To all: This is short, concise and powerful as it sums up why many Jews feel it important to go on record in defense of Palestine's treatment by Israel. This 60 plus year occupation is ignored by many Jews and non Jews because they feel they mustn't be critical of Israel or they will be labeled as "anti semitic". Well, guess what?? Palestinians are every bit as semitic as Jews and that is not what the conflict is about. And Zionism is NOT the same as Judaism but it is a form of racism! Thanks to Dan for sending. MM
Letter published in the Sonoma Index Tribune
Two lessons from the Holocaust
By Ann Rudinow Saetnan
Aug 5, 2013 - 04:30 PM
I am saddened by some of the responses to the Op-Ed piece by Sonomans
for Justice and Peace in Palestine. I am saddened because, no, I am not a Nazi, or a Holocaust denier, or an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew.
Growing up as a Jew in the postwar years, I did draw important lessons
from the Holocaust. As I see it, there are two main alternative lessons
one may learn.
One lesson can be summed up as, “It must not happen to us again.”
That lesson is understandable, but not sufficient. For one thing, it did not only happen to “us.” Many groups were selectively subjected to mass murder under the Third Reich – the developmentally delayed, psychiatric patients, leftist intellectuals, principled politicians and
religionists, union organizers, communists, homosexuals, Gypsies, and of course ... “us.” For another, it has happened since to yet further
groups. “Us” then, is a variable category. If I am safe as a Jew, am I
necessarily safe as a leftist intellectual? As a principled politician?
As a person with chronic illness? Taking all this into consideration,
there is a stronger lesson one could choose to learn which offers better protection.
That second lesson can be summed up as, “It must not happen to
anyone.” To my mind, this is not only the more noble lesson one could
take from the Holocaust, but also the only lesson which, if practiced
successfully, can guarantee that it will not happen to “us” either. Practicing that second lesson means not only that I must not tolerate genocide, or even lesser forms of oppression, committed against “us,”
or against “others” but not by “us.” I must not tolerate “us” committing such acts either. “We,” with our historical experience, should know better.
Therefore, I am saddened when I encounter someone claiming to speak
on behalf of a group, some “us” that includes me, but who has clearly
only learned that first lesson, the lesson doomed to failure and shame,
rather than the second one.