2019

On Friday, the weekly riots at the Gaza security fence resumed in full force: 13,000 people participated, and a Palestinian woman was apparently killed by Israeli gunfire. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) had established a commission of inquiry in May, not long after these riots began, “to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human-rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, . . . particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on March 20, 2018.” In a report to the commission, Richard Kemp, a retired senior British officer, concludes, after investigating the situation at the Gaza border, that there is no evidence whatsoever of Israeli wrongdoing, and that the commission is operating under faulty assumptions:

The terms of [the commission’s] mandate are self-evidently biased against the state of Israel and the IDF. The context cited—“the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests”—make clear that the UNHRC either failed to understand what was happening on the ground or deliberately misrepresented the reality. In addition, the commission’s mandate terms the Gaza Strip “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” which it is not. . . .

[T]he so-called “civilian protests” in reality were, and continue to be, a deliberate military operation, orchestrated and controlled by Hamas, [a] terrorist group that has been waging an armed conflict against Israel for many years. Their intention was and remains to kill and wound IDF soldiers, to break through the border fence, to murder and maim innocent civilians, to destroy property, and to compel the IDF to take defensive action resulting in the death of Gaza civilians for exploitation in the international arena. [Israel’s] “military assaults” were not what was implied by this prejudicial mandate. They were in fact lawful, proportionate, and restrained defensive actions. . . .

Suggestions that these demonstrations are [protests] against Israeli policy toward the Gaza Strip are demonstrably false and easily refuted by cursory viewing of Hamas and other public statements made at the time of the events. . . . Further, it is clear that Hamas intended this violence to continue its long-standing strategy of creating and intensifying international outrage, vilification, isolation, and criminalization of the state of Israel and its officials. . . .

[T]he starkest indication that these events were entirely under Hamas control is the simple fact that, when it suited Hamas’s political interests, the [demonstrations] occurred and were of a violent nature, and when such actions did not serve Hamas’s interests, the border was quiet. As the most recent example of this, in November 2018, Qatar began to make large cash payments to Hamas in Gaza. The most recent payment of $15 million was handed over in December 2018. These payments are reportedly part of an agreement with Hamas to diminish violence along the Gaza border. [After] the first payment, the border violence [was] reduced [and the] demonstrations [became] far more restrained.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Laws of war, UNHRC