Israel policy and the Palestinians

Alan Jacobs Birkenau Photographer
Alan Jacobs at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Before starting this significant criticism of Israeli policy for the Palestinians I think a short history of my involvement with the Holocaust is necessary.

My first trip to Auschwitz was in 1979. Since that time I have made eight separate trips to Poland and the two camps there, Auschwitz and Birkenau.

My photographic work of Mauthausen and the two camps mentioned above are published on the Cybrary of the Holocaust, and one exhibition, the Virtual Tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau won a first prize in an Adobe world wide competition.

Additionally I won the Erik Berne Award for Theory in 1996. This was for four papers all inspired by my trips to many camps.

Three of these four papers can be found on Idea Journal, a journal of social issues, an ISSN registered journal publishing academic papers.

One of them uses the Holocaust as a template for extrapolation to other genocides.

I present the above to head off what I suspect will be two major reactions  always given by Israeli and American Jewish nationalists whenever criticism of this nature is given, namely “You”re and anti-Semite and or, you’re a self hating Jew. Enough.

Israeli Policy

I am deeply concerned with Israel’s right wing in general and more importantly its occupation and apartheid policy toward Palestinians on the West Bank. This is very difficult for me having a father who supported the Irgun in the 40’s when I was between 10 when the war ended and 15.

I think the major problem has to do with the settler’s movement and their establishment in the Israeli government.

In fact some of the racist statements by Israeli politicians and also settlers bears resemblance to ones conjured by the Nazis.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am not calling the Israelis Nazis but I am saying that they repressive policies and the justification for them read very much like Goebbels and Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer, the racist-propagandist publication.

The present Israeli government owes its existence to the settlers and therefore they support them and continue to build new settlements on the West Bank at this point leaving not nearly enough for the Palestinians to make a nation out of the remaining land.

When faced with criticism about these policies Israel has justified them with claims that the whole world is against the Jews and it has no friends but for the USA and a couple of others.

“Never Again” means to Israel and to many diaspora Jews as never again to Jews. This is both nationalism and a disregard for the many genocides that have been committed since WWII.

I think this ingrained position, for example Begin’s perpetual justification for Israeli actions that Israel is surrounded by those who want to annihilate her, keeps Israel in the victim position, and maintains fear and anxiety in Israel and among many older American Jews.

This stance and the criticisms denied by the Israelis is a classic case of  what George Orwell identified as “Nationalism”. See Notes on Nationalism

To paraphrase, When one ascribes to any type of nationalism certain sets of facts are inadmissible. That is not allowed.

One reference is  The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From its Ashes by Avraham Burg who is not an unknown figure in Israeli politics etc…

There is so much more that needs expression but I think this is enough for openers.

Alan Jacobs

Contributing Editor Cybrary of the Holocaust

Editor IDEA a journal of social issues

Editor H-Genocide.