FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Sullying the Holocaust

by MAIREAD MAGUIRE

[Editors’ Note: This piece by Nobel Peace prize winner Mairead Maguire was submitted to the New York Times. They decline to publish it.]

In 2009 Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Liebermann ordered all foreign missions to distribute a 1941 photograph of the then Palestinian leader in exile, Haj Amin Al Husseini meeting Hitler.   The motivation behind Liebermann’s order lay in international criticism of Israel’s decision to further expand its illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem; the not too subtle subtext being that as Palestinians are Nazis any policy implemented against them is justified.

This week the David Horowitz’s Freedom Center perpetrated the same historical distortion in its advertisement comparing college professors who advocate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel to the Nazi government’s persecution of Jews.  Ignoring the political and human rights context in which the call for BDS has been made, and its ultimate aim of securing compliance with international human rights standards, its proponents are instead vilified as Jew haters and their opposition to illegal Israeli policies presented as hatred of ‘the Jewish state.’  Through a series of outrageous assertions their support for Palestinian human rights is linked to the Nazis, calls for genocide and the Toulouse murders.

The truth however is that the call for BDS lies neither anti-Semitic in intent or effect, but reflects the recognition that after 20 years of failed negotiations and almost 44 years of military occupation and illegal colonization, there is no means by which Palestinians can achieve their basic human rights and freedoms except through the activism of international civil society.

The obligation to act is itself embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights prescription that “every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.”

And of course, if states were to take their own obligations seriously there would be no need for this international civil society action.  Until that day however we are all under obligation to secure human rights for everyone, regardless of race, creed or class.  Those who advocate for BDS are fulfilling this mandate and it is perhaps a sign of the threat they pose to an unjust situation that they are deliberately misrepresented as Nazis – the vilest of all human rights abusers.

Yet the reality on the ground is that whilst Israel’s calculated colonization of Palestine contuines apace its attendant violations of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights will only increase.  In this situation the calls for BDS will not diminish but will grow, and scurrilous attempts to defend injustice and silence people of conscience by sowing fear and defamation will ultimately not only fail but are themselves extremely dangerous.  By mendaciously claiming anti-Semitism where none exists they devalue the whole concept and aid the anti-Semitic agenda of making anti-Semitism respectable once again.  Indeed they already sully and trivialise the memory of the Holocaust by using it as a means to defend present injustice.

Commenting upon Liebermann’s ploy of using the Holocaust era photograph to defend present illegality one Israeli source remarked that it had been met amongst Isreali diplomats by “laughter, scepticism and a sense of misplaced communication that this doesn’t help one bit the real argument.”  The same can hopefully be said of Horowitz’s current distortions, yet in its calculated attacks on individual integrity it may be much more sinister than that.

Mairead Maguire is a Nobel Peace Laureate and a co-founder Peace People.

 

Mairead Maguire is a Nobel Peace Laureate and a co-founder Peace People.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 30, 2017
William R. Polk
What Must be Done in the Time of Trump
Howard Lisnoff
Enough of Russia! There’s an Epidemic of Despair in the US
Ralph Nader
Crash of Trumpcare Opens Door to Full Medicare for All
Carol Polsgrove
Gorsuch and the Power of the Executive: Behind the Congressional Stage, a Legal Drama Unfolds
Michael J. Sainato
Fox News Should Finally Dump Bill O’Reilly
Kenneth Surin
Former NC Governor Pat McCory’s Job Search Not Going Well
Binoy Kampmark
The Price of Liberation: Slaughtering Civilians in Mosul
Bruce Lesnick
Good Morning America!
William Binney and Ray McGovern
The Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate: Will Trump Take on the Spooks?
Jill Richardson
Gutting Climate Protections Won’t Bring Back Coal Jobs
Robert Pillsbury
Maybe It’s Time for Russia to Send Us a Wake-Up Call
Prudence Crowther
Swamp Rats Sue Trump
March 29, 2017
Jeffrey Sommers
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon: Real Threats More Serious Than Fake News Trafficked by Media
David Kowalski
Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?
Patrick Cockburn
Bloodbath in West Mosul: Civilians Being Shot by Both ISIS and Iraqi Troops
Ron Forthofer
War and Propaganda
Matthew Stevenson
Letter From Phnom Penh
James Bovard
Peanuts Prove Congress is Incorrigible
Thomas Knapp
Presidential Golf Breaks: Good For America
Binoy Kampmark
Disaster as Joy: Cyclone Debbie Strikes
Peter Tatchell
Human Rights are Animal Rights!
George Wuerthner
Livestock Grazing vs. the Sage Grouse
Jesse Jackson
Trump Should Form a Bipartisan Coalition to Get Real Reforms
Thomas Mountain
Rwanda Indicts French Generals for 1994 Genocide
Clancy Sigal
President of Pain
Andrew Stewart
President Gina Raimondo?
Lawrence Wittner
Can Our Social Institutions Catch Up with Advances in Science and Technology?
March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail