Skip to main content

People who read my comments know that for the last week or so I've been recommending and citing from Avraham Burg's new book The Holocaust is over; we must rise from its ashes, an extended meditation on how the memory of the Holocaust has shaped and distorted Israeli society.  

While I'm still reading the book, I've found it incredibly powerful.  Burg is both an impassioned writer and a sensitive observer of his society, a combination that leads to an insightful, moving account.

Last night I came home from a dinner party to read his ninth chapter, on "Owning the Holocaust," and I felt for a moment as if Burg had predicted the conversation we would have.

For those who aren't familiar with him, Burg is an Israeli politician, former speaker of the Knesset (parliament), and one of the founders of Peace Now, a grass-roots leftist organization that agitates for a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  He is a native Israeli (a sabra) whose father was a prominent conservative politician (having served in the Cabinet of every Israeli government from 1951 until his death in 1999) and a Holocaust survivor who escaped the Nazis and made aliyah in 1939.  Burg's mother was, like her son, a sabra and for her part survived the horrendous Hebron massacre of 1929.

In Chapter 9, Burg poses the question of whether or not the Holocaust is universal:

For the non-Jew, the Shoah [Holocaust] is a chapter among chapters, a trauma among the other European traumas.  It resides in history alongside Napoleon, Versailles, Lenin, Spain, World War I and the divided Germany after World War II.  Historians attempt to join the past's fractures into a logical sequence, to connect the Jew to the German, the European, and the universal.  But the Jewish narrative collects testimonies and memories, painstakingly adding details.  Our facts.  Life in the shadow of trauma does not allow room for a bigger picture to emerge -- that of the universal context of hatred and its origins, of dictatorship and tyranny, of the history of genocide, not just the Jewish genocide.  "Two people emerged from Auschwitz," wrote Professor Yehuda Elkana, a wise man, a Shoah survivor, and an early mentor to me, "a minority that claims 'this will never happen again,' and a frightened majority that claims 'this will never happen to us again'" (pp. 155-56).

Now Burg poses this distinction in the context of a discussion about the anti-genocidal policies of the Israeli state.  He opens the chapter with Hitler's infamous quote "Who remembers the Armenian Holocaust today?" which he is reported to have said in justification of launching the Final Solution.  Burg then goes on to point out, however, first that the Armenian Holocaust was very much a topic of discussion in Nazi Germany, as the novel The Forty Days of Mussa Dagh, which tells its story, had been published in German in 1933.  Second, Burg highlights the irony that the official position of the State of Israel for years was to deny the Armenian Holocaust:

The Jewish state stood time after time beside the Turkish government in denying the Armenian Holocaust.  Except for a few politicians like Yossi Beilin and Yossi Sarid, all Israeli officials adhered to the Turkish propaganda lines.  It seems that the reason was strategic: to maintain good relations with Israel's only Islamic ally in the region.  But everyone close enough to the Israeli psyche knows that we deny the Armenian Holocaust to ensure that the Jewish Holocaust stays our own.  We have taken the oath that there will be no more Shoah.  Never again is our mantra, and never again is our obsession.  "The Eskimo and the Armenians do not interest us, only the Jews do," the Prime Minister's Office chief of staff once said (p. 153).

This brings me to our dinner conversation last night.  Me, mrs. litho, and litho, jr. have been visiting my mom since the middle of last week -- our winter vacation to the Midwest.  Last night we all went over to the house of a couple I went to college with -- their son is just about litho, jr.'s age and despite living halfway across the country from us, the two boys have become good friends.  My friends are both Jewish, although he was raised in a non-practicing home.

The conversation turned to family history.  Mom started telling stories about the town in the Pale her parents had emigrated from, then wistfully recalled the only thing that remains in that town today is an obelisk in memory of the Nazis' victims.  Everybody was killed.  She then told the story of how my dad's unit vandalized the house of a German woman.  Apparently the owner had received my dad and his buddies graciously, offering them food and asking the soldiers only that they treat her chinaware with care -- as it was the most precious thing she owned.  The next day, the troops discovered the Nazi extermination camp right next door to her house.  After liberating the victims, they returned to their host's home and systematically broke every one of her plates -- acting on the theory that she had to have known what was happening, and that her silence made her complicit in the crime.

I piped in with the story of Burg's father's escape from the Nazis, with the help of his German landlady and then our host told of an oral history his aunt had once given him.  After his father died, his aunt was the last living relative of the generation that had fled the Soviets after the Bolshevik Revolution.  My friend began calling her on the phone to learn something of where he had come from.  In the midst of the stories about this aunt and that uncle and where everyone wound up, the aunt slipped in, "well, your grandfather was in New York and invited us to come live with him.  Not everyone had the money and some didn't want to travel that far, so much of the family decided to go to Germany instead.  We haven't heard from them since."

We were Jews telling stories about the Holocaust.  It's not something we do everyday -- I've known this couple for twenty-five years, and we'd never had this particular conversation before -- but something in the dynamic of the evening led us to that point.  A certain bond was forming among us, but my mother was also starting to get uncomfortable with the tragic turn the conversation had taken.  She wanted to change the subject.

But first it was mrs. litho's turn.  My wife is not Jewish -- she's from Chile, and a Catholic.  But she was listening to our talk, was moved by it, and wanted to share.  So she told the story of her uncle, who was in the Chilean Navy on September 11, 1973 -- the day Augusto Pinochet bombed the Presidential Palace and overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende.  My wife's uncle supported Allende, and his officers knew it.  He disappeared for five years, and emerged from Pinochet's dungeons a changed man.  I tried to take the opportunity to build off my wife's story, to tell the story of my friend Antonio, the only other person I know personally who suffered at the hands of Pinochet's torturers.  But mom felt it was time to move on, and she interrupted me to tell about her Tanta Rivke, her socialite aunt, who left the fast life of New York behind to move to a moshav in the Yishuv (as the Zionists called Israel before the state was formed) with her Polish husband in the late 1920s.

Now, I do understand why my mom wanted to change the subject, but even before she did I felt there was a dissonance between my wife's story and the others and I wonder why it is there.  There is of course a question of scale, as the enormity of Hitler's crime -- the genocidal destruction of European Jewry -- makes Pinochet's -- the destruction of the dream of a democratic transition to socialism -- pale in comparison.  But on a different level, on the level of human tragedy, of human suffering, of the way we as individuals experience the pain of these huge national and international crimes there is in fact something similar between what mrs. litho experienced when tio Garo was carried off and what so many Jews lived through in Europe in the 1930s.

Her experience of political violence, in fact, is much more direct than my own.  I learned of the Holocaust first in Hebrew school, then in school, and not until I was an adult did I learn that I had lost relatives to Hitler.  All my great grandparents had already emigrated to the US before Hitler even took power.  The Holocaust for me is not a personal experience.

Garo, however, is the brother of my wife's late father.  She knew him before he disappeared (she was almost twelve when the coup happened), and she knew him after he reappeared.  She saw the change in him, and she still wonders why her uncle became such a quiet man after his experience.  She knows, of course, what happened to him, at least in general terms -- like most torture victims, Garo has never spoken publicly of what they did -- and she also knows intellectually about the symptoms of PTSD.  Her wonder is that of a person, a human being, a little niece now grown into an adult who witnesses first hand how a man can become a broken shell and rebuild his life upon the ruins of what he once had been.

Burg writes of Israel's silence or complicity when faced with genocide in Kosovo, in Rwanda, in East Timor, and asks how a nation founded on the idea of overcoming the Shoah and of preventing its reoccurrence can fail to act in such circumstances.  My question is a little bit different.  Where can we, is it even possible, to find universality in the kind of suffering inflicted by states for political ends?

Jews take our identity today not just from our thousands of years of diaspora and mistreatment but more specifically from the particular suffering our people endured at the hands of Hitler.  I saw that happening last night.  Yet our experience is not unique, it is one among many.  Hitler's genocide may have been on a greater scale, it may have been more successful than most in achieving its objective, but it is not the twentieth century's only attempt to destroy an entire people or an idea that unites them.

Burg offers a new vision of Judaism in which our experience can be universalized and provide the foundation for global peace.  After my experience last night, though I wonder.  Is identity too strong?  Are we condemned to live divided into separate and unique warring groups?

Update: I honestly did not expect this diary to make the rec list, and I am honored and humbled that it did.  As I am equally honored and humbled by all the wonderful comments and interesting discussions taking place here.  Somehow, for some reason, I was able to compose an appropriate New Year's diary -- in the Jewish sense of New Year's as a time for reflection, atonement, and starting anew.

Unfortunately, I have work to do today so I won't be able to keep up with the discussion.  Peace to all, and thank you again.

Originally posted to litho on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:42 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (367+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wozzle, RakDaddy, myriad, Ed in Montana, jmart, tgs1952, northsylvania, Chi, dratman, teacherken, Timaeus, CalifSherry, Trendar, AaronInSanDiego, barnowl, Geenius at Wrok, markw, TKinVT, Powered Grace, mattman, dengre, musicalhair, wu ming, Andrew C White, Jay C, OLinda, Private Keepout, Pesto, eeff, gecko, varro, marjo, sobermom, opinionated, chira, bronte17, gladkov, anotherCt Dem, grassroot, RabidNation, highacidity, chuckvw, Minerva, besseta, roses, juslikagrzly, Miss Blue, Mber, Jesterfox, high uintas, UniC, CocoaLove, sidnora, dksbook, wader, IM, steve04, hopesprings, nicta, BleacherBum153, Eddie in ME, MTgirl, elmo, RaulVB, grannyhelen, johanus, exiledfromTN, mcshemp, GN1927, noveocanes, johnnygunn, Catte Nappe, snakelass, weasel, FLDemJax, kalmoth, riverlover, fritzrth, ppluto, Oaktown Girl, econlibVA, ybruti, Silverbird, poemworld, mosesfreeman, Rusty Pipes, homogenius, Irish Patti, Timroff, Tirge Caps, luvmovies2000, jerseydan, nehark, madaprn, davidincleveland, chumley, lavaughn, Bluesee, marina, Skaje, jrooth, Unit Zero, blueyedace2, caul, Chinton, PBen, corvo, sap, panicbean, beans, MT Spaces, Thorby Baslim, juliesie, chidmf, kartski, trinityfly, Lepanto, vigi, devadatta, NeuvoLiberal, jon the antizionist jew, Pam from Calif, Sharon in MD, LABobsterofAnaheim, Saxman, podster, skyounkin, QuickSilver, babatunde, onanyes, kaliope, Shotput8, turnover, Dem Soldier, northanger, Unduna, djohnutk, jj24, Norbreacht, dancewater, naltikriti, viscerality, RainyDay, Asinus Asinum Fricat, Nowhere Man, kishik, ksingh, elliott, esquimaux, Jennifer Clare, danmac, RosietheRiveter, 417els, Opakapaka, andydoubtless, RAZE, mr crabby, borkitekt, Truza, InsultComicDog, KenBee, dougymi, mango, Son of a Cat, Lefty Coaster, Rosaura, Pager, Caoimhin Laochdha, NearlyNormal, plf515, Preston S, justCal, TheShovelJockey, Demena, Unitary Moonbat, sarayakat, MadMs, zedaker, blueness, Statusquomustgo, Mr Horrible, Mash, coolsub, Nulwee, Aaa T Tudeattack, eastmt, bigchin, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, Boreal Ecologist, out of left field, Balam, dotsright, Texas Tiger, mamabigdog, gloriana, terryhallinan, EdSF, DoubleBarrellBunnyAnger, FishOutofWater, Nespolo, Matt Z, sfbob, drchelo, heathlander, Anorish, newpioneer, gatorbot, malharden, getlost, ubertar, Aunt Martha, Newzie, jnhobbs, gchaucer2, word player, fallina7, Brahman Colorado, The Red Pen, LWelsch, keikekaze, cacamp, willb48, Terra Mystica, trivium, Mas Gaviota, davidseth, condorcet, sunshineonthebay, juancito, brklyngrl, OleHippieChick, mamamedusa, AshesAllFallDown, limpidglass, Wes Opinion, skohayes, langerdang, beltane, billd, Happy Days, Lujane, daddy4mak, Jeff Y, ankey, ShempLugosi, TreeGuy, temptxan, kyril, winterbanyan, luckylizard, MizC, lenzy1000, sargoth, dont think, caps lock on, In her own Voice, immigradvocate, Johnny Venom, legendmn, Pris from LA, artmartin, Sportin Life, jarbyus, snackdoodle, sarah coletta, ProfJonathan, deMemedeMedia, archer070, imisa, Hope08, bsmechanic, Michael James, eltee, DemocraticOz, ColoradoWantsWolves, slaney black, PackLeader89, smash artist, wittg1, jacurtz, mrchumchum, mkor7, Matrix Dweller, rini6, Daily Activist, unspeakable, Prince Nekhlyudov, ancblu, Angry Mouse, obscuresportsquarterly, sanglug, allep10, Munchkn, notquitedelilah, RadioGirl, iampunha, Sleepwalkr, maxxdogg, Shocko from Seattle, etara, Ella H, AkaEnragedGoddess, Colorado Billy, ruscle, Norbrook, YellerDog, Alec82, karpaty lviv, Morus, p gorden lippy, ArtSchmart, stegro, dorkenergy, marsanges, superheed, sortalikenathan, on board 47, chrome327, Crabby Abbey, Dexter, JoanMar, NY brit expat, Lady Libertine, Anne933, JasperJohns, ramara, NYWheeler, Surly Cracker, Johnny Q, VincaMajor, Anne was here, science nerd, jeanma, Rockpopple, bicycle Hussein paladin, ChiTownBlue2000, no way lack of brain, VitaminD, Jane Lew, renbear, charliehall, atoilune, links, alizarin, slr249, PMN from PA, Stella 4 Obama, opoponax, Olon, guilford caswell, Alanna Trebond, Nicci August, gratefulmama3x, sweeneymcbean, mellowwild, de porres, Carolyn in Oregon, badscience, leftymama, athena47, rk2, 4 Borders Pundit, blunami, Fire bad tree pretty, Simorgh loves Zal, Square Knot

    for experience and low philosophy...

  •  Interesting diary (70+ / 0-)

    You might want to take a look at this site, which also has some interesting stuff on the Shoah, other repressions and outrages, and using it all to make progress:

    facing history and ourselves

    The goal of the site it to "help classrooms and communities worldwide link the past to moral choices today".

    One inner city Black kid said, after the program, that he had never known that other groups had been discriminated against.

    Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's bellies.

    by plf515 on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:55:24 AM PST

    •  oddly enough (28+ / 0-)

      extreme levels of hatred for them persist even to this day in many parts of Europe. While most Europeans got the memo that hating Jews isn't cool, they will openly and shamelessly disparage the Gypsies.

      •  not that odd (16+ / 0-)

        Only hating jews openly is not 'cool' in Europe.  It's still very cool to hate romas, muslims, arabs, albanians, turks, bavarians, etc, depending on where you live.

        •  It's also fair to say (22+ / 0-)

          that there are still Europeans who hate Jews, but know better than to admit it in public; and other Europeans who've never hated Jews but still haven't managed to shake off several hundred years' worth of prejudice.

          I remember an Austrian poll according to with one-fifth of the population admitted they would feel "physically unwell" if they had to shake the hand of a Jew.  That was in the early 1990s, if memory serves.

          It could be that Roma get a worse deal nowadays because one actually sees them in plenty of the smaller towns and cities, whereas Jews are about as rare as hen's teeth outside of the major metropolitan areas.

          (Just speaking about Germany and Austria here, btw.)

          •  romas look different (6+ / 0-)

            People are more likely to dislike someone who has an appearance different from their own.  It's not always obviously who's a jew and who isn't.

            •  Romas are different (0+ / 0-)

              A certain percentage (pretty high) of Roma live like the American "travelers." moving from place to place and grifting/stealing as they go.  It is not a stereotype, but a fact of life if you live in say Italy.  You have to deal with their pickpockets beggars every day.  Even if people mentally know that some are not like that, when you have to avoid it every day it is not very hard to develop an attitude.    

              •  "Portlander?" (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dratman, kyril

                Just wondering at the handle because Portland, OR, has a substantial population of Gypsies.  

                The Tinkers or Travellers are from Ireland and are distinct from the Gypsies or Roma, who probably originated in India.  Or at least that seems to be the primary belief.  Everything is always in dispute about Gypsies, who are not helpful in that regard.  Gypsies love a good story and the truth be damned.  Something like Republicans. :-)

                Rumania has the largest population of Gypsies but I would guess counting them is no task for amateurs.

                A real life female detective going under the name "Rat Dog Dick" to hide her gender got her start tracking a Gypsy deadbeat.  An insurance company executive determined that anybody that could do that was an ideal detective.

                Even if people mentally know that some are not like that, when you have to avoid it every day it is not very hard to develop an attitude.

                A Gypsy complained to me that he had spent his life taking special precautions to avoid being accused of stealing but was always the first to be fingered whenever there was a theft.

                I didn't know what to tell him.

                I didn't mention I would not have wanted him in my shop. :-)  I had one at the time.  

                Vaclev Havel said the quality of a country's civilization can be seen in how well they deal with their Gypsies.  We do very badly but at least there are no pogroms.  We Gaje ("unclean ones") and they both victimize each other in mutual hatred as is the usual custom.

                The Irish and the Tinkers actually got along quite well together - at least in the country.  Maybe it was because both were storytellers and rogues. :-)

                Best,  Terry

                •  Who are the "Gaje" ? (0+ / 0-)

                  The term "Gaje" is not one I've seen before. If terryhallinan would explain it, I'd be grateful.

                  "This document is totally non-redactable and non-segregable and cannot even be meaningfully described." *

                  by dratman on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 07:17:44 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Gaje = non-Gypsy, Unclean (0+ / 0-)

                    Marime is sometimes translated as 'ritual pollution or avoidance'. In fact both its definition and its expression are complex. It can be basically divided into issues of defilement and social rejection, both of which are called marime, and which influence each other. In terms of marime as defilement, all things are classified as either wuzho (pure) or marime (impure/defiled). The wuzho/marime opposition is expressed in several ways: the upper and lower body, the inner and outer body, inner and outer territory and, by extension, Gypsy and non Gypsy (Gaje).

                    See here.

                    Gajo is a single non-Gypsy.  I don't recall seeing "gajos" used as a plural but gaje may have somewhat different connotations.

                    The gaje are so filthy they save the stuff coming from their noses in their pockets. :-)

                    Best,  Terry

            •  In the US, Romas "look like" Hispanics. (0+ / 0-)

              Our son is 100% Roma, and he has been occasionally picked on by other children thinking he is Mexican -- given his gorgeous skin and beautiful dark brown eyes and hair.    

              "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him. Mark 12:17

              by bkamr on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 07:01:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed, I just heard my parents do that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho

        I found that shocking, even though I understand why they feel that way; we got burglarized 20 years ago, and the police said it was the gypsies. Whoever that actually was just took the jewelry, which didn't amount to much money but included things that had been in the family for a very long time.

        A "centrist" is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.

        by nicta on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:32:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well, there's enough horror to go around (30+ / 0-)

    I had an uncle in a German POW camp. Somehow he survived. Recently i've been reading a lot about Stalin, and the Ukrainian famine; scholars argue how many millions starved to death and whether it was intentional or just a result of disastrous collectivization ( but Stalin was such an SOB you can't discount that he would deliberately starve an ethnic group )and I picked up Craig's Enemy at the Gates ( which a decent film was made from a few years back ) for a dollar at a used book fair, and have been reading it this week in fascinated horror at the German atrocities, but also the Russian ones. For example, to curb desertions, one Russian officer lined up his men, counted off ten and shot every tenth man in the head.A despicable war crime, but no one questioned it. Times were desperate and life was cheap.What i was always told about the Holocaust is that what made it so unique was that Germany was supposed to be the land of culture, and Jews were more fully integrated there than in Russia, for example, where regular pogroms took place. Also, while it is often noted that occupied countries like Lithuania and Latvia ( and I might be a little confused here )turned over their Jews and even helped with the extermination, this has been challenged by scholars who note that the reports always seemed to involve a german photojournalist being in the right place at the right time, and filing a story with the obvious idea that other Europeans wanted to get rid of the Jews as well. But that doesn't really square with how the Germans treated thosed occupied peoples, does it? Seems they had no trouble killing millions of non-Jews as well. In fact, I remember reading how zyklon B was tested on Russian POWs. In the end, who "owns" a particular act of genocide, be it the Jews,Armenians, or Ukrainians, is largely up to the group that suffered it. Armenians are still fighting for some recognition by modern Turkey ( seems i read in the old days Turkey did take some responsibility and if I remember even tried or executed some of the architects, but I may be wrong here, not my field of expertise )and both African-Americans and Native Americans can make strong claims to genocide as well.People, it seems, can be no goddamned good.

    •  re: Germany and antisemitism (16+ / 0-)

      Antisemitism has been an article of faith for many in Germany and France, maybe even more so than in Eastern Europe.  In the Middle Ages, Crusaders on their way to the Holy Land to fight the infidel usually started their journey by massacring the local Jewish population (to whom many nobles owed a good bit of money) on to the Burning Times when Jews were executed as witches and on to the Dreyfuss Affair and so on. The sad reason that antisemitism seemed to wane in Germany was due to stringent antiNazi laws which discouraged outright antisemitism and also the fact that many areas were left with no Jewish pooulation at all.

      One fascinating aspect I find with the current view of the Holocaust is the linkage made between the Holocaust and Masada.

      •  I highly recommend (20+ / 0-)

        James Carroll's Constantine's Sword.  I think it's an essential resource for understanding European anti-semitism.

        •  Just saw it this past weekend with the wife (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hester, arielle, Terra Mystica, kyril, Jane Lew

          A friend had lent us the DVD a few weeks ago and we finally watched it. Not a lot of new info for me, but it was still quite well done and had the interesting point of view of an ex priest. Highly recommend it.
          I have found myself drawn passionately into I/P discussions and invariably get pigeon holed onto the I side and then feel an odd need to defend Israel because some of the crazy things that are said (in accusation of Israel (e.g. they are all Nazis)). I usually end up thinking, "My G*d, these people think that I could care less about innocent Palestinian children (and women and men)." Which is far from the truth. My wife and I give to charities of all stripes. We listened when Obama talked about Sudan a couple of years ago and this year only gave gifts in name for high efficient stoves to families in the Darfur situation. We think it is atrocious that anyone should have to live as those in Darfur or Gaza, or anywhere else similar. It is just something about the I/P conflict that brings out the worst in people.
          I think a lot of it has to do with a sense that we must defend ourselves because the rest of the world hates us and always have and most likely always will. We have totally lost the propaganda war over the centuries. Perhaps with people like James Carroll, we will feel less a need for the defensiveness.

          •  Well (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mkor7, Johnny Q

            I think a lot of it has to do with a sense that we must defend ourselves because the rest of the world hates us and always have and most likely always will. We have totally lost the propaganda war over the centuries. Perhaps with people like James Carroll, we will feel less a need for the defensiveness.

            What is happening in Gaza and what has been done to the native population of Israel does absolutely nothing but fuel that hate of Jewry.  It is doing nothing to win the propaganda war.  it is totally counterproductive.  This is the worst possible thing to happen to the Jews and it is being done by their own leaders.  A lot of otherwise neutral people are going to say in their minds "Ah, so that is why they have been always hated".  Totally unfair but understandable.

            Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

            by Demena on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:42:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The worst possible thing? (0+ / 0-)

              NOT by a long shot. Jews have survived a hell of a lot worse than what has happened over the past week or so. To think otherwise is totally foolish and remarkably uninformed about major events in Jewish history.
              I also take some umbrage at the "native population" phrase. Jews never existed there? or are you also referring to Jews? In which case, my umbrage is lessened.
              However, your point is somewhat valid - this situation does nothing to help mediate the (already lost) PR war.

              •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                I also take some umbrage at the "native population" phrase. Jews never existed there? or are you also referring to Jews?

                If you are talking blood lines then they are both native population of the same area albeit some of the more immigrants would have their blood lines, their genetic pool added to considerably by intermarriage and conversion.  Genetically the best thing that could have happened to the Middle east was the return of the jews.  They are carrying genes from everywhere and this is a damn good thing for all of the resultant population.

                The idea of genetic purity is not only evil but stupid and will result in stupid and unhealthy people if it goes on long enough.

                In truth there would be very few people in Europe who do not have an admixture of Semitic blood.  Right now the number of americans who don't carry recently imported african genes would be small and it will get smaller every generation.

                That is why 'race' is not a scientific term.  Given time and the current degree of travel there won't be much genetically to separate anyone from anyone in a few generations.  It is all bloody silly really.

                However, your point is somewhat valid - this situation does nothing to help mediate the (already lost) PR war.

                That is the point I was trying to make.  The stuff above your quote is just to show where I am coming from.

                Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                by Demena on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 07:15:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  agreed (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mattman, litho, Terra Mystica, kyril

          Coupled with Hyam Maccoby's The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity, it just about covers it.

          Outstanding diary, litho.

      •  The Second Reich (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril

        But the Lutheran Prussians were hardly anti-Semites compared to the Catholic peoples to their west and south, or the Orthodox peoples to their east.  The Dreyfuss Affair, after all, was French.  I read a book on the pathology of dueling culture in the 2nd Reich, called "Dueling", which talked about the fact that Jewish college students were less problematic than Catholics; there was no Pope telling them that they couldn't duel, and in Prussian culture dueling with big damn revolvers at close range was a critical test of character.  One of the Kaiser's great war industrialists was a Jewish shipbuilder, and Jews marched to their deaths in 1914 certain that their kaiser was the best alternative.

        Hitler was an Austrian Catholic who aspired to the discipline of Prussia, thus creating the worst of both regions.  And anti-Semitic books by Americans like Henry Ford played a role in the revival of German anti-Semitism after 1918.

        What all this seems to have in common is the real force of working-class anger over the injustices of capitalism in that era and the competing approaches of Catholics, fascists, Communists and industrialists in shaping that anger in a favorable way.  It was happening all over Europe - and thanks to globalization it's now happening on every continent.

      •  Not So Sure About That (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, sidnora, IM, kyril, dorkenergy, Jane Lew

        Prior to the revolution, Russia was generally viewed as the most anti-Semitic state in Europe.  Many American Jews of German ancestry were reluctant to support American intervention in WWI because they generally had favorable views about Germany and did not want to be on the same side as Russia.  I have read that one motivation behind the Balfour Declaration was as a British appeal to American Jews who leaned towards Germany.  I think that anti-Semitism was more virulent in Austria than in Germany, and notably, Hitler was Austrian.  Zionism was also born in Austria.  I always remember a chilling passage in a novel by Schnitzler (forget the name) written in the early 20th Century, in which one of the Jewish characters commented about the Austrian elite, "You know, they'd put us in ovens if they could."

    •  This goes back to Roman times. (23+ / 0-)

      For example, to curb desertions, one Russian officer lined up his men, counted off ten and shot every tenth man in the head.A despicable war crime, but no one questioned it.

      This was such a common practice, that we get one of our words from it: Decimation

    •  Read "Ivan's War". Highly recommended. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril
    •  from which we get the word "decimate" (6+ / 0-)

      that Russian bit of killing every tenth soldier; but it goes back to Roman times.

      "If kerosene works/Why not gasoline?" -- The Bottle Rockets

      by Shocko from Seattle on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:22:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  stalin killed his own people (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RaulVB, corvo, condorcet, kyril, Johnny Q

      Few people care of you kill your own people.  For example, many parts of Africa.

      •  Well, that was one of the justifications for (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, RainyDay, kyril, Jane Lew

        invading Iraq, that Hussein killed his own people. Same with action in the former Yugoslavia. The issue with Africa is that it holds no strategic relevance to policy planners while access to the wealth of natural resources there is often facilitated, not hampered, by internal war or brutal rule.

        ... the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.

        by Tirge Caps on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:58:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  His own people? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, Pris from LA

        He killed a lot Georgians. They're his people. He killed a lot of Russians. I guess they're his people, too. What about the Jews he put in gulags?

        Russians are back to venerating Stalin, which says an awful lot about what's wrong with Russia and Russians. They may not care, but the rest of us should care.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

        by FischFry on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:30:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i don't think non-russians are better (7+ / 0-)

          When hard times hit, people look for someone to blame.  And an amoral and clever leader will abuse this humna tendency by creating a villan, or a race of villans, and sooner or later enough people will get behind him.
          Sadly I don't believe we as a country as immune to this either.

          •  It is more likely to be the victim of it. (0+ / 0-)

            The shit is hitting the fan right now for the whole world and it is going to get a lot worse.   And the USA is getting the blame.  Whether it deserves it or not is another story.

            You know the people in the middle east and Asia have one advantage that a lot of americans don't.  They tend to blame the leaders rather than the peoples themselves.

            That is why I am convinced that peace in I/P is possible.  It is going to take admitting wrong and reparations but that will be excepted by the majority.

            In the same way much of the world 'reduced its distaste' for the USA when Obama was elected.  Whether that distaste can be eliminated depends on what the USA does when he is in power.

            The trouble is you now don't have the economic power to make good in Iraq and Afghanistan.

            Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

            by Demena on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:54:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I've seen this in the US (0+ / 0-)

            As a child, it was Black people (I grew up in the south).
            After I left the US in 2001, I was shocked to see a huge increase in anti-Mexican sentiments, as well as anti-Indian (from India) sentiments. It was the same BS  I used to hear about Black people--they take our jobs (but they're lazy), they smell funny, etc.
            This kind of thing is always waiting under the surface.

            Political Compass says: -8.88, -8.67
            "We never sold out cos no one would buy."--J Neo Marvin

            by expatyank on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 01:54:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Aren't we doing the same with "terrorists," now? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            vernonbc

            For many Americans, if you tag some with terrorist then they are  a priori  an evil doer without human rights for due process and may be tortured and killed, no questions asked.

            "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him. Mark 12:17

            by bkamr on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 07:11:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I started the diary expecting to hate it-- (36+ / 0-)

    because there is nothing--nothing--more grating on Daily Kos than glib Holocaust references during times of Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Of course, the diary is anything but glib, and is an interesting and thoughtful work.

    For me, though I'm an outsider, if we need to step outside one idea of Holcaust exceptionalism, that it represents a singular event and not one of the worst moments in the history of ever-more sophisticated and thorough efforts to erase various peoples from the world, we also need to erase another idea of Holocaust exceptionalism that cuts in the opposite direction.

    What I am talking about is the idea--accepted uncritically by far too many people--that the Holocaust represents a unique instantiation of anti-semitism, an exception to a rule of western tolerance, rather than the culmination of what is actually a thousand year long history of anti-semitism in the west. In short, people who think Hitler introduced anti-semitism to Germany should try reading Martin Luther sometime.

    The diary's major point, that a focus on the uniqueness of the Holcaust blunts the applicability of its moral lessons, is well taken. What I might add though--and people with a familiarity with the history of the Jews might take this point as too obvious to mention--is that the urge on the part of Jews to create a state in which they could be safe does not arise out of the experience of five years, or twelve years, but the full thousand years during which Jews were persecuted in the West.

    Does this justify every act committed in the name of the Jewish state? No. Does this indicate the necessity of a Jewish state? Yes.

    "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

    by andydoubtless on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:07:28 AM PST

    •  Anti-Semitism was used as a political tool (26+ / 0-)

      in the West since the days of the late Roman Empire. Much like our "War on Terror" or "War against Communism" today, anti-Semitism was used as boogeyman to keep the larger population accepting of a political order that worked against their interests.

      Elaine Pagels, a scholar of Christianity, has written about the conscious anti-Semitism of the New Testament and how it was used to curry favor with imperial officials.

      The weak in courage is strong in cunning-William Blake

      by beltane on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:15:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I trust America after 400 years of slavery (16+ / 0-)

      I don't think it is healthy to keep everyone under intense suspicion. I do not think every person who makes a obnoxious comment about black people is a racist no more than those who speak ill of the Jewish community intend to kill them all. The history of ethnic relations in America is horrific to say the least. Yet we trust America. We will retain our fair share of bigots but it is in our collective interest not to be overly suspicious of one another so that we may form a community.

      History is not doomed to be repeated in the same way. In WWII the USA army was still segregated while fighting for freedom. America had not fully embraced the ideals of equality nor had the world in general. We are making tremendous progress and are more connected than anytime in human history. Give peace a chance I say.

      •  America is a country, a colonists country, btw (7+ / 0-)

        that has spent its history trying to catch up to its ideals. Israel is a much younger country, but similar at least in that contradictory aspect.

        ... the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.

        by Tirge Caps on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:04:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  We aren't making progress by keeping silent. (7+ / 0-)

        It is also in our collective interest that people who identify injustice continue to speak out (and sometimes, to act out).

        When they do, everyone else who doesn't feel or see that injustice may be inclined to feel defensive:  Don't look at me!  I don't hate anybody!  I don't want anyone to suffer!

        Which is probably true enough.  I'm willing to give most people the benefit of the doubt, that they really value justice and peace.  Creating peace and justice, though, requires sitting quietly with that feeling of defensiveness, letting the adrenaline rush pass, and then looking critically at all of one's words and actions to determine what changes might make peace and justice more of a reality for more people.

        •  Black America kept silent for Obama (20+ / 0-)

          You probably did not notice but African Americans collectively toned down dog whistle detector during the election. They quitly sat through lots of racially insensitive commentary from Sean Hannity calling "Black Liberation Theology" racist, even if it was a response to blacks segregated and oppressed in America. We ignored Rush Limbaugh's "Barack the Magic Negro" reference during the primaries. Black America kept quite because they knew a level acceptance was needed for Obama to win. They knew accusing "The Man" of being out to get them would not work in his favor. They took a chance on having faith and were rewarded.

          We have to move forward, if we sit around brooding over past injustice we eventually stall out. We need not forget but we must move on as victimized groups. Nobody has had it worse than Blacks and Native Americans in this country. Even after Katrina they moved on and forgive. We should shine a light on injustice but we ought not assume we are about to be put in chains again or killed on mass just because it happened in the past. That kind of suspicion is a unity killer.  

    •  Pretty insightful for an "outsider." (7+ / 0-)

      Hope you enjoyed it, Sarah, 'cause we just kicked your silly winking folksy lipsticked ass back to Alaska. Now shut the fuck up and stay there. Also.

      by Kaili Joy Gray on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:40:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hindsight (9+ / 0-)

      It is of course tempting to start with the holocaust and then go back to Martin Luther and draw a straight line.
      But that ignores most of german and general european history in between.

      If you would have asked a typical Jew in 1900 about anti-semitic countries , he would have said:
      Russia! [pause] France (Dreyfus, of course) and then a discussion would have started about the austro-hungarian empire, one side marshaling Lueger and the other Franz-Joseph.

      He would not have mentioned Germany. Actually, as the diary mentions, Germany was a possible immigration country along with the US for east european jews.

      The prevailing sentiment among western european jews in 1900 was that the crary ideas of Herzl were perhaps fitting for Jews in Russia, at most some parts of Austria-Hungary but never for them.

      No, if we just talk about a logical end of a long development, the holocaust would have happened in czarist russia. But it did not.

      •  Exactly. "The Jewish State" was written in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, kyril

        German: Der Judenstaat.

        ... the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.

        by Tirge Caps on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:10:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't forget, however (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril

          that Nathan Birnbaum was an early proponent of Jewish Nationalism, beginnning his activism as a student at the University of Vienna in the early 1880's. His public activities preceded those of Herzl who was signicantly motivated through his reporting on the Dreyfus Affair over a decade later.

          Rome is burning ... put down the fiddle.

          by ancblu on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:44:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Must to get Burg's book, but can't question need (5+ / 0-)

      I think that Israel is indispensable. I know some Jews really don't care, and wish it would go away, or just stop causing so many problems. But, I cannot agree with anyone who doesn't see a need for the State of Israel.

      The fact that there other genocides since doesn't change that -- it reinforces that truth. If it can happen to others, it can surely happen to Jews again. It doesn't justify everything Israel does -- and Burg is right about Israel's insularity being a problem. It just means that we, as Jews, still have some things to work on/work out.

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:27:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sure Berg would not say otherwise (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, kyril, thebluecrayon

        I've followed his career since he first went into politics, and I have enormous respect for him.

        "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

        by mbayrob on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 03:16:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Very well articulated points -- thanks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, andydoubtless, kyril

      As to your final conclusion, however, I have always had substantial concerns because under the modern state system governments do not do well with purposeful policies designed to preserve ethnic, cultural or religious purity.

      Does this indicate the necessity of a Jewish state? Yes.

      Rome is burning ... put down the fiddle.

      by ancblu on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:23:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent comment (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, andydoubtless, kyril, Johnny Q

      though European anti-semitism is much more than 1000 years old, and probably has its roots in Roman outrage with the Jews' refusal to worship their emperors as gods.

      The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

      by sidnora on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 03:00:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  um (8+ / 0-)

      you state this

      because there is nothing--nothing--more grating on Daily Kos than glib Holocaust references during times of Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Of course, the diary is anything but glib, and is an interesting and thoughtful work.

      and then slip in this

      Does this justify every act committed in the name of the Jewish state? No. Does this indicate the necessity of a Jewish state? Yes.

      well you know what? I disagree, I, and many others, consider that the fact that Israel is a state of the Jewish people globally, as opposed to a state of its citizens, to be the root cause of the I/P conflict. It is creating Israel as a Jewish state that required the initial colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948, which is the root crime in the conflict. Hell, why does the Gaza Strip exist at all, one may ask?

      That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don't come from Gaza.

      But watching the news shows, you'd think that history began yesterday, that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped up in the slums of Gaza – a rubbish dump of destitute people of no origin – and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force. The fact that the five sisters killed in Jabalya camp had grandparents who came from the very land whose more recent owners have now bombed them to death simply does not appear in the story.

      Both Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres said back in the 1990s that they wished Gaza would just go away, drop into the sea, and you can see why.The existence of Gaza is a permanent reminder of those hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes to Israel, who fled or were driven out through fear or Israeli ethnic cleansing 60 years ago, when tidal waves of refugees had washed over Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War and when a bunch of Arabs kicked out of their property didn't worry the world.

      European antisemitism does help explain the reason the settler-colonial Zionist movement came into being, but it doesn't justify the crimes committed in its name, not then, and not now.

      •  There's no necessary disagreement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mayim

        between your statement

        European antisemitism does help explain the reason the settler-colonial Zionist movement came into being, but it doesn't justify the crimes committed in its name, not then, and not now.

        and the statement that you say I "slip into", that

        Does this justify every act committed in the name of the Jewish state? No. Does this indicate the necessity of a Jewish state? Yes.

        Regardless of how one interprets the sequence of events related to Israel's founding, there are things about the historically specific circumstances surrounding the founding of this Jewish state in the place it was that's regrettable.

        But the truth of the matter is that neither you nor I can at this point unwrite that history. We have to deal with matters from the point of history in which we find ourselves, and we have to ascertain the limits of what is within decision-makers' power to change now.

        That means first and foremost crafting a peace that is acceptable to the people of Israel and that yes, preserves the existence of a Jewish state.

        Basically, my fundamental positions on Israel/Palestine matters are rather dull, but sometimes I think being right means being boring. Land for peace, two states, with compensation for land expropriations to the exiled Palestinians and efforts to grant inhabitants of the various camps citizenship of the states where the camps are located.

        But the very point of Hamas is its opposition to a regime of negotiations, of land for peace.

        When Israel withdrew from Gaza, it essentially gave the Palestinians who live there a chance, a chance that had they taken it by eschewing Hamas could have led to more concessions, to less rigorous security measures, to a relaxing of tensions that would allow more creative solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian problem an opportunity to take hold. (A condominium state? Coterminous borders of the Israeli and Palestinian entities that would keep the Palestinians from being locked into such small tracts of land? Joint sovereignty over the Temple Mount?). But what we've seen instead is a ratcheting up of tensions arising from the use of the territory that was conceded as a base for attacks. The bottom line for me at least is that if the reward Israel gets when it essentially makes a unilateral concession like the Gaza withdrawal is missiles across its borders, the natural and probable consequences of that is, of course, retaliatory violence and a reduced willingness to make similar concessions.

        A huge amount of the discussion on I/P issues that goes on here is the criticism of Israel's decisions, and some of that is of course warranted. But at the same time, both sides of the question have the capacity to make choices. I don't think the Palestinians or even the people who voted Hamas in the elections deserve what is happening, but at some point the failure of the Palestinian people to make better decisions collectively than they have in the past decade needs to be factored into the discussion.

        So, in conclusion, I don't think Israel or the Jews who live there should go anywhere. But I think with that given it is still possible to negotiate a peace that does substantive justice for the Palestinians and that improves the lives of these people. (Literally, one solution drawn from tort law would be essentially to imagine there was a "forced sale" of an individual person's land in 1948 or 67, whichever is applicable. We then add to that the market rates of interest between then and now, and distribute the total to the heirs of a given landowner. If in concert with that, effort is made to give the Palestinians wherever they live a normal economic life, we could see astonishing progress.) But I don't see how we could do such a thing if one of the entities Israel would be dealing with uses Israeli concessions as opportunities to attack Israel. I don't see how one just thinks around that, no matter what values we assign retrospectively to the history this conflict emerges out of. Without conceding the moral rightness of your argument, it's safe to say one of the great philosophical divides in this discussion is between a kind of moral absolutist way of thinking and a pragmatic one.

        Right now, what are the routes of peace most likely to be agreed to, and to actually work, and to most benefit the most people? For me, that's the fundamental question.

        "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

        by andydoubtless on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 07:43:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  While I would like to think you are correct (0+ / 0-)

          Much of what you say does not match facts or is simply not possible to implement.  Not would it be just.

          Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

          by Demena on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:17:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Er... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, mellowwild

      Does this justify every act committed in the name of the Jewish state? No. Does this indicate the necessity of a Jewish state? Yes.

      I can't agree with that.  That would mean a Romany state, a romany state. a Cherokee state, an Inuit state, an aboriginal state and so on. then you have divisions between those... No it doesn't work.

      The only real solution to the whole damn mess is no nation states whatsoever.

      Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

      by Demena on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:01:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I totally disagree with this excerpt (4+ / 0-)

    For the non-Jew, the Shoah [Holocaust] is a chapter among chapters, a trauma among the other European traumas.  It resides in history alongside Napoleon, Versailles, Lenin, Spain, World War I and the divided Germany after World War II.

    I do not believe there is any truth to this statement at all, at least in America. The Holocaust was an act of extermination based on religious belief, and that resonates strongly with American people of all religions. Unless you believe religion is simply a type of ideology, and want to ignore the fervor in which people approach it, I find Burg's statement to be not only inaccurate, but irresponsible.

    Americans: losing their homes; John McCain: misplacing his houses

    by jhecht on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:14:08 AM PST

    •  It wasn't about religious belief (55+ / 0-)

      it was about racial identity. Unlike previous outbreaks of anti-Semitic violence, Hitler's final solution did not spare those who converted to Christianity. Plenty of Lutherans and Catholics of Jewish descent were killed in the Holocaust.

      The weak in courage is strong in cunning-William Blake

      by beltane on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:18:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Phony racial identity - Jews are no more a race (14+ / 0-)

        ...than Germans are "Aryans"...

        •  Not a 'race' per se (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          highacidity, Nulwee, mamamedusa, kyril

          but a bloodline.

          •  There is in fact no such thing as race... (22+ / 0-)

            ...in the sense that there is some heightend level of genetic difference between certain groups that requires a term other than ethnicity  -- mitochondrial DNA confirms that Europeans have huge amounts of genetic material in common with Africans, for instance.

            Race is a social and political construct, not a term with any serious biological meaning.  A wonderful book on one example of this is "How the Irish Became White" -- the title of course suggesting the author's main argument.

          •  Did I miss something? (0+ / 0-)

            Is it, in fact, impossible to convert to Judaism?

            You have to be born Jewish to be Jewish?

            Hi. If I quit replying to your comments, I've either A) left the thread, B) felt it didn't require a reply, or C) decided you're an idiot. You choose.

            by drbloodaxe on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:15:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't know if you're kidding or not (0+ / 0-)

              Of course you can convert to Judaism...You are making the right point about race, of course...

              For some reason, converting to a persecuted minority religion isn't that popular (or easy to do).

              You'd think that the Rabbis would want all the recruits they can get... but no...

              •  I wasn't kidding in the sense (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Demena

                that I certainly thought you could convert, and if you could convert then the race ideation wasn't fixed in stone.

                Hi. If I quit replying to your comments, I've either A) left the thread, B) felt it didn't require a reply, or C) decided you're an idiot. You choose.

                by drbloodaxe on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:37:35 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  you know the thing about jewish mother guilt? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  drbloodaxe

                  It's effective because Judaism is passed down from the mother, who is expected to raise Jewish children. If she doesn't do that, she's failed. Or so I was told by my Jewish mama.

                  Judaism is a religion, nation, culture and family rolled into one. I read somewhere that it is one of the few surviving tribal religions. Anyway, you can convert to the religion, but you can't get the full dysfunctional family aspect except by birth.

                  For example, you wouldn't have been told as a child that you should always live in a brick house, so 'they' can't burn it down--- meaning like Richard the 3rd did that time back in 1190.

                  I've always wondered, given Christianity's intimate connection to Judaism, whether the idea of the religion by birth is reflected in baptism and being born again. Which would be a choice, versus chosen.

          •  nope, not true (4+ / 0-)

            from an Israeli & Israeli source no less;

            If the people was not exiled, are you saying that in fact the real descendants of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah are the Palestinians?

            "No population remains pure over a period of thousands of years. But the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendents. The first Zionists, up until the Arab Revolt [1936-9], knew that there had been no exiling, and that the Palestinians were descended from the inhabitants of the land. They knew that farmers don't leave until they are expelled. Even Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel, wrote in 1929 that, 'the vast majority of the peasant farmers do not have their origins in the Arab conquerors, but rather, before then, in the Jewish farmers who were numerous and a majority in the building of the land.'"

            And how did millions of Jews appear around the Mediterranean Sea?

            "The people did not spread, but the Jewish religion spread. Judaism was a converting religion. Contrary to popular opinion, in early Judaism there was a great thirst to convert others. The Hasmoneans were the first to begin to produce large numbers of Jews through mass conversion, under the influence of Hellenism. The conversions between the Hasmonean Revolt and Bar Kochba's rebellion are what prepared the ground for the subsequent, wide-spread dissemination of Christianity. After the victory of Christianity in the fourth century, the momentum of conversion was stopped in the Christian world, and there was a steep drop in the number of Jews. Presumably many of the Jews who appeared around the Mediterranean became Christians. But then Judaism started to permeate other regions - pagan regions, for example, such as Yemen and North Africa. Had Judaism not continued to advance at that stage and had it not continued to convert people in the pagan world, we would have remained a completely marginal religion, if we survived at all."

            Why do you think the idea of the Khazar origins is so threatening?

            "It is clear that the fear is of an undermining of the historic right to the land. The revelation that the Jews are not from Judea would ostensibly knock the legitimacy for our being here out from under us. Since the beginning of the period of decolonization, settlers have no longer been able to say simply: 'We came, we won and now we are here' the way the Americans, the whites in South Africa and the Australians said. There is a very deep fear that doubt will be cast on our right to exist."

            •  What are you trying to do, bringing in facts and (0+ / 0-)

              Reason? If there were nothing morally wrong, no violence to be excused, and no irrational emotions to feed and feed on, then you might stand a chance to make a difference. But people who have done reprehensible things must find a rationale for their actions, ann excuse for their necessary hatred.
              Go try to sell your reason to scientists! (Well, even there you will run into resistence from those with strong ties to the theories you attack.)
              But I'll wish you luck anyway! I'll even add a few tid bits of irony to the discussion. Jews from Judea? And when the Kingdom divided, were they not enemies to "Israel"? So why take that name for their State? Does it support a claim for more than old Judea? Oh, and how can they claim any part of Galilee (Galil ha Goyim = Region of the Gentiles)? The claim that there never was a "Palestinian" people is funny, too. "Palestine" is a Roman corruption of the word "Philistine" which they found hard to pronounce correctly. They gave that name to the land because the dominant people they met when they first entered the land were called that. The Philistines had a high civilization when the Yahudis were merely a group of marauders hiding out in mountain strongholds. But so what? The whole discussion is nonsense! Its only validity is in the use of words for propaganda.
              And in that regard, I noted that the use of "Judeo-Christian" as an adjective replacing  simply "Christian" began to be pushed with the foundation of Israel. I suspect that it meant to exclude Islam which is closer to each of the two than the other is. I also note the use of "Arab and Muslim" instead of "Christian and Muslim" because it was not desired that the West identify with them; they had to be made seem "different" so that their pain wouldn't bother those who mattered for propaganda purposes.
              Anyone with any sense knows that Jews have become Christian, Jews and Christians have become Muslim, but still blood claims are made.
              The only true thing that can be guaranteed is that all peoples contain a large supply of dishonesty, foolishness, and evil.
              God (if You exist), of plese preserve us from ourselves!
              Ah, but perhaps you are really different! I'm not. So you ought to be killed -- at least, don't you agree?

            •  Except.... (0+ / 0-)

              Recent DNA studies have shown that almost all Jews are indeed descended from those whose other descendants are also rooted in the Middle East (with Palestinians, Samaritans and Kurds being the groups I've seen cited the most often as the 'closest'). Khazar origins for the Ashkenazim have pretty much been ruled out, at least on any measurable scale.

              From one study:

              A multidimensional scaling plot placed six of the seven Jewish populations in a relatively tight cluster that was interspersed with Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations, including Palestinians and Syrians. Pairwise differentiation tests further indicated that these Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations were not statistically different. The results support the hypothesis that the paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population, and suggest that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora.

              On the other sideof things, via Wikipedia:

              Research in Ashkenazi Jews has suggested that, in addition to the male founders, significant female founder ancestry might also derive from the Middle East, with about 40% of the current Ashkenazi population descended matrilineally from just four women, or "founder lineages", that were "likely from a Hebrew/Levantine mtDNA pool" originating in the Near East in the first and second centuries CE.

              Some links to get you started:
              Basic Jewish DNA overview
              Cohen Modal Haplotype
              Patrilineages and more
              Ashkenazi and non-Jewish host populations
              Yemenite Jews and DNA
              New York Times article

              From the last link:

              The ancestral pattern of [paternal]lineages is recognizable in today's Arab and Jewish populations, but is distinct from that of European populations and both groups differ widely from sub-Saharan Africans.

        •  Ashkenazi Jews Have Particular Susceptibility (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, Pris from LA, IreGyre

          to certain diseases because of their genetic inheritance.

          Unlike the bigot's imaginary Aryan race - or white or black race for that matter - genetic inheritance quite properly distinguishes races.

          Race has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity.  Bigots have a different vision and sadly dominate discussion.

          A sociologist or reporter or politician discussing race is as meaningful as Sarah Palin discussing dinosaurs.

          Best,  Terry

          •  Of course, there are Ethiopean Jews... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril, Johnny Q

            and Sephardic Jews (originally from Spain?) that do not share the Ashkenazi "bloodline" in any meaningful sense of the word...

            Also --- are the Obama's racially black? They are for political purposes, but are they really? Defining race in America in 2009 (even for a scientist) is a can of worms...

            •  The Ethiopian Jews (7+ / 0-)

              do share the Cohen halotype, however.

              Like the Ashkenazim, the Sephardim were "originally" from the Levant so share genetic traits.

              The Diaspora obviously diluted the groups that went to different areas with different genetic traits.

              Of course using that to define "race" is as you said.  But even the Ashkenazim are as closely related genetically to other Levant groups like the Palestinians as they are Europeans in general.

              Party like it's 1929!

              by arielle on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:44:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  No Such Thing (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril, Johnny Q

              are the Obama's racially black?

              They are not unicorns either.  Neither exist except in the imagination.

              Defining race in America in 2009 (even for a scientist) is a can of worms

              You hold the can of worms if you want.

              Scientists prefer genes to bloodlines and reality to bigotry.

              The Obamas are Irish BTW. There is an Ireland. :-)

              Best,  Terry

          •  and strangely (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril, mellowwild

            Hispanics share some of those susceptibilities.

          •  Actually the whole concept of race (4+ / 0-)

            is simply invalid, semantically null.  There is only one race on the planet, the human race.

            Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

            by Demena on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:24:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Horse Manure (0+ / 0-)

              Because race is twisted into untenable configurations by bigots does not mean it does not exist and is, indeed, very useful for helping decipher the nature of life.

              You just denied Darwin, fellow.

              You would obliterate advances in medical science, history, genetics and other knowledge in the service of ignorance and denial.

              Horse manure is useful too but not yours and David Duke's.

              Not that I have a strong opinion on the subject or anything like that.

              A real kick is a warning by an outfit that does continental ancestry analysis from saliva samples that some might be shocked by what is discovered in their DNA.   Must be like the horror some folks felt when they found out in later life their real parents were Jews being shipped to concentration camps.  Imagine what that would do to a David Duke.

              Best,  Terry

              •  Why the abuse? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                litho

                Because race is twisted into untenable configurations by bigots does not mean it does not exist and is, indeed, very useful for helping decipher the nature of life.

                Except the concept of race does not fit into the concept genetics.   Talk to a geneticist.  People are made up of a complex of genes.  Many of these are prevalent or come form particular areas.  Thats it. Period.  Recently in Germany there were born two fraternal twins, one white, one black.  "Race" doesn't come into it.

                You just denied Darwin, fellow.

                That is not actually not so.  And what makes you think I am a "fellow" and what do you mean by that?  Is it a sin that I don't belong to societies?

                You would obliterate advances in medical science, history, genetics and other knowledge in the service of ignorance and denial.

                On the contrary.  It seems you would keep science steeped in ignorance falsity.  The concept of race has no scientific meaning.  None.

                Horse manure is useful too but not yours and David Duke's

                So, I'm a David Duke now, eh?  Nice camouflage to avoid invoking Godwin I assume.  If you want to call me a Nazi, have the good grace to do it outright.  Don't let the fact that my views are in complete opposition.

                Not that I have a strong opinion on the subject or anything like that.

                From the severity of your reaction, obviously not - not.

                A real kick is a warning by an outfit that does continental ancestry analysis from saliva samples that some might be shocked by what is discovered in their DNA.   Must be like the horror some folks felt when they found out in later life their real parents were Jews being shipped to concentration camps.  Imagine what that would do to a David Duke.

                Well, you see, since I am not particularly 'racist' (I don't even believe in races since the term has no scientific value) I can't see how anything would bother me at all.  I'd love to have mine done but the cost is, for me, prohibitive.  Want to offer a freebie?

                Best,  Terry

                From the title and nature of you post it hardly seem you mean that.  Nevertheless,

                Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                by Demena on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 12:56:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Why The Perversion? (0+ / 0-)

                  the concept of race does not fit into the concept genetics.

                  It sure as hell does.

                  Genetics defines race.

                  Talk to a geneticist.

                  Take your own advice and learn something.

                  If I looked real hard I suppose I could still find pictures of myself that circulated on the net talking to a geneticist who has spent his life deciphering racial admixtures from genetic inheritance.  But what's the point?  You are in denial and will probably heap abuse on the scientist.

                  Recently in Germany there were born two fraternal twins, one white, one black.

                  This is pure racism.  There is no black race, no white race.  That is bunk propagated by yourself and others, generally out of ignorance I suppose but is it not willful when you refuse to inform yourself?  Whatever.  You are not exactly alone.

                  I am not particularly 'racist' (I don't even believe in races since the term has no scientific value)

                  That's a lie.

                  Now you know.  Should I assume you will now tell the truth?

                  Oh I don't suppose.

                  People blind themselves to the truth and then blame others not believing there is no light.

                  If you determine race is something defined by skin color or religion or accent or shape of noseor eyes, then indeed that is pure racism.  If you define race as that denoted by genetics, then you are talking about how a scientist defines race.

                  Leading universities and countries around the world are investing millions of dollars and untold manhours to define racial admixtures in the Hapmap Project and you propose there is no point in it?

                  The International HapMap Project is a multi-country effort to identify and catalog genetic similarities and differences in human beings. Using the information in the HapMap, researchers will be able to find genes that affect health, disease, and individual responses to medications and environmental factors. The Project is a collaboration among scientists and funding agencies from Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Nigeria, and the United States. [See Participating Groups and Initial Planning Groups.] All of the information generated by the Project will be released into the public domain.

                  The goal of the International HapMap Project is to compare the genetic sequences of different individuals to identify chromosomal regions where genetic variants are shared. [See What is the HapMap?] By making this information freely available, the Project will help biomedical researchers find genes involved in disease and responses to therapeutic drugs. [See How Will the HapMap Benefit Human Health?] In the initial phase of the Project, genetic data are being gathered from four populations with African, Asian, and European ancestry. Ongoing interactions with members of these populations are addressing potential ethical issues and providing valuable experience in conducting research with identified populations.

                  Public and private organizations in six countries are participating in the International HapMap Project. Data generated by the Project can be downloaded with minimal constraints. [See Data Release Policies.] The Project officially started with a meeting in October 2002 (http://genome.gov/10005336) and is expected to take about three years.

                  See here and then here.

                  7th Feb. 2005: International HapMap Consortium Expands Mapping Effort
                  The International HapMap Consortium, boosted by an additional 3.3 million in public-private support, announces plans to create an even more powerful map of human genetic variation than originally envisioned. The map will accelerate the discovery of genes related to common diseases, such as asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

                  You will find, if you look, the obligatory caution that race is ill-defined but that is because racists often define it as you do.

                  Best,  Terry

                  •  You are wrong in every aspect. (0+ / 0-)

                    It sure as hell does.

                    Genetics defines race.

                    No, a study of genetics shows there is no such thing.

                    Talk to a geneticist.

                    Take your own advice and learn something.

                    I have, where do you think I got this from?  It isn't "my opinion".  It is the way things are.

                    Recently in Germany there were born two fraternal twins, one white, one black.

                    This is pure racism.  There is no black race, no white race.  That is bunk propagated by yourself and others, generally out of ignorance I suppose but is it not willful when you refuse to inform yourself?  Whatever.  You are not exactly alone.

                    No it is not racism because they are not of a different race.  That's my point.  One is black, one is white in the genes that control melanin production.  They are not of a different race because there is no such thing as a race other than a single human race.

                    If you determine race is something defined by skin color or religion or accent or shape of noseor eyes, then indeed that is pure racism.  If you define race as that denoted by genetics, then you are talking about how a scientist defines race.

                    There is no quality that defines race, not skin color, not propensity to anything.  Genetics does not include the concept of race.  

                    Leading universities and countries around the world are investing millions of dollars and untold manhours to define racial admixtures in the Hapmap Project and you propose there is no point in it?

                    They are not studying race.  They are studying admixtures of genes.  The term race has no place in genetics.

                    The International HapMap Project is a multi-country effort to identify and catalog genetic similarities and differences in human beings. Using the information in the HapMap, researchers will be able to find genes that affect health, disease, and individual responses to medications and environmental factors. The Project is a collaboration among scientists and funding agencies from Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Nigeria, and the United States. [See Participating Groups and Initial Planning Groups.] All of the information generated by the Project will be released into the public domain.

                    The goal of the International HapMap Project is to compare the genetic sequences of different individuals to identify chromosomal regions where genetic variants are shared. [See What is the HapMap?] By making this information freely available, the Project will help biomedical researchers find genes involved in disease and responses to therapeutic drugs. [See How Will the HapMap Benefit Human Health?] In the initial phase of the Project, genetic data are being gathered from four populations with African, Asian, and European ancestry. Ongoing interactions with members of these populations are addressing potential ethical issues and providing valuable experience in conducting research with identified populations.

                    Public and private organizations in six countries are participating in the International HapMap Project. Data generated by the Project can be downloaded with minimal constraints. [See Data Release Policies.] The Project officially started with a meeting in October 2002 (http://genome.gov/10005336) and is expected to take about three years.

                    See here and then here.

                    7th Feb. 2005: International HapMap Consortium Expands Mapping Effort
                    The International HapMap Consortium, boosted by an additional 3.3 million in public-private support, announces plans to create an even more powerful map of human genetic variation than originally envisioned. The map will accelerate the discovery of genes related to common diseases, such as asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

                    And can you see that they do not use the term race in any of that?  Can't you read and understand your own quote?

                    You will find, if you look, the obligatory caution that race is ill-defined but that is because racists often define it as you do.

                    Right.  How reasonable.  Show me a single racist who defines race as non-existent?  The term race has no scientific meaning and no scientific vale.  Scientist do not use it.  Your own quotes demonstrate this.

                    You are not only wrong but appallingly wrong.

                    Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                    by Demena on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 06:42:47 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That is race no matter how you twist it (0+ / 0-)

                      Population, breed, group, haplotype, continintal ancestry - none fully capture the essence of race.  Your racist bigotry dominates your thinking, not mine nor that of those studying genetics.

                      If you think there is a black race, define it.

                      You can't do it.  No one can.  Your apartheidist kin struggled mightily with it.

                      Show me a single racist who defines race as non-existent?

                      You and every other racist pretending not to see what is plainly visible.

                      There is no race, I swear it says the racist.  I cannot see that one man is black and the other white.  It is only racists that see it. We are all color blind in a most peculiar way.

                      Of course people can see shades of skin color, can see differences in eye color, can tell a blonde from a brunette, can see lots of things but none of those make a race.  It is the genes that do as any geneticist can tell you.  Even anthropologists could do that from studying the skeletal remains without the help of DNA.  See Dead Men Do Tell Tales.

                      The cost of denying race and your bigoted racism is enormous in the coin of life, health and treasure.

                      Best,  Terry

                      •  Bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

                        I'm the bigot not bigot = you are.

                        Race is a nonsensical and non-scientific concept. It is no longer used in science.  

                        S

                        ome argue that although race is a valid taxonomic concept in other species, it cannot be applied to humans.[3] Many scientists have argued that race definitions are imprecise, arbitrary, derived from custom, have many exceptions, have many gradations, and that the numbers of races delineated vary according to the culture making the racial distinctions; thus they reject the notion that any definition of race pertaining to humans can have taxonomic rigour and validity.[4] Today most scientists study human genotypic and phenotypic variation using concepts such as "population" and "clinal gradation". Many contend that while racial categorizations may be marked by phenotypic or genotypic traits, the idea of race itself, and actual divisions of persons into races or racial groups, are social constructs.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

                        End of story.

                        You have called me a racist, a bigot and an aparthedist, a companion to David Duke.

                        I should troll rate you for you abuse .  Goodbye.

                        I find that to be vile, offensive and ignorant.  Goodbye.

                        Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                        by Demena on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 02:08:23 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  When you discover your white and black races, (0+ / 0-)

                          do be sure and let us know you hear?

                          Race is defined by genes.  There are no white or black genes that anyone can find.

                          Have a great life but you might want to avoid geneticists, anthropologists and other scientists.  

                          They will confuse you.  

                          Hum Mutat. 2008 May;29(5):648-58.

                          Halder I, Shriver M, Thomas M, Fernandez JR, Frudakis T.

                          Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 15260, USA. halderi@upmc.edu

                          Autosomal ancestry informative markers (AIMs) are useful for inferring individual biogeographical ancestry (I-BGA) and admixture. Ancestry estimates obtained from Y and mtDNA are useful for reconstructing population expansions and migrations in our recent past but individual genomic admixture estimates are useful to test for association of admixture with phenotypes, as covariate in association studies to control for stratification and, in forensics, to estimate certain overt phenotypes from ancestry. We have developed a panel of 176 autosomal AIMs that can effectively distinguish I-BGA and admixture proportions from four continental ancestral populations: Europeans, West Africans, Indigenous Americans, and East Asians. We present allele frequencies for these AIMs in all four ancestral populations and use them to assess the global apportionment of I-BGA and admixture diversity among some extant populations. We observed patterns of apportionment similar to those described previously using sex and autosomal markers, such as European admixture for African Americans (14.3%) and Mexicans (43.2%), European (65.5%) and East Asian affiliation (27%) for South Asians, and low levels of African admixture (2.8-10.8%) mirroring the distribution of Y E3b haplogroups among various Eurasian populations. Using simulation studies and pedigree analysis we show that I-BGA estimates obtained using this panel and a four-population model has a high degree of precision (average root mean square error [RMSE]=0.026). Using ancestry-phenotype associations we demonstrate that a large and informative AIM panel such as this can help reduce false-positive and false-negative associations between phenotypes and admixture proportions, which may result when using a smaller panel of less informative AIMs.

                          Pay no attention.  Pretend they are talking about something else.

                          Who cares about medicine and history and forensics and all that nonsense when it is much more fun to indulge in social construction?

                          Best,  Terry

                          •  You see any mention of "race" there? (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't. You are grasping at straws. Face it it, you are wrong.  And were abusive besides.

                            Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                            by Demena on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 06:01:36 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Racial Bigotry (0+ / 0-)

                            Yes indeed there is race there.  Not your perverted view of race but race nonetheless.

                            "Race" from an online dictionary:

                            1.  Biology

                            a. An interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms differing from other populations of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits. A race that has been given formal taxonomic recognition is known as a subspecies.
                            b. A breed or strain, as of domestic animals.

                            And then:

                            Caucasian does retain a certain currency in American English, but it is used almost exclusively to mean "white" or "European" rather than "belonging to the Caucasian race," a group that includes a variety of peoples generally categorized as nonwhite.

                            This perversion of the caucasian race into the absurdity of the imaginary white race leads to this kind of thing:

                            Fundraiser canned on claims disease affects only whites

                            Updated Tue. Nov. 25 2008 5:50 PM ET

                            CTV.ca News Staff

                            Carleton University won't be holding a popular fundraiser to benefit cystic fibrosis, it was confirmed Tuesday, after the student council passed a motion falsely claiming the disease affects only white men.

                            -

                            It is correct to say that cystic fibrosis "does affect Caucasian populations primarily," according to Cathleen Morrison, CEO of the CCFF.

                            However, the term Caucasian includes people from South Asia, North Africa, the Persian Gulf and Israel, Morrison said.

                            "These are Caucasian populations," Morrison told CTV.ca. "These people do not have white skin. They have CF, it now seems, in the same ratios as other Caucasian people who do have white skin."

                            Not to mention:

                            Cystic fibrosis, which is the most common genetic fatal disease in young people in Canada, affects just as many young girls as boys, Morrison added.

                            How many lives should we sacrifice on the perverse concatenation of caucasian into the absurd white race as the online dictionary would have us do?

                            The "Caucasian Disease" is only one tiny example of what the racist mentality does to common sense without mention of common decency.

                            How many millions are you willing to sacrifice on the altar of racial purity?

                            Your personal demons don't concern me BTW.  That is your problem.

                            Best,  Terry

                          •  Actually you appear to be the one with demons (0+ / 0-)

                            You have now found one mistaken use of the word race in a an 'online dictionary'.

                            Hurrah for you.  You were wrong and lost the argument.  So you can keep your repeated abuse and silliness.

                            I stand by my original statement which you have done nothing but support -  There is no such thing as race, it is not a scientific concept.

                            SInce you continue to abuse me you can rant all you want alone.  Bye!

                            Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                            by Demena on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 02:49:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

        •  And no less of one (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, kyril

          than are any other peoples.  The whole idea of race is suspect; I don't know what to think about it.  But Jews have as much--and as little--racial integrity as any other people unified by physical characteristics and cultural heritage.  What that is and isn't worth in the practical world?  Well, I'm not making any claims about that. . . .

          http://www.amazon.com/Underwater-Lengths-Single-Benjamin-Grossberg/dp/0912592583

          by claytonben on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:09:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  explain this then (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q

          I always had the same thought as someone asked me, how can one inherit a religion thru one's mother or how can one say they are Jewish but an atheist?

          http://www.epluribusmedia.org/donate.htm

          by Soma on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:50:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  it is true though (0+ / 0-)

            of course it is a belief, there's no actual tag or receipt at birth.

            it is a tribe, a nation, a culture, a family and a religion. They get you coming and going. It isn't called the 'chosen' people for nothing.

      •  Very true (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, kyril, Johnny Q

        In all my reading on the subject religion didn't play into it much at all.

        Hitler's Fatherland was about racial purity and genetic perfection for the greater glory of Germany...it was the most extreme form of 'Nationalism'.

        Hatred of the jews didn't inspired the rise of the Nazis, Hitler's version of nationalism inspired the hatred of the jews and others that didn't fit their German Aryan perfection mold.

        There was so much going on in Germany at the time it was the perfect storm for all the horrors that follwed.

        •  Except that Hitler HAPPILY played on the (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          noveocanes, blueness, kyril, Pris from LA

          ...existing Christian [particularly Catholic] hatred for Jews. You know the story of those passion-plays at Easter-time; the Germans would use those events to incite anti-Semitic violence.

          Hitler himself would attend every year...

          •  That was a 'ploy' (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matt Z, kyril

            Like so many ploys to acheive a goal...Obama is.. .'gasp!.. Muslim...Kennedy was.. gasp! ..catholic.

            Take isolated preduices, make them acceptable on some pretense and fan them into a national fever.

            If we had a dime for all the masses that got behind an insane leader thruout history we could bail out our village idiot's national debt.

      •  One of Anne Frank's (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, kyril, Pris from LA

        roomates in hiding, the dentist, was a Christian, if I recall....with Jewish heritage.

    •  except when we consider refugees from the (25+ / 0-)

      Holocaust were turned away from American ports and returned to Europe to die in the camps. Antisemitism has always been a strong undercurrent in American history.

    •  Agree. This comparison was a historical stretch (0+ / 0-)

      and a big one.

  •  60 million people died in WWII (56+ / 0-)

    I am sure many think it is impossible to tell too many holocaust stories. I agree but with a caveat, we should not disregard other mass murders to emphasize one as the king of all mass murders.

    I really would like to hear more about what happened in Rwanda, there was one movie made it big in the mainstream. Rwanda is recent history and it could be very reveal a great deal about human nature and forgiveness.

    The story of Rwanda is certainly under told, but us "Western People" too often ignore the plight of the rest of the world. We think only things involving other westerners are significant. To be more accurate this is an American problem. We are forgetting about other genocides, thus in the mind of many Americans nothing has happened since and the world is well. That is simply not the case.

    Then there are the other 60 million who died in WWII, 20 million Russians died and 12 million Chinese at the hands of Japan. I have not heard their stories. We ignore so much of history and I don't know why. I wish we could all be well informed about all of it, read books and watch movies about all of it. I fear focusing on just the holocaust is creating huge blind spot in our collective understanding of who we are.

  •  Avram Burg again... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FredFred, shpilk, jhecht, aggregatescience

    I love how your whole premise is based on the writings of a man whose crowning achievement (other than trading on his father's good name for 20 years) was suing the Jewish Agency for not providing him with a car and driver for the rest of his life.

    That, and running for leader of the Labor Party, and receiving more Druse votes than there were Druse voters.

  •  your misquote (6+ / 0-)

    Hitler did not say:

    "Who remembers the Armenian Holocaust today?", he said:

    "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

    The word "Holocaust" was not in use until the late 1950's.

  •  American Holocaust (86+ / 0-)

    As an Indian man I'm of course interested in the mass murder of my people over the past five centuries. Too many Americans think our demise is ancient history but it actually happened only a short time before the Jewish holocaust. My Grandfather and Grandmother were awakened by jack booted soldiers in the dead of night and along with our whole Tribe, forced to walk to a reservation in OKlahoma. One third of my people perished before they made it to the new reservation. Our nation is still split in two and our people suffer third world conditions in our land that gives our killers children riches and wealth.

    My own Grandparents suffered the time of horror in America. My parents were the children of the American genocide and I'm the Grandchild. It's still fresh to us.

  •  The Shoah (6+ / 0-)

    I much prefer to talk about those events using this concept.

    Holocaust had a universal meaning before the '50s.

    An interesting read on hat topic, to "own the word Holocaust" is Norman Finkelstein...(yes, that self-hating Jew, as some fundamentalists call him)

    BTW, just a suggestion, to put Hitler and Pinochet in the same sentence...bad call.

    40% of Chileans still "admire and support" the man.

    •  Had Hitler won the war (11+ / 0-)

      I'm sure many would still "admire and respect" him as well.

      •  He had no chance to win. None. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pris from LA
        •  Not exactly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pris from LA

          He was close to an A-Bomb....closer than anyone would like, and the Russians got the tech for it when they invaded their side of Germany, using it to develop one shortly after the US flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

        •  Are you kidding? (6+ / 0-)

          He was virtually unstoppable for the first three years of the war, putting practically the whole of Europe under his heel.  Had he not invaded Russia in 1941, history could have turned out much, much darker.

          •  No, victory in France was his limit. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pris from LA, NY brit expat

            After that he had only two choices: to invade Britain & face all out war with US or to invade Russia.

            Both choices were fatal for Germany.

            •  Hardly (8+ / 0-)

              Had Hitler concentrated entirely on England, he could've had the country under his control and fortified long before the US was able to muster its forces.  Roosevelt would have been furious, but even this might not have been enough to break the isolationism favored by so many Americans.  

              Then there's the matter of logistics.  We were able to invade France with such a tremendous force because there was only the matter of crossing the North Sea.  Where could we have staged such a massive invasion force if we didn't have England?

              Don't think for a second that just because the US was involved that Germany was doomed.  Things could have turned south at one of any number of places.  What if Hitler's counter-intelligence worked and he knew that the invasion was going to occur at Normandy?  An addition of two Panzer divisions may have been enough to repel the landing.  What if he was able to press his advantages in the Battle of the Bulge?  Nothing is certain in war.

              •  Hitler could not focus on Britain 'till (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pris from LA

                he subdued France. It is only after French fiasco that Hitler was finally taken seriously by the West.

                Invasion of Britain would get US involved with a very obvious outcome - defeat. Invasion of Russia was destined for defeat too -- no one can ever conquer Russia. Certainly not a carlic nation like Germany.

                Hitler's only path to victory was to ally himself with Russia against the West. But it was too much for him: his entire ideology was built ant-Slav & anti-Bolshevic propaganda.  

                •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kyril, Johnny Q

                  Invasion of Britain would get US involved with a very obvious outcome - defeat.

                  Again, you speak this with certainty without substantiating it with either evidence or anecdotes.  Roosevelt won reelection in 1940 with the promise of not getting us involved in "Europe's war".  Immediately after Pearl Harbor, many citizens and military commanders as well had hoped that our might could be focused on Japan without committing to Europe.  And with that said, it was still nearly a full year after Pearl Harbor before American boots hit the ground in North Africa to assist the British.  Had Britain already fallen, American strategy would have been entirely different, probably focusing on augmenting the Eastern front.

                  Invasion of Russia was destined for defeat too -- no one can ever conquer Russia. Certainly not a carlic nation like Germany.

                  I agree with you here. Deciding to open a second front was easily Hitler's most catastrophic blunder ("Never get involved in a land war in Asia!") - and much to the chagrin of many of his Generals.  But again, had he not invaded, the war could have very well turned out much differently.  Contrary to your claim that Hitler "didn't have a chance" at victory, he did have a chance: but he squandered by attacking Russia.

                  Hitler's only path to victory was to ally himself with Russia against the West. But it was too much for him: his entire ideology was built ant-Slav & anti-Bolshevic propaganda.

                  He didn't need Russia as an Ally, he just needed to keep them at arm's length until his southern and western flanks were secured.  And if you recall, there was plenty of Anti-Bolshevic sentiment in the US as well.  It was a sometimes bitter alliance, but an alliance none the less.

                  •  Invasion of Britain would have changed US mood (0+ / 0-)

                    fast. In fact, Hitler opted for much much tougher Russia invasion (instead of smaller & weaker Britain) precisely because he wanted to avoid US's direct involvement in Europe.

                    Anyways, to imagine that a small nation like Germany would hold a grip on the entire Europe, while holding US at bay, for more than a few years is from a sci-fi channel. Hitler had zero chances at winning the war. Zero.  

                    Of course, the question then becomes what constitutes a victory? For Hitler it was nothing short of domination of Europe, Britain & Russia (he had no appetite for Americas and very limited for Asia). So, here you have it. Zero chances. Zero.

                  •  Not only that. (0+ / 0-)

                    Contrary to your claim that Hitler "didn't have a chance" at victory, he did have a chance: but he squandered by attacking Russia.

                    Had he not insisted that the Me262 should be a bomber and insisted on attaching bomb racks he could have achieved total air superiority.

                    That single decision may (or may not) be the one that ruined him.

                    Personally I think he only failed to win because he made quite a few errors.  It is quite possible that all those errors were needed to prevent his victory.

                    If I had to pick a single one it would be his choice of doctors.  Until he hit the methedrine he was making very few mistakes.  In the practical sense not the moral sense.

                    Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                    by Demena on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:50:19 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Not the same (0+ / 0-)

        Pinochet was defeated politically and became a pariah.

        The center-left has governed Chile for 20 years.

    •  My German in-laws (7+ / 0-)

      admired Hitler and supported his social policies in Germany until the day they died (in 2008).

      Made for some interesting dinner conversations, I can tell ya.

      Mark Twain -Let me make the superstitions of a nation and I care not who makes its laws or its songs either.

      by Kingsmeg on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:59:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  no it did not (0+ / 0-)

      Please provide some references that the term "Holocaust" was in general use for the annihilation of the Jews before the 1950's.

  •  Who owns the N-word? (0+ / 0-)

    Do I have to censor myself when singing along with Tupac songs?

  •  This explains the silence on the others killed. (51+ / 0-)

    I get blank stares or corrections when I say 13 million people died in the Holocaust because for many they only know the 6 million jews that died. They have never heard about the homosexuals, socialists, gypsies, polish, czechs, and various other groups that were killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

    The Holocaust was a horrible tragedy, but it was not just a jewish holocaust.

  •  percentages killed (18+ / 0-)

    Between the Holocaust and the liquidation of Jews in Russia, an enormous percentage of the world-wide Jewish community was murdered last century.  I think the Jewish people today still feel like double-amputees and have not yet regained a healthy sense of self and center.
    I think this PTSD has deep implications for Jews in Israel living with additional feelings of being menaced by their neighbors, and for Amerian Jews, who express profound ambivalence to Judaism.

    •  Not the exception in Human history (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird

      Many people have been traumatized by mass murder, whole villages have been slaughtered, towns, imagine being a resident of Hiroshima. I don't think every Jewish person knew every other Jewish person in Europe at the time so they experienced it as seeing the death of those they knew. In that the post WWII Jews shared a lot in common with a lot of other people in WWII who saw communities destroyed and everyone they knew killed. Saying they are the exception is almost racist. It is like one humans suffering is more significant because of their ethnic group. The overall number of people killed does not matter to the individual as much as those that person knew. We are humans this is how we are impacted by tragedy. The anger over the killing of 1 million or 100,000 is the same. But all people must move on. We ought not allow one ethnic group to monopolize misery as if theirs is superior to others. We are already forgetting the rest it seems as one genocide after another is ignored by the Western world. "Never Again" has failed to be effective in preventing the genocide of non Jews because it is too focused on the "Shoah".

  •  I would love to (25+ / 0-)

    respond intelligently to your diary, litho, but I am touched to the core not only by your fine writing, but extraordinary gift to me -- your expansion from a personal history to one which is universal.  

    I have Irish ancestors -- and we carry to this day that sense of extreme oppression even in this time of fragile peace.  The suffering of anyone because of the ignorance, power, evil of another should be a pain in our hearts -- a clarion call to educate our children and our children's children.

    Thank you for one of the finest diaries I have read here.

  •  I am also from E European Jewry (44+ / 0-)

    although of the family here the last arrived before WWI.  Still, there were many relatives still in Bialystok in the late 1930s and my great grandmother tried desperately to get them out.

    A previous significant other had parents from Warsaw who went east to avoid the Nazis, and wound up interned in Siberia, before getting to the US first through Iran (where her brother was born) then Portugal and then New York.  

    The couple across the street from me escaped just in time.  She was from Switzerland, he was from Austria, and they got themselves and their families out in 1939.  And there were other Holocaust survivors, including a few from the camps, in the synagogue in which I grew up.  But these were things not talked about.

    I look at my Jewish background as I can say that it has driven much of my concern for social justice, such as my involvement in Civil Rights in the 1960s, and human rights, such as my opposition to torture, to denial of rights to or demonization of people as "other."  And it is what kept me from becoming a Quaker for many years, because I have always believe in intervention to stop slaughter, regardless of whether or not US national interests are involved.  

    I would offer one caution.  Many Jews do not like the word Holocaust, since in other contexts it has to do with a burnt offering to God.  They prefer the Hebrew word Shoah, which of course to many of us brings to mind the film by Claude Lanzmann.  ANd immediately an image pops into my mind, of the aging Polish train engineer who drove trains into Auschwitz, remembering and drawing his finger across his throat to indicate death.  People knew.  They could not not know.  Even if that did not mean they were capable of doing anything about it, which is an entirely separate issue.

    Who owns the Holocaust/Shoah?  If we do not all, then we have learned nothing.  If we confine that term, and Rafael Lemlin's term of genocide, to the attempted extermination of European Jewry, then like too many during that period we will stand by and justify our non-intervention.

    Cambodians slaughtering their own.  Islamicists claiming that the West is waging war on their religion.  Intranecine violence in Ireland, Sri Lanka, Iran (against Bahai's), Iraq, Sudan, Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia/Eritrea, the former Yugoslavia -  all involve demonization of someone as "other" and whether or not the acts rise to the level of genocide does not matter:  the world cannot sit idly by and still claim the full measure of humanity.

    Who owns the Holocaust/Shoah?  No one and everyone.  

    Insisting one's hurts are greater than those of others is to diminish the hurts of others, to be too self-centered.  We have seen much of that kind of discussion here, too much.

    And some are too quick to apply terms too broadly as well.  Those include Nazi, Fascist, Holocaust, Genocide, and Rape.  

    Perhaps it is that I am tired.  I am in 62, and for the first time in my life I can say that my health is not good.  Perhaps it is that teaching 6 classes a day and trying to make a difference by writing and lobbying is wearing me down.  

    It is not that I do not care.  Certainly anyone who reads my impassioned words would come to a different conclusion.  

    I thank litho for the diary - it was thought-provoking, which I think is good.  And it opened the door for further discussion, which is even better.

    I offer no answers.  Merely my own exhaustion, frustration, yet unwillingness to give up trying to make a difference.

    Peace.

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:40:16 AM PST

    •  This says it for me. (34+ / 0-)

      Insisting one's hurts are greater than those of others is to diminish the hurts of others, to be too self-centered.  We have seen much of that kind of discussion here, too much.

      I won't expand on this, as it may be off-topic and will probably get me flamed off the site.

      But I completely agree with this sentiment of yours.  

      "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4210+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

      by Miss Blue on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:48:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt you will be flamed (15+ / 0-)

        after all, I am the one who expressed it, you are merely agreeing with the expression.

        It has always been my feeling that when we remain wrapped up in our own pain and hurt, it is as if we were in a cocoon, blind to that which could assuage our pain and connect us with others.

        That is not to diminish the pain or hurt, which can be tremendous.

        Despite my exhaustion, I still seek something more.

        peace

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:55:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is so much more to it than that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mimi, kyril, mellowwild

          I think there's wisdom in what you've said. My problem is that it's not enough wisdom.

          Everything that we hear, we hear within a context of words that we've heard before. Everything we say, we say from a context of our own thoughts and experiences that no one else can fully grasp.

          When you say:

          Insisting one's hurts are greater than those of others is to diminish the hurts of others, to be too self-centered.

          it brings to mind for me a long-ago argument that I'd rather not rehash, with a fellow that I'm sure you have very little in common with. But I'm still on edge when I hear this. Let me try to make something constructive out of my edginess.

          If you see someone heading down this road, please consider where they have come from. Isn't it likely to be that the speaker has been grievously wounded? They may also have been told all too often: No, you haven't been hurt that badly. Are you comparing your pain to that suffered by these others? Yours is not as great as theirs. You have no complaint worth making.

          If you do hear a Jew, or an Armenian, or a Native American, or an African American claiming that their wounds are the deepest, please understand that it may be a wrong but natural response to an even worse argument -- one that you may have neither made nor implied, yet one that the person has heard all too often.

          You may do better (and I do mean you, Ken; I'm not sure if I'd have the rhetorical skill) to make this particular point by example, rather than by expressing it directly. In any case, please recognize and acknowledge that anyone making such a claim is coming from a place where none of us wants to have been.

          Be the change that you wish to see in the White House.

          by Nowhere Man on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:51:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, it is not off-topic (18+ / 0-)

        in fact it is right in line with the central question of the diary.

        It's the kind of sentiment that if not for last night I would agree with automatically.  My question comes from the sense of dissonance I felt when my wife spoke of her uncle: "yeah, that's bad, but it doesn't belong here."

        Does suffering as a source of identity trump our universalist impulses?

        That's what's keeping me up at night.

        •  What I meant,,,, (9+ / 0-)

          would be off-topic is my expanding on that thought.  

          I don't want to derail your very fine diary by taking the argument somewhere else, and I'm afraid if I express myself that may happen.

          Does suffering as a source of identity trump our universalist impulses?

          Yes, I think it does.  It shouldn't, but I do think it does.  Because it's personal.  My story is better than your story.

          I feel like we almost have to measure our blood loss and count our stitches, have it documented and notarized, and then expect sympathy only when we win the "Battle of Wounds".  

          "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4210+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

          by Miss Blue on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:06:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Univeralist in space (6+ / 0-)

            and time...

            After all, go back a little further and you have the native American holocaust. Before that, the middle ages, the inquisition. Before that, the Romans killed millions, and before that, well, life was even more poor, nasty, broodish, and short.

            History seems so short-term to people that live such short terms. But if we go back and look at the whole of human history, an eye blink in the big picture, we are still a viscious, hateful, warring species that devours everything in our path and goes looking for more. Just look at what we do to other species.

            Part of what fuels this hatred and destruction is this need for vengence, which probably evolved as a way to make sure our tribe survived, even at the cost of another. So, I suppose it makes sense that we get into the Battle of Wounds. It's a defense mechanism.

            Human history, as HG Wells said, is a battle between education and catastrophe. We must learn more about our history and our evolution so that we can overcome the parts that will lead to our annihilation.

          •  Your Point (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Miss Blue, kyril

            is important, Miss Blue, and if you are thinking about last week's DKos controversy, I think it should be mentioned.  The point of this diary is its principal: and it would be useful to ask those who believe they agree with it, to apply it in other areas of their thinking.  

            http://www.amazon.com/Underwater-Lengths-Single-Benjamin-Grossberg/dp/0912592583

            by claytonben on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:21:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  As we used to say: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, kyril, Johnny Q

          No one has a corner on suffering.

        •  Universalism Only Goes So Far (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, kyril, mellowwild

          Each of us is the product of unique histories - as an individual, as a member of a family, as a member of a community, etc.  Suffering, on an individual or on a collective basis, is part of that history.  Jews have a unique relationship to the Holocaust and it shapes who they are, just as African-Americans have a unique relationship to slavery, which shapes who they are.  Our universal goal ought to be to learn how to embrace that uniqueness, including the uniqueness of our own community's suffering, without killing each other.  Now get some sleep.

        •  This really is somewhat off-topic (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, kyril

          but I was searching for one of your comments to reply to.

          Another book that I recommend highly for the insight it brought me into the relationship between the Shoah and the national character of Israel is "The Avengers", by Ric Cohen.
          It is the story of the three very young people who led the Lodz Ghetto resistance, two of whom went on to be among the founders of Israel. It has virtually no philosophy in it at all, but very closely observed character studies of these people (one of them was related to the author). Understanding what their experiences during the war did to their characters opened a crucial window on Israel for me, an American Jew whose family was here before Hitler took power.

          The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

          by sidnora on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 03:29:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is important Litho: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, kyril, mellowwild

          I felt

          And then you question the feeling of dissonance.

          Good for you.  Too many do not allow themselves such possibility for growth in awareness and understanding.

          Rome is burning ... put down the fiddle.

          by ancblu on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:43:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Seems that our own hurts and our observation (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miss Blue, blueness, kyril, Anne933

        of the hurts of others have only one redeeming quality.
        That is to bind us together.

        Make that change.

        by barnowl on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:35:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Byalistok. I'm from Lemberg/Lwow (6+ / 0-)

      Towns with similar destiny in XX ctry. Close neighbours.

    •  I have reworked this into a diary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mayim, kyril, Pris from LA, mellowwild

      entitled No one and everyone - an answer to litho.  I have added some more material.  I invite people to read and if interested respond on a spearate discussion.

      peace.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:45:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A Woman in Berlin (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, Pris from LA

      excellent memoir of what the German women went through when the allies, especially the Russians, got there. It seems almost all the women were raped, and they came to see it as punishment for the crimes of their men. A fascinating book that was not talked about in Germany for a long time, as everyone wanted to forget.

    •  What is utterly amazing to me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, mellowwild

      Is that bar one comment there has been none of the insanity and vituperation found almost without exception in any other I/P related diary.

      My faith in Kossaks as a whole is restored.

      Best Wishes, Demena Economic Left/Right: -8.38
 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

      by Demena on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 12:02:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A very thought provoking diary. (23+ / 0-)

    As the daughter of a Catholic, Polish woman who spent 9 months in a concentration camp before being sent to work on a German dairy farm, I can tell you that from my mother's perspective, the Holocaust happened to more than just the Jews.  My mother was 17 when Hitler invaded Poland.  She survived the war but never returned to her homeland.  It cast a profound sorrow over her life.  Peace to all, with the sincere hope that this never happens again.

  •  Where's the poll? (0+ / 0-)

    I was sure there would be a poll with this diary. Please add one.

  •  What an enjoyable read! (16+ / 0-)

    No low philosophy to be found here, certainly not.

    You make some excellent points, and it certainly makes for good discussion.

    Rec'd and tipped.

    pb

    If you can't fix it with a hammer, then you've got an electrical problem.

    by panicbean on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:47:35 AM PST

  •  "Are we condemned to live divided into separate (15+ / 0-)

    and unique warring groups?"

    No.  

    It is your individual choice to make.

    I am sympathetic to the incredible durability and near universality of antisemitism.  I do not hesitate to affirm it.

    But there is one group of people that fights daily even yet for survival against a backdrop of even more active prejudice and somehow stands apart.

    Elie Wiesel, for one, has fought competing memorials to the Roma Holocaust.  The Roma Holocaust paralleled the Jewish Holocaust and cost the Gypsies an even higher percentage of casualties from what I have read.

    And how do the Gypsies view their own holocaust?

    A woman reporter was at a convention in Europe devoted to the Roma Holocaust.  She met a Gypsy used car dealer from Los Angeles, who told the reporter he had come only to find a bride.  The fellow warned the reporter to watch her purse.  "The place is filled with Gypsies." [Bury Me Standing (Because I Have Spent My Life On My Knees)]

    There is a vast difference between Jews and Gypsies.  It is easy enough to blame the Gypsies for the hatred shown them (and returned) and the isolation they bring on themselves.  But it is hardly an excuse for the grotesque atrocities that are visited on a people. I don't think it was generally known that the horrendous nurseries maintained by Ceaucescu were stocked by Gypsy children taken from their parents.

    All surviving ethnicities have their own unique tales of struggles.  It is indeed universal though some have had to struggle more than others no doubt.

    Best,  Terry

  •  Oh, and about the "Yishuv"... (5+ / 0-)

    The "Yishuv" was not what the Zionists called "Israel" before statehood.  Before statehood, the place was called "Palestine".  The Yishuv was the name of their Organization, not the name of the place.

  •  This is a really beautiful diary (11+ / 0-)

    But I have to note that in the context of a world which has active Holocaust deniers and revisionists, it is untroubling to me that there is some effort on the part of Jewish people to try to preserve some degree of precision with regards to the accurate retelling of what is a significant portion of Jewish history.  I'm not sure that this is really in tension with the recognition that evil doesn't limit itself to one tribe or another, or the recognition that issues such as race, ethnicity, and power come into play when the world determines which instances of brutality will be recognized and which won't.

    That might not be that responsive to your diary, I'm thinking, but those are my thoughts all the same.  

    Enthusiastic rec.

    America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. - President Obama

    by GN1927 on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:51:32 AM PST

    •  Those are some good points. (10+ / 0-)

      I think, also, that you have to consider that telling the story of our history is very much a part of being Jewish -- and certainly predates the Holocaust.  What is a Passover seder but the re-telling of that story of liberation?

      So, in a way, the passing on of the story the Holocaust is but a continuation of the storytelling that is inherent in being Jewish.

      Hope you enjoyed it, Sarah, 'cause we just kicked your silly winking folksy lipsticked ass back to Alaska. Now shut the fuck up and stay there. Also.

      by Kaili Joy Gray on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:13:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've never been to a seder (7+ / 0-)

        thank you for adding that information about a storytelling tradition.

        I think the balance to strike here is one that preserves that history, particularly in the context of what I think is a bona fide and not imaginary antisemitic agenda which does manifest in attempts to water down or even deny what took place in those Nazi concentration camps, versus admitting space for other brutal experiences to be acknowledged as well.  This diary is just great.

        America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. - President Obama

        by GN1927 on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:29:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  thoughtful, responsible and necessary. (8+ / 0-)

    the complexities of life, religion and history offer no clear resolution.

    But, thought as presented by this diary offer us the ablity to honestly explore our world looking for a better understanding. Do we have the ability to take on this rsponsibility having shirked it for so many decades, centuries?

    "Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave." - Thucydides

    by JasperJohns on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:52:08 AM PST

  •  A very powerful, thought-provoking diary. (23+ / 0-)

    As an American Jew whose family left Europe long before WWII, I have struggled my whole life with what my Jewish identity and heritage means to me and what it should mean.

    One of the most important experiences in this ongoing journey of understanding was writing a research paper in high school that I titled "Heroes of the Holocaust: Righteous Gentiles."

    I interviewed two survivors who were both saved by gentiles, including Leopold Page, who was one of Schindler's Jews, and who was responsible for getting the book written about Schindler.  

    In conducting those interviews and reading about those non-Jews who risked their lives, I started to understand that the Holocaust was not just an experience of Jews, but of everyone.  

    I still remember a quote (more or less) of a devout Catholic woman, whose boyfriend was in the SS, who hid a Jew in her home:

    "As much as I love Jesus Christ, if he were standing before Hitler, I would knife him down in an instant."  

    That quote has stayed with me all these years because of its simplicity.  That to this woman, and others like her, humanity -- that thing we all share, or are supposed to share -- trumps religion and race.  Or at least it should.

    (I'm feeling rather choked up just thinking about it again.)

    As the saying goes, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.  And that means we all have an obligation to understand our history -- not just our own personal history, but the history of humanity.

    Thank you for such a thoughtful diary.

    Hope you enjoyed it, Sarah, 'cause we just kicked your silly winking folksy lipsticked ass back to Alaska. Now shut the fuck up and stay there. Also.

    by Kaili Joy Gray on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:58:03 AM PST

    •  My grandmother tells the story (7+ / 0-)

      of her experience of the Polish pogroms.  She was alone in her home with her infant daughter (my mother).  She could hear the screams, see the fires from down the street, see them coming closer, and was terrified.  A young German soldier came by and saw her in her house.  He presumably didn't speak Polish, she didn't speak German.  Without either of them saying a word, he came in, looked around, and then took up a position in the doorway with his rifle, looking out.  He just stood there for several hours until the marauding Poles had passed by and were out of sight (of course seeing a German soldier there, they would not attack the house).  Then he left.  Obviously she never learned his name or what happened to him.

      My grandparents btw have no ill will against the German people (as opposed to the leadership, of course), and in fact they moved to Germany briefly after the war, while waiting for an opportunity to emigrate, but they have never forgiven the Poles and refused to ever go back there, even for a visit.  These were people they grew up with, who knew them personally, and yet who turned on them.  

  •  Ultimately (18+ / 0-)

    there are no "peoples," there are no nations, there are no "races." There are just masses of human beings floating on a ball trying to stay well fed and warm until they run out of energy. The genetic differences between persons of color are statistically insignificant, the same is true of people descended from seperate ancient religious groups.

    The actions taken by people supposing to speak for "Israel" are the result of their own subjective histories and views. It may not be accurate to say that "Israel" stood silent about other atrocities. There were a small number of policy makers who deemed that silence to be appropriate or necessary, and because of a series of accidents, these people functioned as "leaders," largely because they had figured out how to attain a position where there words could be backed by force, if need be.

    There is no Israel, there is no America, there are only Flags of Convenience. People need to have the freedom to satisfy themselves as they may, but we're probably all doomed to be taken advantage of by the folks who are clever enough, or brutal enough, to figure out ways to determine what the rest of the world will see as "policy."

  •  Someone said (16+ / 0-)

    "Patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel"

    and someone else said

    "Religion is the last resort of the scoundrel politician"

    I think it is time for

    "Holocaust is the last resort of the scoundrel right wing Israeli politician"

    Every time anyone in Europe criticizes anything that Israel does, the smug neocon motherfucker Netanyahu gets back at them with "We don't need a lecture from Europe on how to save jewish lives".

    I don't object all that much to how Israel fights Hamas as I find it objectionable that extremist assholes like Netanyahu whip up anger and fear in Israel for their personal political gain.

    •  So true (7+ / 0-)

      I'm so sick of 50 years of the destructive symbiotism demonstrated by right wing Israelis and the extremist Muslim separatists they claim to despise. In actuality, they can't seem to survive without each other.

      •  Another dumb statement (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueness, slevin

        You know, Israel is far to the left of the US.  In every way EXCEPT for this situation, they'd be considered not just a socialist nation, but almost communist.

        So please reconsider when you make these foolish and shortsighted statements, that the facts so disagree with you.

        •  It's actually a fairly cogent (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, Johnny Q

          description of Netanyahu's perspective -- that a Jewish state cannot permit Arabs to reach any threshold minority position although this contradicts Israel's self-identification as a democratic society.  In the end he believes a fairly violent stability is how these tensions will always be reconciled.  That's about as symbiotic a relationship as any perpeptual political conflict I've seen.

          Rome is burning ... put down the fiddle.

          by ancblu on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:32:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  You went way too far bro with your Holocaust (5+ / 0-)

      statement. I almost dole out a donut but it's a good diary & decent discussion.

    •  IMO it appears that the issue with Netanyahu's (12+ / 0-)

      statement is that it represents the crass misuse and misappropriation of a historical barbarity for his own selfish reasons, not completely unlike those looking for a rhetorical weapon with which to express rage and overuse/misuse Jewish Holocaust symbolism when trying to articulate a response to the gross mistreatment of Palestinians.  The issue is not the continued remembrance of the Holocaust as a component of Jewish history and a singular one, but the misappropriation of that remembrance for reasons which are hostile to decency.

      America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. - President Obama

      by GN1927 on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:14:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This shows astonishing stupidity (9+ / 0-)

      Sorry, but I have to say this.

      Look, you try living with survivors who even in their eighties still carry emotional and physical scars.  The reason Israel talks about it is because there are still hundreds of thousands alive today who lived it.

      Please feel free to HR, but in all honesty you've shown remarkable insensitivity, stupidity, and utter disregard to living memory.  Please reconsider this horrible and inhuman form of thought.

      •  You know what I think happened? (5+ / 0-)

        In trying to articulate an objection to what I think is Netanyahu's misappropriation of what was a bona fide instance of human barbarity, the commenter immediately went to the other extreme or polar position, declaring that references to the Holocaust should be off limits period.  I keep saying this, but I really think this is a manifestation of the extremism of political discourse in the US, something which was created by Bush: "with me or against me; you're either A or its diametric opposite, B."

        I'm rec'ing your comment in advance of any impulse of someone inappropriately hiderating it, but wanted to present an alternative reading of what took place in that comment, and why it might not have been hostile to what you very soundly note are legitimate, real, and necessary Holocaust remembrances.

        America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. - President Obama

        by GN1927 on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:37:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Again misunderstood (6+ / 0-)

          I did not say all references to holocaust should be off limits. I have no idea how anyone can come to that conclusion rationally based on what is written. What I did say is that just like some scoundrels misuse other people's patriotism for their own benefit, and some scoundrel politicians misuse religion, so also some right wing extremists misuse the memory of the holocaust. I guess for some people  no rational thought can ever be associated with that word.

      •  The fact (7+ / 0-)

        that the memory of holocaust has been hijacked by some selfish politicians to further their own agenda does not diminish the horror of the holocaust or the reality of the immense suffering of the victims.

        You misunderstood my comment.

      •  He is right about BiBi though (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GN1927, Pris from LA

        I can't even begin to imagine how terrible things will get if that man is elected.

      •  Are you sure? (10+ / 0-)

        "The reason Israel talks about it is because there are still hundreds of thousands alive today who lived it."

        But these people don`t talk about the holocaust; it is well known that survivors are very reluctant to talk.

        Look nobody is claiming, that for example this or that branch of science in Israel is still to preoccupied with the holocaust. Probably the psychological problems of elder people in Israel are much more influenced by (repressed) holocaust memories than elsewhere.

        But do you really think it is healthy that every minor israeli politican is always using the holocaust as soon as his imagination fails? That in every minor domestic or foreign policy dispute the holocaust is used as an argument?
        When the settlers in gaza likened themselves to the Warsaw ghetto, did this poison the discurse yes or no?

        The Israeli right compared rabin to hitler and accused him of preparing a new holocaust, we know how that ended.

        The holocaust is overused in political arguments and israeli politicans are the main sinners.

        •  Yup, I'm sure (3+ / 0-)

          Have you ever seen the documentary on the Holocaust, Shoah?

          One of my childhood friends was the adopted daughter of the man who lost his entire "first" family.  He was one of my father's best friends, a man who I spoke with thousands of times, ate dinner with hundreds of times.

          He and many others were never afraid to speak about it.  These people are not reluctant, indeed they are more than willing to talk about the insane pain they felt, to try to make people remember it.

          This hasn't been a great year for me as I've lost two family friends who were survivors.  They are dying due to the ravages of time, but they do not remain silent.  My step-father remembers, and he does speak from time to time.  Nowhere near as often or as vividly as my father, a man who escaped the camps by moving to Russia literally days before 9/1/1939.

          I have a family photograph taken in 1936, which has roughly 60 members of the family on it.  One uncle and one aunt left Poland to see the NY World's Fair in 1939, and my father left to go to Russia.

          Not a single person in that photo other than them survived.

          •  Dodging (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            litho

            You are not really answering, you know.

            Remarking on the fact that the shoah is misused as an everyday political weapon hardly makes me a denier.

            "He and many others were never afraid to speak about it." Not to afraid; as far as I know survivors are to harmed to speak and some, many of them dealt with the "insane pain" by not speaking about it. I always thought that is an well known phenomenon.

            The holocaust is misused as an political weapon and that does damages the proper understanding and remembering of the holocaust. And unless Isreali politicans are more responsible speaking in hebrew and it is just a language problem they are among the worst overusers of holocaust references.

            If you cheapen the holocaust in the US, you will at least run in trouble with the ADL but of course chastening by the jewish community can`t work in Israel.

  •  He did a BloggingHeads episode (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho

    here.  I would recommend watching that as well.

  •  Great diary (16+ / 0-)

    This statement encapsulates my whole issue with Israel as a Jewish person:

    "Two people emerged from Auschwitz," wrote Professor Yehuda Elkana, a wise man, a Shoah survivor, and an early mentor to me, "a minority that claims 'this will never happen again,' and a frightened majority that claims 'this will never happen to us again'"

    Israel is founded on the second premise, that by having a state, and a military, the Jews will now be able to protect ourselves as other nations have been able to.

    Personally, I reject that. It makes no difference to me whether or not it is Jews who are suffering from a genocide, or someone else.

    The lesson of the Shoah should be that we as Jews and we as human beings must do everything in our power to make sure that nothing like that ever happens again to anybody.

    There have been genocides before the Shoah and there have been more afterward. A world where no one is safe from genocide unless they have their own state and military is not the kind of world I aspire to live in.

    Thanks for this very interesting and perceptive diary.

    •  You reject what? (0+ / 0-)

      That Jews should have

      "a state, and a military, [and] be able to protect ourselves as other nations have been able to."

      How can you reject that premise? Why should other nations and people be able to defend themselves, but not Jews? What is even remotely objectionable in that premise you stated? Or, alternatively, as you seem to be suggesting in the end, why do you feel that no people should have the right and the means to defend themselves from the murderous intentions of others?

      What Burg raises is not whether Israel should exist and have the right to defend itself, but rather the question of at what cost? He sees Israel becoming the evil that gave it birth. Israel is becoming the oppressor, because they are using the Shoah to justify what would otherwise be the unjustifiable. If course, he's projecting his own limited world-view. He claims that he had a moment of clarity on the Adirondack trail, because none of the people he met were Jewish. He thinks the Zionist project is creating a closed society for the Jews in Israel -- and one incapable of empathy. That sounds like nonsense, and ignores the fact that Jews have always been a bit insular. And, that hasn't always been by choice.

      You might prefer a world where no one sees differences -- that there would be no peoples of any kind. Just one universal shared human experience. Sorry, but that's not the world we live in.

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:17:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can Of Worms (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pesto, khereva

        many, many people do not have states and nations to protect themselves. Since all sorts of immigrants live on what was my ancestors' home, and the Palestinians, and the SurMoroccons do not have their nation, I'm not sure if you seriously believe that a nation is justified whenever a people want one, or had one.

        When such human rights luminaries and the best Republican minds call Hugo Chavez a "thug" and a brutal dictator, how could you possibly disagree?

        by Nulwee on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:19:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's how I would do so... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ancblu, Johnny Q

        How can you reject that premise?

        The premise is that only by owning a state and military of one's own can one be safe from persecution.

        Therefore, we have to found and militarily fund the states of:

        Homophilica, where all GLBTIQQS can maintain power while just fiying any action by referring to bashing.

        Gynecocratia, where all women have a Right of Return, and where tales of harassment and the burning times are told around the dinner table.

        Sinistria, where left-handed folk can kvetch together about being forced to tilt their paper the wrong way, and all the clocks run the other way round.

        Caelivacua, where no one oppresses the non-theist, and no one says anything when you sneeze.

        So long as men die, Liberty will never perish. -- Charlie Chaplin, "The Great Dictator"

        by khereva on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:21:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  A pacifist rejects the premise that the use of (0+ / 0-)

        military force is a solution to persecution.  It is a respectable viewpoint.

        "Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be kept by understanding." ~Albert Einstein

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:24:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This has been a key point of mine for a while: (9+ / 0-)

    Burg writes of Israel's silence or complicity when faced with genocide in Kosovo, in Rwanda, in East Timor, and asks how a nation founded on the idea of overcoming the Shoah and of preventing its reoccurrence can fail to act in such circumstances.

    You were right in your introduction. It seems a lot of Jews have gotten into their head, "Never again to us" rather than "Never again." What a way to engender respect as a nation? The Holocaust museum in Israel was one of the most emotional experiences I've ever had, but it's built on an empty promise.

    In a region that is so devoured by ethnic hate, Jew against Muslim, Muslim against Muslim, Israel is so focused on not being bullied that it's become the bully. What a message it would send if Israel had sent troops to Iraq? If Israel had said that the persecution of Kurds or Sunni or Shia was wrong even from a Jewish standpoint. Would the IDF even have been welcome anywhere? Who knows. But, at least in the case of genocide, Israel should be there.

    I don't know if I've expressed my outrage over this issue well enough. But I am indeed outraged. I have always been when it comes to this issue. Never again should mean NEVER again.

  •  History = (0+ / 0-)

    the armed and powerful exploiting (and murdering) the weak and stereotyped.

    The proper response, the lesson learned?  When someone sets upon stereotyping and victimizing you, destroy the motherfucker(s).

    Or surely they will destroy you.

    Omaha is Obama Country.

    by The Creator on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:07:28 AM PST

  •  It's one thing to write an intelligent, (17+ / 0-)

    insightful diary, it's quite another to write an intelligent, insightful diary that engenders equally intelligent and insightful comments.  

    Congratulations, Litho, and thanks.

    When "stupidity" suffices, why search for any other reason?

    by wozzle on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:09:08 AM PST

  •  Universality of life (4+ / 0-)

    A thought provoking post, litho.

    After my experience last night, though I wonder.  Is identity too strong?  Are we condemned to live divided into separate and unique warring groups?

    No, I don't think so. I think that it's a case of a small "bad apples" segment of the population (usually the extremists in each respective religion) who stir parochial passions and make people not think along the lines of a universality of life axiom which one could phrase as "all human life is created equal" which I think almost all humans (that are not under some type of  a threat or the other for being members of a group and are not under a prevailing influence of divisive forces) can easily relate to.

    I feel that everyone should try to apply this axiom at least where life and death is involved.

  •  the answer is blowing in the wind (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freespeech, artmartin

    "The very scenario that the Americans feared the most came to pass because of their intervention to prevent it."

    by dancewater on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:11:23 AM PST

  •  Well as Far as Owners of the Holocaust Goes (9+ / 0-)

    They certainly don't include the Gypsies, gay people, the disabled or any Communists.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:13:33 AM PST

  •  At The Risk Of Stereotyping ... (9+ / 0-)

    In my dealings with Israelis (having nothing to do with international politics), I have been struck by one common characteristic - a visceral unwillingness to back down in the face of a confrontation and an obsession not to show weakness.  I feel that these attitudes have become part of the Israeli national ideology, transcending religion and partisan politics.  It seems to me that this ideological predisposition explains a great deal about Israeli politics.  To outsiders, these attitudes smack of arrogance, and seem like false justifications for naked aggression.  But the Holocaust hangs over everything.  For Jews, fear that everyone else wants to destroy you is not paranoia, it is historical fact.  I do not condemn Israelis for their worldview - it is the product of their history, just as is everyone else's.
    Recent events in Gaza have served notice that the Obama Administration will not be able to ignore the Israel/Palestine conflict.  Obama has always struck me as an extraordinarily insightful and empathic person.  Trying to force Israel to accept a "solution" will never work.  Israelis will have to feel comfortable that when they make a deal, they are doing so from a position of strength, not weakness.  The lessons of history are hard, and they are indelible.
    Excellent diary.

    •  It's Less A Question of Forcing A Solution (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, Silverbird, Mr Horrible

      Than it is a question of ending our financial support of the problem.

      •  Not That Simple (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueness, ancblu

        Not going to happen - no US politician is going to cut aid to Israel.  This is not the product of some conspiratorial "Israel Lobby", it is because polls consistently show that there is widespread support for Israel among US voters.  And, I don't think that is simply attributable to pro-Israel propaganda.  Most Americans genuinely sympathize with Israel, primarily because of the Holocaust, but also because the Israeli ideology that I described in my post is quite similar to the "frontier" ideology with which most Americans feel quite comfortable.  Americans see Israel as a nation of John Waynes and Clint Eastwoods, and we like that.
        Beyond the politics, you have to remember that with or without US aid, Israel is one of the most powerful military forces in the world, since it has one of the world's largest nuclear arsenals.  The US definitely has an interest in friendship with Israel.

        •  Step One (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Demena

          Condition all future aid and assistance on Israeli accession to the NPT with full disclosure of prior Israeli nuclear arms proliferation in concert with South Africa and Taiwan in the spirit of what we could call a "Global Nuclear Proliferation Peace and Reconciliation Commission."

          Roll up Pakistan, Korea, and India in the same process.

          Really, the only way out is to think very, very big.

          The institution of a Global Nuclear Weapons Proliferation Peace and Reconciliation Commission as a first step toward a global build-down of nuclear stockpiles might be a big enough concept to move forward.

          Focusing on the details of the various victimological narratives in the Middle East will forever be a way of postponing any and all meaningful and lasting solutions.

    •  the cultural differences (5+ / 0-)

      I agree that Israelis think they must negotiate from a position of what they perceive as strength, but every culture is different. In order to negotiate, the two parties must speak the same language and hold the same ideals. And even the Jewish & Arab cultures, which are more alike than they are different, don't share the same idea of what real strength is. For Arabs, the worst thing in the world is not physical or military weakness but shame. Consider the iconic event of Shiite Islam, for example, when the prophet's grandson was slaughtered by a far superior military force. The grandson is praised for his bravery, in the face of impossible odds, while those who killed him are reviled for their shameful behavior in waging an unfair fight. In the Arab mindset, the Israelis may be strong but they are considered shameful in their behavior and no amount of bombing or military destruction will change that. Israelis are playing from a modern European playbook, with modern ideas of what earns respect, i.e. overwhelming force. Arabs still hold fast to medieval ideas of a code of honor, which transcends war itself.

      I agree that fear of annihilation drives the Israelis and that's what drives their mindset. But fear of dishonor is equally important to Arabs. Until we find negotiators who understand where each side is coming from, we won't have a path to lasting peace.

      Donate to the ACLU. Stand Up for Justice In The Military Commissions Proceedings

      by Valhalla on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:06:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice work, litho (7+ / 0-)

    I will read Burg's book.

    www.bushwatch.net - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:15:33 AM PST

  •  A combo comment (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, RaulVB, juancito, ancblu, NY brit expat

    but first thanks for the diary and the link to the wiki:Pale of Settlement, I'd looked that up before, and was again struck by how far back anti-Jewish behavior has gone recorded, that there were the actions in Tsarist Russia that in their way were the predecessors for Hitler's more focused and organized hatred and action. In that light, Hitler was one link in a chain that must be broken.
     This link was from 'The American Scholar' and is an article about a German (my people, once again...) who was part of the Chilean torture apparatus. He was caught and tried and convicted.
     It's a start...

    'Thank goodness we Aussies got the criminals and the 'mericans got the Puritans."

    by KenBee on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:17:16 AM PST

  •  Litho, thank you for writing this excellent and (13+ / 0-)

    thoughtful diary. Elkana's statement (cited by Burg and you)

    "Two people emerged from Auschwitz," wrote Professor Yehuda Elkana, a wise man, a Shoah survivor, and an early mentor to me, "a minority that claims 'this will never happen again,' and a frightened majority that claims 'this will never happen to us again'" (pp. 155-56).

    encapsulates exactly what I have believed since I was in Hebrew High School and they showed us a picture of the IDF "cleaning out a nest of terrorists." I was 14 years old and having lost a large part of our extended family to the holocaust (only 1 cousin survived Auschwitz, 2 others managed to escape with their baby through Switzerland) and having seen the Nazi's film of the final solution "Night and Fog", the only thing I could think of was that we have learned the wrong lessons from the holocaust. I concluded back then that the enemy was not the German people, but rather it was fascism and racism.  We were so terrified (and guilt-ridden for surviving) that when we said "Never Again" we didn't extend it to everybody.

    Thanks you once again for sharing your family history and stories and this diary!

  •  Thank you for writing this (7+ / 0-)

    I've read the stories of distant relatives and family friends who survived the Holocaust. These stories brought home for me a theme that seldom seems to get much attention: Most Jews who survived often had no home to return to. Some of their houses were destroyed, some were taken over by non-Jews who refused to give them up. Some Jews tried to re-build their lives in their former homes, only to be driven out by their former neighbors.

    It wasn't just the deaths of six million that led to the birth of Israel; it was the need for the survivors to find a place to call home. In that context, the creation of the state of Israel was not just a moral necessity, but a historical inevitability. But one set of moral needs and inexorable outcomes lead to another; the Palestinians, too, had moral and historical rights to their lands.

    It's easy to say that the problems are caused mainly by one side or the other. It's not much harder to say that both sides are at fault. It may be closer to the truth if we say that neither side is truly at fault, and neither side can claim a moral high ground today. Perhaps with that understanding, the two sides could start to work towards greater respect for each other's needs and rights.

    But I'm not holding my breath.

    Be the change that you wish to see in the White House.

    by Nowhere Man on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:19:32 AM PST

    •  something else (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ancblu

      It wasn't just the deaths of six million that led to the birth of Israel; it was the need for the survivors to find a place to call home.

      Remember that the League of Nations had approved a "Jewish National Home in Palestine" for Jews back in the 1920s. Although the language of the Mandate doesn't specifically say so, the clear un-hidden agenda of the Zionists at that time was a sovereign Jewish state. This was before anyone had ever heard of Hitler.

    •  I was appalled (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, Nowhere Man, ancblu

      when reading my grandparents' memoirs, at the difficulty they had finding a country to take them after the war.  Going back to Poland wasn't an option for them (they had been living in the Ukraine towards the end of the war, masquerading as non-Jews, and escaped to Germany before the Iron Curtain fell).  My grandfather would have had no trouble if he were alone -- lots of countries wanted able-bodied workers -- but he had a wife and two young daughters and that seemed to be a sticking point.  America wouldn't take them.  Nor would Canada.  For a while they thought Venezuela would take them, but that fell through.  Eventually, they ended up in Australia.  I'm not sure why they didn't go to Palestine -- my grandfather was a Zionist before the war, but after rescuing my grandmother during the war, I think they just wanted to get the hell out of Europe altogether.

  •  Who owns it? (5+ / 0-)

    The dead own it.

    Their survivors own it as well, handed down to them as a reminder.  Their children own it as well.

    The Germans own it, but not a piece they are particularly proud of.  And many European nations own it as well, for their being complicit.  And many nations such as ours own a piece to, for not doing enough to reduce the damage.

    •  And do we not all own it? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, Demena, Johnny Q

      We live in the world that has become because of it.

      The Holocaust's legacy has created today's world - the world I live in, you live in, the Palestinians live in, the Israelis live in, the Iranians live in, the Taliban live in, the scheming terrorists that caused 9/11 live in.

      You really cannot separate anything as momentous as the Holocaust or any other genocides with what is happening today because they all have shaped and created our world.

      •  No, they just "rent" it (0+ / 0-)

        because when they no longer need it, they'll just go somewhere else.

        •  I think you missed the point. (0+ / 0-)

          I'll try again.

          I was not in New York when the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11/2001. Yet, my world has been affected by the events of that day. Thus, though my experiences are different from someone who has firsthand knowledge of the events, we both "own" 9/11 because it has shaped our world.

          Same for the Holocaust.

  •  Ukraine (7+ / 0-)

    is rarely mentioned..and it should be..

    As of March 2008, the parliament of Ukraine and many governments of other countries have recognized the actions of the Soviet government as an act of genocide. The joint declaration at the United Nations in 2003 has defined the famine as the result of cruel actions and policies of the totalitarian regime that caused the deaths of millions of Ukrainians, Russians, Kazakhs and other nationalities in the USSR. In 2008 the European Parliament has recognized the Holodomor as a crime against humanity.

    Crimes against humanity continue to be dismissed today. We know who they are that do these things..Congo comes to mind..who cares..they are up to 4 MILLION...we continue to do what we do best..kill each other. I don't think any one group should be singled out. It is the human condition.

    Think Tank. "A place where people are paid to think by the makers of tanks" Naomi Klein.

    by ohcanada on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:25:37 AM PST

  •  The Holocaust is not unique (8+ / 0-)

    in the existence of hate, suffering, or genocide.  It is, however, unique in its mechanized efficiency, as well as the ghastly and perverse efficiency with which it was recorded.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Two Days per Bottle.

    by dhonig on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:42:45 AM PST

  •  What do you mean, "the" holocaust? (21+ / 0-)

    First off, I've rec'd this diary and applaud litho for contributing it. However, I would be remiss in honoring the memory of my own ancestors (great great grandma was a full-blood Cherokee) if I didn't point out that this diary is talking about "the" holocaust, as if the world's greatest holocaust of all time, the extermination of 12-15 million native Americans in North America and maybe another 25-50 million in South America, totaling perhaps 100 million over 500 years, has been mentioned once in the comments. This is just emblematic of ongoing denial and displacement of the mother of all genocides, which of course is disappeared from history because the "good guys" committed it.

    Noam Chomsky, as usual, put it best:

    Take the original sin of American history: what happened to the native population. It's a remarkable fact that until the 1960s the culture simply couldn't come to terms with it. Not at all. When I grew up, I would go out with my friends and we'd play cowboys and Indians and shoot the Indians. Scholarship was the same. Until the 1960s, with very rare exceptions, academic scholarship was grossly falsifying the history, suppressing the reality of what happened. Even the number of people was radically falsified. As late as 1969, in one of the leading diplomatic histories of the United States, the author Thomas Wally could write that after the Revolution "the colonists turned to the task of felling trees and Indians." Nobody could say that now. You couldn't even say that in a Wall Street Journal editorial. Those are really important changes.

    Just sayin'.

    As an aside, Noam Chomsky's wife of nearly 60 years and fabulous educator, Carol Chomsky, recently passed away. My thoughts and prayers go out to brother Noam.

    "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

    by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:52:18 AM PST

  •  Very thought-provoking diary, thank you. n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Pris from LA, ancblu, NY brit expat
  •  Evocative and provocative diary. Congratulations (5+ / 0-)

    This is a subject -- a dialogue -- that can become quickly polemical. It almost forces us to take sides in the discussion, and that very act of separating is the problem you address. Incredibly complex questions, with no facile answer. All sides in this discussion are right.

    If we're discussing Holocaust stories or Jewish suffering, it feels like an outsider such as your wife is just saying "Y'know, we have pain, too" -- that accomplishes 2 things, neither good. For the Jews there it sets your wife apart as an outsider, and one diminishing their incomparably horrible experience. For those like your wife, it defines them as an outsider, and one whose own pain is being diminished by the Jews.

    It's a divide that seems impossible to bridge. I've been wondering about Burg since I read the NYTimes profile earlier this month. I don't agree with him on everything -- at least, based on 3rd party accounts of his book, which I must read for myself. But, he certainly raises questions that need answering. Not just about the universality of experience.

    The question isn't whether Israel must act whenever there are signs of genocide in progress. Israel is a tiny nation, and not remotely capable of affecting any of those situations. The real question he asks is whether Jews can justify violence against others, based up on the

    "'this will never happen to us again'"

    mantra. I don't think the answer to that question is as obvious as folks on both sides seem to think it is.

    It's one that Israelis will have to face in the next election, and the months that follow. Kadima/Labor has shown it's willing to fight. Now, the question is whether the Israeli voters will allow that coalition to make peace, if the opportunities present themselves.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:03:35 AM PST

  •  Fantastic diary, thank you. (6+ / 0-)

    So much to think about.  

    Well worth a second read.

  •  We must all learn from human suffering (9+ / 0-)

    To me, it is the worst of all possible sins to say, "Well, my suffering is unique, so I don't have to pay attention to YOUR suffering..." or "Your oppression is very different, and doesn't apply to me or the situation I support.."

    - We as a nation will never recognize the systematic extermination of hundreds of thousands of natives of the North American continent. We talk about Germany and Japan recognizing their guilt and their sins, yet we as a nation will not recognize our own.

    - We were all so appauled when Rwanda happened. But then, golly gee, within recent memory we as a world community let the same things go on Darfur.

    - In many countries, gays and lesbians are tortured and murdered but even the US won't sign a UN directive calling for the legalization of homosexuality to stop the killing

    - The world slave trade is bigger than it ever is in human history.

    - We rant against human rights abuses in Iraq because it suits us politically, but remain relatively silent on some Burma, Zimbabwe and even justify them when committed by our allies: Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan

    - Even on this board, I've heard several African American commenters say: Being gay is not the same as being a black slave, don't even make the comparison. Well what about being black vs. being a Jew? I could also say, "But 8 million blacks were not exterminated at concentration camps" and then can turn around and say, yes, but even conservative estimates have Stalin's death toll at 15 million..
    So it's an endless circle

    There is no point in writing history if people only see it as a snapshot in time. We must learn from it. If you don't see the parallels, that doesn't mean they don't exist. This applies to the gay guy who is a racist, the Jew who fails to see other genocides, the Native American who is rabidly homophobic. We must all work together to make a better world and part of this means acknowledging forms of suffering which do not immediately relate to our own situation. It is our duty to learn the lessons of suffering and to apply them in situations even where A does not equal B but perhaps C. And if your group, whatever it is, truly DOES get the prize of being the most oppressed group of all, then you have a SPECIAL RESPONSIBILTY to show more empathy for others. If you claim no one else can possibly understand the depth of YOUR suffering, you must have a unique perspective on all suffering, so you musty show the most empathy of all.

    Until Obama does something tangible for the GLBT community, beyond pretty speeches, he is just "All-Talk Barack"

    by gladkov on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:09:07 AM PST

    •  Can't let this pass... (0+ / 0-)

      We as a nation will never recognize the systematic extermination of hundreds of thousands of natives of the North American continent.

      Yeah, and only about 2800 Iraqis have been killed by the US invasion/occupation. That statement is a result of centuries, not just decades, of native American holocaust denial and distortion. There's a link in my original post that will set you straight.

      Peace and love,
      poemworld

      "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

      by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:59:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um..I really don't need to be "set straight" (0+ / 0-)

        I understand that up to 1 million Iraqis have died in this conflict. But that changes nothing about MY point that it is not productive to say, "Group A has suffered more than group B" but rather "How can I learn from ALL of this suffering to be more empathetic to all?"
        I really don't get your point or why I have to be "set straight," I see nothing inaccurate in my post.

        Until Obama does something tangible for the GLBT community, beyond pretty speeches, he is just "All-Talk Barack"

        by gladkov on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:31:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just the magnitude of slaugher, that's all nt (0+ / 0-)

          "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

          by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:50:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So you've understood NOTHING of what I said (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            viscerality

            6 million Jews were slaughtered. 15 million in Stalin's camps. So you could just as easily say, "The holocaust was nothing compared to the numbers who died in Stalin's slaughter"
            Does that make sense? Or how about people LEARN the lessons of all human suffering even if it doesn't relate exactly to their own suffering. The numbers game is ultimately silly, if you could even discount the holocaust by using just figures alone.

            You just don't get it.

            Until Obama does something tangible for the GLBT community, beyond pretty speeches, he is just "All-Talk Barack"

            by gladkov on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:02:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Takes one to know one, bub nt (0+ / 0-)

              "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

              by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:03:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Um..how about answering the question (0+ / 0-)

                How is the numbers game a logical measure of suffering? Your original post kind of belittled the numbers of native Americans lost, saying the Iraqi losses were more. And I responded that, according to that logic, the holocaust is not significant compared to the Stalinist purges.
                Instead of being outraged, why not explain to me why you feel you wanted to point out the "scale of the slaughter" when the whole point of this diary, Mr. Burg's book and this comment is that suffering is different. Breaking it down to a numbers game is not productive. It is instead about learning about different kinds of suffering and developing empathy for it.

                Until Obama does something tangible for the GLBT community, beyond pretty speeches, he is just "All-Talk Barack"

                by gladkov on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:10:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So I guess you're down with holocaust denial (0+ / 0-)

                  as long as those loathsome scum who do it stick to fabricating (or in your case, just not knowing, as witnessed by your very own post) the numbers.

                  My sarcastic response about Iraqi mortality was 1) citing what a fairly recent poll said was a typical American's belief of what the death toll due to US actions is; and 2) to compare and contrast your woefully lowball number of native American deaths as similar to the Iraqi death toll as believed by a typical American. I don't know if you're an American, but your beliefs are typical. I hope that clears up that misunderstanding.

                  Did you read my earlier comments on this diary? That may be where we derailed each other.

                  Finally, numbers matter. They always have and they always will. Currently, Israelis are murdering 100 Palestinians for every one Israeli murdered by Palestinians. Numbers matter my friend. You have to get them right. There is no choice.

                  "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

                  by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:18:05 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Whose putting words in who's mouth now? (0+ / 0-)

                    Gee, now I'm a holocaust denier? Fascinating. Yes, I was not in a concentration camp, I also was not a native American. So what is your point exactly? You won't let go of this idea that one form of suffering must be the ULTIMATE one.
                    And what numbers am I fabricating? Would you like to make a thousand dollar wager that the number of people lost in Stalin's camps go anywhere from 15 to 30 million people. Would you like me to show you 1000 scholarly works which make that claim?

                    You seem to love the name calling. "MY beliefs are typical.." What exactly are my beliefs? You know me so well. I think the death of 1 million Iraqis is a genocide, I think the holocaust is a genocide, I think Rwanda is a genocide. What exactly is your point?

                    Can you claim that you have the universal key to understanding suffering? You seem to keep saying, I lack some fundamental understanding of one group that suffered. So I can assume you were a native American in a concentration camp who was almost anihilated for being a Tutsi..

                    Yes, numbers matter. I agree with you 100% regarding the Israelis and Palestinians. My point is just it is not productive to diminish the suffering of ONE group based on numbers alone. The holocaust was a horrible thing, among the worst in human history. But if you were a native tribe and your people were wiped out, is it so important to rub it in their face and say, "Your suffering was LESS, less significant!"

                    Until Obama does something tangible for the GLBT community, beyond pretty speeches, he is just "All-Talk Barack"

                    by gladkov on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:28:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  OK, gladkov, you asked for it, here it is... (0+ / 0-)

                      First, you wrote:

                      Your original post kind of belittled the numbers of native Americans lost, saying the Iraqi losses were more. And I responded that, according to that logic, the holocaust is not significant compared to the Stalinist purges.

                      I addressed your misunderstanding upthread. You can also read my very first comment on this diary here. I was returning insult for insult. Not "turn the other cheek" behavior, but I'm not Jesus. You, however, seem to have an irony deficiency.

                      Second, you wrote:

                      You won't let go of this idea that one form of suffering must be the ULTIMATE one.

                      Actually, it's my perception that some, not all, Jews, seem to think that they're the only ones who been subjected to genocide. I reacted particularly to the phrase "'the' holocaust". I was reminding folks that the virtual blueprint for the shoah (that's a perfectly acceptable phrase; Palestinians have the Arabic term Al-Mahraqa) was the native American genocide in the Western Hemisphere, not just North America as you mentioned. My point is exactly the reverse of what you think it is.

                      Third, you wrote:

                      You seem to love the name calling. "MY beliefs are typical.." What exactly are my beliefs?

                      I will take it that your belief is (or was, I hope) that there was "the systematic extermination of hundreds of thousands of natives of the North American continent." Your words. Do you own them? It was that statement that I commented. You seem awfully sensitive to accurate criticism. Oh, and I DO like calling names ;)

                      Fourth, you wrote:

                      Can you claim that you have the universal key to understanding suffering? You seem to keep saying, I lack some fundamental understanding of one group that suffered. So I can assume you were a native American in a concentration camp who was almost anihilated for being a Tutsi..

                      I never have claimed that and never will. Nor have I claimed that you "lack some fundamental understanding of one group that suffered." I said you got the numbers wrong. I corrected the record, that's all. Doing that has seemed to make you slightly unhinged. Your problem, not mine. And no, you can't make silly assumptions like that.

                      Fifth, you wrote:

                      Yes, numbers matter. I agree with you 100% regarding the Israelis and Palestinians. My point is just it is not productive to diminish the suffering of ONE group based on numbers alone. The holocaust was a horrible thing, among the worst in human history. But if you were a native tribe and your people were wiped out, is it so important to rub it in their face and say, "Your suffering was LESS, less significant!"

                      Ah, you've made progress from your earlier statement about "How is the numbers game a logical measure of suffering?" Thank you for finally agreeing with me. But then you ruin by writing "it is not productive to diminish the suffering of ONE group based on numbers alone." I've never diminished the suffering of Jews and others in the shoah. Quite to the contrary, I think, if you actually read what I've written in this diary. Your statement that, "The holocaust was a horrible thing, among the worst in human history." Exactly my point. But much of what I read states implicitly, if not explicitly, that "the" holocaust was "the" worst, if not "the" only genocide in human history. All I'm doing is making the apparently politically incorrect statement that the Jews aren't the only people in history to have suffered and been horribly abused and mass murdered. Add to that my point downthread about what I believe is the genetic origin of the shoah is the genocide of native Americans, North and South, and I guess some must think I'm a skunk at the garden party if not the turd in the punchbowl. That's cool.

                      Finally, please don't take this personally. There's nothing I like more than an intellectual knife fight. It's just that you brought a spork.

                      Peace, love and have a happy new year, whenever you celebrate it.
                      poemworld

                      "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

                      by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 02:02:52 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well have to go out but (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        poemworld

                        then there is very little here that we actually disagree about. Your point of objection seems to be my figure that several hundred thousand native Americans died. I am willing and able to document that point, on data also provided to me from my coursework from specialists in native American affairs at UC Berkeley.
                        I wouldn't say I'm being particularly unhinged. If you want to see unhinged, read some of my diaries on Rick Warren, that's unhinged.
                        And we both AGREE is on the point, that the holocaust is NOT the ultimate and be all of human suffering, just one for of it, not THE holocaust of all holocausts. But that is why I did not understand your initial point of saying, "Native Americans had less losses than Iraqis" - perhaps I was being dense, but it did not come off as entirely ironic.

                        And where I celebrate? I guess tonight, in Connecicut.

                        Until Obama does something tangible for the GLBT community, beyond pretty speeches, he is just "All-Talk Barack"

                        by gladkov on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 02:10:31 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

            •  And I never said "it doesn't matter" (0+ / 0-)

              Don't you DARE put those words in my mouth.

              "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

              by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:05:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And not putting words in your mouth (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                poemworld

                Never said you said that or think that. I'm saying, by going by numbers alone, the holocaust was less significant than Stalin's purge. It's not you I'm critisizing, it's the hypocrisy of virtually every group who has suffered to say, "Well, my suffering is different and doesn't apply to your situation.." or "Your suffering is less than mine.."

                Until Obama does something tangible for the GLBT community, beyond pretty speeches, he is just "All-Talk Barack"

                by gladkov on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:12:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  hate creates hate (6+ / 0-)

    We all need a mandatory class on genocide - is there any culture that has not used its own pain and fear as an excuse to try to destroy another?

    Does getting past our bloody history require we  identify ourselves as human, rather than "fill in your ethnic/religious/gender association here?"

    I'm still struggling with the right questions to ask.

  •  Owning the Holocaust is not about Israel (14+ / 0-)

    Great diary, very thoughtful.

    I grew up among not only survivors but also veterans of the Partisan resistance, people who carried the memory of family and friends who died in the ghettos, the extermination camps and fighting the Nazis. These people were not Zionists, in fact many were ant-Zionists, believing that a just and pluralistic society was the future, rather than a Jewish state.

    The Holocaust is unique in its scale and its calculation and in its industrial methods and efficiency. While its victims were overwhelmingly Jewish and the purpose was The Final Solution for them, its victims also included a few million Gypsies, homosexuals and other undesirables and deviants from the Nazi ideal. I do not think the word should be used lightly. There has not been anything else like the Holocaust.

    But there has been genocide and to the individual victims of genocide it doesn't matter whether they are part of six million or half a million.

    The Jews I grew up among, and the children like me who not surprisingly are often activists for some sort of change to the world, see the Holocaust as uniquely Jewish but at the same time a fundamental motivation for not allowing genocide to happen to others, and to look for a shenere, besere velt. (That's Yiddish for "a better and more beautiful world.")

    How the government of Israel has or hasn't responded to genocide involving other peoples is something Israelis should debate and try to change. But Israel is a state, a government, and the Holocaust doesn't belong to a government.

    This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

    by itzik shpitzik on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:16:34 AM PST

    •  Please read the comment just above yours... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho

      There has not been anything else like the Holocaust.

      If only that were true. I was denied my history and the truth until I dug it up by myself in adulthood. Discovering the cold-blooded mass murder committed by my nation against my people is a bone-chilling epiphany, let me tell you.

      I don't take what you said personally. But I must disagree on the basis of fact and principle.

      "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

      by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:35:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've read it. And? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Futuristic Dreamer

        You appear to have taken the sentence you've chosen to highlight seriously out of context as to its meaning in my post, so I'd ask you to reread it.

        Since I don't know what your history is I can't really respond to you specifically.

        But for the reasons I stated, I don not think there has been anything like the Nazis in terms of how and why the executed their genocide. If anyone ones the Holocaust, they do.

        This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

        by itzik shpitzik on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:43:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll agree with one thing you wrote... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Silverbird

          and that is that the Nazi holocaust was unique "in its industrial methods and efficiency." That's what you get when you add the internal combustion engine and IBM's data tabulation machines to the effort. It was not, however, unique "in its scale and its calculation." The good ol' USA, preceded by Europe in general, still holds that distinction. And I don't think quoting a sentence that you italicized is taking it "seriously out of context as to its meaning". Please do not insult my intelligence or deprecate my ability to read.

          And there are very good reasons for your not "know[ing] what [my] history is" and that is what Chomsky was talking about.

          Let's not get into an argument about whose holocaust was bigger than whose. That certainly was not my point, and you'd lose that argument anyway. I just wanted to remind people that Europeans were practicing genocide and holocaust well before WWII. IMHO, the Nazi holocaust was a backlash from what happened in the Western Hemisphere. Hitler after all had a huge affinity for America's iconic cowboy. I'm old enough to have played "cowboys and Indians" and I'm sickened to realize that I could have just as easily been playing "nazis and Jews" given different history and birthplace.

          I hope this answers your question.

          "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

          by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:56:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  For a very good set of essays... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pris from LA

    on this subject, try Probing the Limits of Representation, ed. by Lowenberg.

    Is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears' poncho? - Frank Zappa

    by JoesGarage on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:24:08 AM PST

  •  Amazing (7+ / 0-)

    Just a wonderful diary, from the sentiment to the style.

    I sympathize a great deal with your experience.  I've spent too many nights arguing with my Jewish family that our suffering is not unique, and that we are by no definition only victims.  History has trained us to be on our guard, I only wish the lesson the world (and the Jewish people learned) could be applied every day.

  •  Another outstanding Diary litho (7+ / 0-)

    The pure evil that lingers in a place like Dauchu is still palpable for all who visit it, as I did a couple of years ago.

    Back in 1975, I wrote a college paper about Pinochet´s bloody coup in Chile, and just I revisited it again while reading ¨The Shock Doctrine¨.

    We all need to learn from the unpleasant lessons of history big and not so big in order to avoid the pitfalls we face in the present. We live in a world full of moral complexities where the choices we must make are seldom cast in pure black or pure white.  

    (¯`*(¯`*-INAUGURATE-*'¯)*'¯)

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:43:04 AM PST

  •  Excellent Diary .... thank you (5+ / 0-)

    I truly appreciate this crucial insight that broader recognition of the universality of human tragedy might be the more effective means of reducing its occurrence. Who suffered more arguments are extremely polarizing not simply because they invariably produce a minimization of the experience of others but also because they bring the risk of self-justification for conduct and behavior that itself contravenes accepted laws and standards.  

    By metric can any suffering by depravity be greater than any other?  Each of the 30,000 victims of institutionalized torture under the Pinochet regime do have an equal claim as victim of the grossest forms of human barbarism as each of the 6 million Jews who suffered and died in the Shoah. In matters of scale, 20 million Russians were killed in the Stalinist Purges of the 1930's, after some 3 and 9 million were killed in WWI and the Russian Civil War respectively and before some 55 million were killed in WWI -- a two generation period in which the total population of the Soviet Union ranged from 185 million in 1917 to 181 million in 1950. This certainly does not equate in percentages to the 2 out of every 3 European Jews who died in the Shoah, however the toll in both cases do stagger the mind's ability to comprehend fully the sheer magnitude.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    http://users.erols.com/...

    http://www.tacitus.nu/...

    Rome is burning ... put down the fiddle.

    by ancblu on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 11:59:58 AM PST

    •  For sheer magnitude (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fhcec, Pris from LA, ancblu

      look at China:

      An Lushan Revolt & Civil War (756-763 CE) about 36 million (I saw a reference to a census that reported a population drop from 53 million to 17 million -- when the total world population was between 200 and 250 million!)

      Mongol invasions (13th century) 35 million

      Manchu invasions (17th century) 25 million

      Taiping revolt and civil war (mid 19th century) 20-30 million

      Japanese occupation (mid 20th century) about 20 million

      Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) 20-40 million

      Cultural Revolution (1966-1977) 400,000 to several million

  •  Why I think the Nazi Holocaust is Different (11+ / 0-)

    I think Hannah Arendt kind of nailed in her book "The Banality of Evil".  Yes, there have been holocausts before, but it was the efficiency and the systemic nature of it carried about the Nazis that I think kind of sends a chill.  It seemed to be more a genocide carried out by beauracrats as opposed to magalomaniacs. It actually dehumanizes it, making it seem like the holocaust was the result of regular folks just "doing their job", instead of having a true idealogical backbone to iot.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin

    by Gangster Octopus on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:03:09 PM PST

    •  I do think that is the frightening thing (6+ / 0-)

      about the Holocaust.  It was carried out by regular folks just doing their job.  The train engineers, the neighbors who did not ask questions about what was happening to the trainloads of people going by into a camp, the educated technicians who experimented on and developed the chemicals used in the gas chambers, regular German military who where not part of the Gestapo -- they were only doing their jobs, doing what their superiors asked them do to.  I realized that any of us could have been a part of something like this and it could only too easily happen again.  

      ...do the elites...actually believe that society can be destroyed by anyone except those who lead them? - John Ralston Saul -

      by Silverbird on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:28:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The essence of the Nazi state, uncomfortably... (6+ / 0-)

      similar to the bush administration.

      It seemed to be more a genocide carried out by beauracrats as opposed to magalomaniacs.

      Not to any degree of systematic genocide, but when I saw mid-level functionaries like Schlossman and dozens of others, the resemblance was too close for comfort.

      If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible...tonight is your answer.

      by Azdak on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:36:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The US culture turned native American genocide (7+ / 0-)

      into a children's game! Cowboys and Indians. Throw in socially acceptable lynchings of African-Americans and others and you have multigenerational institutional genocide and fascism as state/church/business policy of white Americans.

      Please people, can we stop this grotesque pissing match between holocausts? The historical ignorance and moral blindness is truly nauseating. The USA showed Nazis how to do it. The Nazis had the advantage of industrialization and Euro-American elite assistance to get underway quickly and efficiently. The only thing they did wrong was piss off Big Business. Can we all remember that the US was pretty much not giving a shit at all about Jews, et alia, until well after 1941?

      Sheesh.

      "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

      by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:49:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  this has been noted in Rwanda as well (0+ / 0-)

      that the perpetrators got up every day and went about " the work" of exterminating the "cockroaches" as if they were going out to plow the fields.

  •  "genocide in Kosovo" (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this diary.

    I just have to say that "genocide in Kosovo" was never shown to have happened.  It was propaganda to justify bombing Serbia.  This is not to say the bombing was not right or that what the Serbs were doing was not wrong.  That's a different discussion.  But the word "genocide" should not lightly be used.    

    •  Are you telling me that the reports (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lib Dem FoP

      of Serbs actively searching out Bosnians,  summarily executing them, and burying their bodies in mass graves was all fiction?

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 07:54:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you telling me you don't know the difference (0+ / 0-)

        between Kosovo and Bosnia, and the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbia Serbs?  And between 1995 and 1999?

        The International Court of Justice did not find that Serbia (the country we bombed in 2000) was guilty of genocide in Bosnia in 1995, but criticized that country for not doing more to stop genocide by the Bosnian Serbs.

        Milosevic was not charged with genocide for what happened in Kosovo in 1998-99.  Milosevic was indicted by the ICTY while we were bombing Serbia.
        He was not convicted because he died.  It's too bad the Kosovo and Bosnia indictments were joined, because the Kosovo charges could have been resolved if handled separately.  The trial was not going so well for the prosecution, because the facts about Kosovo were a lot greyer than we were told by William Cohen in March 1999.  And as for the Bosnia indictment, the ICJ decision suggests that Milosevic would not have been found guilty for what the Bosnian Serbs did.

        Are you really this uninformed?  Can you get your mind around the idea that a Democratic administration may have lied as much as Bush did?  
        Do you know that John Yoo's best argument about Iraq in his debate with Phillipe Sands was Kosovo?  Did you know that Richard Holbrooke wrote in the Washington Post just before the Iraq invasion that Bush shouldn't worry about getting U.N. approval, saying that Clinton didn't worry about that before attacking Serbia.  

        Please don't respond until you learn the facts.  At the very least, learn the place and time of the events.

        The use of the phrase "genocide in Kosovo" is ignorant and irresponsible.  It's war propaganda, and "humanitarian intervention" should not be based on falsehoods.  I maintain that is true even assuming the bombing brought good results.  

        Mark my words - "humanitarian intervention" will be back in vogue under Obama.  People with superficial knowledge like you will swallow it whole, thinking you are being moral.

  •  Thank you for this thoughtful diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, fhcec, jennylind, ancblu

    The other term for what Arno Mayer called the "Judeocide," ( in Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?, a thought-provoking book) is in Yiddish,  der khurbn, which is referential to the earlier destruction of the temple.

    The German genocide against the Jews had a number of unique features, that deserve careful study. I recommend Raul Hilberg's The Destruction of the European Jews.  
    http://www.amazon.com/...

    (Link is to the one-volume summary-- there is a three volume version that is definitive and well worth reading)

    But I agree that it is time to challenge the attempt by some Jews and others who are deeply committed to Israel, to psychically wall off der khurbn from every other episode of genocide, mass murder and oppression.

    I want to point that Israel's complicity is not just through silence-- that it has been an active partner of imperialism. I should say that this does not mean that Israel has no right to exist as a country, but its ties to Western imperialism go deep. Just think how history might have taken a different course if Israel had supported Algerian independence and opposed the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt.

    Although it is hard to get specifics, Israel's government and military provided assistance to right-wing military regimes in latin America-- I'm thinking of Guatemala in particular.

    Death squads armed with Galils represented active participation in repression, with Israel as an active surrogate, for when the US had to formally suspend military aid due to human rights violation.

    Human reason is beautiful and invincible --Milosz, Incantation

    by juancito on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:35:00 PM PST

    •  Ties to Western Imperialism (0+ / 0-)

      If you consider the broader picture, the whole project is an imperialist one. It is predicated on the idea that certain powerful nations can decide between themselves how a land mass can be divided up.

      One aspect of this that reached its peak the middle of the last century was that the way to solve political and social divisions was to simply carve up an area and separate the two disputing factions. It was certainly a way of the British divesting themselves of expensive overseas administrating quickly. There are strong parallels in this between the division of India into India and Pakistan and the division of Palestine into a "Jewish State" and "Arab state". In both the dividing lines were drawn with very little regard to the realty on the ground and with the assumption that the two countries would sit down and do the final boundary drawing. In India it was primarily the dichotomy between having a mainly Muslim population in Kashmir but a ruling prince who wished to remain/become part of India. A plebicite was to be held but never has been. In Palestine, there were detailed aspect of the border that needed to be discussed to take account of the route of roads, etc. There is, of course, also the aspect of the mass movement of peoples in both situations.

      The idea was that by separating the two sides would both become strong enough to gain mutual respect. Of course the reality, especially in Pakistan, was that it gave a minority a permanent majority in a smaller part of the whole. This was also the rationale used by the white parties in South Africa (mainly it must be said the Afrikaners)to justify Grand Apartheid. The claim was that by having their own homelands, the different tribes would "separately develop". The reality of course was that the greater majority of the land and the vast majority of the resources were in the hand of the undivided white tribe.

      South Africa is also the significant omission from your list Israeli involvement. There was a very strong link between the Apartheid regime and Israel. There is strong evidence to indicate a jointly organized test of an Israeli nuclear bomb off the coast of South Africa. Certainly there was joint conventional weapons development and probably joint chemical and biological weapons research.

      I really also should point out that it was not only that Israel did not oppose the Suez Canal invasion, they conspired with the British and French to provide an excuse for the operation.  

      Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walked so Barack could run, Barack ran so our children could soar

      by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 04:59:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cambodia 1975-1979 (6+ / 0-)

    the exact years that I was frollicking studying in college in Florida.  Many years later, 1992, I landed a job with a local refugee agency and there I befriended some Cambodians. They stole my heart. I was astonished at my ignorance of what happened there.

    Under Pol Pot's leadership, and within days of overthrowing the government, the Khmer Rouge embarked on an organised mission: they ruthlessly imposed an extremist programme to reconstruct Cambodia (now under its Khmer name Kampuchea) on the communist model of Mao's China. The population must, they believed, be made to work as labourers in one huge federation of collective farms. Anyone in opposition - and all intellectuals and educated people were assumed to be - must be eliminated, together with all un-communist aspects of traditional Cambodian society.

    So, at short notice and under threat of death, the inhabitants of towns and cities were forced to leave them. The ill, disabled, old and very young were driven out as well, regardless of their physical condition: no-one was spared the exodus. People who refused to leave were killed; so were those who didn't leave fast enough, and those who wouldn't obey orders.

    All political and civil rights were abolished. Children were taken from their parents and placed in separate forced labour camps. Factories, schools and universities were shut down; so were hospitals. Lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, scientists and professional people in any field (including the army) were murdered, together with their extended families. Religion was banned, all leading Buddhist monks were killed and almost all temples destroyed. Music and radio sets were also banned. It was possible for people to be shot simply for knowing a foreign language, wearing glasses, laughing, or crying. One Khmer slogan ran 'To spare you is no profit, to destroy you is no loss.'

    People who escaped murder became unpaid labourers, working on minimum rations and for impossibly long hours. They slept and ate in uncomfortable communes deliberately chosen to be as far as possible from their old homes. Personal relationships were discouraged; so were expressions of affection. People soon became weak from overwork and starvation, and after that fell ill, for which there was no treatment except death.

    Also targeted were minority groups, victims of the Khmer Rouge's racism. These included ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai, and also Cambodians with Chinese, Vietnamese or Thai ancestry. Half the Cham Muslim population was murdered, and 8,000 Christians.

    The imposition of a murderous regime always leaves its leaders afraid: afraid of losing power, failing to prevent vengeance, and facing betrayal by ambitious rivals. The Khmer Rouge repeatedly interrogated their own members, imprisoning and executing them on the slightest suspicion of treachery or sabotage.

    Civilian deaths in this period, from executions, disease, exhaustion and starvation, have been estimated at well over 2m.

    source

    Deaths at over 2m, a good 1/4 of the total population of that small country. And all the men pretty much, between the ages of 15 & 45. All.

    Unspeakable horrors.

    Where was the outrage then? and now, with Darfur. and on and on.

    And then...

    In 1998 Pol Pot died of natural causes. His last home in the jungle, a complex of huts and bunkers, which is also the site of his cremation, has become an attraction for visitors. The government has plans to create a fully equipped tourist resort there, in the hope of reviving a trade which had collapsed after the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 2001.

    Whatever you do, or dream, begin it now.. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. ~Goethe

    by Lady Libertine on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:44:00 PM PST

    •  This is a different beast than the Holocaust... (0+ / 0-)

      Pol Pot didn't single out members of his own society for their ethnic or religious background. Similarly, Mao murdered millions (intentionally as well as through incompetence), but didn't single out any group...

      A beast, but a different beast...

      •  Didn't Mao single out the landlords and the... (0+ / 0-)

        wealthy and educated?

        He didn't single out an ethnic group as Hitler did, but he definitely targeted scholars, landowners, and the wealthy and those who remained loyal to them.

      •  You imply that Jews were singled out (0+ / 0-)

        as a point of distinction. I'm sure as you know quite well, other ethnics groups were specifically targeted, as were certain faiths and creeds, political affiliations and many other specifically identifiable classes and groups within the reach of Nazi authority.

        Rome is burning ... put down the fiddle.

        by ancblu on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 01:05:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Cambodia was an eye opening experience for me (8+ / 0-)

      I visited in 2005.  It is very much unlike its neighbors.  The experience of the Pol Pot massacre, the weight of the land mines, the poverty.  When we crossed over from Thailand, there was a drought, but irrigation kept the fields a lush green on the Thai side.  On the Khmer side, not so much.  Brown and dead.  Bombed out portions of roads.  Gas "stations" that consisted of fuel kept on tiny tables in large soda glass bottles.

      It was very disturbing.  And that was before I visited the land mine museum, where young, disabled children who had lost arms and legs to the land mines learned vocational skills, and before I met a young girl while eating lunch at Angkor Wat who spoke over 8 languages almost fluently yet would almost certainly rot in poverty for the rest of her life.

      Sick, sad situation.

      What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

      by Alec82 on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:06:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  book rec for you (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, Alec82, mellowwild

        I do much better with "stories" than I do "reports", generally. This book, which is no longer in print (but probably in the library) was extremely helpful for me to understand it all...

        Spirit of Survival by Gail Sheehy.

        In 1981, while in Thailand researching a news story on the Cambodian refugees, Sheehy interviewed an 11-year-old girl whose family had been annihilated by the Pol Pot regime. She was unable to forget "the little girl who could not cry" and overcame heavy odds to sponsor her to come to America. Sheehy welcomed Mohm as her daughter and began to help her recover her lost childhood. This book is Mohm's story, as she recounts the details of four years of killing that reduced her to terror and apathy. From Mohm's experiences, Sheehy deduces "hallmarks of the victorious personality," a technique of overgeneralization that made her Passages and Pathfinders so popular. Her love for this child and anguish for her people, however, give this book an immediacy that transcends her previous work.

        Whatever you do, or dream, begin it now.. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. ~Goethe

        by Lady Libertine on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:13:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's very interesting (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, mellowwild

          Particularly the part about apathy.  There were some studies of Jewish children who survived the camps that showed a similar phenomenon in the late 1940s, IIRC.  I only remember it being discussed in passing in a book.

          I'll look into Ms. Sheehy's book, thanks.

          What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

          by Alec82 on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:24:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  As someone with Armenian and Jewish roots... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, mayim, Pris from LA, thebluecrayon

    ...I strongly disagree with the notion that Jews in anyway resent Armenian claims of genocide.  It's all strategic, and most will volunteer that; same with Americans who're hesitant about calling the events during WWI a "genocide".

    "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves! Be ye therefore as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves." Matthew 10:16

    by Setrak on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:45:46 PM PST

  •  Forty Days of Musa Dagh--a good read... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho

    I picked up a ratty old paperback copy in a used book store around 1975--I still keep it on the bookshelf.

    It caught my attention because of the author--as a German language and literature major, we had read some of Werfel's poetry and expressionist drama, in addition to his better-known Jacobowsky und der Oberst (Jacobowsky and the Colonel).

    I was struck by the compelling drama of the story, but even more amazed, in retrospect, at how chillingly accurate his descriptions of the deportation techniques used against the Armenians matched those used by the Nazis a few years later. The book was written in 1933 and published in 1934, before the full implemetation of the Nazi program against the Jews.

    If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible...tonight is your answer.

    by Azdak on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:52:28 PM PST

    •  As I understand it, a very small percentage of (0+ / 0-)

      ...Armenians were actually 'murdered'. They were essentially forced to march until they dropped...

      True?

      •  Are they any less dead? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q, Bratislava

        Do it make a difference if someone in a concentration camp was gassed or worked to death?  It's still murder and genocide.

        "Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be kept by understanding." ~Albert Einstein

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 03:54:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's part of the procedure...... (7+ / 0-)

        It's neither quick nor easy to carry out wholesale murder. Rather than go into a lot of detail, I would refer you to Lucy Davidowicz' book The War Against the Jews.

        For logistic, psychological, diplomatic, and technological reasons, the Nazis did not just start rounding people up and sending them to gas chambers.

        To mask their true intentions, they went through a very systematic process of identification, isolation, misinformation, and relocation. Throughout the process, false promises were made, taking advantage of the human desire to want to hope for the best: the ghettos were the end goal, jews were just being relocated to remote societies, the camps were work camps. All along the way, the people were starved, brutalized, and gradually thinned out, so that deaths occurred in a steady stream, but not in huge enough numbers to draw attention. Similar techniques were used against the Armenians (as well as American Indians, among others).

        It wasn't until Germany invaded Russia in 1941-42 that the "Final Solution" kicked into a higher gear. The larger numbers of jews in Poland and Russia made mass exterminations necessary and the relative isolation of the larger death camps, among other things, made it possible.

        If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible...tonight is your answer.

        by Azdak on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:20:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  When I was in Auschwitz, (7+ / 6-)

    as a non-Jew, for the first time, I was beyond shocked to see Israeli soldiers turn up with flags and in uniform and start marching all over the camp in clear military order, singing and with a band. They marched sternly and angrily waving flags, shouting orders in a place that had just seconds ago seemed to me to be hallowed, solemn ground owned by all of humanity with shame.

    At that moment, Auschwitz came alive, and not in a good way. It had been a museum a moment before. Now, it was a military camp once again, only this time the soldiers dominating the place were Jews.

    I came to understand afterward that all IDF soldiers make this pilgrimage and march on Auschwitz in columns and with flags as a part of their training.

    From that moment forward, I've felt as though it is Israel that keeps the Holocaust alive, long after everyone else wishes to throw it on the trash heap of history as a bad idea. Israel needs the Holocaust. The Holocaust is Israel's power. In a very real way, Jews are using their elders' and ancestors' suffering as leverage under the pretense of "never forgetting" the event—leverage to dominate others, maintain military relationships, and justify/declare their infallibility.

    -9.63, 0.00
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from idiotic American minds.

    by nobody at all on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:59:36 PM PST

  •  As German whose parent generation might have had (7+ / 0-)

    its shares of "good Germans" (bystanders) and "bad Germans" (Hitler supporters), there is just one thing in this remarkable diary that triggered amazement in me. The sentence from Burg's chapter 9:

    For the non-Jew, the Shoah [Holocaust] is a chapter among chapters, a trauma among the other European traumas.  It resides in history alongside Napoleon, Versailles, Lenin, Spain, World War I and the divided Germany after World War II.

    I doubt very much that for the post-Hitler, post-WWII, post-Nazi German generation the Holocaust ever was a "chapter among chapters", "a trauma among the other European traumas".

    It was always the master genocide of genocides, unparalleled to others, even with the knowledge of the genocides that happened around the world after the Holocaust. May be what Burg says here is true for the rest of the Europeans, but I doubt it's true for Germans.

    It's also unexplicable to me, why there were quite a couple of Germans (I had an uncle and an aunt on my mother's side), who, as someone else mentioned in the thread before, basically supported Hitler's social policies til they died and that was in the nineties. The rest of the family didn't know what to do with them other than to "declare them a bit ga-ga". But that really doesn't answer the question of why they could support those policies without voicing guilt about the Holocaust. Most Germans I know don't know how to deal with their possible supportive role of Hitler's Nazi policies in their parent or grandparent generation. That makes them helpless and easily irritated. The younger German generation reacts already very angry about generalized accusations of German being this or that and BTW Nazis altogether.

    I still think about the Holocaust being special and unique, mainly because of the precision planning and execution of the "Endloesung" order and the sheer magnitude of it. But then I am aware of the fact that the pain suffered of genocidal policies and its implementation in any form wherever they happen is the same for each person who lives through them.

    In that sense I can agree that it's over already for the younger generation. Today's teenager might not be able to have the same feelings as the ones who remember at least the reactions of people who lived through Holocaus times. What makes the difference is what you personally lived through, remember having learned from close family members and friends, who lived through it and what you just could learn through book.

    It's a great diary and the Burg book is on my "to read next"-list. Thank you.

  •  Jews will never escape the Holocaust (5+ / 7-)

    because they've now more or less become what they hated in order to protect themselves from phantoms.

    You can't get beyond institutionalized mass murder, ghettos, and racism, when you're engaged in those activities yourself.

    You just can't.

    And whether they're Israeli Jews or American Jews... the blood is still way too thick on their hands to start talking about getting "beyond the Holocaust."

    The Holocaust is the reason that blood is there, just like 911 is the reason it's there for the rest of American culture.

    The Holocaust overshadows almost all aspects of Jewish society's relationship to the world around it, and it will for the foreseeable future, because it's how Jews define themselves as a people and as a culture... it's how they divorce "us" from "them;" it's how they legitimize just about any action or attitude they have with people they're at odds with.

    I don't see how Jews get "beyond the Holocaust." It's the single most important way that they define themselves as a people.

    •  Unbelievable that this (6+ / 0-)

      is uprated by anyone.

      As an AMERICAN Jew who never identified with Israel, I am insulted and sickened by your statement that there is blood on my hands.

      disgusting.  

      They, they, they, they, they????????

      I am an AMERICAN Jew. I am not "other" or "us v. them"  

      You are a sickening example of "subtle" anti-semitism.  How dare you blame me for the policies of the leaders of another country just because I share the same religion as them?  (And I really don't, not in their eyes).

      How dare you?  So if I'm a Christian, I bear the blood of the Inquisition and the Crusades?  And if I'm Muslim I bear the blood of Bin Laden's heinous crimes?  

      WTF??

      How in the FUCK do you know how Jews define themselves as a culture?

      You know what?  You DON'T know.  You don't know shit about it, because I am an AMERICAN Jew and I don't identify with or even accept the attitude you have imputed to ALL of us.

      Jerk.

      "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

      by delphine on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:09:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Still steaming over this (6+ / 0-)

      It's the single most important way that they define themselves as a people.

      Oh, really?  And you know this how?  

      and

      it's how they legitimize just about any action or attitude they have with people they're at odds with.

      Oh, really?  Who's "THEY"?  Jews?  That includes me.  So therefore I must think I can do whatever the fuck I please to "people I'm at odds with", right?  

      I may totally disagree with the actions of the Israeli government but that doesn't lead to the conclusion that THEY (all Jews, even American Jews!!!!) have blood on our hands or feel we can legitimize every action, no matter how heinous.

      How ignorant can you and your upraters be?  Most ISRAELIs want an end to the occupation and totally disagree with the militarism of their own government and the mistreatment of Palestinians.  They express it freely.  

      How you took this diary and used it to legitimize your own ignorant generalizations about Jews (ALL of us!!) - really creepy and sad.  

      "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

      by delphine on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:24:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If it makes you feel better, one of them links (0+ / 0-)

        to the CPUSA on their user page.

        "you ought to be ashamed of yourself, person who loves to tell your 'hat story' with OPOL. Grow up."

        by DemocraticLuntz on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:49:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why would that make me feel better? (4+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure.  Actually I'm not sure anything can make me feel better about a world where this sort of shit hits the page and people uprate it.

          I mean, really.  ALL Jews have blood on their hands?  And we all share some sort of "us v them" world view that allows us to commit whatever evil with impunity?

          WTF??

          "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

          by delphine on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:52:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Did you read the diary, delphine? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poemworld

        That's exactly the argument I make.

        And I'll point out the diary has been on the rec list all day...

        •  Well then the diary (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk

          sucks too.

          The point you're making is that ALL Jews, including Americans, define themselves by the holocaust, and being that all of us have blood on our hands (because of the Palestinians), we use the holocaust as an excuse for all sorts of terrible behavior?

          All of us?  

          Really?  We all have blood on our hands just by virtue of being Jewish?  And we all define our lives in the same exact way?  And we are so tied up in the holocaust that we use it to excuse, well, anything we do to "people who oppose us"?

          Really?

          Well then your diary is full of shit, no matter how many recommends it gets.  

          My life is not twisted by the holocaust, I don't define my life by it, don't feel like I have blood on my hands because Sharon or Olmert are warmongers or foolish politicians who DO have blood on their hands, and I NEVER use the holocaust as an excuse for the mistreatment of ANYONE (except maybe Nazis).

          Lumping ALL of anyone into one homogenous group and then ascribing the worst of guilt, behavior and motive to ALL of them, is terrible.  

          I don't give a shit that your diary is recommended.  If that's what you're saying, you're wrong.  And self-hating as well.

          "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

          by delphine on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:32:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So you didn't read the diary? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poemworld

            then why are you commenting in it?

            •  Stop. Just Stop. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              livosh1, shpilk

              I read the diary.  I didn't see any blanket statements of how all Jews are the same, we all have blood on our hands, we all make excuses for terrible behavior towards anyone with which we disagree, because of the holocaust.

              I read it, didn't see anything like that.

              But if that's what you were really saying - not that the holocaust plays a big part in Jewish culture in general, not that your mom or some Jews didn't want to hear about other holocausts, not that some Jews have justified militarism and violence in the name of safety from another holocaust - but that these apply to ALL of us, and we ALL separate ourselves from the rest of humanity, and we ALL think we're entitled to behave badly because of the holocaust -

              then this diary is crap.  

              I didn't see such blatant generalization in your diary.  I read it with an open heart, and therefore must have missed the dark side of it, the painting of an entire ethnic and/or religious group with the same brush.

              The comment I was referring to was naked in its eagerness to cast us all as the same, blood on our hands, nasty to anyone who crosses us, and always falling back on the holocaust as an excuse.

              You were less obvious, I guess.  But if you meant that, then again, you were wrong.  

              "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

              by delphine on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:55:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The diary is about how we define ourselves (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                poemworld, Johnny Q, Bratislava

                in relation to the Holocaust.

                And I do think all Jews everywhere do that -- it's a common reference point for all of us.

                The commenter makes the point, with which I and Burg both agree, that the Holocaust can also be used to justify aggressive actions against others.

                •  Sure, we all relate to the (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  livosh1, shpilk

                  holocaust, as Jews.

                  But we don't all relate to it in the same way, nor do we all think it's the only holocaust that matters, as you imply your mom did.

                  Relating to it and seeing it as the central thing we define ourselves by are two different things.  It is not central to my life in any way.  It's a part of who I am by virtue of some Yungian collective memory because I am a Jew whose family comes from the area and in fact some relatives were interned or lost.

                  And yes, it "can" be used to justify aggressive actions against others.

                  But that wasn't the comment I reacted to.  That comment said all Jews, including American jews, had blood on their hands by virtue of what Israel does.  It said that the holocaust "overshadows every aspect of Jewish society" (apparently I've missed those meetings) and that it's "how Jews define themselves as a people and a culture".  

                  it's how they divorce "us" from "them;" it's how they legitimize just about any action or attitude they have with people they're at odds with.

                  I don't see how Jews get "beyond the Holocaust." It's the single most important way that they define themselves as a people.

                  "They"?  "just about any action or attitude"?  "the single most important way they define themselves"?

                  None of this all inclusive broad brush language bothers you?

                  "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

                  by delphine on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:41:27 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Just Jews? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  livosh1

                  Why can't blacks justify violence against white people, who raped, murdered, enslaved them for centuries, killed them by the millions?

                  It's just Jews who are so morally weak that they must succumb to hysteria every time the Shoah is mentioned.

                  Speak for yourself, that you would justify violence against others based upon such a stupid premise.

                  Not this Jew.

                  I'm not a declared atheist yet.

                  2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

                  by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:57:07 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  OK delphine, I believe there is blood on MY hands (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                litho, Terra Mystica, ancblu, mellowwild

                as an American. I believe there is blood on ALL Americans' hands, whether or not you "identify" with America or not. That's because you and I accept our American privileges yet we've not been able to stop the global killing machine despite our best individual or collective efforts. Also, as democrats in a purported "democracy" we're responsible for what our government does. Further, I believe I have Palestinian blood on my hands, as an American, because their murder is being committed in my name and on my dime. I've written this before on DKos; check my comments. And I believe there is blood on your hands, too, and the blood of the innocent will remain there until we stop our government from killing and subsidizing and enabling killing. Period.

                Now, I disagree with the blanket statements that set you off, but in one way I agree and it's this. You call yourself a Jew; I didn't call you that. Israel calls itself a Jewish state and claims that it is committing its war crimes and crimes against humanity in the name of and on behalf of Jews. As a good Jew, therefore, isn't it your responsibility to do more than "not identify with Israel"? As an American, I detest what is being done in MY name and on MY behalf, and I struggle against it in every way I can. Why can't you? Finally, I am quite comfortable accepting criticism about America, about being criticized as an American, and being reminded of my responsibility as an American for America's behavior. That's because I AM an American. Again, what's your problem doing the same as a Jew?

                I don't think litho is wrong, either.

                Rabbi Hillel said it best:

                If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?

                Amen, sermon over.

                In peace, love and solidarity,
                poemworld

                "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

                by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 07:53:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, the difference is (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  delphine, thebluecrayon

                  number one ..

                  Defining and making value judgments on a whole religion [or nation, or race for that matter] is regnant and is the worst form of bigotry.

                  Ethnic groups of people are offended when they are treated to stereotypes about what they supposedly all eat, all wear, all listen to for music.

                  This is WORSE. This is presuming to know what the core belief system of a particular human being is, based upon their membership in a specific group.

                  It's beyond horrific that anyone who calls themselves liberal or progressive would EVER make these types of arguments.

                  2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

                  by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:09:50 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You've just abnegated your moral responsibility (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ancblu

                    as a human being. I was largely speaking of my own sense of moral responsibility as a self-identified member of a group and asking why delphine couldn't or wouldn't do the same. Like it or not, human beings are moral agents, both individually and collectively. We make moral judgments, both individually and collectively, about ourselves and others. Principles such as "universality" are applicable across the range, if you're willing to participate in the moral universe, that is.

                    Further, please read my comments and tell me where I made any statements about "what the core belief system of a particular human being is, based upon their membership in a specific group" or where I made statements that "treated [Jews or anyone else] to stereotypes about what they supposedly all eat, all wear, all listen to for music. I haven't and won't.

                    shpilk, your argument is confused, your logic skewed and your evidence non-existent. I find your statements to be a particularly noxious and offensive (and failed) attempt at moral intimidation. Sad and pathetic really. Better luck next time.

                    "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

                    by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:26:13 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No, the logic is fine (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      shpilk, thebluecrayon

                      You're just not applying it to the entirety of the diary and/or thread.  No, YOU didn't say some of those things, but the original comment did, and the diarist then said his diary meant the same thing.

                      The comment said the thing about the core belief system.  I thought the diary was more personal, but then when I was offended by the comment which was a broad stroke indictment of Jews around the world having blood on their hands so thick that the holocaust not only defined their whole way of being but made it impossible to think differently, and finally becomes a way to justify heinous behavior.

                      None of that applies to me.  

                      It is YOUR comment that is offensive, in that it cherrypicks the actual comments both in the diary and in this thread, and since YOU didn't say the ones Shpilk refers to, you throw out his whole argument as specious.

                      The comment I responded to, and thus that Shpilk refers to, in fact DOES paint all Jews with the same broad brush (while not mentioning anything about other groups that also happen to be American, to bring up your point that Americans also have blood on their hands by virtue of the gov't).

                      I do not define my existence by the holocaust except in an abstract way (an awareness, not particular behavior).  I don't consider the holocaust an excuse for any sort of bad behavior on anyone's part.  I don't think of myself as "us" v. "you" or separate - I consider myself an American.  And I don't feel I have blood on my hands because of what a "Jewish" nation does.  

                      And the diarist also tries to say that Israel only cares about the holocaust of the Jews, but in a separate comment I pointed out that Israel has offered medical assistance including surgery in Israel, built orphanages, and extended citizenship to victims of genocide in Rwanda and Darfur.  Israel took in Vietnamese boat people in the 70's and sent aide into Ethiopia back then also.

                      To claim that there is some universal "Only our holocaust matters and it colors everything we say and do and excuses any and every behavior" mindset among Jews is insulting.  And wrong.  It's what the comment said, and what the diarist then said he was also saying.

                      "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

                      by delphine on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:32:29 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Holy reaction formation Batman! (0+ / 0-)

                        I'll get back to your reply after the new year, delphine. It's thoughtful and deserves a thoughtful reply, though I will tell you now that I disagree.

                        Now, PARTY TIME!

                        "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

                        by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:37:50 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Bigotry in any form is reprehensible. (0+ / 0-)

                      Sorry you cannot get that concept; I'm responding in context of what the diary is about, and how Burg assumes to know what's inside MY head, delphine's head and every Jew's head.

                      To imply, as Burg does, that all Jews are necessarily hardwired to respond the same way to a particular event is a dangerous form of bigotry.

                      It's shallow, and it follows in the same steps of the worst stereotypes used by disgusting pigs of the right.

                      It's an appeal to bigotry.

                      It's a travesty and shameful to see it lauded like some damn oracle on a supposedly progressive website.

                      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

                      by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:52:31 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Being on the rec list all day like some (0+ / 0-)

          sort of a fucking badge?

          That it makes bigotry OK in the progressive blogosphere?

          That somehow Jews are the root cause of a problem, and only if THEY change, everything is going to be OK?

          I've stepped through the fucking looking glass.

          2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

          by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:39:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  you, litho, are a bigot (1+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            shpilk
            Hidden by:
            Balam

            and you uprate bigoted comments as well.

            you have the audacity to claim all jews relate the same way to the holocaust (as if they're some huge amoeba) just so you can score your stupid little anti-israel points?

            have you ever met a mizrahi jew? do you think they share your narrow-minded mother's views on the holocaust?

            jesus.

    •  That sentiment strikes me as being (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poemworld, Johnny Q

      pretty much in line with what Burg argues in his book.  He also says, however, that we must get beyond it and that we can.  When we do, we'll lay the foundation for an entirely new set of social relations to govern the world.

    •  Yup, it's those damn pesky Jews again. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thebluecrayon

      If they'd only change, or maybe if they just all went away, everything would be much, much better for everyone else.

      I get it.

      I get all of it.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:43:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Infamous minds think alike (6+ / 0-)
    He opens the chapter with Hitler's infamous quote "Who remembers the Armenian Holocaust today?" which he is reported to have said in justification of launching the Final Solution.

    John Bolton, Bush's Permanent US Representative to the UN, along similar lines:

    "In 100 years people aren't going to remember Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib, they're going to remember 9/11 and Bush's reaction to it."

    Accountability moment, my ass!

    by orthogonal on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:21:44 PM PST

  •  Von Trotha’s Ghosts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    Von Trotha’s written goal was: ‘I believe that the [Herero] nation as such should be exterminated.’4 He stated: ‘The exercise of violence and crass terrorism and even with gruesomeness was and is my policy. I destroy the African tribes with streams of blood and streams of money. Only following this cleansing can something new emerge, which will remain.’5

  •  Hannah Arendt Reminded Us (11+ / 0-)

    That the evils of Nazism are not so horrifying because they are unique, but because they are so usual.

    You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

    by bink on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:32:17 PM PST

  •  I want to see this film I heard about today: (0+ / 0-)

    Dalai Lama Renaissance

    seems pertinent to this discussion...

    why must there be a we vs. them?

    why cannot it be simply "we"?

    Hope finds a voice... OBAMA

    by marjo on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:33:35 PM PST

    •  Competition for scarce resources. It's 'better' (0+ / 0-)

      if 'our' smaller group has more access to whatever's available. For survival. If only some are gonna survive, it should be 'us'. As it has always been. When we overcome the scarcities, and make access to resources freer and more fair, we make it easier to enlarge the 'us' to include those less related.

      Damn, I might have had enough of the bubbly. ;-)

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

      by FarWestGirl on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 01:32:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! What a great diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Terra Mystica

    Thank you for a wonderful diary and for the insight.

    They may call themselves Republican, I know a Dalek when I see one.

    by high uintas on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 01:46:36 PM PST

  •  Courageous diary, beatifully written. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Terra Mystica

    Tipped and recommended.

    Personally, for what it's worth, as a Catholic intellectual the majority of whose friends are Jewish, I think it's a both/and, not an either/or.

    That is, all the great episodes of political violence are equal, from some perspectives, such as the great human story of the battle for civil rights and personal safety.

    At the same time, the Jewish Holocaust is special, for many reasons. So many reasons. The spectacle of the most civilized and dutiful people on earth becoming the agents of the most extreme savagery, all of which was accounted for with Teutonic efficiency.

    But on top of that I find it hard to escape the theological and even, dare I say it, eschatological aspects. Jews are God's chosen people. They are special. They've had a completely unique history. They are a microscopic percentage of the human race, and yet their achievements have always been, and continue to be, titanic. Something is EXTREMELY terrifying and chilling about such a concentrated effort to entirely wipe them from the face of the earth.

    So much more to say! Great diary.

    •  I was taught that Jews (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poemworld, thebluecrayon

      were chosen to take on the responsibility of adhering to a specific covenant with God, to follow the guidelines laid out in the Tanakh.

      Other than that, there are no special powers or gifts bestowed upon Jews.

      Special? No.

      Unique history? Certainly, much as any distinct group of people who, up until recent history consisted mainly of isolated communities swimming in a greater sea of humanity.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 07:52:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  shpilk, I actually agree with you... (0+ / 0-)

        so please post more like this and less of the trite tripe I've read elsewhere.

        Love,
        poemworld

        "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

        by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:52:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Following on covenants with Adam and Noah, (0+ / 0-)

        God made several covenants with the Jewish people through Abraham, Moses, and David. And one could include the prophets. And Christians and Muslims add more to the story. So it's more than one specific covenant.

        I didn't say there were special "powers or gifts" bestowed upon Jews. But for what it's worth, I do think it's appropriate to say that they are "special" in view of their unique history.

        My understanding is that the only group that resembles the Jews at all in terms of maintenance of a unique cultural identity while dispersed for more than a thousand years in isolated communities is the Gypsies (Roma people). But it's not much of a parallel.

        I admire the humility in your post, but I don't really understand it in this context.

  •  Information about the Burg family (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nicta, DemocraticLuntz, Pris from LA

    For those who aren't familiar with him, Burg is an Israeli politician, former speaker of the Knesset (parliament), and one of the founders of Peace Now, a grass-roots leftist organization that agitates for a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  He is a native Israeli (a sabra) whose father was a prominent conservative politician (having served in the Cabinet of every Israeli government from 1951 until his death in 1999) and a Holocaust survivor who escaped the Nazis and made aliyah in 1939.  Burg's mother was, like her son, a sabra and for her part survived the horrendous Hebron massacre of 1929.

    It is a bit misleading to call Rabbi Dr. Yosef Burg simply a "prominent conservative politician". He was one of the founders of what was known in English as the "National Religious Party" (known in Israel by its Hebrew acronym, "Mafdal") which was the main political force for the Orthodox Jews in Israel who supported the establishment of the Jewish state. (Probably a majority of Orthodox Jews are anti-Zionist even today; that was certainly the case in 1948.) And the Mafdal was indeed part of every coalition government from its formation in 1955 until the Rabin government of 1993 (but not until Rabbi Dr. Burg's death). As a part of those governments, the Mafdal were huge supporters of Israel's generous welfare state, supporting policies that most Progressives on this blog would never dream possible in the US. Rabbi Dr. Burg was the leader of that movement until his death. It is worth noting that the religious parties (there are now something like six or seven of them now; you need a scorecard to keep track of Israeli politics) continue to be the strongest supporters of Israel's welfare state, in part because many religious Jews in Israel have rejected western materialism in favor of very modest lives as torah scholars.

    Avraham Burg did not join his father's political party but as mentioned became a Peace Now activist at at time when the Mafdal adopted the Likud's platform of expansion of settlements. (People don't believe it when I tell them that the Mafdal had been quite unenthusiastic about taking the West Bank back in 1967.) He joined the Labor Party and eventually became Knesset Speaker and a lot of people expected him to the the first Prime Minister who was also an Orthodox Jew. But not many Orthodox Jews in Israel identify with Peace Now and thus he didn't have much of a natural political base, and
    he somehow lost out in party infighting (I'm not sure of all the details; Israeli intraparty infighting can be quite obscure) and he became discouraged. A few years ago he left Israel, moved to France, and took French citizenship, although he is back in Israel now. He has no political support whatsoever today which is sad; he could have made such a difference.

  •  This question says it all to me: (4+ / 0-)

    Where can we, is it even possible, to find universality in the kind of suffering inflicted by states for political ends?

    Thanks for asking it, litho. I think that question could be posed in every I/P diary, perhaps in every I/P discussion.

    Perhaps if the people who claim ownership of the Holocaust were to ask this question of themselves over and over and over again, maybe there could be a greater understanding of the universality of suffering inflicted by states for political ends. And maybe then there would be more communication between people and expressions of compassion and care to alleviate that suffering.

    •  This is a good question, but it can be split (3+ / 0-)

      into several differing components.

      States do not create "suffering for political ends", they act in manners which are either politically expedient (or seem so, at the time) or have the potential to help certain parties or individuals consolidate power.  I think that most leaders do not really think about power in terms of its effect, but in sustainability.  Essentially, "how do I get power", and "how do I keep it", rather than "what do I do with it"!!!

      This is astonishingly similar to the way we conduct business, one quarter at a time, rather than establishing and developing long-terms goals and seeing how they can be achieved.

      •  I disagree with your statement that states - or (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, bicycle Hussein paladin

        leaders - do not create suffering for political ends or do not really think about power in terms of its effect. I think they very much do think about power in terms of its effect and how they can use that effect to their advantage. Think propaganda, intimidation, fear. Think of how the serfs and slaves were kept in place and how education was denied them because it was feared they would revolt and threaten the higher class's standing.

        Think of how the Patriot Act wreaks fear in so many. Just one example: My sister stopped protesting at antiwar demonstrations shortly before she was going to take a flight.

  •  More people need to pay attention to Burg (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, nicta

    Great diary. I am just beginning to learn about Burg. I posted a diary "What is a Jewish democratic state?" on questions Burg has raised.

    I will buy and read his book. Good diary!!!

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 02:25:44 PM PST

  •  Great diary..great discussion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Terra Mystica

    thank you.

    Think Tank. "A place where people are paid to think by the makers of tanks" Naomi Klein.

    by ohcanada on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 03:59:29 PM PST

  •  Is there anything to the idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Dcoronata

    that Israel is (a) tiny and (b) consumed enough with ensuring its own safety that it isn't equipped to single handedly stop the genocide in Rwanda and elsewhere?  

    But it isn't true that Israel did "nothing" or even very much less than the rest of the world.  What the heck did WE do to stop it, or Darfur (as a nation)?

    Some links to stories about Israel's assistance to Ethiopia, Rwanda, and

    http://www.israaid.org.il/...

    http://www.israel21c.org/...

    http://www.mfa.gov.il/...

    http://www.csmonitor.com/...

    So while Israel may not have swooped in militarily to stop these other genocides (and neither did anyone else), it can't be said they did "nothing" (especially given their size), nor can it be inferred that Israel "only" cares about genocide when Jews are being killed.

    "Balance" does not mean giving the same weight to a lie as you do to the truth.

    by delphine on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:02:23 PM PST

    •  Israel offered help to Iran (0+ / 0-)

      when they had the horrible earthquakes, but Iran refused their help.

      It seems that a bunch of politicians making a horrible stand to deny the truth about the nature of what happened to Armenians at the hands of the Turks is a good enough reason to damn all of Israel, it's people and it's future to hell, given what some of the posters here think.

      Same as it ever was.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 07:48:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Warning: Do not oppose this diary. (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk
    Hidden by:
    RaulVB

    It might be viewed as disproportionate and in any event, defending yourself is viewed as horribly immoral here at the new kkkos.

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:38:02 PM PST

    •  Besides, we all know that Israel was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Futuristic Dreamer

      dressed provocatively, had been drinking, and had a reputation as a slut anyway.

      Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

      by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:45:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Getting an early start on your NYE partying? eom (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litho, RaulVB, poemworld, ancblu, Johnny Q
        •  Silly me, I guess you're right. We hook noses (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shpilk

          where asking for it.

          Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

          by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:58:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think the one wearing the sheet is you (0+ / 0-)

            The white one along with the funny hat.

            •  I'd watch the bullshit, because you are (0+ / 0-)

              wearing out my patience.

              2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

              by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:26:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Dude, get a grip or stuff a sock in it (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ancblu

                lockewasright was quite offensive without a hint of actual criticism.

                And just wait til I get a hold of your patience. I'll wear it out like Madonna's bra. Please check my reply to your befuddled comment replying to me below.

                With all due respect (and nothing more),
                poemworld

                "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

                by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:39:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Bullshit. I indicated that I thought there was a (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  shpilk

                  lot of blaming the victim going on.  bicycle Hussein paladin  accused me of being drunk (very substantive that).  I responded, ok I guess we have been asking for it (which is the implication of what he said).  Where was I quite offensive without a hint of actual criticism?  You are mistaken.

                  Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

                  by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:52:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Permit me to quote you... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ancblu, Johnny Q

                    Warning: Do not oppose this diary.

                    It might be viewed as disproportionate and in any event, defending yourself is viewed as horribly immoral here at the new kkkos.

                    As thought- and criticism-free as anything I've ever read.

                    "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

                    by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:55:54 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It wasn't criticism of the diary, but of the (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      shpilk

                      attitude around here.  Whether you agree with my opinion or not, you have to be either illiterate of obtuse to not understand that it IS criticism.

                      Again... you are mistaken.

                      Now... what of your heinous accusation of bigotry?

                      Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

                      by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:07:57 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If you don't like the attitude... (0+ / 0-)

                        don't let the blog door hit your ass on the way out.

                        I know the difference between criticism and insult. I happily use both. In your post I quoted, you used only one. Guess which one?

                        I'm "mistaken"? I made a "heinous accusation of bigotry"? Dude, you're projecting like Abu G in the WSJ. Get a clue, if you know what one looks like (now THAT'S an insult ;).

                        And please, you're making John Locke spin at about 30,000 rpms in his grave right now. Get a new handle, m'kay?

                        "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

                        by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:16:40 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Wow! You are seriously lacking in (0+ / 0-)

                          grey matter dude. (that was an insult)

                          Still waiting for you to substantiate your heinous accusation you lying sack.

                          I will not just let the door knob hit me.  Instead I will stay here and offer criticism of the attitude like I just did you moron.  And that's why your assessment was and remains without substance.  

                          You really aren't equipped for this conversation.  You should be embarrassed.  You not been able to back up a single assertion you have made yet.

                          Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

                          by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:23:51 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  OK, I'll play. (0+ / 0-)

                            But just until your meds kick in. What "accusation" do your refer to? You seem to just throw out (or throw up) words and phrases disconnected from reality, so I have no idea what you're talking about. And make it snappy. I'm in Texas so I'm about to hang with my homies and chime in the new year.

                            Punkass putzes like you are ultimately a waste of my time. Last chance, lockewasrightbutyourenot.

                            "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

                            by poemworld on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:31:06 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Show me any example that I am a bigot (0+ / 0-)

                            you fucking twit.  

                            You have every right to disagree with me with regard to the I/P conflict.  There certainly are a variety of legitimate viewpoints, but to call me a bigot is a flat out lie.  

                            Additionally, show me anything that I have said which conflicts with the philosophy of John Locke (that's more of a bonus question).

                            Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

                            by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:38:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Happy Texas new year. I still have an hour to go (0+ / 0-)

                            in Arizona.

                            You are still mistaken.

                            Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

                            by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 10:00:55 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

    •  I just read a discussion of Burg's book (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RaulVB

      over at Talking Points Memo. So how can we work KKK into TPM? KKKTPM. TPMKKK? TPKKMK?

      If you see mistakes in this post, it's because my editor's on vacation. Sorry.

      by TKinVT on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:34:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not so much Burg's book that has me saying (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, Futuristic Dreamer

        that.  It's the attitude toward Israel that rewrites history and blames the whole of the jewish state for the actions of the asshole Likudniks.  I NEVER endorsed torture.  I HATE that W invaded Iraq figuring 'any A-rab is as good for killin' as any other' in the wake of 9/11.  I REALL HATE that so many people in other countries fail to recognize that US foreign policy is not representative of half of its citizens.

        Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

        by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:48:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Gotta love self loathers. It's a real time saver (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thebluecrayon

    for the racists.

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:50:45 PM PST

    •  Gotta loathe (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RaulVB, Johnny Q

      the loathsome, agreed.  

      Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

      by Eiron on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:53:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ad hominem is all you have left (5+ / 0-)

      Can't address their arguments? Is it getting too hard to quelsh that insidious feeling of guilt? You can't all be psychopaths, can you? You've gotta feel somewhat bad. And the rationalizations will only get you so far.

      Ad hominem is all you have left. If he criticizes Israel, he's got to be a self loather. Right.

      That's it.

      And I'm an antisemite because I am just as revulsed by the images of the dead children in Gaza as I was when I visited a concentration camp when I was a kid. Sure, the crime was much, much bigger. But there is one major difference: I wasn't born when that happened; whereas I'm witnessing this horror, right now. I can't help but feel helpless, and yes, somewhat guilty of not doing enough to stop this horror.

      A "centrist" is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.

      by nicta on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:21:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well thanks for ascribing arguments to me that I (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk

        have not made.  

        Perhaps I am just tired of arguing with people who look at what the Likud party has done and let a completely rational repulsion lead to less than rational conclusions.

        I hate what is happening to.  I am not ready to rewrite history and ignore part of reality based on the repulsiveness of the rest of it.  

        Still, for the time being I find it useless to try and talk moderately of reality with people so enraged as to not have room for rationality at the moment.  I don't blame the folks at the new kkkos solely for it.  The god damned Likud makes it very hard to stay rational.  Regardless, the debate is a masturbatory exercise anyway.  We have a very rational president elect.  He and his chief of staff will ensure that the fringe view held by so many around here doesn't get anywhere near becoming policy.

        I just hope that President Obama (I just love typing that) will engage much more actively than his predecessor did.  All indications are that he will.  Emanuel loves Israel enough to be well aware that her current Palestinian policy is self destructive.  We'll see what happens starting in 20 days.  I am somewhat hopeful for an improvement.  I am not so hopeful for a solution.  I think that it will take everyone calming down enough to stop it with the extremist bullshit before there is reason to be hopeful for a solution.  That's going to take likud assholes not being in power anymore for sure and either a decline or a change in Hamas.

        Until then, all I see is people who usually oppose it engaging in hate while they feel some justification to do so.

        Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

        by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:42:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  First you invent them (other posters to this diary (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, Futuristic Dreamer, Johnny Q
      being called self loathers and self haters
      and then you vilify them. Works every time.

      Except I have seen this act a few dozen times before on this site, and it doesn't work when the object of your derision or wrath or adhominem BS calls you on it.

      You are still pedalling your tricycle with the 1950's/ 1960's/ 1970's/ 1980's and 1990 rage and terror cards stuck in the spokes and most of the American people and most of the community wants the horror to end.

      There are American Jews who have a great deal of guilt and insecurity and a personality based on inferiority for not being part of WW2 generation or being the recipients of a relatively sheltered easy life never tasting real privation or want or war.

         Boosting one faction and being more militant defenders than anybody else is the polar opposite of "self hating" isn't it?  Amazing to be in practice what you ascribe to others.

      cast away illusions, prepare for struggle

      by Pete Rock on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:48:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Amazing how you were able to divine all of my (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shpilk, thebluecrayon

        opinions from one sentence there Kreskin.

        Careful, once the bits a spent we can never get them back.

        Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

        by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 07:04:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are a dishonest, worthless bigot (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          litho, Pete Rock, Johnny Q

          I am "guessing" based on your track record here.

          •  In this case, his analysis is correct. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lockewasright, thebluecrayon

            Burg's assumption that all Jews 'think the same' is just as reprehensible as thinking all Muslims think the same.

            As for the bigotry?

            This place needs a huge assed mirror to see it.

            2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

            by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:25:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But Burg doesn't believe all Jews think the same (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eiron

              he argues, in fact, that Jews and Israelis differ substantially on many different and important things.

              His point rather is that as Jews we share a common identity, a common historical past that shapes us in the present.

            •  Here you go: (0+ / 0-)

              His point rather is that as Jews we share a common identity, a common historical past that shapes us in the present.

              and there it is.  We're all the same.  Bigotry.

              Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

              by lockewasright on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 07:41:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  You are the dishonest worthless bigot. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shpilk

            I have made no generalizations based on anyone's race, religion, gender, sexual preference ever in any comment.  In fact, I work against bigotry every day.  My disagreement with your view on the I/P conflict makes me someone with whom you disagree.  I am no bigot.  Your inability to stay within the confines of evidence based reality  in your assessment of who I am shows a weakness that you should work on.

            Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

            by lockewasright on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:45:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Show me any statement that I have ever made (0+ / 0-)

            vilifying anyone for their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc you lying sack of shit.

            I am not a bigot.  We disagree about the I/P conflict.  That does not make me a bigot you lying loathsome embarrassment to your parents.

            Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

            by lockewasright on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 07:37:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I reject Burg's concept of what I think (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lockewasright, thebluecrayon

      as a Jew out of hand.

      Unacceptable.

      Like many shallow analysts, he is quick to presume what is inside someone else's head.

      Burg's intentions may have not bad, but the end result is that those who have bad intent will misuse his inch-deep mile-wide 'analysis' to suit their own purposes.

      I've seen some already start the process down this thread.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:23:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't understand the significance... (0+ / 0-)

    ...of genocide (v. the individual) in terms of human suffering, whether or not that was the objective of the perpetrator(s).  They all suffered as individuals, suffering differently than all the rest.  To posit otherwise deprives the individual of his/her existence as an individual and whose suffering was unique to him/her.

    •  Oh! Well then. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, dov12348

      It must be equally true that to love an individual is meaningless, since we are all part of the larger human picture, and that the only true human passions are political.  To posit otherwise deprives civilization of the social contract, leading to anarchy.;-)

  •  AIPAC thinks they own the holocaust (1+ / 2-)
    Recommended by:
    Eiron
    Hidden by:
    Futuristic Dreamer, thebluecrayon

    The event described in this piece is mind-blowing.  I'm sure AIPAC would trademark the term, if they could.

    Will W get to keep Saddam's trophy pistols? Will he get to collect unemployment?

    by Minerva on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 06:36:48 PM PST

  •  stunning diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, ancblu, DHinIA
    thank you so much. lives change around dinner tables. personal stories and reflections from individuals close to us, be they family or friends are much more powerful than we realize.

    thank you so much. i am home sick this new years eve. i missed the hanukkah party my best friend invited me to sunday night (she knows how much i love the latkes!)because of my flu, and had i not been sick we would be spending the evening together. last week when we shared dinner i told her about berg's book (i read about it elsewhere) and i just called her and mentioned i was sending over a 'diary'.

    so much food for thought. it takes generations to break the chain.

    thank you so much for the diary, really. how very personal, perfect for my flu impaired new years eve.

  •  To quote Boondock Saints (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Eiron, Johnny Q

    We should all fear evil men, but there is a different kind of evil we should fear most... the indifference of good men.

  •  You seem to think this is a pivotal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thebluecrayon

    quote ..

    Second, Burg highlights the irony that the official position of the State of Israel for years was to deny the Armenian Holocaust:

       The Jewish state stood time after time beside the Turkish government in denying the Armenian Holocaust.

    All governments have done truly ugly things, which they [sometimes] live to regret. It is a reflection of the ugliness of those in power at the time, and does not necessarily reflect the will of the people, make an ethical or moral judgment upon the character of the people or their personal beliefs.

    Much as what Johnson and Nixon did in Vietnam was not a reflection of the will of many Americans, what Reagan did in Central and South America by way of murderous proxies trained and armed by the US, of the insanity of George W Bush and Dick Cheney in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Yes, there are craven Israeli politicians. It does not make Israel a 'craven State' it does not make Israelis as whole craven to political dialogue.

    As one who is disgusted with the leadership in both the US and Israel, here's to the results of elections which might be able to change things.

    Soon, at least we'll see a change in the US.

    2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

    by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 07:43:52 PM PST

  •  Well, after reading all the comments here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ohcanada, rjwin, thebluecrayon

    I have seen this is really just a variation of the most racist and bigoted arguments one sees about any racial or ethnic class of people on the planet.

    It's as if the right wingers have invaded progressive space and warped all of your minds. Take the very worst arguments you have heard, the worst things you have heard about any minority, race, ethnicity and plug them into Burg's machine.

    Then tell me how any of this is different.

    I'm appalled. I'd be just as appalled if this were said about Muslims, Blacks, Hispanics .. name your group, take the issue.

    It's truly beyond description.

    Incredible, that such blatant bigotry is on display in a supposed liberal / progressive web site.

    2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

    by shpilk on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:16:11 PM PST

    •  Every time there is a I/P blowup, I wonder what.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk, thebluecrayon

      ..kind of "community" DKos really is.

      The primary wars were insane, but the behavior was so absurd (HRC is the devil, blablabla), that I knew it would end after the primaries.

      But this? Do we want people like this sitting at the table (of power)? Do I have to choose between Neocon Cheney Psychos and Progressive Hamas Bigots?

      Every I/P blowup seems to get worse. The new people seem to be sicker than the previous generation of Kossacks.

      What to do, what to do? I have no idea...

      Goodnight...

      •  Lol... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        Progressive Hamas Bigots?

        So, if they don't agree with your points, they must be sick and bigots....Lol...

        Please, don't run away...this is the land of the keyboard warriors...say your piece and exchange ideas of those who are bigots so you can influence their thinking...please.....

        Ever heard being original? Too bad, look it up in the dictionary...

        by Dem Soldier on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:47:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Read the comments by "nobody at all" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          arielle

          And tell me that there are no "progressive bigots".

          It should be absurd, but it isn't.

          People disagree with me all day long, but they are not overt Anti-Semites.

          Don't LOL until you read the thread...

    •  Overshooting (0+ / 0-)

      I think you are going to far. There is a thing like a common culture, a common conscience and so on.

      I will try to give you three examples:

      1. The holocaust is an important of german identity.
      1. The holocaust is not an important part of swiss identity.
      1. Slavery is an important part of african-american identity.

      Are these three claims just bigotry or I am trying to describe a cultural reality?

      So I assume there is (still) something like an jewish-american community and therefore

      1. The holocaust is (now) an important part of jewish-american identity.
  •  Wonderful diary, litho. Thanks for sharing it. nt (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Dem Soldier, ohcanada, ancblu, Johnny Q

    "You may already be a wiener!" Anonymous

    by Terra Mystica on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 08:30:12 PM PST

  •  Great Diary.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho

    You make an excellent points which I think should relate to present day conflict in the middle east.  Gaza could be tomorrow's history books, but who will tell their stories, when the same people who suffered the greatest massacre of human history are now the powerful....

    Ever heard being original? Too bad, look it up in the dictionary...

    by Dem Soldier on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 09:39:33 PM PST

  •  My comment turned into a Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shuruq, thebluecrayon

    Educate yourself. Think for yourself. Be yourself. Do for others.

    by DHinIA on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 12:14:32 AM PST

  •  Wow, Litho (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho

    Congrats on making the rec list. You deserve it.

  •  I have always said that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizarin

    victims have rights. Chief among them is the right to see change that may prevent the crime from happening to anyone else, or the victim, again. This includes an investigation and determination of the identity of the perpetrator.

    I never have believed in the whole idea that victims rights should include the ability to determine the punishment of the perpetrator and the idea that the victims' ideas on the crime are infallible and unassailable. Victims are often the most biased and least capable of logic at these times, not always, but often. I would say, "You know what, no, revenge is not paramount." Preventing this crime from happening again is more important than agreeing with the victim on everything.

    I think the idea of ownership of the Holocaust follows many of the same principles. The abuse and horror that millions went through has left a huge scar...alright, a gigantic gaping wound.

    I wish it would heal.

    An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

    by rini6 on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 05:59:34 AM PST

  •  I wonder how long, or even if the question will (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizarin

    be relevant to future generations?  This is a wonderful diary and the discussion is equally so.  I couldn't help reflecting on my annual experience of teaching about the Shoah -- in our state, it is significantly covered for the first time in the 8th grade.

    It always moves me to see how profoundly affected our students are by the joint language arts/ social studies unit.  It occurs at the end of the year, just before they are leaving middle school, and its almost as if it marks the end of childhood and the beginning of young adulthood for some.

    Frequently, during discussions about the Nazis, students walk back through the year to pick up on historical events that they'd studied earlier in the year during American History to 1877 such as slavery, how the Jamestown settlers poisoned Pawmunky chiefs during a peace conference, the Trail of Tears, Andersonville etc.  

    Seeing films of Shaoh survivors sharing their experiences, the students seem almost compelled to go back to those events that they read about, but had not really acknowledged as having been real, or too terribly relevant to them. Though the unit is completely focused on the Shoah, the students invariably drive discussions to make broader historical, personal, and future connections.  Confronting the reality of the Shoah compels them to confront the reality of man's inhumanity to man across time and as a thematic reality of the human condition.  For them, the connection is compelling, imperative, and seemingly irresistible.

    The comic book understanding of American History and pampered childhood perceptions of the world seem to fade and tatter.  You can almost see their hearts and minds urgently asking, "What does this mean?  What kind of world is it really?  Were American soldiers like Nazis in the past in their treatment of Native Americans?  My God, what was slavery really like?  How could people do this to other people?  Could it happen again?  Why does this happen, over and over?  What is evil and why is it?"   For me, it is always amazing and profoundly moving to witness their shock, their groping journey and passionate discussions about not only the Shoah, but also the free ranging connections and directions their discussions naturally take.  

    Even if I tried, I don't think I would be able to keep them from making connections during these discussions -- to them, the Shoah is the Niagra Falls of human evil and the other events are like related tributaries.  While they do take slack jawed, somber awareness of the scale of the Shoah, they nevertheless automatically begin to use their budding awareness to connect the evils across time and geography.  For many, seeing man's inhumanity to man seems to be their first overt sense of historical continuity.

    I don't know what this means, or if it is only an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of my kids in one, VERY small part of the world.  But thank you for this valuable opportunity for reflection.

    "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him. Mark 12:17

    by bkamr on Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 07:42:49 AM PST

  •  The Jews and the Rest of the World (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizarin

    Over the centuries since the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., a large number of Jews less than 250,000 but more than 50,000 have lived in Eretz Yisrael. Jews have been banished from one time or another from every country in Europe. No matter what else has happened and much like the Hmong, there was always time to hate the Jews. The Jews are one of the few groups that are or have been so reviled North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is not right; it is unjust, and now that we Jews dare to say Never Again! and we fight back; the rest of the world cannot tolerate it. They always want to blame the victims because it is more attractive than accepting responsibility.

skybluewater, wozzle, claude, RakDaddy, myriad, Ed in Montana, tgs1952, RedMeatDem, Chi, dratman, Timaeus, CalifSherry, rhfactor, Geenius at Wrok, GreenSooner, markw, TKinVT, Powered Grace, mimi, mattman, dengre, wu ming, mlharges, Victor, Jay C, lysias, Private Keepout, KateG, Pesto, eeff, marjo, gjohnsit, SallyCat, sidhra, freespeech, Jerome a Paris, bostonjay, redtravelmaster, Nonie3234, Eternal Hope, opinionated, chira, bronte17, Karen Wehrstein, wonkydonkey, whenwego, grassroot, peace voter, highacidity, Pithy Cherub, chuckvw, Minerva, cosmic debris, Porfiry, mrblifil, roses, chechecule, Frederick Clarkson, juslikagrzly, jbeach, Nate Roberts, high uintas, CocoaLove, dksbook, wader, hopesprings, nicta, danthrax, jsmagid, fightorleave, jzso, Eddie in ME, MTgirl, MA Liberal, RaulVB, grannyhelen, johanus, Mad Dog Rackham, Nina, exiledfromTN, mcshemp, Nemagaiq, GN1927, noveocanes, Catte Nappe, snakelass, weasel, arielle, FLDemJax, riverlover, fritzrth, Oaktown Girl, econlibVA, Noisy Democrat, ybruti, shii, Deward Hastings, poemworld, xyz, Rusty Pipes, zannie, BigBite, AaronBa, tipsymcstagger, uk benzo, Tirge Caps, luvmovies2000, greenskeeper, nehark, davidincleveland, la motocycliste, chumley, Danjuma, Bluesee, marina, Skaje, Jagger, jrooth, blueyedace2, caul, baccaruda, Independent Musings, mjd in florida, waitingforvizzini, Chinton, PBen, corvo, Alien Abductee, panicbean, beans, terrypinder, Thorby Baslim, juliesie, Brooke In Seattle, chidmf, trinityfly, Lepanto, vigi, michaelmas, NeuvoLiberal, gloriousbastard, jon the antizionist jew, pandawoman, LABobsterofAnaheim, podster, smkngman, QuickSilver, gerardbellavita, ivorybill, babatunde, kaliope, Tarantula Lady, Eiron, turnover, Dem Soldier, deepsouthdoug, northanger, Unduna, jj24, ohcanada, Norbreacht, dancewater, naltikriti, Asinus Asinum Fricat, fhcec, begone, Nowhere Man, elliott, juliewolf, danmac, CParis, Numinous, tarheelblue, Keone Michaels, Kingsmeg, Opakapaka, andydoubtless, RAZE, borkitekt, Truza, KenBee, mango, Lefty Coaster, jasonbl, nonnie9999, Bob Sackamento, Iranaqamuk, real world chick, Pager, Caoimhin Laochdha, NearlyNormal, plf515, Preston S, TheShovelJockey, Unitary Moonbat, justadood, va dare, zedaker, blueness, Statusquomustgo, Mash, 20shadesofviolet, Nulwee, Pandoras Box, ZenTrainer, Aaa T Tudeattack, eastmt, pale cold, bigchin, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, pinkhighway, fisheye, out of left field, dmh44, Texas Tiger, mamabigdog, gloriana, EdSF, drbloodaxe, FishOutofWater, power2truth, david mizner, Matt Z, sfbob, FischFry, heathlander, gatorbot, Aunt Martha, martyinsfo, mauro7inf, jnhobbs, gchaucer2, Steven Colangelo, Brahman Colorado, LWelsch, JML9999, keikekaze, Terra Mystica, roguetrader2000, nate97, Fischer, juancito, karin x, Chilean Jew, mamamedusa, Felix Culpa, Wes Opinion, billd, Happy Days, tofumagoo, daddy4mak, ShempLugosi, temptxan, pragprogress, winterbanyan, luckylizard, MizC, sargoth, dont think, caps lock on, Futuristic Dreamer, In her own Voice, al75, Johnny Venom, Pris from LA, artmartin, Sportin Life, driftwood, snackdoodle, deMemedeMedia, The Dead Man, Number5, imisa, An Affirming Flame, bsmechanic, Michael James, ColoradoWantsWolves, slaney black, PackLeader89, jacurtz, mrchumchum, mkor7, Matrix Dweller, Meng Bomin, Daily Activist, Prince Nekhlyudov, ancblu, beegee kochav, DHinIA, SteveP, Munchkn, Joeytj, IreGyre, iampunha, breakingsong, Sleepwalkr, Shocko from Seattle, etara, Ella H, AkaEnragedGoddess, Super Grover, Colorado Billy, Larsstephens, ruscle, Neglected Duty, YellerDog, Razorblade, BrighidG, SolarAngel, TNThorpe, awcomeon, karpaty lviv, Morus, Runkus, Obamican08, ArtSchmart, stegro, dorkenergy, sortalikenathan, on board 47, chrome327, Crabby Abbey, cgirard, your neighbor, Dexter, NY brit expat, sullivanst, Lady Libertine, JasperJohns, Surly Cracker, NC pragmaticProgressive, riptide, korinth34, VincaMajor, bottles, bicycle Hussein paladin, rossl, VitaminD, watershed, Jane Lew, atoilune, links, alizarin, JordanRules, Stella 4 Obama, FarWestGirl, Alanna Trebond, Vladislaw, lisamoe, marleycat, de porres, Carolyn in Oregon, rk2, Fire bad tree pretty

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site