Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gaza: Another Kristallnacht?

On the 10 January I e-mailed the following letter to the Irish Times:
It is a terrible indictment of the official attitude of the Israeli Government and its Armed Forces when their official representative in Ireland, H.E. Zion Evonry protests more the lost ‘multimillion-dollar glasshouses’ (Irish Times 9 January 2009) of Gaza, left behind when Israel withdrew from its illegal occupation of Gaza, than he does the disproportionate eschewal of any semblance of protection for Palestinian citizens from the norms of International Humanitarian Law.
Yours Sincerely,

The letter was not published, not altogether surprisingly given the huge amount of submitted correspondence to the editorial page concerning the actions of the Israeli Armed Forces in Gaza. Indeed, one writer complained that all the words expended were a complete waste of time. For me I’m not so sure. I want to believe that Israel cannot continue to promote a memory of the Holocaust (the International Day of Remembrance was two days ago) and yet denigrate an entire society with its military actions. For me the imagery of broken and destroyed glasshouses in Gaza, evoked by Evonry, as a result of Israeli bombardment was all the more poignant when one recounts the enormous significance for Jews of Kristallnacht, “the Night of Broken Glass”, and the sustained memory of when the Nazis instigated the riots of November 9, 1938 that resulted in the destruction of Jewish property across Germany and Austria as well as being the signal for the mass concentration camp exportation of people simply because they were Jews. Institutions such as Yad Vashem have striven enormously to sustain this memory of Kristallnacht and of the entire Holocaust, as a lesson to all humanity. Yet, and it must be said, Israel (In my mind I have always made a clear distinction between someone being Israeli and being Jewish) refuses to recognise that the broken “glasshouses” of Gaza are an equal abomination as the original Kristallnactht. As long as Israel, like Germany under the Nazis did, embargos the economy, the spirit, the hopes, the dreams, the physicality of another people it will continue to erase any semblance of a humanitarian response, even amongst the Righteous Gentiles, attached to the victims of the holocaust. Their memory deserves a far greater testament. 

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