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Slouching towards Bethlehem to be born? PDF Print E-mail
Jul 26, 2007 at 06:30 PM
by Richard Falk   July 05, 2007 
 
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

      -- William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

There is little doubt that the Nazi Holocaust was as close to unconditional evil as has been revealed throughout the entire bloody history of the human species. Its massiveness, unconcealed genocidal intent, and reliance on the mentality and instruments of modernity give its enactment in the death camps of Europe a special status in our moral imagination. This special status is exhibited in the continuing presentation of its gruesome realities through film, books, and a variety of cultural artifacts more than six decades after the events in question ceased. The permanent memory of the Holocaust is also kept alive by the  existence of several notable museums devoted exclusively to the depiction of the horrors that took place during the period of Nazi rule in Germany.
 
Against this background, it is especially painful for me, as an American Jew, to feel compelled to portray the ongoing and intensifying abuse of the Palestinian people by Israel through a reliance on such an inflammatory metaphor as 'holocaust.'  The word is derived from the Greek holos (meaning 'completely') and kaustos (meaning 'burnt'), and was used in ancient Greece to refer to the complete burning of a sacrificial offering to a divinity. Because such a background implies a religious undertaking, there is some inclination in Jewish literature to prefer the Hebrew word 'Shoah' that can be translated roughly as 'calamity,' and was the name given to the 1985 epic nine-hour narration of the Nazi experience by the French filmmaker, Claude Lanzmann. The Germans themselves were more antiseptic in their designation, officially naming their undertaking as the 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question.' The label is, of course, inaccurate as a variety of non-Jewish identities were also targets of this genocidal assault, including the Roma and Sinti ('gypsies'), Jehovah Witnesses, gays, disabled persons, political opponents.

Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy. If ever the ethos of 'a responsibility to protect,' recently adopted by the UN Security Council  as the basis of 'humanitarian intervention' is applicable, it would be to act now to start protecting the people of Gaza from further pain and suffering. But it would be unrealistic to expect the UN to do anything in the face of this crisis, given the pattern of US support for Israel and taking into account the extent to which European governments have lent their weight to recent illicit efforts to crush Hamas as a Palestinian political force.

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Symptoms of Decay in Occupied Palestine PDF Print E-mail
Jul 23, 2007 at 12:51 PM

by Bashir Abu-Manneh; July 16, 2007 

...It is worth repeating that the closest Palestinians ever came to decolonizing the West Bank and Gaza was in the first Intifada. A whole nation struggled together then in what Edward Said called 'one of the most extraordinary anti-colonial and unarmed mass insurrections in the whole history of the modern period'. It is clear that conditions are now much more difficult than they were in the 1980s. Palestinians are cut off, fragmented, politically divided, and made dispensable by Israel's closure policy, which has diminished their political leverage and capacity to force Israeli society to pay the price of its brutal occupation. Palestinian bantustans are clearly Oslo's doing, leaving most Palestinians stranded and demobilized. Only 5% of Palestinians actively participated in resistance against the occupation from the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000 to 2005, a measure of severe crisis and political disengagement if ever there was one.[6] This is why it has long been imperative to rebuild Palestinian self-capacity for collective resistance and mass mobilization. Struggles against the Wall have testified to the political efficacy of popular mobilization, as Palestinians invited and led both international solidarity and support from Israel's meager yet important anti-occupation groups, like Tayyush and Anarchists Against the Wall...

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Dignité attacked: one Canadian on board Gaza-bound French boat
Canadian Boat to Gaza
For Immediate Release - Français au dessus

July 19, 2011- 4:30AM EDT

Organizers of the Canadian Boat to Gaza (CBG), the Tahrir, lost contact with the French flagged boat Dignité from the Freedom Flotilla II, at 10:10AM local time when the boat was in international waters north of Arish, Egypt, and are deeply concerned for those aboard, given the likelihood the vessel has been boarded by the Israeli Navy.  The Dignity had managed to get out of Greek territorial waters and was sailing towards Gaza. The Israeli navy recently threatened to intercept any ships heading to Gaza.
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