Barry Rubin’s excellent response to Tom Brokaw
As always, Barry Rubin offers thoughtful point-by-point response: The problem isn’t admitting past mass murders of Jews but preventing new ones
Here’s only the intro and the conclusion, sorry to butcher it like this. As always, I recommend the whole thing. The emph. is mine.
During President Barack Obama’s visit to the Buchenwald concentration camp, the following exchange took place:
NBC New’s TOM Brokaw: “What can the Israelis learn from your visit to Buchenwald? And what should they be thinking about their treatment of Palestinians?”
Obama: “Well, look, there’s no equivalency here.”
The president almost sounds rattled, as if it is dawning on him just how much harm he has done, what demons he has unintentionally unleashed, by things he has said and left unsaid.
Some see Brokaw’s question as an attempt to suggest there is some equivalency here. A lot of academic and media nonsense has already promoted this idea. Indeed, Obama’s speech in Cairo–though he didn’t intend this (but then he doesn’t intend a lot of problems he’s creating due to his lack of knowledge about the region, its history, and international affairs in general)–contributed to such views by its ham-handed structuring and content.
Indeed, there are those who have looked at the Buchenwald model for guidance. The founder of the Palestinian national movement, Amin al-Husseini, spent World War Two in Berlin as an ally of Hitler. He also asked for his staff to visit working concentration camps. The purpose of the visit was to learn how to create similar facilities for Jews in the British mandate of Palestine once Germany captured it and turned it over to him.
But I’m glad to answer Brokaw’s question.
From Buchenwald, Israelis learned that others will usually not stand up for them. Jews–many of them today’s Israelis–watched as Britain, France, and other countries wouldn’t stop Hitler and indeed were ready to “engage” with him. Just as European countries and many in America are willing to do today with Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah despite their openly genocidal programs.
Thus, even if Israel is held to a double standard, its record has been better than that of even Western counterparts. Only by lying about that record—the norm in the Arabic-speaking world and all-to-common in the Western one—can it be made to seem terrible.
What few people in the West know is that the Arabic-language media daily claims Israel has committed massacres and atrocities that never happened. By constant repetition passionate hatred is built up based on lies. In the West misreporting is often dangerously slanderous, often because it repeats things that are simply false.
We need only remember what the Nazis believed and did, what Israelis believe and do, and what their enemies believe and do. It should not be so hard to understand the distinctions.
So in summary, Mr. Brokaw, the single most important lesson we learned from Buchenwald is this: Never again.
We know that the Western world is very fond of dead Jews, at least once they are dead. It is no great act of heroism to insist that a mass murder of Jews happened more than 60 years ago. What we need today is people who will expose those who want to repeat the process, to help Israel defend itself against such people.
But, Mr. Brokaw, let me ask a question: What can you learn from President Obama’s visit to Buchenwald? Let me limit myself to two points
First, if you and others advise us to behave in a way and to follow policies that would lead to a similar outcome at the hands of the closest thing to the Nazis that exist in our contemporary era, we will ignore that advice.
Second, ask yourself why you and others slander us and portray us as villains rather than victims at the same time that you whitewash terrorist and would-be committers of genocide.
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