Thursday, 9 July 2009

Is anyone entitled to Nazi terminology?

Aide: Netanyahu told German FM West Bank cannot be 'Judenrein` (Haaretz/Reuters today)

Skipping through Haaretz today, I came across this article (for full version of the article click on the link above) about a meeting between Israeli PM Netanyahu and Germany´s Foreign Minister Steinmeier.
I can´t help but noticing that Israelis as well as peace activists and supporters of the Palestinian cause keep using Nazi terminology to emphasize their point.
Now it is even the most prominent representative of Israel, the Prime Minister himself, who is using the term "judenrein" to express his rigour on the settlement issue in the West Bank.
Particularly using such words when addressing the German Foreign Minister, it is something which will silence any discussion on the topic.

And that is exactly what happened:
Haaretz/Reuters goes on:
"Asked how Germany's top diplomat responded to hearing the term used by the Nazis to refer to areas "cleansed of Jews", the confidant said, "What could he do? He basically just nodded."

Of course, who would be more entitled to use the semantics of a regime which has so cruelly and systematically persecuted and executed people of Jewish faith, than the Jewish themselves.
On the other hand: Should anyone ever use this language ever again? If Israelis use these terms to fight their cause and if radical settlers spray Grafittis, which might well be the doing of German Neo Nazis today in Hebron to manifest their claim on houses in the old city, is it really surprising that comparisons are drawn between happenings in Israel/Palestine today and happenings in Germany some 70 years ago?
Of course the question arises how a nation whose history is so severely marked by the holocaust and the collective trauma connected to it, can be so hard on a technically weaker nation which is fighting for it´s right to found a state.
Can it ever be legitimate for any side to utilize the Shoah for political standpoints today?
These terms are hammer arguments which prevent any dialogue, let alone a consensus.
The Issue of whether settlements in the West Bank have to be withdrawn may be very tightly connected to the issue of the right to return for Palestinian refugees as
former ambassador to Washington Zalman Shoval is being quoted in the same article. Plus that we should not make the mistake of forgetting the Palestinian population within Israel, a topic which has not been touched by the PM recently.
Benjamin Netanyahu tirelessly keeps repeating the same demands over and over again

"According to the confidant, Netanyahu had encouraged cabinet colleagues to deploy the term in their defense of the settlements and of Israel's insistence that Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state. "

and he really seems to have not hesitation using any means to emphasize his unwillingness to negotiate on them. Even to oposition leader Zipi Livni,

"...the prime minister's new-found support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "the height of hypocrisy." "

(Haaretz quoting Livni in an article on Wednesday. read more ). While facing US-American pressure to promote the two state solution and struggling with the Kadima opposition, Netanyahu is constantly sabotaging the process.

The former diplomat Zalman Shoval, mentioned earlier in this comment, said to Reuters:

"I don't like to transfer the trappings of Nazis to others, even if they are our enemies,"

My personal opinion is that this applies to all of us, regardless of who we are.

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