Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dropping the H-Bomb

One of the likely T-4 candidates from Jonnie Hargis's Führerbunker nevertheless posted an interesting article from today's Washington Post -- an article that hits on an issue that I find particularly interesting, i.e., Israel and its use of the Holocaust as a political football.

Read more!

I have a close associate who is Israeli, and let me say before talking about this article that he is scared shitless of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and I don't blame him, as the only country in the region that could conceivably hurt Israel in any major way is Iran, and it's now led by a man who isn't fond of my friend's country. Of course, we know that Ahmadinejad has been poorly translated and that the Ayatollahs that run Iran have already issued a fatwa against using nuclear weapons offensively, but when Ahmadinejad lives around the corner and is not just a bugbear grinning stupidly on television now and then, I concede he can probably be a pretty scary guy.

On with the story: While Prime Minister Olmert and government minister Avi Dichter have both "dropped the H-Bomb," i.e., compared Ahmadinejad to Hitler, Ami Ayalon, a former head of the dreaded Shin Beth and, more recently, co-author of a peace proposal for Israel and the Palestinians with Sari Nusseibeh, former PLO representative for Jerusalem/Al-Quds, is suggesting that maybe this isn't the best tack to take.

Ayalon says, "In Israel, likening someone to a Nazi in theory creates both legitimacy for attacking him, and a moral imperative to do so . . . But when it comes to a complex strategic issue like Iran, our leadership is liable to talk itself into a corner. I say: If you're going to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."

The other H-Bomb is, of course, the Holocaust and here the Post talks with Tom Segev, author of the canonical study of Israel and the Holocaust, The Seventh Million. And while Segev concedes that Ahmadinejad's saber-rattling makes him more of a possible target for Israel's military, "There are completely authentic Holocaust sensitivities as well as manipulations. Both exist in the Israeli psychology."

And the author of Israel and the Bomb, Avner Cohen, while admitting that Israel armed itself nuclearly in the 1960s because of the Holocaust, says, "But to prevent another Holocaust, Israel must be in a position to threaten a nuclear holocaust. There are many ironies here."

Indeed. But the biggest irony of all, it seems to me, is that a country that has made a tradition of Jews labeling other Jews "Hitler" over political disagreements (Segev records that David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin, political arch-enemies, often referred to each other thus; and before he was assassinated, posters of Yitzhak Rabin in an SS uniform appeared across Israel), now feeling a perhaps genuine existential threat, may find itself in the situation of the boy crying wolf. How many times can you scream "Hitler" or "Holocaust" when the situation clearly does not merit it and still be taken seriously?

May I take my Jewish prerogative to criticize Israel with ahavat Am Yehudi? Israeli politicans, soldiers, and pundits should never drop the H-Bomb -- of any sort -- unless it is absolutely accurate or absolutely necessary.

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