Dachau: Never Again?

April 08, 2002


[Note by Tom Gross]

On the occasion today of Holocaust Memorial Day 2002 (year 5762 in the Jewish calendar), I am sending out another article by the brilliant American-based Canadian writer Mark Steyn. It was published in the National Post (Toronto).

Mark Steyn (who is not Jewish, but has received anti-Semitic emails since he started writing on Middle East and international politics after the 9/11 attacks) reminds us that times haven't changed much since 1960, when the government-controlled Saudi newspaper ran its story about the capture of the chief planner of the Holocaust, under the headline, "Arrest Of Eichmann, Who Had The Honor Of Killing Six Million Jews."

Then as now, great honor attaches to killing Jews. And as in the 1930s, the world's diplomats and might I add certain naive Jews in the West, hoodwinked by highly partisan and dishonest journalists are determined to see no evil, hear no evil.

As Steyn says, given the virulent anti-Semitic atmosphere now sweeping the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere, "I'll Never Say 'Never Again' Again."

Sara Levy-Hoffman, became the 27th Israeli victim of the Netanya Passover massacre when she died yesterday at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. She was 89 years old. Her son was injured in the attack. Her daughter-in-law had taken her grandchildren to the bathroom when the explosion went off, thereby saving their lives.

-- Tom Gross


Appeasing Arab hate puts the lie to 'Never Again'
By Mark Steyn
The National Post
April 8, 2002

All civilized people can agree that killing Jews is wrong. Well, killing six million of them 60 years ago is wrong. Killing a couple of dozen every 48 hours or so, that's a different matter. The official position of Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, speaking from his beach in Barbados, is that Israel's response to the Passover massacre is "disproportionate."

Mr. Graham did not specify what would be proportionate. But presumably, if he were Prime Minister of Israel, he'd respond by fishing some girl out of her Home Ec class at Tel Aviv High, loading her blouse with Semtex, and pointing her in the direction of the nearest Ramallah pizzeria to blow the legs off Palestinian grannies. Alas, I fear even this proportionate, measured, reasonable response would be unlikely to win Israel any sympathy in the chancelleries of the west.

"The Zionist entity" is now more isolated diplomatically than at any time in its history. The EU has called on Israel to "lower the violence." The Greek Foreign Minister has said "we condemn the army's intervention." The Swedish Foreign Minister has called it "unacceptable." The French President is "appalled" by what the Dutch Foreign Ministry calls Israel's "military repression." Meanwhile, the Pope "rejects unjust conditions and humiliations imposed on the Palestinian people as well as the reprisals and revenge attacks which do nothing but feed the sense of frustration."

Ah, that "frustration," it's so easy to feed. In Marseilles, where one synagogue was burned to the ground on Sunday and another less conclusively torched Tuesday, the Grand Mufti, Soheib Bencheikh, told UPI that so long as "the violence in the Middle East" persisted "Arab youths in France would likely continue their campaign of attacks." They're not Palestinians, they're mostly French citizens of North African extraction. But "frustration" at what Israel is doing on the West Bank of the Jordan justifies French Muslims burning French Jews' houses of worship.

It was a lively couple of days sur le Continent last weekend. In Brussels, a synagogue was firebombed. In Berlin, two Orthodox Jews were beaten on a busy street and a Jewish memorial was defaced with a swastika. In France, three synagogues were burned. A kosher butcher's shop was shot up in Toulouse. In Villeurbanne, near Lyons, a young Jewish couple, the woman pregnant, were badly beaten.

"Ah, those Jews," sighed an attractive, intelligent, sophisticated Parisienne at dinner the other night. "They cause problems everywhere they are."

I spluttered and sprayed soup down my shirt front.

"You must be more sensitive in front of our friend," chuckled my host, musing on Barbara Amiel's recent observations about French anti-Semitism. "In the English world, they think Europe is planning the Second Holocaust."

Well, no. There won't be a Second Holocaust in Europe, if only because they did such a thorough job last time round. France's excitable Arab youth are perforce engaged in no more than a belated mopping up operation. Its significance is as a portent of what the Continent can expect once Mr. Bush's war on terror moves on to Iraq. The only question is whether Western Europe's millions of young, unassimilated Muslim men succeed merely in paralyzing their governments or destabilizing them. Even in Britain, Downing Street is bracing for massive Muslim riots.

But, even if there are no longer enough European Jews for big-time genocide, one is struck by the similarities between then and now. In 1960, when the Israelis seized Adolf Eichmann, the government-controlled Saudi newspaper ran the story under the headline, "Arrest Of Eichmann, Who Had The Honour Of Killing Six Million Jews."

Today, there are six million Jews in Israel, half of them expelled from Arab countries though one never hears anything about "displaced populations" on the Israeli side of the ledger. Then as now, great honour attaches to killing Jews: your face on posters all over town, a revered place in society for your family, 25,000 bucks from Saddam Hussein. Then as now, the old libels the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Jews drink human blood are peddled daily in government-approved publications then in Germany, now in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia.

Then as now, the world's diplomats are determined to see no evil, hear no evil. In 1933, this chap Hitler was a bit rough and ready, but he's better than most of the alternatives, and there's no need to pay any attention to all this stuff about the Jews, just a lot of talk, and besides he's got a point with this lebensraum business, legitimate grievance and all that. In 2002, Saudi Arabia is our "friend," Egypt is "moderate," and Chairman Arafat, according to the Swiss Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Muriel Berset-Kohen, is "our legitimate interlocutor because he has been democratically elected."

Not exactly, Muriel. He was elected once, in a deeply flawed and corrupted poll, shortly after the establishment of the "Palestinian Authority." His term expired in 1999 but, rather than submit to the tiresome disruption of a re-election campaign, he simply extended his "Presidency" indefinitely, thus following in the long tradition of dictators installed by a gullible West: one man, one vote, one time.

The big difference is that, whereas in the Thirties the Jews were David, now they're Goliath the massive military sledgehammer crushing an oppressed and captive people. That's how Peter Preston in The Guardian sees it, arguing that, as the Palestinians have no tanks, they have to improvise with what they can get their hands on plastic explosives and willing schoolgirls. In fact, the West Bank Arabs had plenty of tanks: The only reason they're living under "Israeli occupation" is because in 1967 their then government, Jordan, sent its tanks into action against Israel. To claim that this is a dispute between Israel and the "Palestinians" is to ignore that the latter are supplied with money and arms by Iraq, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Objectively, they're the Goliath.

As George Jonas pointed out the other day, the Arabs resent Europe for solving its Jewish problem by moving it offshore, by dumping it in their lap, making it an Arab problem. I have some sympathy for this view: With hindsight, it might have been better to give the Zionists France or Austria. The problem now for the Arabs is that they cannot rid themselves of the Jews by conventional military means: They have tanks, missiles, aircraft, but every time they use them against Israel, they lose. So their chosen weapon is the Palestinians: Effectively, they've designated the West Bank as one big suicide bomb to take out the Jews. Either it'll wear them down by attrition there are already signs that young Israelis are drifting into a "post-Zionist" fatalism or it will hold them until the finishing touches are put to that eagerly awaited Muslim nuke: Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of those famous Iranian moderates, has already said that on that fast approaching day when the Muslim world gets nuclear weapons the Jewish question will be settled forever. It's not tiny Palestine versus big Israel, anymore than it was tiny Sudetenland versus big Czechoslovakia. It's six million Israelis versus 300 million Middle Eastern Muslims.

Any time we talk about the "occupied territories," we're doing what the appeasers did in the Thirties allowing the aggressors to frame the debate. They're not "occupied," they're "disputed territories." The West Bank isn't "Palestinian." The last people to administer it lawfully were the British. Under the 1947 UN partition plan, it was designated as land yet to be allocated. The Jordanian Army, under the only decent Arab general (Sir John Glubb), seized it in the first Muslim war against the Jews and held it until 1967. But, in legal and historical terms, it's not Jordanian or Israeli and it's certainly not "Palestinian." Nor, I submit, should it ever be.

The interesting thing about "Palestinians" is that so few of the West Bank Arabs thought of themselves as such before 1967. It post-dates the founding of the PLO: Palestine had a national liberation movement before it had a nationality. Likewise, because the Arab League designated Yasser Arafat as a head of state, we've spent 30 years trying to create a state for him to be head of. Most Arab nationalities "Jordanian," "Iraqi" were invented by the British Colonial Office in the Twenties, and, although those languid Etonians came up with some evocative and colourful names for their hastily concocted jurisdictions, for the most part they're comprehensive failures as nation states. It hardly seems worth adding another bogus polity to the list.

I hate writing about this stuff. I've never been a "Zionist," never written a column on the subject pre 9/11. I'm sick of getting e-mails sneering, "What was your name originally?" (Just for the record, originally my name was "Anthony Wilson-Smith," but you can't get anywhere in modern multiculti Canada with some WASP throwback moniker like that.)

To those who always complain that I weep for Jewish children but not Muslim ones, let me say I weep for Ayat Mohammed al-Akhras, the straight-A high-school student who blew herself up in a supermarket last week. She spent eight years in a toxic education system run by Yasser Arafat, she grew up in a culture that glorifies human sacrifice promoted by Yasser Arafat, she was recruited by subordinates of Yasser Arafat, supplied with explosives paid for by Yasser Arafat, and dispatched as a human bomb with the blessing of Yasser Arafat. I weep for every Arab child so perverted by a contemptible cowardly old man.

My advice to Sharon: Arrest him and fly him to The Hague. If the Europeans like him, let 'em have him. There are two sides in this struggle: One is prepared to offer land, the other is prepared to offer "the right to exist." That argument should have been settled six decades ago. As it says on the wall at Dachau, "Never Again."

But, as the old song says, "I'll Never Say 'Never Again' Again."

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.