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Friday, August 04, 2006

Germans Lecture Israel on History


The Harmless Children of Hezbollah?
By Henryk M. Broder

Germans are squabbling about whether Israel's military strikes against Lebanon are justified. But how else can Israel defend itself against Hezbollah rockets? By staging sit-down protests along the Israeli-Lebanese border, perhaps?
Apparently no one had ever read Hitler's "Mein Kampf," heard Hitler's speeches, subscribed to the Nazi newspaper Stürmer or that their Jewish neighbors had "moved out" without taking the furniture.

More than a decade later, in 1978, German television aired the four-part TV series "Holocaust." Once again the Germans reacted with horror, shock, and endless surprise. The fate of the Jewish family portrayed in the film brought tears to German eyes. They asked questions for which there were no answers. "How was that possible?" And: "Why did the Jews allows themselves to be led like lambs to the slaughter? Why hadn't they defended themselves?"
By this point in the public conversation, Berlin-based political scientist named Ekkehard Krippendorf had already contributed an original thought. He claimed that if the Jews hadn't allowed themselves to be deported -- if they had practiced passive resistance and organized sit-down strikes -- the Germans would have rallied to their cause, the Third Reich would have been shaken to the core and the worst catastrophes would have been avoided.

So historical blame was re-distributed. In Krippendorf's analysis, the Jews were not only to blame for anti-Semitism -- there wouldn't be any anti-Semitism if there weren't any Jews -- but for the Third Reich as well. They had the power to destabilize the system and missed out on that unique opportunity.
Now Germany -- where even a convicted cannibal can successfully sue for violation of his constitutional rights -- is witnessing a lively debate over the means by which Israelis should be allowed to defend their basic right to lie on the beaches of Nahariya or Tel Aviv. Politicians such as Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul from the Social Democrat party SPD, researchers such as Udo Steinbach from the Orient Institute and journalists such as Heribert Prantl from the center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung are among those who argue that Israel's reaction to the rocket attacks from Lebanon is exaggerated and "disproportionate." "No one is denying Israel the right to defend its borders. But rockets fired across the border don't threaten the existence of a state," writes Claudia Kühner in the Swiss daily Zürcher Tages-Anzeiger, for example.
But if rockets designed to fly across borders don't threaten a state's existence, then who or what does? Excessive payroll fringe costs? Excessively low taxes? Too many unemployed people? Too few children? And how would the Swiss react if one of their border regions were attacked with rockets? Would they retaliate by firing "Luxemburgerli" pastries from their famous confectioner? Or would they airdrop coupons issued by the Migros grocery chain and urge their attackers to "Stop shooting and start shopping"?
The most powerful army in the Middle East is fighting with one hand tied behind its back -- and paying for the mistakes of politicians. Everyone in Israel who had something to do with defense knew Hezbollah wasn't building holiday camps for Palestinian orphans in southern Lebanon -- it was preparing for military action. Instead of sounding the alarm because UN Resolution 1559, which calls for Hezbollah to disarm, wasn't being implemented, the choice was made to ignore the danger.
And since they didn't commit the necessary atrocities straight away, they're now paying twice the cost. They're fighting an enemy they underestimated and they're being pilloried as aggressors. It's not just on the nationalist and radical-left fringes of German civil society where people agree that Israel is the "new center of genocide" -- similar noises can be heard from the political center. Israel should negotiate with Hezbollah instead of shooting innocents, some commentators say.

You'd think Hezbollah was a group of children who had been playing with matches in the barn -- and that the Israelis insanely stoked the fire until the whole farm burned down. That kind of view is widespread in Germany. This is a nation where people will seriously debate whether a civilian airplane hijacked by terrorists should be pre-emptively shot down. But Israel is supposed to wait for Hezbollah to fire its rockets and then go complain to Kofi Annan.
What started with the question "Why didn't you defend yourselves?" ends with the cool observation that the Jews have learned nothing from history, and that they are doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them. And it's apparently the task of Germans to admonish and educate them. Ahmadinejad's willing executioners only want the best for Israel.
Unlike the word "terror," Lüders doesn't place "the omnipotence of the Washington-Jerusalem axis" in quotation marks -- to him, that phenomenon is perfectly real. It used to be referred to as the "Jewish-American claim to world dominance." Today, it's not just Iranian President Ahmadinejad who is wishing for "a world without Zionism" in order to preserve world peace.

The situation is getting uncomfortable for the Israelis. They're beginning to suspect that they can't win this war, because they're dealing with an international public that demands a "proportionate" reaction even in an "asymmetrical conflict." And the appeals to respect international law and the rules of the game are always directed at Israel, never at those who believe that all means are justified in the struggle against Israel.

If the Israelis don't succeed in defeating Hamas and Hezbollah, they will have to come up with other forms of resistance. How about sit-down strikes along the Israeli-Lebanese border?

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At 4:21 PM, Blogger CrazyComposer (aka Peter Amsel) said...

That is an amazing leap: the Jews went passively to the slaughter during Shoa - of course, we shall ignore the brave souls who fought against all odds in the Warsaw Ghetto - and infer that the rocket attacks from Hezbollah are going to transform into another Shoa ....

Wow. I should have seen it before. I can't imagine why I couldn't recognize how such an organized force of military minds (the Hezbollah leaders) who have published bookshelves full of ... nothing ... (oh - small issue). I suppose that reference to "Mein Kampf" is also useless. Considering that Churchill had read Hitler's epic churnings and was warning of the danger represented by this man from the moment he rose to power, it is (as usual) out of context and sensationalist.

There are no parallels between what happened to our people in the darkest stretch of history and this present conflict, a war that could end if Israel really wanted it to end.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Yes, but don't tell that to the Germans. They're too busy trying to "repent" for their sins and put the blame elsewhere, like on the JEWS.

At 10:41 PM, Blogger Osaid Rasheed said...

Olah :

/And since they didn't commit the necessary atrocities straight away, they're now paying twice the cost/

You keep astonishing me with your (....) logic !!

Composer :
Absolutely right.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Osaid, yes, you know something about logic.... NOT! You know, I have it in my right mind to tell you not to comment here until you answer the questions posed at your stupidity and lack of understanding of any facts, but I wouldn't want to make you feel so bad. You're getting completely obliterated on your own blog. It would be a shame to stop it here. Please, by all means, I look forward to further posting from you.


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