Saturday, January 27, 2007

Norm Geras has a few posts today in reference to the Holocaust Memorial Day that will be observed in Britain tomorrow.

This post made me twist my lips in wry cynicism, considering the present use of "Right" and "Left" in the media.

This post boosted my cynical mood this morning, as British Muslims are debating whether it is useful to recognize the Holocaust Memorial Day in serving their PR and propaganda purposes:

"The MCB has stood back because it says the event should focus on all acts of "genocide". It wants a generic approach which would also highlight other issues, such as the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel."

In other words, vitiate the meaning of Holocaust, whether universal or Jewish, in favour of the Palestinian "cause" (a double entendre here, considering what the Palestinian "cause" de-facto entails...)

This post, reminding me that we never did have that long discussion we had planned on the Charlie Rose Message Board about Claude Lantzmann's "Shoah". I wonder if the way it was neglected, or by-passed is somewhat symptomatic to the prevailing culture of resentment against Holocaust memory (recently best examplified in Carter's book which all but leaped over that event in its historical "review", thus making common cause with the likes of the MCB mentioned above).

And this post which quotes the story of a mother holding her child, standing on the cusp of a killing pit:

A German walked up to the woman and asked: "Whom shall I shoot first?" When she did not answer, he tore her daughter from her hands. The child cried out and was killed.

I thought it was a fine example of Nazi compassion, considering that the mother might want to be killed first so as to spare her the anguish of seeing her child killed.

Yes, I'm in a mighty cynical mood today. 60 years after the event, new promises for a second Jewish genocide and Jews are still mocked for being over sensitive to antisemites and their appeasers.

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Indifference is the opposite of "good". I believe Elie Wiesel said this, when he wanted to make the case that competing with the evil of the Nazis was the mass indifference that characterized the "civilized world" at the time before, during and after the Holocaust. Of course we are now particularly shocked with the malicious indifference that pours out of the Arab and Muslim world.

However, the greatness of human compassion is still measured by the courage of individual persons, who cannot remain passive and smug, looking for very good reasons not to interefere when evil is perpetrated. This is one such example:

Holocaust honour for Arab who saved Jews from Nazis

It's a sad omen that too few Arabs take any pride and solace in the transcendant morality of Khaled Abdelwahhab.

Dr Satloff, who flew to Israel to meet Yad Vashem officials yesterday, said: “These stories are only coming to light now because we haven’t looked too hard before at the Holocaust experience in Arab countries. But another reason is that Arabs who did save Jews didn’t want to be found. They are reluctant to admit that they saved Jews.”

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And somewhat related:

Khatami slams controversial Holocaust conference

Really? Yes. No. Maybe?

And a few hours later: OOPS...

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami denied having talked to an Israeli newspaper which quoted him as criticising a recent conference in Tehran casting doubt on the Holocaust.
"I never gave any interview to any Israeli newspaper and the comments attributed to me have been made up," Khatemi's spokesman Mohammad Ali Abtahi quoted the former president as saying.


Israel's mass-selling Yediot Aharonot published on Friday what it said was "a rare interview" with Khatemi, quoting him as saying: "I strongly condemn the holding of this conference."
"The Holocaust against the Jewish people was one of the most grave acts against humanity in our time. There is no doubt that it happened," he was quoted as saying.


"I suggest to all of us to separate the Holocaust from Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab discussions... It is without precedent and cannot be compared to anything else."

Yediot Aharonot said Khatemi had given the interview on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Abtahi told AFP in Tehran that Khatemi considered the article to be nothing more than "machinations by the Israeli media".

The story reminded me of another story involving the very same Iranian personality, a reported conciliatory gesture towards Israel followed by a strong denial.

Hmm.

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