Tuesday, June 5, 2012

the holocaust means never having to say you're sorry

What follows is in excerpt from Bradley Burston's excellent opinion peace in Haaretz - The Holocaust Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

"Why can't this Israel bring itself to apologize? Why is apology equated with surrender, a potentially fatal sign of weakness, an offering up of the neck to the executioner? 

As early as 2009, scholar and former American Jewish Congress executive director Henry Siegman may have pointed to a root cause. 

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, Siegman quoted Yitzhak Rabin's 1992 inaugural address, in which the late prime minister declared that because Israel was militarily powerful and neither friendless nor at risk, Israelis should stop thinking and acting like victims. 

Nonetheless, Siegman argued, "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s message that the whole world is against Israel and that Israelis are at risk of another Holocaust … is unfortunately still a more comforting message for too many Israelis." 

In a phrase that rankled many, myself included, Siegman declared that "The Israeli reaction to serious peacemaking efforts is nothing less than pathological — the consequence of an inability to adjust to the Jewish people’s reentry into history with a state of their own following 2,000 years of powerlessness and victimhood."
After looking anew at a subsequent exchange of views, I have come to realize that Henry Siegman was right, and that his take on Israeli pathology has everything to do with the apology issue as well. 

Whether it be relations with Turkey or Palestinians wronged by the occupation, or Africans subjected to violence and to racist incitement by public officials, Israel has put the world firmly on notice: The Holocaust means never having to say you're sorry."

No comments:

Post a Comment