Tutu to Haaretz: Arabs paying the price of the Holocaust
Desmond Tutu is a great and admirable man without doubt. His sympathy for the Palestinians and his efforts to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are commendable. It is therefore a shame that he decided to do this by promulgating a falsehood. One that causes more harm than good to the cause of peace.
The Arabs did not pay a price for the Holocaust
Certainly, we could speculate that if it were not for the Holocaust
, fewer nations would have said yes to the 1947 partition plan -- a plan which was never actually implemented -- nor did any of these countries do anything to implement. However, we could also argue that since there was already a sizable Jewish minority in Palestine, the idea of partition was hardly far fetched. We could also speculate that perhaps less European Jews would have emigrated to Israel/Palestine if it were not for the Holocaust
. However we could also argue that there would have been six million more Jews who could have emigrated. We could likewise speculate that some countries would not have recognized Israel after the 1948 war if it were not for the Holocaust
. But then again, many countries and regimes are recognized by world governments all the time.
In any case, it would be mostly speculation anyway. The Holocaust
did happen, and this was the only extent to which the Palestinians 'paid the price' for it. Everything else that happened to the Palestinians did not happen because of the Holocaust
The Palestinians did not reject the partition plan because of the Holocaust
They did not attack the Jewish community in Israel/Palestine because of the Holocaust
, nor did they lose the war and become refugees because of it.
The Palestinians did not 'pay the price' of the Holocaust
when they were placed in refugee camps by Arab governments, nor was their occupation first by Jordan and Egypt and then by Israel the price of the Holocaust. The bill for that should go to the Arab governments who dealt with the refugees and who sought to make war against Israel in 1967.
Similarly the deaths of Palestinians in Jordan in Black September and in Lebanon in the 70s and 80s had nothing at all to do with the Holocaust and everything to do with the actions of the PLO in those countries.
Neither was it the Holocaust
that caused Palestinians to use plane hijacking. The Holocaust did not start the first or second Intifada or initiate suicide bombings or fire Qassam rockets from Gaza against civilians. None of these things nor their effect on the Palestinians were in any way 'payment' for the Holocaust
. Nor were the Oslo Accords, the Camp David Summit, the withdrawal from Gaza and the relative quiet enjoyed now by Palestinians in the West Bank,
All of these things were the result of actions taken by the Palestinians, by the Arab countries and by Israel
. I do not absolve Israel
from responsibility for its sins and mistakes anymore than I absolve the Palestinians for theirs. It is time for all sides take responsibility for their actions and for the effort to find a realistic solution to this conflict rather than use the Holocaust as an excuse for their problems.
Desmond Tutu is a great and admirable man, but he would do well not to promote this falsehood about the Holocaust
. Rather than contribute to ending the conflict, it keeps it alive by allowing the Palestinians to view themselves as the passive victims of events that had nothing to do with them. Instead they simply expect that Barack Obama or Desmond Tutu will somehow 'repay' them the 'price' of the Holocaust
and force Israel to accept their terms for ending this conflict, namely the elimination of Israel. Desmond Tutu would do better if he left the Holocaust alone and called on both sides to take responsible actions to bring peace to both nations. Micha Roded
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Replies: 5 Comments
Isn't interesting that Rev Tutu chides the Jews for not learning his lesson of the Holocaust. Perhaps he misses the point that the victims don't need to learn his lesson, but they do need to learn their own. That lesson is never find yourselves so weak that you cannot provent another Holocaust.
Rod Davies, Monday, September 14th
"I firmly believe the holocaust happened, and I firmly believe Hitler and his menagerie were evil despots"
That's good. Although this is not the subject of the essay.
"and this is why we fought them and beat them."
Not really. The allies fought Nazi Germany because the Nazis attacked them, not because they were despots.
"What I dont believe is that I should feel guilty for the actions of my enemy,"
Does anybody expects you to feel guilty? If you weren't on the side of the Nazis during the war (or alive at all) then you shouldn't feel guilty except in the sense that the Holocaust reflects badly on the human species as a whole.
"instead I think the Allies should be thanked for freeing all the victims of Hitler."
They are thanked. However, it should be said that all the parties involved in the war probably have need of some soul searching. In the case of the allies, while they are praised for defeating the Nazis, they are criticized for not doing enough in order to save their victims prior to and during the war except when it coincided with their own war strategies.
Nice to meet you.
"he believes that Jews didn't "learn" from the Holocaust?"
O also find this statement arrogant, but I don't want to write Tutu off.
"he omits to mention the part the Palestinians played to further the Holocaust against the Jews."
It went beyond the scope of the article. My point was that what happened to the Palestinians was not because of the Holocaust or their own relations with the Nazis. They were not punished fairly or unfairly nor were they paying a price. They were simply a people who are in a conflict with another people and made some poor decisions that had negative results for them. They should hold themselves responsible for their own mistakes just as Jews should held responsible for theirs and so forth.
Micha, Wednesday, September 2nd
I firmly believe the holocaust happened, and I firmly believe Hitler and his menagerie were evil despots and this is why we fought them and beat them.
What I dont believe is that I should feel guilty for the actions of my enemy, instead I think the Allies should be thanked for freeing all the victims of Hitler.
peter colenso, Monday, August 31st
Isn't the sickest part of Tutu's whole deal that he believes that Jews didn't "learn" from the Holocaust? As though it was some sort of lesson for us--and that we failed to get it. Due to our stupidity, we've now inflicted hell on earth for others. Tutu may have been a great man in the sphere of SA, but I'm not sure how great he is on other people's turf.
Jonathan, Monday, August 31st
I agree with Micha on everything he/she says. But he/she omits to mention the part the Palestinians played to further the Holocaust against the Jews. They were active inciters of antisemitism all over the Arab world. Apart from the key role played by Adolph Hitler's ally the Mufti himself (who had plans to build gas chambers near Nablus), Palestinian teachers and activists in Syria and Iraq helped radicalise the local population against the Jews. The 1941 pogrom (Farhoud) against the Jews of Iraq which killed 179 Jews was a direct result of their efforts.
Bataween, Sunday, August 30th
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