Yad Vashem – Beautiful Museum is Exploited for Political Gains

We took a trip to Yad Vashem during our educational tour of I/P today. For the most part, the museum was absolutely beautiful and it truly touched my heart. It was an amazing tribute to the victims of the Nazi Holocaust. I will dedicate my life to fighting fascism and preventing something like The Final Solution from ever happening again. The extermination of the Jewish people during the Shoah was a scar, not just on the Jewish people, but on the history of human kind.

My only criticism was that the museum didn’t mention that the founders of Israel cared more about populating Israel than they did about rescuing Jewish DPs facing anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe (a sin of omission). There was no mention of Ben-Gurion’s (Israel’s first prime minister) infamous quote in 1938. “If I knew it was possible to save all [Jewish] children of Germany by their transfer to England and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz-Yisrael, I would choose the latter—-because we are faced not only with the accounting of these [Jewish] children but also with the historical accounting of the Jewish People.” (Righteous Victims, p. 162) The Zionist founders of Israel cared more about the creation of the Jewish state than they did about saving Jewish displaced peoples (DP’s). Noam Chomsky cites strong evidence to back this up in The Fateful Triangle. The last section of the museum was a tribute to the foundation of Israel with pictures of all the founding fathers  (Herzl, Ben-Gurion, Chaim Weizzmann) and refugees of the Nazi Holocaut immigrating in to Israel. To someone who isn’t familiar with the history it may seem like the creation of Israel was a response to the Nazi Holocaust.

The similarities between the fascism of Hitler and the Third Reich and Israel’s drift to the right are already evident. When we walked into the museum there was a quote by Kurt Tucholsky that read, “A country is not just what it does… it is also what it tolerates” in reference to fascist Germany. The nation of Israel is tolerating war crimes, illegal land grabs, apartheid against its Palestinian neighbors and blatant racial discrimination of Israeli-Palestinians.

Another quote, “A citizen of the Reich is a subject of the state who has German blood.”  A citizen of Israel is a subject of the state who has Jewish blood. Israel is the state of the Jewish people and there is only a democracy for the Jewish inhabitants of Israel. Israel-Palestinians are treated like second-class citizens (I will have a post soon explaining the disparities in rights between Arab and Jew) and there is a system of Apartheid in the West Bank that specifically targets the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants who ‘unfotunately’ happened to be living in Eretz Yisrael.

Another quote by the Nazi, Heinrich von Treitschke, wrote that “the Jews are our misfortune.” The Zionist founders frequently expressed their annoyance at the Arab population occupying the land they believed to be theirs. Israel’s right-wing Foreign Minister Avignor Lieberman wants the 20% Israeli-Palestinian majority to be expelled from the area of Israel proper (excluding the West Bank and Gaza). Another example… The Supreme Court will vote on legislature that would ban demonstrations/remembrance of the Nakba (the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians). Certain factions of the Israeli government don’t think Palestinians have the right to be sad about their own misfortunes. This would be as absurd as preventing Jews from publicly remembing the Nazi Holocaust or making it illegal for the Native Americans to reminisce about the Trail of Tears. Israel was supposed to be a ‘land without people for a people without land,’ the Arabs are simply an obstacle to colonization.

There was more shocking irony in the section regarding the Warsaw ghetto. The Nazis got the Jews in Warsaw to build a wall to contain themselves. The segregation was based on ethnicity and religion; with the Jews being enclosed in a concentration camp based solely on their genetics and religious practices. There are many comparisons with the containment of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and the Palestinians within the concentration camp in the Gaza strip. Large walls enclose the Palestinians and the IDF are ordered to shoot anything that moves if it comes near the security zone within the wall. The revolt of the Warsaw ghetto inhabitants was considered justified rebellion but the rockets fired by Hamas are considered to be savage terrorism. Can’t the citizens of Israel see the irony?

The museum itself was amazing. However, the Israeli government is using the memory of Holocaust victims to justify commiting horrible atrocities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. While we were taking our tour there we numerous platoons of IDF soldiers (photo at bottom of the page) taking tours of the museum. After their training and indoctrination, many of them will be sent to the West Bank to support Israel’s occupation and illegal expansionist policies. Even though they will inevitably carry out atrocities against a resistant Palestinian people, they are indoctrinated to think that because the Nazi Holocaust happened to the Jews, they have a right to violently stifle Arab self-determination. Even though Jews were systematically destroyed in one of the darkest periods of history; it does not give Israel the right to punish the Palestinians and steal their land.

IDF at Yad Vashem

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2 Responses to “Yad Vashem – Beautiful Museum is Exploited for Political Gains”

  1. Daniil Niyazov Says:

    Very nice post, I was thinking the exact same thing on my Yad Vashem tour, that the Palestinians have become the Jews of the 30’s in the 21st century. And I’m sure you know that the museum fired a staff member who compared the Holocaust to the Nakba. Did you happen to notice that the maps of the world in Yad Vashem label Pre-state Israel as “Land of Israel” instead of “British Mandate of Palestine?” Talk about wiping out evidence and credibility to a notion of a “Palestine” ever existing.

    Just one short dissenting note. I don’t know if any German civilians were harmed during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. All of the stories and accounts I’ve ever read about the Uprising involved only Jewish prisoners and Nazi soldiers. A brief tour of Sderot, however, will show you that Hamas’ rockets are clearly targeting civilians, who simply had the misfortune of being born in Sderot, just like the Palestinians had the misfortune of being born in Gaza. Of course, Hamas can’t only target military personnel from its launchpads, so I guess they just do what they can as a sign of resistance.

    • Joel Says:

      Daniil,

      Thanks for all of your kind words and encouragement. It is funny that you mention the fact that a staff member was fired for comparing the Nazi Holocaust to the Nakba. He was actually our tour guide! His name is Itomar and he is part of the organization Combatants for Peace, which includes ex-IDF soldiers and ex-Palestinian freedom fighters. He’s an amazing guy. The fact that he got fired just goes to show you that Israel is trying to monopolize suffering for its own gains.

      I believe you are right. The prisoners of the Warsaw ghetto never purposefully attacked civilians because they didn’t possess the means to do so. Hamas and rebel Palestinian groups in Gaza have attacked civilians with extremely primitive rockets. Both the Warsaw Ghetto (during WW2) and Gaza (in the present) are instances of an ethnically specific group of people being oppressed by an vastly powerful military state. Even though attacks on civilians can’t be justified, it makes sense to me why the Palestinians would use terrorism as a means to liberate themselves.

      Thanks for reading!

      Talk to you soon.

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