The Stanford Daily fails to justify labeling Dr. Norman Finkelstein a holocaust denier Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by Robin, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2007 at 10:54 pm
Rather than furnishing quotations from Dr. Finkelstein's books or commentaries, Stanford Law School fellow Amichai Magen paraphrases Finkelstein's thesis:
"Finkelstein’s argument is as follows: The Jews, in a fiendish conspiracy, have fabricated a “Holocaust Industry” in order to portray themselves as victims, cynically exploit their suffering and consolidate Israel as a power set on regional domination. If the Holocaust had never happened, the Jews would have invented it themselves, since the Holocaust served their diabolical quest for money and global imperialism."
Posted by Uri Kimmelman, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2007 at 9:56 am
The issue isn't whether the holocaust has been fabricated, of course it took place. Nothing can be as terrible as the holocaust, but one thing comes in second. The Israelis have used the holocaust as an excuse to do terrible things and then claim that because of the holocaust, they can't be judged by the same standards the rest of the world is. Many awful crimes that the Israeli occupation forces and the radical settlers dead squads have committed against the indigenous population go unreported in this country, either because the Israelis manage to cover them up or because of the main stream media here is much more interested in covering gossip and sex. The sublime message Israel is sending is that she should be allowed to commit some of the same crimes others committed against Jews over centuries, because the descendents of the victims should be given a pass and should never be judged or criticized. An one who denies this should have the decency to tell it to my face, as I have witnessed first hand the crimes Israel and the settler paramilitary gangs have committed while serving in the IDF. To be frank, I'm one of those IDF officers who should be tried in the Hague because I didn't enough to stop those crimes.
Posted by Uri Kimmelman, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2007 at 11:08 am
There's a world of diference between a nation defending itself when attacked, like Israel did in 1973, and being a cruel occupier. Defending yourself from attacking armies is very different from systemic humiliation and gross human rights violation that also include bltant land theft by the Israeli government. How in the world can Israel expect the occupied not to resort to armed resistence when they are humiliated on a daily baisi by various acts, purposely designed to break their spirit and make their life intolerable. When they witness settlers shooting up their stores, spitting on their women and choldren and sometime murdering civilians who haven't done anything wrong, while the military looks passively on, doing nothing. In the rare occasion those hooligans are brought to trial, they are exonerted for 'lack of evidence', since the soldiers who witnessed it are warned to testify against the hooligan settlers, or receive light sentences which are commuted almost immediately. Why in the world shouldn't the locals resist and why shouldn't the world develop a cynical approach to the systemic use of the holocaust as justification for gross human right abuses and often war crimes by the Israelis?
Posted by Wolf, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2007 at 12:13 pm
I think you mix up two separate issues.
How Israel handles the occupied territories is one thing. I actually agree that Israel messed up on few (but not all!) aspects of this, and certainly the lax law enforcement on the settlers should -- and often is -- condemned.
The holocaust issue, on the other hand, is completely different. Holocaust did happen, and it would be foolish--and immoral!--for the Zionists not to use it as yet another reason to establish Israel. Its use may have not always been perfect, but we all are not perfect people. This is very different from claiming that the holocaust's main--or even just significant!--use in today's Israel is for justification of illegal/immoral acts. This is simply a lie, as you must know. How few individuals justify their own deeds is beyond anyone's control, but with the exception of few times during Begin's days, the STATE did not use the holocaust as an excuse, or the reason, for its deeds. Indeed, the shoe is on the other foot. The world tends to judge only Israel by Utopian moral standards, and it does not do it to anyone else. The Palestinian refugee issue gets 10x air-time than any other human rights issue (despite what the senile Jimmy Carter may say); Israel is yet again the only one that the "new" UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution against -- nothing about Russia/Chechnya, Sudan/Darfur, China, Belarus, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Iran, etc., etc., etc. Only Israel.
The holocaust permeates the history of the State of Israel. Trying to deny it would be like trying to deny that the Revolutionary War, or the Civil War, permeate the history of the US, and that they still drive many of our actions and laws. What is wrong with that?
But in any case Norman Finkelstein's position is not limited to the fact that the holocaust should not be used to excuse inappropriate behavior in the occupied territories. His argument is that the State of Israel was created in sin, and that the holocaust was the justification used to aid its creation. And his corollary seems to be that such "wrong" needs to be "rectified." I will consider it after he donates all his earthly property to the local Native American reservation and emigrates back to whichever country his parents came from. Until then...
Posted by Robin, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2007 at 12:34 pm
You insist Finkelstein's position is "the State of Israel was created in sin, and that the holocaust was the justification used to aid its creation. And his corollary seems to be that such "wrong" needs to be "rectified."
Where do you come up with this stuff?
It's just not true.
Have you even read a single book of his? A single commentary?
Are you able to cite where Finkelstein disputes Israel's right to exist peacefully with her neighbors?
Or are so ideologically biased and unscrupulous that you resort to willfully smearing someone you dislike?
Posted by Uri Kimmelman, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2007 at 12:36 pm
If Americans could read the frank discussion in the Israeli press about Israel's inhuman treatment of Palestinians they would wonder how they, as Americans with a "free press," became so totally brainwashed.
As for the the claim that the holocaust is supposedly not used in today's Israel for justification of illegal/immoral acts, 90 percent of Israelis, even those who support the occupation, would laugh very hard at this assertion.
One more point, most Israelis now are of Sephardi origins and their families didn't expeience the holocaust, nor can most of them relate to it in any genuine way. The holocaust is used almost primarily as a cynical tool to justify gross human rights violations to the Israeli public and to the world. Practically every Israeli is aware of this and more and more Israelis are sick to their stomachs, but possibly not enough at this point in time..
Posted by Wolf, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2007 at 1:08 pm
How some Israeli *individuals* justify their acts is not the issue at hand. The point I am making is that the *state* is not using such justifications. And the fact that the Israeli press is full of this debate goes more towards showing that there is a robust discourse in Israel on the (im)morality of this position, rather than that this justification is prevalent or even common. If you were to look at our press here over the last 3 years, you would think that Abu Ghraib and Hadditha type events happened every other day in Iraq. But we know they did not.
Finally, you argument that currently Sephardim are the majority in Israel and hence the holocaust is not "their" issue is deeply flawed. First, your numbers are probably incorrect if one accounts for the massive Russian Jews immigration in the 90's. Secondly, some North African Jewry did suffer under the Germans/Italians during the war. Finally, whatever the ancestry of any individual Israeli Jew, the holocaust is not only a "personal" thing in Israel -- it is one of the philosophical and historical justifications for the existence of Israel, and it affects every Jew living there. Claiming otherwise would be akin to arguing that since so many of Americans came to the US after the civil war, they really should not care about slavery since their ancestors didn't take part in it.
Posted by Robin, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2007 at 1:36 pm
Wolf posts "If you were to look at our press here over the last 3 years, you would think that Abu Ghraib and Hadditha type events happened every other day in Iraq. But we know they did not."
Most everybody lies like crazy during times of conflict, so we really don't have a great deal of certainty about anything happening in Iraq.
Remember, the most vocal supporters of the Iraq Disaster, including Perle, Adelman, Frum, Ladeen, Kristol, et al., remained silent about problems in Iraq for nearly 4 years. When it became clear that Republicans were about to lose control of the Congress, it seems Perle and Co. suddenly found it politically expedient to insist GWB, Cheney, Rumsfeld were to blame for poor execution.
Why else would they wait nearly 4 years to alert us GWB and Dick were goofing up?
Or do you honestly believe they just figured it out last November?
Posted by Uri Kimmelman, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2007 at 2:16 pm
'How some Israeli *individuals* justify their acts is not the issue at hand. The point I am making is that the *state* is not using such justifications.'
Actually, the *state* has been doing just that, in a very sophisticated way. Obviously, there isn't a written government policy paper declaring that the holocaust is a justification for human right abuses or war crimes. However, whenever Israel is backed into a corner when caught red handed, trying to justify settler hooliganizm, land theft, collective punishment, targeted executions, checkpoint humiliation and brutality, etc, the 'we are holocaust survivors we can't behave like Sweden' comes out as if on cue, be it the primer, a minister, an ambassador or a government spokesperson. It' a routine MO and they are all trained very well.
In general, there's a crowd in the US of neocons as well as Jews and gentiles for whom 'Israel Right or Wrong' and 'Israel is always Right' is a way of life. They will justify anything Israel does no matter how repulsive. Many Israelis role their eyes at the mention of them and have a comment that translates from Hebrew as:'they are trying to be more Catholic than the Pope'. I found any discourse with them to be hopeless.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2007 at 2:17 pm
"How in the world can Israel expect the occupied not to resort to armed resistence when they are humiliated on a daily basis by various acts, purposely designed to break their spirit and make their life intolerable"
Why don't the Palestinians move East? Isreal has been fighting this twilight war long enough - time to lay it on the line and treat the next incursion on their land as a full blown war and push the enemy back beyone rocket range. A peaceful palestine would long ago have benefited from free trade, employment and tranquility. A beligerant Palestine deserves the beligerance they sow.
Posted by Ron, a resident of another community, on Jan 28, 2007 at 2:26 pm
Robin...Those neocons are now pulling strings to get us to attack Iran. It won't matter if Bush is in office or Hillary (take your pick)is in office. . The appeal will be to the protection of innocent people in general, Isreal in particular. American liberals and conservatives will probably join together on this one. Why? Because innocents will be killed by the hundreds of thousands, if we don't attack. What's new? It is the same thing with Saddam: He slaughtered many hundreds of thousands, if not millions.
We are now hearing about Darfur, mostly from the liberals. They are on the edge of demanding an international force to save the women babies. Translation: Send in the 101st Airborne. After all, none of their sons would ever be in the military. When it all heads south, they will claim that it was all bad planning. I have a better idea: Don't go in at all. Let the babies die.
Posted by Albert, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2007 at 2:45 pm
There hasn't been an incursion on Israeli land since 1948, only guerrilla/terror raids and even those have stopped. Most Israelis realize that the occupation of Palestinian territory is unrelated to Israel's security. Israel maintains the occupation and what comes with it:humiliation, murder, human right abuse and corruption because the settlers threaten a civil war if evacuated from the w. bank and because Israel want to control the water.
Posted by Ron, a resident of another community, on Jan 28, 2007 at 2:58 pm
Robin...I agree that the Republicans are in a tight spot. However, I don't see the big picture in a partisan way. If Dennis Kucinich is elected president, he will figure out some way to send our troops off to save babies. He will give in to idealism and moralism. It will be another morass.
Until this country can get used to allowing the innocent to be slaughtered by their own leaders, we will continue to fall into the trap. Like Iraq.
Posted by Uri Kimmelman, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2007 at 8:00 am
Bassam Aramin spent nine years in an Israeli prison. He belonged to Yasser Arafat's Al Fatah in the Hebron area and attempted to throw a grenade at an Israeli army Jeep in occupied Hebron. Last Wednesday morning, an Israeli soldier in a jeep in his village of Anata, on the West Bank, shot his nine year old daughter, Abir, in the head. The soldier will not spend an hour in jail. In Israel, soldiers are not imprisoned for killing Arabs. Never. It does not matter whether the Arabs are young or old, real or potential terrorists, peaceful demonstrators or stone throwers. The army has not conducted an inquiry in Abir Aramin's death. Neither the police nor the courts have questioned anyone. There will be no investigation. As far as the Israeli Defense Forces are concerned, the shooting did not happen. The army's official account of her death is that she was hit by a stone that one of her classmates was throwing "at our forces."
Those who live in Israel know that stones thrown by 10 year olds do not blow brains out. Just as they see every day the Israeli jeeps circling Palestinian children on their way to and from school and greet them with stun-bombs, "rubber" bullets and riot control gas.
Posted by Boaz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2007 at 8:43 am
Since you claim you are one of those IDF officers who should be tried in the Hague, what are you doing hiding in Palo Alto? Why don;t you return to Israel and turn yourself in to the proper authorities in the Gaza Strip. I am sure that the Palestinian Authoirty will arrange a trial for you.
As for your initial comments, note that Israel wants to be treated like the rest of the world--unfortunately they are held to a higher standard then other nations--a better description would be a double standard vis a vis their treatment by the world.
While the Palestinian issue is a messy one, the root cause of the continuing strife and Israel's need to take action (which I applaud for their constraint) is the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist.
Posted by Albert, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2007 at 1:02 pm
During the British mandate, Jewish kids would throw stones at British troops, yet the British troops never shot at the kids. There was even one incident, in almost 30 years of British rule in which a Jewish child was shot by a British soldier or agent. Israeli troops often shoot at Paletinian children who don't throw stones. It's part of a campaign of terror by the Israelis, aimed at breaking the Palestinian spirit and encourage them to leave their land. Israeli soldiers, reserves and conscripts, have been reporting for years many incidents of unprovoked fatal shootings of Palestinian children by IDF soldiers. While Palestinian terror acts on Israeli civilians within the green line are denounced, and rightly so, Israel refuses to take responsibility for the deliberate policy of killing Arab children.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Jan 29, 2007 at 4:44 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
People who use their children as bombs are responsible for their deaths, not those who defend their people against the bomb attacks.
I don't believe that children are shot at for throwing stones. I will believe that children are shot at if they look like they are throwing a grenade..like children who are shot here when they look like they are about to shoot a real gun.
The responsibility is up to the Palestinians to keep their children out of the fight..and they don't.
Posted by Albert, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2007 at 5:23 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
The evidence of deliberate shooting of unharmed palestinian children(not carryong bombs or stones) and subsequent cover-up is abundant, available upon request from human rights organizations,Israelis and international alike, from the archives of mainstream Israeli newpapers and from the testimony of many Israeli soldiers over the years. I have personally spoken to a number of Israel soldiers and officers who told me about their doctorination before serving in the occupied territoroes,about verbal order to shoot children, often by snipers, about violence and murder of arabs by settlers with the army turning a blind eye and it is blood chilling. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2007 at 9:28 pm
Ah yes, those human rights organizations. The same organizations who never found any human rights violations in Saddam's Iraq or in the USSR. A rock is a deadly weapon. Only cowards let their kids fight for them.
Posted by Wolf, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jan 29, 2007 at 11:59 pm
Uri Kimmelman wrote:
"In Israel, soldiers are not imprisoned for killing Arabs. Never. It does not matter whether the Arabs are young or old, real or potential terrorists, peaceful demonstrators or stone throwers."
Uri must know that quite a few soldiers were tried on such charges over the years, and fortunately most were found not guilty of shooting peaceful Palestinians in cold blood. That does not mean that there are no lesser transgression. Nor that they go unpunished. Here are few recent headlines.
Soldier sentenced to 28 days for stealing money from Palestinian family
Posted by Robin, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jan 30, 2007 at 4:08 am
Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
Wednesday November 16, 2005
"An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.
The soldier, who has only been identified as "Captain R", was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.
The manner of Iman's killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was "scared to death", made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.
After the verdict, Iman's father, Samir al-Hams, said the army never intended to hold the soldier accountable."
The following is a recording of a three-way conversation that took place between a soldier in a watchtower, an army operations room and Capt R, who shot the girl
From the watchtower "It's a little girl. She's running defensively eastward." "Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?" "A girl about 10, she's behind the embankment, scared to death." "I think that one of the positions took her out." "I and another soldier ... are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill ... Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her ... I also confirmed the kill. Over."
From the operations room "Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?"
Watchtower "A girl about 10, she's behind the embankment, scared to death."
A few minutes later, Iman is shot from one of the army posts
Watchtower "I think that one of the positions took her out."
Captain R "I and another soldier ... are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill ... Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her ... I also confirmed the kill. Over."
Capt R then "clarifies" why he killed Iman
"This is commander. Anything that's mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed. Over."
Posted by Robin, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jan 30, 2007 at 4:24 am
More about Iman Darweesh al Hams:
"The bullets were large and shot from a close distance. The most serious injuries were to her head. She had three bullets in the head. One bullet was shot from the right side of the face beside the ear. It had a big impact on the whole face."