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Published, May 26/2001, Edmonton Journal


Of All Countries Israel Should Understand


Despite the fact that many people reading this may misconstrue what I am about to say, I felt compelled to respond to Yossi Klein Halevi's May 23rd editorial.  Let me preface what I am about to say by stating clearly: Yes, the Holocaust DID happen. Yes, it was unspeakably horrible and should never be repeated. 


However, one can imagine why it may be conceivable for individuals living amidst the current violence in the Middle East to make preposterous statements to the effect that the Holocaust is a lie for Israeli propaganda. 


Why is this conceivable? Because, if anyone should understand that a country founded to establish ethnic purity is wrong, it should be the Jews.  How is it possible for a people who have seen the horrors of ethnic cleansing turn around and build a country that affords rights to Jews that it doesn't to non-Jews? 


A country that is unwilling to grant the universal human right to Palestinian refugees to return to their homes because it will "upset the ‘Jewish nature’ [ethnic purity] of the state."  A country that enforces a military occupation on foreign lands, and establishes Jewish-only settlements within them.  A country that uses water canons against Jewish protestors and live ammunition against Arab protestors.


If any country should understand that attacking refugee camps, demolishing homes and assassinating Palestinians without arrest or trial is wrong it should be Israel, and every person in it that ever heard of the Holocaust.


It is baffling to me that Israel, a country born in the wake of one of the world’s most horrific displays of racism, could establish itself on the basis of racial exclusivity.  It is this tragic irony that could conceivably lead the Arab newspapers to write that the Holocaust couldn’t have happened, because it seems insane that any Israeli who suffered under the Nazi’s could be the cause of further oppressive racial discrimination. 


After having suffered as victims, how can one turn around and become an oppressor?  I would hate to think that this, as Mr. Halevi’s editorial puts it, is "Zionism's gift to the Jews."


T M Weis