Why the Holocaust Was More Than a Genocide

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

 

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict