Yad Vashem is Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Museum. Its is devoted to using the Holocaust, not as a way of warning the world of the dangers of fascism and racism but as a means of creating a particular Zionist narrative of the Holocaust as a means of legitimising the Israeli state.
As I show in my book, Zionism During the Holocaust, Yad Vashem distorts and manipulates the historical record in order to magnify Zionist resistance during the Holocaust whilst at the same time erasing the much larger role that anti-Zionist Jews (the vast majority of European Jews) played.
In particular Zionism has glossed over and condoned the collaboration of Zionist leaders with the Nazis. It has rehabilitated the most notorious of their collaborators, Rudolf Kasztner, the leader of Hungarian Zionism and the representative of the Jewish Agency in Hungary.
After the war Kasztner went to Nuremberg to testify in favour of several Nazi war criminals including Hermann Krumey, Eichmann’s second in command in Hungary who was in charge of the mechanics of the deportation process. Some 437,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz. Nearly all died in its gas chambers.
Yeshayahu Leibowitz was an Orthodox Jews, he turned down the Israel Prize and Professor at the Hebrew University Jerusalem – he was a polymath and had doctorates in medicine and philosophy. President Ezer Weizman described him as the ‘spiritual conscience of Israel.’ He called the settlers of the West Bank ‘Judeo-Nazis’
Earlier this year 50 leading holocaust researchers in Israel wrote to Dani Dayan, Yad Vashem Chairman, asking him to speak out against those in Israel, including the Prime Minister himself, who were openly calling for genocide in Gaza.
Dayan himself is no slouch when it comes to racism. Former Chair of the Yesha Settlers Council he stood for the Knesset for the racist Tehiya settler party and then for Jewish Home. That a racist such as this could be Chairman of Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum is in itself proof of the poison at the heart of Israel’s abuse of the memory of the Holocaust.
You might think that it was a no-brainer for the Chair of Israel’s holocaust memorial centre to condemn calls for the extermination and murder of Palestinians. It’s like asking the Pope to condemn abortion. But no, you would be wrong. In Israel you can shed tears over the extermination of the Jews (but not the Disabled, Gypsies or Gays) but you can also be, at one and the same time, an out and out racist towards every other victim.
Dayan claimed that those calling for genocide in Israel were marginal, despite them including the President and Prime Minister. He doubled down on this:
the State of Israel does a lot within the constraints Hamas imposes on us to comply with the proper moral standards and the laws of war.
He then let slip the real reason that Yad Vashem won’t be condemning a genocide that has already claimed over 30,000 lives, notwithstanding those dying of hunger and disease.
“Our area of concern is the Holocaust, and only the Holocaust,”
And there you have it. As far as Zionism and the Israeli state is concerned, there are no lessons to be learnt from the Holocaust other than that Jews are perpetual victims of anti-Semitism, even when genocide is being carried out in their name.
South Africa and the International Court
We should therefore be grateful to South Africa for doing what none of the corrupt Arab regimes (except for the Houthis) are doing. Despite the howls of Genocide Joe and his poodles Sunak and Starmer that their claims were ‘meritless’ it has put Israel, and with it the United States and the West on trial.
To take but a few examples Netanyahu, in the Knesset on 16 October 2023 described Israel’s attack on Gaza as
“a struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness, between humanity and the law of the jungle”
On 28 October 2023, as Israeli forces were preparing the ground invasion of Gaza, Netanyahu told Israelis that:
“you must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember”.
Netanyahu again referred to Amalek in a letter of 3 November 2023 to Israeli soldiers. The relevant biblical passage reads:
Now go, attack Amalek, and proscribe all that belongs to him. Spare no one, but kill alike men and women, infants and sucklings, oxen and sheep, camels and asses”
The message could not be clearer.
Israeli Labor Party President Yitzhak Herzog was explicit. Israel should not distinguish between fighters and civilians, referring to Palestinians in Gaza, over one million of whom are children, as:
an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware not involved. It’s absolutely not true. … and we will fight until we break their backbone.
On 9 October 2023, War Minister Yoav Gallant stated that Israel was imposing a complete siege on Gaza.
No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals
In referring to ‘human animals’ Gallant was repeating, word for word, Himmler’s description of the Jews. Himmler said, in a speech in Posen/Posnan on October 4 1943 that:
We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals.
It is not known whether Gallant was aware of this but the very fact that he used the same words as the man responsible for implementing the Final Solution is sufficient in itself.
On 10 November the Kahanist Minister of Police and Security, Itamar ben Gvir, clarified that:
when we say that Hamas should be destroyed, it also means those who celebrate, those who support, and those who hand out candy — they’re all terrorists, and they should also be destroyed.
There are many more such statements from Israeli leaders.
Nor was it a case of politicians engaging in rhetorical outbursts. On the ground in the Gaza Strip soldiers were assimilating these messages and acting accordingly.
Videos from the field of soldiers dancing and singing “Wipe out the seed of Amalek,” or saying, “With God’s help,” Gaza City’s Shujaiyeh neighborhood “will be the late Shujaiyeh” or “We’ve taken down 30 houses. Wonderful.“
Israeli liberals, in the form of Ha’aretz newspaper complained that ‘Israel Is Paying the Price for Its Bigmouths’.
Ha’aretz liberals would rather that the ‘bigmouths’ kept quiet and let the soldiers get on with genocide. Instead the far-right (which today means most Israelis) boasts of their intentions knowing full well that the western media can be relied on to say nothing or brush it off.
Ha’aretz complained that South Africa’s Genocide Case at the ICJ had an Unwitting Ally: Israeli Politicians and asked its readers:
Can you imagine a defendant presenting the court with an amicus curiae to assist it and the prosecution in their case against him? That’s what the Israeli government is unwittingly doing.
Israel has a very impressive gallery of utterly unimpressive politicians. It also parades a messianic collection of fools for ministers who just can’t keep their mouths shut and are proud of their verbose gibberish.
Incitement to Genocide
On 3 January, well before the launch of the ICJ proceedings a group of prominent Israelis accused the country’s judicial authorities of ignoring
“extensive and blatant” incitement to genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza by influential public figures.’
In a letter to the attorney general and state prosecutors, they demanded action to stop the normalisation of language that breaks both Israeli and international law.
“For the first time that we can remember, the explicit calls to commit atrocious crimes, as stated, against millions of civilians have turned into a legitimate and regular part of Israeli discourse. Today, calls of these types are an everyday matter in Israel.”
The letter quoted Ben Gvir and Yitzhak Kroizer, MK for Otzma Yehudit, who in a radio interview explained that:
“The Gaza Strip should be flattened, and for all of them there is but one sentence, and that is death.”
Tally Gotliv of Likud demanded the use of a nuclear bomb on Gaza for “strategic deterrence before we consider inserting ground troops, doomsday weapon.”
Likud MP, Boaz Bismuth evoked the mythical biblical massacre of the Amalek nation saying: “It is forbidden to take mercy on the cruel, there’s no place for any humanitarian gestures,” adding that “The memory of Amalek must be erased.”
Among other commenters cited is journalist Zvi Yehezkeli, who said on Channel 13:
“[We] should have killed many times 20,000 people, [we] should have begun with a blow of 100,000.”
Palestinian Israelis who expressed sympathy for the people of Gaza have been routinely arrested. Michael Sfard said
I never could have imagined that I would need to write such a letter. The fact that this type of talk has completely left the far, unimportant fringes and came into the mainstream in such a massive way, for me it’s incomprehensible.
Sfard is naive. Such language has long entered the mainstream. It wasn’t long ago that Ben Gvir and Otzma Yehudit were considered beyond the pale. Today they are outflanked by many in Likud.
In 1984 when Rabbi Meir Kahane, whom Gvir venerates, was elected to the Knesset he was shunned – by all parties. In 1988 his party, Kach, was banned altogether yet today the Religious Zionism bloc is the third largest group in the Knesset.
Israeli Genocide is NOT the result of October 7
We should not fall into the trap of believing that Israeli genocide in Gaza is simply a reaction to the breakout on October 7.
October 7 provided the opportunity for Israeli leaders to fulfill their life’s ambition of ethnically cleansing Gaza. Up to then the intention had been to concentrate first on the Palestinians of the West Bank but to Israeli leaders it was a once in a lifetime’s opportunity and they took it with both hands.
There is at the moment a unique and rare opportunity to evacuate the whole Gaza Strip in coordination with the Egyptian government.
The Holocaust has been harnessed to Israeli settler colonialism and October 7 compared several times to the Holocaust itself. It is claimed that this was the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust itself. I have dealt with this lie previously. It assumes that Hamas attacked Israelis because they were Jews and not because they were occupiers.
That Israel was intent of using October 7 for political purposes is clear from their attempt to rewrite what happened that day. They deliberately concocted fables about 40 beheaded babies, a baked baby, a baby hung from a clothes line and most importantly the mass rape of Israeli women. Jonathan Cook has shown how this false narrative, peddled by the New York Times and The Guardian, has no basis in fact.
The Guardian rested its story on a whole series of improbable events and in particular the Zaka volunteers, a group of Jewish religious extremist men who previously had invented the story of the beheaded babies, which is still doing the rounds.
Ha’aretz of 4 December 2023 described a number of examples of Zaka volunteers inventing atrocities. One volunteer described how a 6 or 7 year-old boy was found shot in the safe room. He also described how, in House 426 on Kibbutz Beria he had found a woman whose abdomen had been split open and a foetus cut out. Nir Hasson and Liza Rozovsky commented that
no children 6 or 7 or near those ages were killed on Be’eri. House 426 is in the Ashelim neighborhood, which largely houses kibbutz veterans – older people. House 426 is also a two-family house where elderly families lived;
The Guardian however had no problem relying on these lying messianic nuts. Zaka has been plagued by allegations of wrongdoing for years.
Its founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav and the main figurehead for more than 30 years was forced to resign after multiple accusations surfaced of his having committed sexual assaults against women, girls and boys over several decades. All with the knowledge of others in Zaka.
The same is true of the New York Times. On December 28 the NYT published a report on gender-based violence committed by Palestinians during the October 7 attack. The story concluded that Hamas fighters engaged in systematic rape and sexual violence against Israeli women.
The story repeated October 7 testimonies that had already been discredited. The Times investigation hinged predominantly on alleged rape of “Gal Abdush,” who was described by as “The Woman in the Black Dress.” The only problem was that the Abdush family themselves said that there was no proof that their daughter was raped, and that Times reporters interviewed them under false pretenses.
The allegations that Hamas fighters took time out to serially rape a woman at the Nova festival, cut off her breast and play football with it defies logic. The purpose of the attack was to capture Israelis in order to exchange them with Palestinians in Israeli prisons. They were in a hurry to capture the hostages as quickly as possible before the arrival of the Israeli army.
What the Guardian and NYT did was indulge in the familiar depiction of indigenous people as violent sexual predators which was how Jews were portrayed in Nazi Germany and Black people in the Deep South.
It is highly unlikely that Hamas, with its strict moral codes, would indulge in such behaviour. This is not speculation. Hin and Ajam, captive mother and daughter, testified they were treated with kindness and respect and in their own words like Queens. If there were any truth in these allegations, then both women would have come back to Israel to tell a tale of rape and torture, yet they did the exact opposite.
Yocheved Lifshitz told how she had been treated humanely. So angry were the Israeli authorities at her testimony that the person who arranged her press conference at Ichilov hospital was sacked.
Chen Goldstein-Almog told how the main danger came from Israeli air strikes: “Our guards, our captors … were on top of us, protecting us with their bodies from the strikes,” Chen said. “We were very valuable to them,” she added.
The Israeli woman recalled asking her captors if they were going to kill them “and they would tell us: We will die before you.”
If It’s Not the Holocaust Then Why Israel’s Hysterical Genocidal Reaction to October 7?
In my view the Holocaust is a red herring, a means of winning sympathy. The reaction of Israelis to October 7 was the typical reaction of settler colonials to the nightmare scenario of the natives, who they’ve mistreated for so long, getting their revenge. Exactly this same horrific nightmare was common to whites in southern Africa. Having trodden on Black people for so long they expected them to exact their revenge.
And sometimes this nightmare comes true. One only has to think of the revolt of Black slaves in Santo Domingo/Haiti in August 1791 who killed every single White French person.
The Holocaust is merely the prism through which these fears are refracted. It is one more attempt to portray the Zionist settlers as the victim.
Those who condemn October 7 and I certainly don’t, should note the thousands of Palestinians who have been slaughtered since 1948. That the death of a few hundred Israelis by comparison evokes such condemnation in the West merely indicates the hypocritical racism of the imperialist media – the BBC, NYT and all the other White journalists and pundits.
What Did Happen on October 7, 2023?
Slowly but surely the truth is coming out about what happened on October 7. It is almost certain that apart from the near 400 military deaths, many of whom were also victims of ‘friendly’ fire, that the majority of civilians were killed by Israel and its Hannibal Directive which decrees it is better to shoot one of your own citizens than to let them be taken hostage.
As Israel’s Y-Net put it, the order went out to prevent ‘terrorists from returning to Gaza “at all costs”, even if they have hostages with them.’ In other words kill both hostages and captives.
The Times of Israelreported that families of 13 people killed at Kibbutz Be’eri have demanded an investigation
due to the likelihood that at least some of the civilians were killed by army fire, including tank fire, at the house where they were being held hostage by terrorists.
None of these facts, the murder of its own civilians, is mentioned either by the BBC or Guardian even though it’s common knowledge in Israel.
General Barak Haram told the NYT that he gave orders to a tank commander to “break in, even at the cost of civilian casualties.” As result a tank fired shells at a house,
only one person emerged alive from the carnage — Hadas Dagan. The remains of 13 hostages and dozens of terrorists were ultimately recovered and identified.
The lesson that Israel drew from the Holocaust was not an anti-racist one but its opposite. Zionism was a racial preservation project whose aim was to preserve and ‘purify’ the Jewish ‘race’. It is little wonder that the German state loves Israel.
The lessons Germany drew from the Holocaust were also not anti-racist ones. How could it be otherwise when the German state was not deNazified after the war? Hans Globke was Chancellor Konrad Adenaeur’s closes advisor. To the German state Israel was the living embodiment of the Jewish holocaust dead because Israel was an ally of imperialism. Noone of course had asked whether those who died in the Holocaust were in agreement with this, because most European Jews at the time hated Zionism.
Globke was a senior civil servant in the Reich Ministry of Interior. According to Daniel Rogers Globke was involved in drafting legislation that required Jews to add either “Israel” or “Sara” to their legal names in order to brand them publicly. He was heavily involved in drafting legal ordinances allowing the confiscation of the property of Jews and the removal of their citizenship, an essential precondition to extermination.
In a sordid deal between David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister and Adenaeur, ‘extraordinary precautions’ were taken to keep Globke’s name out of the Eichmann trial, according to Ian Lustick’s The Holocaust in Israeli Political Culture. This was part of the deal by which Germany paid Israel reparations and supplied it with weaponry.
It is often thought that Germany’s support for Israel is simply because of its guilt over the holocaust but Germany has no guilt over the Roma. Nor does it have any guilt over the presence in the German parliament of Alternative for Germany which is riddled with neo-Nazis and holocaust deniers. A party whose leading members have advocated shooting refugees. The AfD is also the most pro-Zionist party in Germany!
The Nazification of Israel
What the war on Gaza has done is accelerate the move to the right in Israeli politics. The Zionist left has all but disappeared. Democratic freedoms, even for Jews, are now being eroded.
When the Joint List’s only Jewish MK Ofer Casif supported Germany’s application to the ICJ a petition was immediately signed by 70 members of the Knesset calling for his expulsion.
Whereas Israeli Jews are free to incite hate against Israel’s Palestinian minority, the slightest protest or indication of opposition to Israel’s genocidal attack on Gaza can result in arrest. Dozens of Palestinian citizens of Israel are estimated to have been arrested for speech-related offenses. One woman was reportedly charged with inciting terrorism over her WhatsApp status, which read, “may God grant them victory and protect them.”
According to Aida Touma-Sliman, a Hadash MK, what is taking place is ‘an attack on the entire Arab population.”
Israeli Palestinians have no freedom of speech. Palestinians living in annexed East Jerusalem are residents not citizens of Israel and two-thirds of those who apply for citizenship are rejected. For example a Palestinian woman who applied for citizenship was told by Varda Cohen, head of the Population Authority’s Registration and Status Team that:
“the ministry is considering refusing the application in question, in light of the content you post and share on social media. The posts show a clear nationalist consciousness that is inconsistent with the application to receive Israeli citizenship, recognition of the state’s goals, and declaring allegiance to its flag.”
It is welcome that hundreds of Israelis have signed a petition organized by Anat Matar supporting the application by South Africa to the ICJ. However they represent a tiny minority of Israeli Jews, less than 1% and mostly from academia.
It is also welcome that a group called the “pro-human camp coalition” published a letter signed by public figures, artists and academics, declaring their commitment to fight the dehumanization of Gazans, Palestinians and Muslims:
Signatories include one of Israel’s top scientists, the Royal Society member Prof David Harel, alongside other academics, former diplomats and , former members of the Knesset, journalists and activists.
Represented by the human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, their 11-page letter contains multiple examples of “the discourse of annihilation, expulsion and revenge”.
The letter contrasts the lack of action on even “the gravest and most dangerous instances of incitement against residents of Gaza” with an intense campaign against incitement “whose potential victims are Israeli Jews”.
Huge resources have been devoted to tracking down people over speech that authorities interpreted as supporting Hamas, the letter notes. By late November, 269 investigations had been opened and 86 indictments filed.
It is quite amazing the number of criminal investigations, when it comes to Palestinian citizens of Israel, most of them completely anonymous, many of them almost with no audience,” Sfard said. “The gap between that and the freedom and impunity for those who advocate all kinds of things – ethnic cleansing, killing civilians, bombarding civilian areas, and even genocide – doesn’t square up, and that’s something for the authorities to explain.
The language of genocide risks influencing how Israel wages war, the letter says.
Normalised discourse which calls for annihilation, erasure, devastation and the like is liable to impact the manner by which soldiers conduct themselves.