Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Love of the Land: The Irony of “Never Again”

The Irony of “Never Again”

Rick Richman
13 April '10

In his important post on the necessity of doing more than simply saying “Never Again,” Jonathan noted that Iran “ironically denies the Holocaust while plotting a new one.” But it is not ironic — it is rather part of three contradictory propositions that nevertheless reinforce each other.

Iran simultaneously denies the Holocaust, threatens a new one, and accuses Israel of being a Nazi regime. It denies what the Nazis did, announces plans to do it again, and accuses the prospective victims of being Nazis. Those propositions are crazy, but the more important point is they are parts of an integrated plan.

The plan involves, first, denying the historical legitimacy of Israel. In the view of many Muslims, Israel is simply a Holocaust guilt offering imposed by the West on blameless Arabs. It is a view unfortunately given credence by President Obama’s Cairo address, which mentioned the “tragic history” of the Jewish people as the justification for Israel — not the 3,000-year connection to the land, nor its central place in Jewish ritual for millennia, nor the fact that modern Zionism began in the 19th century, long before the Holocaust. But Iran denies the Holocaust to challenge even the “tragic history” as a basis for a Jewish state.

The second part of the plan is to announce that the goal is not a Palestinian state, but the elimination of the Jewish one — and to demonstrate that the announcement produces no penalty. Indeed the goal gains legitimacy from its repeated proclamation and the repeated failure of the West to respond. There is no UN resolution condemning Iran for threatening another member of the UN, no refusal to deal with a regime that is openly advocating a new Holocaust — only an outstretched hand, endlessly outstretched. It confirms Iran’s belief (and its argument to its allies) that the West will ultimately abandon the Jewish state, just as it abandoned the Jews.

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Love of the Land: The Irony of “Never Again”

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