Tony Greenstein | 31 March 2024 | Post Views:

Electronic Intifada has just published my article Israel’s Holocaust trauma is a myth. It looks at the claims of Israel’s supporters and Zionism that October 7 represented a ‘second Holocaust’.

In the article I argue that it is not Holocaust trauma but the trauma of settler-colonials, for whom the rising up of the indigenous Palestinians, is their nightmare scenario. I compare Israel’s situation with that of the Caribbean slave owners and South Africa’s Whites.

In the Times of Israel two Israeli holocaust academics, Avinoam Patt and Liat Steir-Livny lazily claim that

Just as the Nazis aimed to annihilate the Jews, Hamas and affiliated terrorist organizations share the same objective: the destruction of Jews.

White ‘trauma’ in Kenya led Britain to set up a series of concentration camps

It is an evidence free assertion. What do they base this claim on? The 1988  Hamas Charter. It is true that the 1988 Hamas Charter referred to Jews and was anti-Semitic but the point is that it never informed the practice and politics of Hamas and in 2017 was discarded in favour of a ‘“Document of General Principles and Policies’.

Of course the think tanks of US imperialism have done their best to suggest that the changes are cosmetic. As Mandy Rice-Davies of Profumo fame once said, they would say that wouldn’t they. It is in the interests of Zionism to portray Hamas as a genocidal, anti-Semitic organisation.

Matthew Levitt and Maxine Rich of the neo-con Washington Institute for Near East Policy argue in ‘Hamas’s Moderate Rhetoric Belies Militant Activities’  

The international community should judge Hamas not by any moderation in the group’s rhetoric but by its actions on the ground. So long as the latter remain militant and extreme, the relative moderation of the former means not much at all.

What concerned them was not that Hamas had abandoned its anti-Jewish rhetoric but that they were still militantly opposed to Israel’s occupation, siege and subjugation of the Palestinian people.

This is typical of the dishonesty of western academics who conflate the Nazi’s extermination of Jews with opposition to Israeli settler colonialism. The suggestion being that Hamas and the Palestinians oppose Israel’s Jewish Supremacist regime not because of what it does but because their oppressors happen to be Jewish!

Amira Hass in Ha’aretz explained the background to the original Charter and how it came to be adopted and the fact that it had little influence on Hamas’s day to day practice or ideological outlook.

The new document contains none of the anti-Semitic articles and sentences that characterized the charter. Supporters of the movement, especially in the West, advised it long ago to change these provisions.

One Hamas member told Haaretz that almost immediately after the charter was published in 1988, people in the movement urged that these sections be changed. The charter wasn’t written in a cooperative process, he explained, and it isn’t “scientifically or legally” accurate.

He said the Hamas members deported to Marj El Zhour in Lebanon in 1992-93 were the first to seriously discuss the need for changes. But the changes were never made because doing so required a lengthy, complex process of thought and consultation during difficult periods of military escalation.

The charter itself hasn’t been canceled. It’s a historic document that relates to a particular moment in the organization’s history, and Hamas isn’t renouncing it; nor is the new document called a “charter.” Cancelling the charter would repeat the humiliation undergone by the PLO when it had to announce the repeal of certain provisions of its 1968 charter because they contradicted the Oslo Accords. But the Hamas charter is no longer the organization’s official ideological platform.

As I said in my article

‘Presumably if Gaza’s occupiers had been Christians then the Palestinians would have happily accepted their fate!’.

Levitt and Rich typify the superficiality of the ‘academics’ that adorn American think thanks and universities. To say nothing of Israel’s fake holocaust ‘scholars’ such as Patt and Steir-Livny.

Nazi anti-Semitism targeted Jews because they were Jews and extermination was a culmination of a process that began with ethnic cleansing. When Hamas attacked Jews it was understandable because Israel’s soldiers came to their homes to kill them in the name of ‘the Jews’. That is why Palestinians refer to Yahud (Jew) because that is how their oppressor appears to them.

However Hamas matured in the 30 years between the 1988 Charter and the 2017 document. They learnt to distinguish between Jews and Zionists. Nor was this simply a matter of rhetoric or verbal accommodation.

No less than the Times of Israel quoted a statement of senior Hamas official Basem Naim that the group was “sorry to hear about the terror attack” in 2018 on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh which claimed 11 lives. Naim explained that

As Palestinians and victims of the terror of Israeli occupation, we know the meaning of terror and its horrific outcomes. This heinous attack, especially in a place of worship, proves that terror has no religion or nationality.

Can one imagine the Nazi party condemning an attack on Jews? The attack was  perpetrated by Robert Bowers, a supporter of Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of the Israeli state.

In an article in the Guardian Hamas condemns the Holocaust Naim made this explicit:

at the same time as we unreservedly condemn the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews of Europe, we categorically reject the exploitation of the Holocaust by the Zionists to justify their crimes and harness international acceptance of the campaign of ethnic cleansing and subjection they have been waging against us – to the point where in February the Israeli deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai threatened the people of Gaza with a “holocaust“.

The Nazi state had journals and papers devoted to propagating anti-Semitism. It established and funded ‘scientific’ institutes whose task was to ‘prove’ that Jews were subhuman. Pivotal to the attempts to set Nazi ideology on a scientific basis was the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics. The Institute was founded with money from America’s Rockerfeller Foundation whose money kept it going during the Great Depression.

Eugen Fischer – from genocide in Africa to the Holocaust

Eugen Fischer, who first began with medical experiments on the Herero and Nama people at Shark Island concentration camp in SW Africa (Namibia), the first genocide of the 20th century, went on to train SS doctors such as Joseph Mengele, the Auschwitz doctor.

Hamas has never sought to establish ‘academic’ institutions whose purpose was to theorise anti-Semitism. Hamas make a sharp distinction between Jews and Zionists. Many of the released captives testified to their humane treatment at the hands of Hamas. These are very strange Nazis!

Those who equate Hamas with the Nazis or suggest that their goal is the elimination of Jews are projecting their own genocidal thoughts onto their victims. In is one more case of serial Zionist dishonesty.

I quote in my article Hannah Starman, who as a child was baffled at Israel’s portrayal of the people they were bombing in Beirut as Nazis. Hannah was only 7 but as she said:

when I looked among the images of people in Beirut to find the Nazis, all I could see were people who looked poor, quiet or scared.

Nothing like the tall and erect Nazis, shouting out orders in their uniforms and shiny boots. I was confused. And this confusion bred a lifelong interest in what was really going on in Israel. How could a people that had suffered so much cause so much suffering? Why were they telling the world that they were fighting the Nazis? And why did the world believe them?

What a child could see with her own eyes, Biden, Sunak, Starmer, Scholtz and the other war criminals are unable to see. Not because they are blind but because they have deliberately created a narrative that portrays the victims of genocide as ‘Nazis’. 

What western leaders are unwittingly doing is normalising the Nazis which is one reason why so many neo-Nazis today, like the White Zionist  Richard Spencer and Dutch political leader Geert Wilders, adore the Israeli state.

It is also the reason why Germany’s leaders have fallen over themselves in the rush to endorse Israel’s genocide. It is ironic that the ‘Jewish state’ is helping to rehabilitate the Nazis but when one looks at the history of the period, alone amongst the Jews the Zionists saw only good coming out of the Nazi rise to power.

As David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister remarked ‘The Nazis’ victory would become “a fertile force for Zionism.” ‘ [Tom Segev, The Seventh Million, p. 18]. 

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Tony Greenstein

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