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

August 30, 2016
Russell Mokhiber
Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain
Mike Whitney
Three Cheers for Kaepernick: Is Sitting During the National Anthem an Acceptable Form of Protest?
Alice Bach
Sorrow and Grace in Palestine
Sam Husseini
Why We Should All Remain Seated: the Anti-Muslim Origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Richard Moser
Transformative Movement Culture and the Inside/Outside Strategy: Do We Want to Win the Argument or Build the Movement?
Nozomi Hayase
Pathology, Incorporated: the Facade of American Democracy
David Swanson
Fredric Jameson’s War Machine
Jan Oberg
How Did the West Survive a Much Stronger Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact?
Linda Gunter
The Racism of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Bombings
Dmitry Kovalevich
In Ukraine: Independence From the People
Omar Kassem
Turkey Breaks Out in Jarablus as Fear and Loathing Grip Europe
George Wuerthner
A Birthday Gift to the National Parks: the Maine Woods National Monument
Logan Glitterbomb
Indigenous Property Rights and the Dakota Access Pipeline
National Lawyers Guild
Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access Pipeline
Paul Messersmith-Glavin
100 in Anarchist Years
August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail