Monthly Archives: June 2012

Nazism, Zionism, and the Arab World: Countering myths

Holocaust survivor Annette Herskovits has written an important article— Nazism, Zionism, and the Arab World: Countering the myths spread by pro-Israel ideologues.

She describes the tactics and goals of pro-Israel campus watchdogs and the harm wrought by their unabashed falsification of history and of current realities in Palestine/Israel.

Conquerors have always justified seizing another people’s land on “moral” grounds, to ward off the world’s disapproval as well as the burden of a bad conscience. And while the world’s support for the creation of Israel was fueled in large part by the plight of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust–the fact remains that the taking of land already occupied by Palestinians in order to create a refuge was (and still is) justified using false histories and slogans like “A land with no people for people with no land.”

The process of removing Palestinians from their land—which goes on to this day– requires a literally never-ending production of moral justification, and pro-Israel zealots are only too happy to oblige.

Most damaging? People like Alan Dershowitz paint Arabs and Muslims as heirs to Nazism, bent on exterminating the Jews. The sparse history of Arab collaboration with the Nazis—nothing like what took place in most European countries—is used to “explain” Arab hostility to Israel and obscure Israel’s crimes.

This “nazification” of Arabs and Muslims has been debunked by historian Gilbert Achcar in his book, “The Arabs and the Holocaust: the Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.” Campus Watch then launched a smear campaign against Achcar.

From Herskovits’ article:

About hasbara:

Propaganda produced by Israel and the American Jewish establishment inverts reality. This is crude stuff, manifestly false to anyone who would look up information published by a multitude of respected media and human rights organizations. But omissions and outright lies are probably a deliberate tactic: deny, deny … confuse, confuse… Like Israel’s building of “facts on the ground” (settlements, roads, etc.), it gains time; the hope is that Israeli power will eventually be so entrenched in the land of “Greater Israel” that nobody will remember Palestinians ever lived there.

About pro-Israel zealotry:

As someone whose mother and father were murdered in Auschwitz, and who herself survived the Nazis’ barbarous nationalism thanks to the courage of a group of Catholics, Protestants, Communists, and Jews, I find the idea that defending the “Jewish state” supersedes all other human obligations both immoral and senseless. Nothing, not even the Holocaust, justifies Israel’s treatment of Palestinians or the continuing efforts of pro-Israel zealots to show Arabs and Muslims as less than human.

Annette Herskovits, a holocaust survivor and the daughter of holocaust victims, holds a PhD from Stanford University and is the author of Language and Spatial Cognition (Cambridge University Press, 1987, 2009). She has written more than a dozen published articles on Palestine/Israel and is a Palestinian rights activist.