Saturday, April 23, 2011

the Holocaust fixation

Today, Saturday, in the New York Times is a big spread (front page of the Arts section) on the Illinois Holocaust Museum. I felt that a letter to the editor was needed. Here it is...

Dear New York Times editor:

The Holocaust was a horror that began in the 1930's and ended with the conclusion of World War II in 1945. I was born in 1950. In my 60 year life I have been exposed to innumerable presentations of the Holocaust in books, films, TV and as with your article, in newspapers. In Illinois, it is a law that public school students must learn about the Holocaust. The Illinois Holocaust Museum is an easy bicycle ride from my home. Americans are steeped in the Holocaust.

Two years before my birth, in 1948 the Catastrophe, the Nakba, in which Palestinians were driven from their homeland began. Just as the Holocaust was carefully planned, so was and is the Catastrophe. Unlike the 15 years containing the Holocaust in which Jews were victimized along with others, Palestinians are to this very moment, still being thrown out of their homes and land, still being killed on an average of about 1 to 2 per week, still subject to no law but that of the Israeli occupying army and subject in every detail of daily life to the desires of Israel. There are no memorials in the United States to lost Palestine, the subject is never mentioned in Congress and Israel, the ongoing oppressor behind the Catastrophe cannot be praised more highly, paid more lavishly with U.S. foreign aid or given too many weapons. American public school students are not required to know one thing about anything Palestinian.

There is no stranger irony in a country that claims to support human rights, than the fixation with a horror long since ended accompanied with absolute blindness to a horror that has continued with active, eager U.S. support for decades and would end this second without it. The Nazis drove the Holocaust for a relatively brief period, we Americans drive the Catastrophe with no end in sight.

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