Sunday, April 10, 2005

A timely reminder

Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald. The BBC has a photo gallery as a memorial. It's a timely reminder of what John Tamihere is "sick and tired" of hearing about.

Never again, by anyone, to anyone.


I've posted on this also. If you're interested, my post is here:

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2005 04:55:00 AM

hey, i'd be interesting in hearing some comments. i realise tamihere has screwed it up once and for all, mostly due to 'creative editing' on the part of that little weasel.

but, does anyone feel a slight twinge about israelis using the reprehensible behaviour of the nazis as a justification for their own treatment of the palestinians?

just curious.

Posted by the other 'Che' : 4/11/2005 07:50:00 AM

It is foolish to march straight into the trap laid by the investigate editor just because you dont like tamihere.
Tamihere was saying he was tired of hearing about how many jews died in the same sense that people who protest israels settlements might say the same thing.
the investigate journalist actually said that on the radio last night. And admited he was angry and basically admitted he did it to get revenge on tamihere because he felt he and Clarke were insulting his integrity (which I guess they were).

Anyway I am one of the most active opponants of Holocaust denial (cant tell you how many hours I have spent ripping apart peoples arguments) and yet even I could get irritated by people like the jewish council jumping down peoples thoats going on about how many people died.

When they stop using it as a lesson from history and instead cynically as a stick to beat people they discredit the position I spend so much time trying to defend.

I note che seems to have already hinted at this point.

Posted by Genius : 4/11/2005 09:16:00 AM

To Che:

In answer to your question about slight twinges. Yes, absolutely. Frequently. And you can find a lot of that sort of talk on the right-wing US blogosphere in particular. But that shouldn't diminish the efforts of the rest of us, i.e. non-Israelis, to ensure that the memory of the holocaust is kept alive as a stark reminder to ensure that it can never happen again. Right?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2005 09:59:00 AM

absolutely, the holocaust was something that should never have happened, let alone be repeated.

moreover, the sanctimonious right is often all too quick to overlook the deaths of many, many jews in english, french or other 'pogroms', in their defence of isreal.

but, is it an offence to the memory of millions of victims to use their unhappy demise as a stick with which to beat the entire world into line with contemporary political agenda?

Posted by the other 'Che' : 4/11/2005 11:02:00 AM

But do the Jewish Council, or Jews in New Zealand in general, "go on" about it, really?

We do pop our heads up when people deny or minimise, because we know that Holocaust deniers' strategy is incremental. But you can go months, or indeed years, without national stories on this topic.

Furthermore, we wouldn't need to mention it at all in public, let alone go on about it, were it not for people who want to pretend it did not happen.

In the context of the original interview, the question is about being focussed on the injustices of the past. Maybe Tamihere is right, in a funny sort of way. Maori have the same interest in remembering the experience of being colonised as Jews do in remembering the Holocaust, namely that preserving the memory inconveniences the political projects of people who would rather forget.

the other che: Jews and Israelis are not equivalent groups. Eg, I am a Jew, but not an Israeli. Furthermore, Israelis are not a monolithic group, and there is great dissent in Israel about what proper behaviour towards the Palestinians is. Finally, what does that have to do with Tamihere anyway? Isn't that a bit lateral of you?

Just curious.

genius: where's the cynicism in the Jewish council's statements? Point it out, please.

Posted by stephen : 4/11/2005 12:59:00 PM

actually, i skewed off the tamihere issue a while back. and, i most definitely hugely stereotyped israel in regard to this question. but this is mostly because lots of not-really-jewish-or-isreali commentators will use this example to justify extreme treatment of minorities.

i'm referring to my personal experience, unfortunately, but its been the case in the past that right-wingers i've argued with have refused to brook any criticism of israel because of the experience of jews in the holocaust. so, a non-jew will use reference to 'the holocaust' as a get-out-of-jail card in respect to their support for the suppression of palestinians (in favour of the settler movement, for example).

or, the settler movement using a similar mindset to continue to occupy parts of the west bank.

and my getoutofjail card is, "i am way out of my depth here, but learning".

Posted by the other 'Che' : 4/11/2005 03:14:00 PM

I keep hearing a great deal about Auschwitz, and far too little about the Bolshevik/Soviet horrors spanning decades; organised largely by men with Jewish names. What awareness do you have of the 5 million Ukrainian peasants deliberately starved to death according to policies proposed and enforced by one Genrikh Yagoda? Does the name Kolyma mean anything to you? Is there any endless repitition of the fact that the man who pioneered the use of poison gas in the WWI trenches, Fritz Harber was Jewish, nor is there any expression of collective guilt on the part of the Jews that the scientist who advised Churchill about effective mass bombings of civilian cities was one of their number? And yet even mentioning these simple historical facts is now deemed to be in bad taste or "anti-Semitic".

The truth is that there is no race or religion on earth that has the slightest scrap of moral high ground from which to posture. Instead just one aspect of the horrendous tragedy which was WW2 (in which I lost a grandfather and three uncles) has been elevated into an untouchable sacred cow. For example the "six million gassed" death toll is still routinely quoted, whereas numerous Jewish and official sources now accept much lower numbers. And even yesterday I hear the "human skin lampshades" horror repeated in a "news" bulletin, a story that been acknowledged by Jewish authorities as very difficult to verify. The truth of the holocaust is bad enough, without discrediting it with unjustified hyperbole. And note carefully, I am NOT one of those dreaded "holocaust deniers". Whether is was 1 or 10 million Jews who perished in WW2 is not the point here; it is the one-sided exploitation of the whole tragic episode that many in the Western world are objecting to.

The nexus of so much political instability in world is the Middle East. For many decades Jewish interests have been fighting a military war within Israel, accompanied by a global propaganda war to sustain that effort. It would be desperately naive to think otherwise. And like all propoganda wars it distorts truth with disinformation to inflame the emotions to it's purpose. Unquestionably at the heart of this effort lies the "holocaust". Seconded to this dubious purpose I suggest it dishonour's the multitude of innocent victims of the Nazi's, far more than the endeavours of David Irving, or John Tamihere's conversational parallels.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/13/2005 04:34:00 PM

"organised largely by men with Jewish names."

O lordy. Yeah, real Russians would never have done that to each other without Jews telling them to. Is that what you're trying to say? If so, please say so. If not, then why does it matter? (By the way, don't forget Lenin's mum).

"yet even mentioning these simple historical facts is now deemed to be in bad taste or "anti-Semitic"."

Deemed by whom? Where? Straw man, mate.

Mentioning these facts is not anti-semitic. I freely acknowledge, without any shame, that there were disproportionately many Jewish Bolsheviks, for example - as you would expect. However, pointing to them as evidence that Jews in general are up to no good is anti-semitic. Pointing to them without pointing out any other groups is especially suss. I mean, does it bother you that Stalin was a Georgian? That must make Georgians really bad, yes?

(Wikipedia on this subject for the interested.)

Let me just point out that here we have a classic case of victim blaming. JT is an offensive twat, but somehow, it's our fault for being offended. Somehow, I lost my right to be upset about the mass-murder of my cousins because of Beria. That's your logic, yes?

See, che, genius, this is the company you're keeping.

Posted by stephen : 4/14/2005 01:22:00 PM