Tag Archives: holocaust

Sudanese vs. Jewish refugees

23 May

My favorite nostalgic band, Die Toten Hosen, have just reminded me of a topic that I feel needs addressing. They shared a video clip by another band, about refugees/asylum seekers and about how they really don’t want to be in the country they fled to. About how they would rather be in their home country, going about their lives, but can’t, because, bombs’n’shit.

I understand them. I sympathise. Having to run, suffer tremendous losses in the process, and leaving your reasonably good life behind, is something I’m familiar with personally, and in terms of ancestry. 

Many arguments against Israeli politics, policies, actions and inactions, are valid. As someone who loves this country, I refuse to be in denial or glorify it; I want true change and improvement so Israel can be truly great and keep the moral standards it parades about in empty words. Love is to want the best for someone. I want Israel to be better.

But there is one anti-Israel “argument” that perpetually makes me angry for its profound and inherent hypocrisy. The world is screaming at us, not in the nicest terms (racists, Nazis, murderers,…), to embrace and welcome those poor refugees from Sudan, Eritrea, and of course, the native Palestinians. It is screaming at us to be humane and warm towards those who were forced to flee their home country.

Except when these refugees are Jewish. Ultra-rightwing Zionists are propagating the lie/ideological bullshit that Jews living in diaspora, are “in exile”. They are not. Nobody is forcing you to stay out of Israel; Israel pays you to move here. Maybe their far (faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar) ancestors have been exiled, but let’s face it – if your name has been rather German (Rosenzweig, Bernstein) or otherwise non-Middle Eastern for the past 20 generations, you have very little claim on the exile pity party. A ginger Braunstein family does not originate from the Middle East, unless we go almost as far back as our ape ancestors originating in Africa, and then we can all say we’re Africans in exile. Oh my, poor Africa, all those white people “returning home”.
Are you a Jew living outside of Israel? Great, stay there, because your life over there is probably better than it’d be here. You are not in exile, stop pitying yourself over harm that has not been done to you or your family in a very long time. You happen to live wherever you happen to have been born. That is all. People have migrated throughout history, some by force, some not. Jews are no exception and have little claim on more drama or pity than others for being part of this phenomenon. Stop asking for VIP status in the history books, thank you.

However, Jewish refugees are a reality. Not the happy family from Virginia wallowing in the exile self-pity party, no, actual refugees and their offspring, having actually had to flee from actual dangers. 
Jewish refugees have come from Nazi-Europe.
Jewish refugees have been bombed out of Iraq.
Jewish refugees have fled Morocco. 
Nevermind the Jewish Ethiopians who are given hell to come here for “obscure” reasons or reasons I shall not name. For example, the fact that David Ben Gurion had been a passionate racist and white supremacist, and if he disrespected and scoffed at Arab Jews, how would he feel about these dark-skinned blacks? And the legacy of his attitude runs deep and feroceously through Israeli politics and people.

Whatever the details, Jewish refugees are a reality no less valid or tragic than Sudanese refugees or Palestinian refugees in Israel or outside, after having been forcefully removed from the land. 
My own ancestry is like so: Naeim Giladi owned a gold refinery which even earned him his original family name. He bred Arabian horses, owned vast lands, and was generally rich and respected. Actually, most Jews were in most parts of Iraq. Don’t believe the “OMG pogroms everywhere” propaganda. But at some point – let’s not discuss the identity of the launchers of those bombs – the Iraqi Jewish communities were attacked and Jews started to flee – to Israel. It had been promised to them as a safe haven. Let’s not discuss how the Arab Jews were fooled in that respect. My grandfather, his family, and the many Jews he helped cross the borders, were legitimate refugees with nowhere else to go. Just like the Sudanese, the Palestinians, or the Eritreans. The same is true for Jews who fled Nazi-Europe. 

Yet, while we are demonized for not welcoming non-Jewish refugees enough, the refugees among our own ranks are demonized for having succeeded in entering and settling in Israel. We, descendants of refugees, are not occupiers. Unless you would say the same about Sudanese refugees. You want us out, yet you want them in. But – does it matter who occupies “stolen” lands? While I don’t believe this land was exclusively owned by non-Jewish Arabs, we Israelis are constantly vilified for occupying it. So if not who you believe are the land’s rightful owners, what does it matter who comes to “steal” the land? Does it matter whether they are Jewish refugees from Poland, or Muslim refugees from Sudan? Do Sudanese have a bigger right to asylum in Israel than Polish? Why? Logic? 

Let’s simplify this:
You have a house in Palestine and 3 Arab men live in it.
The organized Zionists come and kick the Arab men out of the house.
Now, 1 Jewish refugee from Iraq moves into the house.
1 Jewish american from a happy background moves into the house to live with the previous Jew.
Then, 1 Sudanese refugee moves in to the same house to live with the Jews.
The world screams at both of those Jews equally to get the fuck out, although one had nowhere else to go and only one is there by choice, but supports the Sudanese, while all three are occupying the same house, and all three are making it impossible for the Palestinians to live in their former house.
If you’re going to hate one of these occupiers, hate occupier number 2, but 1 and 3 are there for the same reasons. So why is one to be embraced, while the other is to be demonized for the exact same reason?

Why?

Advertisements

Israel loves a good Holocaust

28 Apr

And I’m not singing in tune with radical anti-Israeli armchair warriors who call the situation of the Palestinians a Holocaust. No, I am talking about the historic Holocaust of 1933 to 1945. Israel loves it. It did so much good to the State of Israel. Let’s start with David Ben Gurion and the Zionist movement using the victims as an example of what would happen to you if you don’t do “the right thing” and run your stumpy legs to Israel to up the Jew count there and populate the place – how else would Ben Gurion excuse deporting the Arabs who’ve lived there before us? But even to this day, this use of the Holocaust remains popular. Now every isolated incident of a hate crime against a Jew, is used by the far right Zionists of the land, and their foreign representatives, to remind everybody how isolated antisemtic incidents were “only the beginning” “last time”. Read this book about how David Ben Gurion was actually grateful for the Holocaust, because it opened the door for him to do what he did and get away with it. Not the foundation of the State of Israel… but the methods he used to promote it.

Except, no. Isolated attacks against Jews are not a sign that another Holocaust is breathing down our necks. The recent attack in the US, and before that, in France, and wherever else, have been committed by the same kind of people who would beat up a homosexual, “stand their ground” on a black kid, or make a massacre in a Mosque. Oh wait, that last one was a Jew. They are lone nuts. Lone racists, bigots, fundamentalists, with no organization behind them other than perhaps the KKK or a similar subdued bunch of lunatics. The actual Holocaust was state-made. There were no lone lunatics who were arrested and put away for their deeds. The Toulouse shooter as any other perpetrator of a violent hate crime, have been arrested and treated like the criminals they are by domestic law and law enforcement. During the Holocaust, it was law enforcement that killed the Jews.

Which brings us to the next issue. “Killed the Jews”? Yes, six million of them who must never be forgotten. However, it is no less an atrocity what they did to the other people on Hitler’s shit list. Yet, not only Israel but the entire world love to omit them. Is the life of a Jehova’s witness, of a homosexual, a Roma, communists, or anyone else, less worthy of commemoration? Some 11 million were murdered, and more than half of them, Jews. This is true. But numbers don’t make a life more sacred or a death more horrible. Jews need to stop monopolizing the victim role.

And this brings us to victim roles, obviously. The true victims are dead. Yet somehow, Israel invests obscene amounts of money in the yearly Holocaust Memorial Day, its advertisement, its ceremonies, and its media presence. Why I appreciate something being done to pay respects to the death – speaking of paying, what about the living? I’m not even talking about the general Israeli 99% who are confronted with the daily choice between food and laundry here, I am talking about Holocaust survivors. You know, those elderly people you see going through the trash outside, their camp tattoo sinking deep into the garbage to find returnable bottles or unspoiled food. Why is the money invested in silly ceremonies that do no good other than give us the warm fuzzy feeling that the government cares about our grief, and not in the care of the survivors? So many Holocaust survivors live in poverty, and while I don’t believe that they are any more or less deserving of help than other people who have paid their dues and carried their burden, Israel does try to distinguish itself as the safe haven for Holocaust survivors. The safe haven, the place of no more fear of death. Except, mold-infested apartments where you freeze in the winter and collapse in summer, because what little money these survivors have goes into food and the very clothes on their bodies, can be just as lethal in the long run. Poverty kills. Holocaust survivors who came here from Germany, should have stayed there. Israel is not elevating their life standards, it is investing the money made by the Holocaust franchise, there, I said it, in marketing the Holocaust as another political tool. And what good are a couple of wheezing old people, when you can just use the 6 million that died for your propaganda and your sheep herding purposes? Shouting “6 million! Never again!” is just so much more powerful than showing the face of some old person who we all know is one of the relatively few survivors.

Because propaganda (“hasbarah”) is what Israel’s political activity is all about. Probably literally, because all I ever see, is moving lips, no action. Knowing that we have Holocaust survivors, doesn’t help our government, or us, to keep up the spirit that was once sincere. The spirit of unity and taking large strides forward, toward a better future with no more pogroms and a safe Jewish people. Keeping us scared of the “possible” repetition of the atrocities of Nazi Germany, is much more useful. Every Jew killed, for whatever reason, by however an isolated nutjob, is used as a poster child to keep our blood boiling so we’re ready to embrace another war or another conquest of land, or another step taken towards gradually pushing Arabs off our/”our” land. Because…
1. We “need” the land – aka to kick out Arabs – to accommodate all the Jews we so mercifully save from the Diaspora that is becoming more dangerous to live in with every passing day: every 10 years or so, a hate crime hits a Jew… When is Africa calling home African Americans? Because if we’re going to talk about minority pogroms, Jews got off easy.
2. Arabs want a second Holocaust. Or so they say. Or so some of their deranged leaders say, and sadly, the loudest voices of the public are also always those of the deranged extremists. A less intelligent, intellectual person may just think that these extremists represent their domestic majority. I do not believe this. Israel’s loud and proud military, and having the monster that is the US on our side, may help keep “the Arab enemy” in check. However… Almost without exception, Arab enemies of Israel are fundamental Muslims. These people should not be afraid of dying in the name of, and for the return of their soul to, Allah. They would have good chances at annihilating us if they were to talk a little less openly about their intentions, and just unite and bomb us already. We have some 60,000 missiles aimed at us. Where are they? The “enemy” could do serious damage to Israel, a damage well worth the risk of being annihilated in response. After all, such a death would only be a reward, it would take their souls to Allah. So why don’t they?
Probably because most of them aren’t quite that bad.

Israelis need to believe that Arabs are our main problem. Otherwise, we would start to feel our hunger, to see the relative poverty many of us live in. We would wake up to real problems, not just the poverty itself, but the ease with which it could be ended. Money we work for, goes into settlements that are dismantled a decade later, into the non-contributing ultra-Orthodox, into an excessive military PR machine, into the training of redundant soldiers (there, I said it), and into the Netanyahu family. But since sharing the land with the Arabs has never been the intention of our “founding fathers”, picking at the Holocaust wound is a great opportunity to refresh our hatred for Arabs and anyone who may not fully approve of Israel, or all of its actions and policies. Except, a Jewish life is not worth more than an Arab’s. There is no genocide happening in Gaza or the West Bank, but what is happening can still not be justified with “never again”. A bunch of militant Arabs throwing rocks and aimless missiles, are not a threat to a strong nation.

Standing still on the siren’s cue isn’t gonna bring anyone back to life. The dead don’t feel the respect we pay them. Our ceremonies are doing no good to those who were actually affected by the Holocaust, neither dead, nor living.

Summing up, Israel loves the Holocaust because:

  1. It keeps us in an angry victim-like attitude that makes it easy to excuse policies and actions that would be described as racist or dehumanizing, or at the very least counterproductive, in any other place.
  2. Dwelling on the past and the dead instead of investing this time and money in the living and the future, distracts from more pressing but complicated issues.
  3. It gives us the warm fuzzy feeling that our government is staffed with caring human beings who make sure the dead are honored. How cute. While the living starve.
  4. The Holocaust propaganda Israel is running, is great for making Jews come to Israel and provide more taxpayers, more PR, and more reasons to get Arabs off the land. Because we need it for more Jews. Nevermind that life is easier in the real West. Nevermind that before the British mandate, this land was shared by both rather peacefully… Actually, organized Zionism destroyed the peace that the same organized Zionism is now pretending to fight to re-establish.
  5. It rings nicely to have a nation built upon the ashes of a sob story, so we can all share a massive group hug of reunion and looking forward. It justifies so much, not just excessive national pride mostly expressed by semi-literate arsim with a gold chain around their necks and a random Rabbi’s poster on their walls, Arab Jews who squeal “Death to Arabs”… Who have not lost anyone in Europe… No, it justifies so much more, and even makes it feel epic. We are the dramatic, angst-ridden anti-heroes who have to do what it takes to, well, never again and shit.

Well played, Israel.

The Arrogance of Solidarity

15 Jun

Image

‘t Is me. Yeah. On the first night of October (the date on the picture is from the day I edited it), I shaved my head bald. Completely. With a woman’s hand razor. Over the course of hours. Since I like sharing my life and shocking people in the process, I immediately made sure Facebook knew about it.

And Facebook immediately made sure I knew what an empowering, inspiring woman I am.

…what?

Feminists lauded me for giving “rape culture” and “macho” society that much-needed message: “Fuck you, I will not please men and to drive my point home, I will now disfigure myself needlessly and excessively, I’m a woman, hear me roar!”
That isn’t the words they told me, but that’s all I hear when I hear/read angry feminists celebrating an excessive degree of making oneself undesirable or ugly to men just to piss them off or make a point. Like the emo(tionally unstable) teenager who slits her wrists and uploads that shit to Instagram to make sure her daddy understands that she feels raped by not being allowed to party with her boozehead friends until 5 am. Hurt or ridicule yourself more than you hurt, ridicule, or even change, others. I don’t believe in this. If I cannot fight a battle or a war unless the only scenario where my opponent loses, being one where I lose too, by putting myself in a long-term position where I would never want to be in, I will not fight. I will not suffer in the name of feminism; who cares whether macho society makes me suffer or I do it to myself?

The other reaction I got a lot was, well, friends and family of cancer/chemo patients praising me for my beautiful gesture of sparkling solidari—no. You know, with all due respect because I get you’re doing it with pure intentions, if I had cancer and someone who wasn’t even family went and shaved their hair off to tell me they understand my pain and suffer with and for me, I would rip their pubic hair out one by one and implant it into their heads using a staple gun. Then they know my pain.
I’ve never had cancer but from what I understand, it sucks. You lose organs over it, you spend years of pain and sickness with or without treatment, and you may die. In front of the miserable faces of your loved ones. Having shaved my head after always having treasured long hair to a point where I spent what little money I had, on extensions, I know how big a loss it is. Not a big one. As long as you got a nice face, you’ll be fine. It grows back. It’s a few months of looking unusual and maybe getting stares, so what? People stare all the time, it’s in our nature to stare at what we deem unusual. It’s not animosity that drives these stares, so calm down and stop beating people up for staring at chemo patients or other unusual-looking people – no one means them any harm or offense. Some even stare in awe.
Losing your hair is no fun, and most women, myself included, love long hair and wouldn’t want to lose it lightly. So yeah, it was a bit painful for me to lose my hair. It was one of the few things I had going for me appearance-wise. It wasn’t pleasant. But it was not a huge deal, either. Having cancer is a huge deal, and if you think that you can even begin to understand what a cancer patient goes through just by cutting your hair, errr nope. Losing your hair without losing an organ or a job or a spouse or your last bit of life by being chained to a hospital bed, is probably not a loss that would inspire awe or gratitude in a cancer patient for your “sacrifice”. You only lose your hair for a little while.
It would be different if you were to donate the hair to have wigs for cancer patients made. But on the other hand, there are enough wigs on the market that should be good enough. Indian women get screwed out of their hair all the time by being told it’s for the gods and then it’s really just for a greedy old man who makes money out of it. I’m guessing a wig is near the bottom of a cancer patient’s priorities, way underneath Survival, Family, and A-way-to-take-the-edge-off-this-agony.

So no, you’re not a hero.

Neither are you a hero if you’re one of those idiot Jews who get concentration camp tattoos. What the fuck? Again, just like the head-shavers-for-cancer, they just go and get the look, the mark, of a “victim of suffering”, and think this signifies solidarity. No. It signifies that you think you understand any extent of the horror Holocaust victims and survivors had to go through. But you don’t. You don’t have the memory of the abuse, the fear of death, the smell of your people being incinerated. You don’t have the memory of the indescribable feeling the survivors must have felt when they were freed. You got your number willingly, probably feeling all epic about yourself, and not at gun point. You don’t even begin to understand their suffering, and neither do I, and I refuse to sit my well-off ass down and get a tattoo for 50 bucks and a wince of pain, when the people who’ve inspired it, have been through so much more to end up branded. Unwillingly.

Getting a camp tattoo “in solidarity” with Holocaust survivors or in a victim’s memory, or shaving your head to show that you “get” cancer patients, is like going to a bar to have bad but consensual sex with a guy who ain’t your type, to show solidarity with rape victims.

You make no sacrifice. You sit down feeling all warm and fuzzy and do-goody about yourself by getting a small or temporary modification done or going through a period of inconvenience.

And as for that calf number 269 whose number you got tattooed somewhere it doesn’t bother you? Cute, now follow through and get slaughtered. Then you understand its pain. You sit around on your fat ass eating tofu only the better-off can afford, playing around on your Smartphone, trying on cute dresses, and somewhere in the background of your activity, you have a tiny little number tattoo. If calf 269 could speak, it would probably ask you what part of its pain, other than its number being burned into your skin, you share. And then it would shit on your hipster-ass canvas shoes.

And as for my bald head? In my quest for beauty I had ruined my hair with aggressive black perms and it was falling out in strands. There was no saving it, only getting rid of all the damaged hair (ALL the hair), and letting it grow back naturally. No sociopolitics, no cancer awareness, just the disappointment that yet another one of my desperate quests for beauty had gone horribly wrong.