by Uri Heitner
"I was the one who said, speaking before the Knesset plenum, that the Holocaust was the worst crime in the history of modern mankind," MK Ahmed Tibi proudly declared in an interview with Ilana Dayan on Army Radio. He immediately followed by saying, "I would expect from the victims of the Holocaust not to make others their own victims. And here we are, you made us the victims of the victims." And he went on to expand on the terrible injustices caused to the Palestinians, not following the Six-Day War (resulting in the "Occupation"), mind you, but the War for Independence, the creation of the state.
Indeed, so much cynicism and sophistication in this maneuver by Tibi. Here, he declares, look at how empathetic I am to your suffering, now I demand that you do the same for me. Suffering versus suffering. Tragedy versus tragedy. Holocaust versus Nakba. And the difference -- while the Palestinians are not responsible for the Jews' Nakba, the Jews are responsible for the Holocaust of the Palestinians, who did nothing wrong.
This cynical and sophisticated approach is based on a fundamental historical untruth, stained with imbecilic and false demagoguery.
The very essence of comparing these historical events is entirely comprised of a cynical lie. The war for independence was not part of one people's plan to exterminate another people; it was a war between them. The nation presenting itself as the victim was the aggressor, which rejected any compromise because it was unwilling to accept an independent Jewish entity in the land of Israel. It was he who attacked the Jewish population, and it was the Arab states which invaded the newborn State of Israel with the intention of destroying it and drowning the Jews in blood. All of this occurred just three years after the Holocaust.
Losing a war is disastrous. Losing an all-out war is disastrous seven-fold. The Palestinians undoubtedly experienced a tragedy during the War of Independence; they have paid the price for their murderous aggression and bear full responsibility for its results and consequences.
Tibi's cynical maneuvering, posturing as if he is doing us a favor by recognizing the Holocaust and then in the same breath presenting the Palestinians as "the victims of the victims," is more sophisticated than Holocaust denial, ever so popular amongst the Arabs and no less unbelieving.
Israel, as opposed to what Tibi is hinting at, was not created because of the Holocaust but because of our natural historic right, as was expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Our natural right is the same as the right of any people for self-determination and to have a sovereign state in their homeland. Our historical right is the eternal right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel.
These rights were recognized by Britain through the Balfour Declaration, generations prior to the Holocaust, and by the League of Nations. Due to this historical title over the land, the United Nations voted to create the Jewish state in the land of Israel. In the Declaration of Independence the Holocaust appears only in the seventh paragraph, after the description of our historic right to the land, the yearning for it and the connection of the Jews in the Diaspora to the land and to the Zionist enterprise -- not as a justification for Zionism, rather as proof of the futility of Jewish life without a sovereign homeland.
But how can we complain about Ahmed Tibi after the interviewer gifted him such an easy question: "You demand of me to recognize your suffering. Do you recognize mine?"
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