by Dan Margalit
Distortion in all its forms is part of the overall effort -- if not necessarily an organized effort -- to question the justness of Israel's existence.
Israel was not established as a response to, compensation for or absolution of Europe's sins during the Holocaust. It is the realization of the biblical deed to sovereignty over the land of our forefathers, which is backed by the right to self-determination in the spirit of late U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and by decisions reached by the League of Nations. All of this was before the Holocaust.
Israel is not the fruit of the most horrific tragedy in the history of mankind, rather, in a sense, that of its failure. The state was too late to save the 6 million heartbeats that were silenced at Babi Yar, Auschwitz and each of the other gates to hell.
The Holocaust is the worst of all the persecution and pogroms faced by the Jews throughout history, as they were helpless and defenseless. It does not stand alone, but it is unique in its proportions. It is anchored into day-to-day Israeli life in one crucial sense: The main role of the Jewish state is to prevent the recurrence of unilateral harassment.
If everything that happened earlier clarifies and justifies the Jewish people's need to defend itself, the Holocaust takes that need up a level. It allows for nuclear weapons to become a part of the Jewish flak jacket.
Therefore, Holocaust denial is not a topic for academic discussion, just as the repeated claims doubting the historical narrative of the Bible are not simply part of a legitimate discussion between historians and archeologists (for example, what were the dimensions of David's kingdom? And when did the Nazis decide on the Final Solution?). The core purpose of these discussions, which are designed to dwarf the injustice done to the Jews, is to undermine Israel's right to exist as a strong sovereign entity with secure and recognized borders.
Distortion in all its forms is part of the overall effort -- if not necessarily an organized effort -- to question the justness of Israel's existence. This is the malicious formula behind the claim that Zionism and Nazism stem from the same foundation. The standard argument relies on the Haavara Agreement -- which was in effect the expulsion of German Jews from their country and the seizure of most of their property in exchange for their immigration to other countries. Is that cooperation? It is a temporary arrangement between enemies.
Few sought further proof for their opinions. In Dr. Rudolf Israel Kastner's trial before Judge Benjamin Halevy during Israel's sixth year of independence, attorney Shmuel Tamir revealed chilling information: Kastner cooperated with Adolf Eichmann and his henchmen to calm down a million Hungarian Jews that the Nazis sent to be killed at Auschwitz. In return, the Nazis agreed to release a train carrying 1,600 Jews. Kastner then admitted to Tamir that he asked Eichmann if some of those Jews could be sent to Israel, and the mass murderer responded that he couldn't do that because when he visited Jerusalem in 1937, he promised Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini that Germany would not send any more Jews to Israel. What Jewish-Nazi collaboration are these evildoers talking about?
All these arguments -- from questioning the archeological and historical truth in the Bible to the attempts to undermine the Jewish people's unique victimhood in the Holocaust and the Holocaust's status as a singular crime -- are not designed to determine the boundaries of justice in a past event, rather the boundaries of injustice to be done to today's Jews. Danger is on our doorstep.
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