“Israel defends its children with rockets. Hamas defends its rockets with children.” – Benjamin Netanyahu
After writing about the recent crisis between Israel and Hamas my post has been receiving comments by persons with revisionist views on the Holocaust. Rather than answer each one I thought I would write a separate post to make my own views clear.
Like most people, I share the terrible sorrow over the scenes of dying children in Gaza. And yet I cannot sanction the continuous , indiscriminate firing of rockets into populated areas of Israel either. The idea that the death rate is disproportionate is not much of a moral argument to me. An enemy in battle has no obligation to equalize the death rate for his opponents. If a Hamas rocket landed in a crowded street of Tel Aviv would they decrease their rate of fire?
Yes, I hate the sight of dying children. It is heartbreaking. So I wonder why has the Hamas – influenced government refused to accept an unconditional cease-fire which would stop that killing? And why are they openly saying that their latest attack is in retaliation for the Egyptian blockade of their border? Why are they not sending rockets into Egypt? And if Egypt, an Islamic nation, who has been persecuting Coptic Christians, is threatened by the Palestinian-Hamas government in Gaza and sees them as terrorists, why are we giving that government U.S. foreign aid?
The idea of some persons commenting on my blogs appears to be that the deaths of children in Gaza is evidence that the Jews are basically bad people. That even the Holocaust has been invented and/ or distorted for propaganda purposes.
My belief is that the deaths of these children in Gaza are very real consequences to a terrible war gone bad. But that the deaths during the Holocaust were also very real and the memory of those who suffered at the hands of a corrupt and evil government program is sacred. The Jews, as a people, cannot be seen outside of this context.
I do not come to my views of the Holocaust casually. As a youth I read the standard World War II books, mostly written by English and American writers, but this led to books by generals and participants on both sides of the conflict. By the time Albert Speer’s books were published I had read deeply on the subject including transcripts of Hitler’s table talk, the Goebbels’ diaries and all the personal accounts of secretaries, valets, around the principal figures. And of course I read hundreds of the biographies and autobiographies of that era.
The Nuremberg Trial was fascinating. I read all of the English versions of books by concentration camp survivors. And, even now, as new ones are translated and appear, I find them and read them as well. Very early I devoured all of the carefully researched David Irving books and later the Holocaust revisionist spin offs that followed. I read excerpts from the Irving trial and the tedious studies of Robert Jan van Pelt.
In my travels I visited battlefields including Kursk, St. Petersburg, Volgograd (Stalingrad). I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sachsenhausen, Dachau, Buchenwald and some smaller concentration camps in Belgium and France. In some cases I made return visits, stepping off the cement foundations of the gas chambers to calculate if it were mathematically possible for so many to be shuffled in and out.
In Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine I stopped by the road and visited markers depicting the historical sites of various atrocities. With the collapse of the Soviet Union came the release of a whole new round of information giving insights and corrections to events.
Yes, there are mistakes in print everywhere. Just as there are in any other history, including presidential history, which I research as a career. But the Holocaust indeed happened and has been carefully chronicled in spite of Nazi efforts to keep it hidden. Martin Gilbert’s book, Holocaust, may be the most complete accounting and it can be mind numbing. Gilbert tracks it all, country by country, city by city, block by block and family by family. The predictable stories repeat over and over with the denial, right up to the end, until the door is shut behind.
I stubbornly read the stories of survivors because I know that the perpetrators wanted these people to die alone, unknown to the world. And the victims felt abandoned, so I want to be there with them, along with thousands of other readers, whispering between the pages, “I am here too, with you, we all now know what happened, you are not alone, you are not forgotten and I weep with you over the inhumanity of your captors.”
It would be a mistake for us to turn away from the faces of the dying children in Gaza. But it is also a shame for us to pretend that the Holocaust didn’t happen.