Tuesday, March 29, 2005

 

Israel on the Armenian Genocide

Yossi Sarid, former Education Minister of Israel, writes in Ha'aretz today on remembering the Armenian genocide. Officially, Israel has long shied from giving any kind of validation to the Armenian genocide. As Sarid puts it succinctly, there are very practical purposes for this non-acknowledgement (bordering on denial) of the Armenian tragedy:
There are two main motives for the Israeli position. The first is the importance of the relationship with Turkey, which for some reason continues to deny any responsibility for the genocide, and uses heavy pressure worldwide to prevent the historical responsibility for the genocide to be laid at its door. The pressure does work, and not only Israel, but other countries as well do the arithmetic of profits and loss. The other motive is that recognition of another nation's murder would seem to erode the uniqueness of the Jewish Holocaust.
Unfortunately, Sarid doesn't draw this second point out further. He simply reflects on his own statements of sympathy for the Armenians in the past (which the government distanced itself from) and points fingers at the Foreign Ministry and the current Minister of Education, Limor Livnat.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry, and not only it, is always afraid of its own shadow and thus it casts a dark shadow over us all as accomplices to the "silence of the world." The Dalai Lama, leader of the exiled Tibetans, has visited here twice, and twice I was warned by "officials" not to meet with him. It would mean a crisis in relations with China, the exact same thing they say about Turkey. I rebuffed those warnings in both cases. I have always believed that moral policies pay off in the long run, while rotten policies end up losing.
Again, unfortunately, Sarid chooses to paint himself as a daring rebel, crying out for truth and justice against the Likud, rather than push the debate further (to where it really needs to go). He makes no reference at all to the fact that there could be policies of Israel (against the Palestinians perhaps?) that are a bit more "rotten" than refusing to meet with the Dalai Lama or speak openly about the Armenian genocide. Sarid doesn't mention the use of the Holocaust to ward off criticism about its treatment of Palestinians, about its own history of ethnic cleansing. It's fine for Yossi Sarid to go as far as he has gone. I just wish he would go a bit further. I think that would be real courage. Instead, his genuine efforts just seems self-congratulatory.

Comments:
This post reminds me of the following passage from Israel Shahak's Jewish History, Jewish Religion

"Surely one is driven to the hypothesis that quite a few of Martin Luther King's rabbinical supporters were either anti-Black racists who supported him for tactical reasons of 'Jewish interest' (wishing to win Black support for American Jewry and for Israel's policies) or were accomplished hypocrites, to the point of schizophrenia, capable of passing very rapidly from a hidden enjoyment of rabid racism [ie zionism or Maimonides's racism]to a proclaimed attachment to an anti-racist struggle - and back - and back again."

Anyway you can see the whole book here - http://jewsagainstzionism.blogspot.com/2005_02_01_jewsagainstzionism_archive.html#110772823632669023

Mark Elf
Jews sans frontieres
 
Thanks Mark. Love your blog, by the way!
 
I think Yossi Sarid went as far as he could go with that topic, he doesn't have to say more. He will go on a short list of very few people that I like from that region, because there are very few people in that region now that care more the righteous cause then they do for money. You would think from all the people in the world today, Jews would recoginize a Genocide first. Two thumbs up for Yossi!
 
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