Thursday, 29 January 2015

An open letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Centre

Dear SWC: 

For the past forty years, your organisation has worked for moral causes of the most profound and unparalleled importance. You fought against the evils of racism and antisemitism, you have supported the survivors of the Holocaust to publicly tell their stories, in doing so pioneering the cause of Never Again. And most famously, you have hunted down and achieved the conviction of Nazi war criminals involved in the perpetration of the Holocaust, and continue to search for and press for the prosecution of those still remaining. For these reasons, especially as I would want to personally assist in the search for surviving Nazis evading justice, I considered joining your organisation. Then I found this on your website:

As your organisation projects itself as working on behalf of the victims of antisemitism, your description of "Israel bashing" as being opposed to Jewish human rights implies that the opponents of Israeli government policy are uniformly antisemitic. In essence you are using one of the worst atrocities in human history, the Holocaust, as a weaponised smokescreen to lobby on behalf of Israeli political and military policy, explicitly those of the Netanyahu government. I could think of few things more morally sickening than this. Both the United Nations and Amnesty International have described the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2014 as containing war crimes, particularly the deliberate targeting and collective punishment of the civilian population, including their homes, schools and hospitals. Are the Palestinian victims incinerated, not by death camp crematoriums, but by Israeli bombs in the open air prison when they are held captive, an afterthought to you? Are they life unworthy of life? You have learnt nothing from the very Jewish survivors whose suffering you repulsively appropriate for your pro-Israeli lobbying. More accurately, you choose not to learn. Yours is a banal evil. Among the opponents of Israeli racism and war crimes are Jews, such as these describing Israeli war crimes in Gaza as genocide: "As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine."

In summary, your organisation, presenting itself as opposed to genocide, racism and war crimes, manipulates these very evils to excuse and repress criticism of an Israeli state perpetrating them today. And you have the audacity to do so in the name of Jews and Holocaust survivors who stand against them, their very motivation being that the racism and and war crimes of Israel are morally and ideologically comparable to the crimes of Nazism. Let it be known that, like those complicit in the Jewish Holocaust, you turn a blind eye and are actually allied to the aim to excuse and bury the Palestinian one.

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