I’ve become vaguely aware of this happening at the #NUSConference in the UK – where a discussion is being had over whether to formally remember the Holocaust with people arguing for and against – The latter attracting significant vitriol. The arguments for and against the motion have been made clumsily – that much is clear.
So what is the context here? The backdrop is two-fold: Firstly, we have anti-Zionism on campuses across the country. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. And, as I’ve pointed out many times, it is absolutely inevitable that within a population of anti-Zionists, anti-Semites will have a disproportionately large representation. This means that we also have antisemitism on campuses across the country. The presence of this antisemitism will naturally blunt attempts by anti-Zionists to be heard.
But it also should be noted that Zionism is the primary engine of antisemitism. Zionist doctrine and Zionist propaganda is, at its core, virulently antisemitic. One example of how Zionism not only causes antisemitism, but also incites violence against Jews goes like this – and this is something we’ve all heard:
Anti-Zionism is antisemitism.
In other words, criticising Israeli policy, criticising it’s treatment of Palestinians is antisemitic. Not only is this false, conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism is itself antisemitic, since to make this argument you have to view Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians as being an essentially Jewish phenomenon. Only yesterday, I criticised an article on IsraellyCool for openly stating that supporting Israeli policy is part of being a Jew. To associate Jewishness with Israeli policy is antisemitic, and is inciting violence against Jews.
So what of the Jewish genocide, what of HaShoah, what of the Holocaust? Zionism has appropriated it, and has appointed itself as its guardian. In this role, Zionists are taught to harness the memory of six million dead Jews to use as a political cricket bat to silence criticism of Israeli policy. It ceased to be an historical event, and became a political one. Even the term “Holocaust”, if you examine where the term comes from, is a deeply political, deeply cynical, Zionist term. It comes from a Greek translation of the Hebrew bible, and refers to animals being consumed entirely by fire – an expiatory offering to the Gods. The message? Six million Jews were sacrificed in fire to God for the creation of Israel.
So we have two parallel frameworks for remembering. We have the Nazi genocide – solemn rememberance of millions of Jews and other ‘undesirables’ whose lights were systematically extinguished by the most murderous regime in history. And we have the Holocaust – an historical-political event inextricably tied to the Zionist conquest of Palestine and the creation of Israel. Sadly, so dominant is the Zionist hegemony over this horror, that “Holocaust” is the only word many of us know.
If we drew up a list of genocides from the last 100 years, which are the NUS proposing to formally remember? And why?
I think much of the opposition to the motion is not opposition to remembering the Holocaust, but opposition to its politicisation. It seems that anti-Zionists on the left are torn between not letting this politicisation happen, and wanting to support the rememberance so they can wear that support as a shield against allegations of antisemitism. It’s all very clumsy.