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26 August 2010

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avedis

'Holocaust Trauma' is an interesting theory and I'm sure that it applies to some individuals who are over-steeped in Jewish lore and history to the exclusion of that of other cultures, but I am not buying it as explanatory of the general politics of the Israeli right wing and/or zionism.

I don't buy this notion of the holocaust causing some deep seated psychological syndrome.

Rather, I think the historic fact of the holocaust is deliberately and cynically used to manipulate Jewish and western Christian opinion such that Israel can simply exercise its baser instincts get away with crimes, potential crimes and threats of crimes against humanity that they otherwise would not be able to.

We don't see Armenia claiming the right to acquire WMD and use them against it neighbors, do we? I would think that a psychological 'holocaust syndrome' should manifest in other victims of genocide to some extent if it is real.

Does it?

William R. Cumming

Well personally I think Israeli policy has reached a dead end and reflects poor choices over the full time of Israel's existence. First, no nation-state, even Great Britain in WWII, has ever fully trusted the US and its policy formulation, implementation and operations! I believe US history demonstrates the wisdom of that position by others. Israel was and is mistaken if it thinks it can rely on the US in any eventuality. Working with the German military and government in the late 60's and yes they are certainly a nuclear capable nation also, demonstrated to me their very substantial distrust that atomic and nuclear weapons would be utilized to protect the FRG from a Soviet advance. The HOLOCAUST is correctly a nightmare for Israelis and Jews everywhere. After all it largely succeeded with more Jewish dead than even German civilian and military deaths in WWII. It is hard to keep that final solution in balance given its horrors. So what now? Israel needs formal recognition of its existence, formal recognition of some of its borders, and agreements on treatment of non-Jews that makes sense anywhere and in Israel. The US either can't or won't give formal approval to any Israeli borders or guarantee openly retaliation to prevent a holocaust. Is this anti-Semitism? No! Just another nation-state following its interests. Since I think demographics is so important, I think this "unbalanced" situation cannot last much longer. Egypt was the key to Israeli survival in the 20th century not just the US. Now the key to Israeli survival is the Sunni/Shia sects and their views on Israel. My guess is both sides will talk past each other until the shooting starts and this time Israel is faced with the fact that those who even saw the post-liberation movies of the horrors of the death camps are now dwindling throughout the WEST generally and the US specifically. Germany has played its hand brilliantly economically and now the vast Eurasian heartland lays open to either Chinese or German domination. This is the real story of the next two centuries. Contol of resources and geography of Siberia and exploitation. The US exploitation of its continent size geographic domain has now about to have been bled dry by the rentier class which no longer sees it interest in economic democracy and just worries that its wars of exploitation of the US can continue. Note the wars do not exploit other nations, they are just the wrapper for the real exploitation of these adventures which are largely domestically targeted.The decline of the effectiveness of various multilateral institutions is not just because of their incompetence and corruption but also because global corporations having licked the nation-state realize that only global regulatory and military entities could threaten their future. Hey just call me Nostradamus.

Norbert N, Salamon

I do not believe that the Arabs are contemplating any renewed Holocaust. On the one hand they offered recocnition for the P/I settlement, they also did not start any wars against Israel. While it is true that Israel is the foremost military power in ME, the Arabs outnumber them by far, so a war would be fatal to Israel, however much Arabs loose in the conflict. A retake of China in the Korean War.

If Israel is NOT looking for another Holocaust type response, it best not cause a world wide depression by attacking IRAN - for the loss of propable oil prodiuction will affect almost all advanced countries, with extremely prejudicial effect on thier economies. That might cause an unstoppable reaction against the instigators of such a fiasco. The few million Jews in USA would also be propably attacked, even as Israel itself is reduced top stone age.

Harper

A good friend, a prominent African-American political activist, was invited a few years ago to speak before a Jewish group in Brooklyn, NY. It turned out to be the ADL, one of the biggest promoters of the Holocaust trauma. The audience was clearly hostile before he even had a chance to open his mouth.

My friend, being a rather wise fellow, began his remarks by asking a question: "How many of you in this room think that it can happen here?" Immediately, every hand in the room shot up in the air. He then said, "Well, before they can go after you, they have to wipe us out first. So that seems to be a good basis for some kind of working agreement. Do any of you agree?" He was given a standing ovation.

If the trauma cannot be healed, by the passage of three generations, then Israel is self-doomed to live out a tragedy. Increasingly, I hear from more and more longtime advocates of a two-state solution that they no longer believe it is possible, and they are resolved to a protracted process leading, eventually, to a one-state binational entity. As General George Marshall warned at the time, the partition of Palestine, a British dirty trick, was a bad idea, that would only lead to 50 years of conflict. Marshall's only error was that he was too optimistic on the time frame required to get past the conflict. We are now in year 62.

Sometimes, you just have to walk away from a bad idea. The underlying axiom of Zionism--that Jews will only find safety in a Jewish state--is wrong. A state built on trauma is not likely to succeed, unless longterm therapy overcomes the illness.

Jose

Holocaust trauma or Aegis?

Once you make an assumption that because of a past event you are allowed to do what must be done, you will be crossing a moral line that is extremely dangerous.

At some point, you must attempt to understand the suffering being inflicted on the Palestinians and the fact that it was the German who caused the trauma.

German humiliation at the end of WWI directly led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis so be careful of the future you are creating in the humiliation of the Palestinians.

There is no way to stop somebody else in the Middle East from getting the lighting bolt and the consequences it will bring.

kao_hsien_chih

I don't think this situation is necessarily particular or unique to Israel: distrust among putative allies as to whether the other side will stick to their end of the bargain seems a common enough phenomenon. I am old enough to remember the Skybolt Crisis: if I understand correctly, both Britain and France wanted independent nuclear capability precisely because they did not believe US would actually risk nuclear attack on US soil for the sake of London or Paris. That Polish farmer in Sneh's story is the story of everyone's "ally"--they may easily ditch their friends if they are themselves in danger. Granted many allies have stuck through thick and thin--and many gentiles did save Jews at the risk of their own lives--but they are no doubt more an exception than not. I have trouble seeing why Israel's situation is necessarily worse than, say, that of France in 1960s--other than their leaders are rabid about not giving in an inch.

If the Israelis recognize, in the long run, that their (mostly) gentile allies cannot be always counted on to help them, maybe they should try to lessen the hostility of their neighbors? That is, after all, what the Western Europeans did vis-a-vis Soviet Union. Instead, they seem hellbent on escalating that hostility, while further undermining the potential willingness of their allies to help.

b

Dear Habakkuk,

that is a long explanation for a simple extortion racket.

Israel's officialdom furthers that "the Holocaust drives our thinking and doing" only to rob and steal without other folks slapping it for that.

That's all there is to it. No deeper analysis is necessary or helpful.

Note that such "analysis" is only based one what Israelis and their supporters tell you how they feel. Start off with an analysis that they are lying for gain. You then might get to the real issue.

walrus

Thank you for making a brilliant point Mr. Habakkuk.

The pit of which you so eloquently speak reminds me of Dante.

In my opinion, Israel is stuck in its own Ninth Circle, endlessly reliving the Holocaust, until a Rabbi can be found who can lead them out. That will require an act of foregiving that is beyond them at present, but I am getting too metaphysical.

johnf

A similar phenomenon can be observed in Africa with the Rwandan Tutsi, who, having endured a genocide, then invaded the DRC ostensibly to avenge themselves against the Hutu genocidaires, but mainly to enrich themselves with all the Congo's mineral wealth.

Several million died in the subsequent wars. Mainly civilians. Here is a brief description:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jh8IzoW5T2ZOnDgOHtUxc5I5tovQ

A much wider study of the horrors committed mainly by the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front - aided by the Tutsi ADFL and then most of the DRC's neighbours - can be found in Gerard Prunier's book "Africa's World War."

Genocide victims turned genocidaires. And much loved - and much excused - by Western neo-conservatives.

Jose L. Campos

The problem can't be understood if the religious element is lifted from it. The Jews believe themselves to be descendants of Abraham, that Abraham would have descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky or the sands of the sea, that their land gifted to Abraham by God would eventually extend from the Great River to the ends of the earth, that caravans would bring the wealth of nations to Jerusalem, that despite being dispersed God will gather them together and that continuous worship would be celebrated in the Temple. Furthermore those that support Israel will be blessed by God. The Muslims on the other hand believe that the world will be unified by the will of God. We have two theological views fronting each other, Isaac and Ishmael, one the miraculous son of an elderly woman the other begotten on a slave who is later on evicted from the camp. God rescuing her and her child.
Myths are events that never happened but continue to happen. People act on them.

jedermann

Walrus,

Here is a Conservative rabbi's sermon that might begin to point the way:

http://leaches.net/moline/sermon--069.html

Ingolf


Someone who shares many of David's thoughts is Avraham Burg, previous speaker of the Knesset, chairman of the Jewish Agency etc etc. Back in 2007, he and an old friend (Ari Shavitt) had an extended conversation. Some of it was particularly relevant to what David is saying.

[Shavitt in italics]

What you are saying is that the problem is not just the occupation. In your eyes, Israel as a whole is some sort of horrible mutation.

"The occupation is a very small part of it. Israel is a frightened society. To look for the source of the obsession with force and to uproot it, you have to deal with the fears. And the meta-fear, the primal fear is the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust."

That is the book's thesis. You are not the first to propose it, but you formulate it very acutely. We are psychic cripples, you claim. We are gripped by dread and fear and make use of force because Hitler caused us deep psychic damage.

"Yes."

Well, I will counter by saying that your description is distorted. It's not as though we are living in Iceland and imagining that we are surrounded by Nazis who actually disappeared 60 years ago. We are surrounded by genuine threats. We are one of the most threatened countries in the world.

"The true Israeli rift today is between those who believe and those who are afraid. The great victory of the Israeli right in the struggle for the Israeli political soul lies in the way it has imbued it almost totally with absolute paranoia. I accept that there are difficulties. But are they absolute? Is every enemy Auschwitz? Is Hamas a scourge?"

You are patronizing and supercilious, Avrum. You have no empathy for Israelis. You treat the Israeli Jew as a paranoid. But as the cliche goes, some paranoids really are persecuted. On the day we are speaking, Ahmadinejad is saying that our days are numbered. He promises to eradicate us. No, he is not Hitler. But he is also not a mirage. He is a true threat. He is the real world - a world you ignore.

"I say that as of this moment, Israel is a state of trauma in nearly every one of its dimensions. And it's not just a theoretical question. Would our ability to cope with Iran not be much better if we renewed in Israel the ability to trust the world? Would it not be more right if we didn't deal with the problem on our own, but rather as part of a world alignment beginning with the Christian churches, going on to the governments and finally the armies?

Instead, we say we do not trust the world, they will abandon us, and here's Chamberlain returning from Munich with the black umbrella and we will bomb them alone."

Margaret Steinfels

Burg published a book on the subject: "The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From its Ashes," widely criticized but pretty tough on this very subject.

euclidcreek

This week a thirteen year old kid was shot dead at 9:30 on a summer night on the streets of Oakland CA. Thirteen years old. The day US intelligencia takes a break from their Talmudic discussions of Israeli trauma/manipulation etc and show an interest in the here and now of the U.S., well, I'm not holding my breath.

Norbert N, Salamon

Anonymous:

If the world economy collapses due to blowback resulting in major oil disruption, it does not matter if the USA Jews go somewhere else, the second Holocaust will be world wide. My choice of USA reference was due to the large number [largest excluding Israel] residing therein, and AIPAC etc will have major contributiohn to the attack on Iran.

I much prefer no attack on Iran, no oil infrastructure blowback and no 2nd Holocaust!

John

I think that the mythos surrounding Masada and the history of Zealotry strongly support the Holocaust trauma among those who are so inclined.
I find it interesting that recruits into the Israeli army make vows regarding Masada, as the following quote indictes.

'Masada today is one of the Jewish people's greatest symbols. Israeli soldiers take an oath there: "Masada shall not fall again."' from the following link: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/masada.html
Right wing (Zealot)Israeli policy does seem suicidal at times, more Masada complex than Holocaust, but sadly with the same results.

Lars Moller-Rasmussen

In a commentary in the Jan/Feb 1982 issue of the Israeli monthly "New Outlook", Gustave Kars, professor at the university of Paris-VII, offered this explanation:

"The Ashkenazis have not spiritually mastered the Holocaust". Instead of extracting a spiritual victory from it by focusing on "the heroism and dignity of the victims," the western Jews react with "shame and wrath".

Kars writes that this state of "trauma" means the "Ashkenazi leadership unconsciously tends to provoke a new holocaust," where this time Jews would not be murdered without offering resistance. He sees a prime example of this "rejection of rational approach" in "the swearing in of Israeli recruits at Masada".

Kars asks: "Can you imagine the French swearing in their army at Waterloo?" He also warns against comparing Masada with Thermopylae, because "Thermopylae served a definite practical purpose". His commentary written 28 years ago has the chilling title "Hitler's Final Victory".

optimax

If Israel attacks Iran and if oil production is disrupted, there will not be an American holocaust but probably a Muslim holocaust. Americans will not change boogeymen in midstream.

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