Friday, July 14, 2006

German government supports "collective punishment"

In 1942 Nazi Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated in Czechoslovakia. In the next few days, 3,188 Czech citizens were arrested of whom 1,357 were shot. On June 9th armed police surrounded the small village of Lidice, some ten kilometres from Prague and gathered together the entire population in the tiny square. 173 men and boys over 15 were shot, 81 women and children were taken to Chelmno concentration camps and gassed.
Undoubtedly the German authorities would have argued that the caused of this atrocity was the murder of Richard Heydrich. They were merely responding to events.

In 1944, Sturmbannf├╝hrer Otto Weidinger learned that a high ranking German offiecer had been captured by the French resistance, and was likely to be executed. On June 10th, 642 women, men and children were killed as a reprisal in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane.
Undoubtedly the German authorities would have argued that the starting point for this chain of events was the capture of the German soldier. They would have said the attacks did not start on the German side but on the French side.

It was these events, and other Nazi atricities, that led to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: Part III : Status and treatment of protected persons #Section I : Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

In response to two israeli soldiers being captured by Helllbollah. (Two soldiers who were being offered for prisoner exchange ands who were not even in personal danger) the Israeli air force last night bombed civilian suburbs of Beirut, or in the pro-Zionist propaganda of the BBC “Israel hits Hezbollah stronghold”. (One can almost imagine Herr Doktor Goebbels desribing the action in Lidice as “hitting a terrorist stronghold”) The BBC admits that the bombing has ”has left more than 50 Lebanese civilians dead since Wednesday”

You would think that the Nazi war crimes would have left some impression on the German government. But today what is German Chancelor, Angela Merkell’s response to the events in Lebanon and Gaza? This is what she said:
“We cannot confuse cause and effect. The starting point is the capture of the Israeli soldiers. ... it must be made clear that the capture [of the soldiers] cannot be tolerated. The attacks did not start from the Israeli side, but from Hezbollah's side. “


Martin Ohr said...

What is this obsession on the left with linking every act of agression by Israeli army with Nazism.

Does the appalling aggression of the Isaeli state really lessen the impact of the holocaust? Whether deliberate or not that's the effect of what you are saying.

I've had a similar argument with Mathew Caygill -among others- who claims that the swastika=star or david; kick out zionism (with a star of david in the bin); or 'The real holocaust' (slogan above pictures of palestinian refugee camps) poster which were out in force on all the anti-war demonstrations are not anti-semitic.

The anti-jewish left is obsessed with drawing links between Israeli actions and the Nazis. The purpose is either to minimised the history of the holocaust or to overblow the actions of Israel.

We should be able to agree that the holocaust (as a concerted and somewhat sucessful attemtp to remove an ethnic/religous community from the face of the planet) is a historical fact, and that Israelis actions -and they are appalling and should be condemmed, are nothing like the same.

AN said...

Hi martin

I am a bit bemused by this.

The reference to the Nazi atrocities is relevent for two reasons:

i) It was the massacres at Lidice and elsewhere that led to the Geneva convention on collective punishment being accpeted as internatioanl law

ii) The direct relevence here was the seeming acceptance of the principle of collective punishment by the German Kanzlerin. Frau Merkel. My point being that given that nations specific connection with the crime of collective punishement, one might expect her to be more circumspect.

I agree that to compare the oppression of the oppression of the Palestinians today with the Nazi holocaust is ahistorical and offensive.

However, to compare the collective punishment of Czech and Ffrench civilians by the Waffen SS for the activites of the resitance, with exactly the same behaviour by Isreali Defence Force soldiers against Arab civilians today, is appropriate.

perhaps it might make some Zionists and supporters of isreal reflect on what there they are going.

AN said...

And Martin

Given that the issue here is not a genocide, but the collective punichement of civilians for the activities of resistence fughters,

don't you think that by denying a similarity, and indeed calling tose opposed to Zionism "anti-Jewish" you are:
i) minimising the war crimes of israel and by impliation also minimising the war crimes of the waffen SS.
ii) leitimising an identification of Jewsihsness with Zionism, that may strengthen real political anti-semitism. After al if those of us who criricse Isreal are anti-Jewich, what additional category do you have for the real Jew haters?

Martin Ohr said...


I'm not a supporter of Israel, but I am a supporter of the right of Israel to exist as a historic home for Jews (until working class self action irradicates the world of the need for nations at all); in my opinion this makes me a zionist of some description. Obviously currently on the left being a zionist is somehow equivilient to being a racist of some sort.

However if we take (what I presume you mean by) zionism to be the 100% support of the current Israel state machine, then I'm not a zionist, neither are the majority of Israeli jews nor jews worldwide.

To answer your questions broadly:

No it is not proportional to respond by extreme force to the kidnapping of 2 Israeli soldiers. I completely condemn it, it has no justification. (Even) you could find historical parallels which would avoid mentioning the Nazis. (By the way I liked you gem "pro-zionist BBC" did you lift this direct from a Nick Griffin speech?)

Constantly linking acts by the Israeli government with the Nazis has the effect of either legitimizing the holocaust or downplaying it's impact, or denying it. It's a deliberate tactic used by anti-semites, and the left should avoid doing the same.

Your questions i) and ii) in your second post are bizarre and un-answerable.

AN said...


a zionist is - as you say - someone who supports the idea of a state based upon the principle of Jewishness, whether as a race or as a religion. As such it is a racist concept.

I accept that Zionism is also a flawed staregy for combatting anti-semitism, but since the formation of the Iisraeli stae, that stragegy has been part and parcel of an imperial settlement in the Middle East.

Clearly the BBC by the weasel woords that it describes Isreal's action effectively promotes the rationale of Zionsism. For example the Hamas government ministers are "detained" while the Israeli soldier was "kidnapped".

By rationalising the attacks on lebanon, rather than describing tham as an agressive war crime is pro-Zionist propaganda.

I note that although you describe the action of Israel as "not prortional", but you have not actually said whether you are against it.

What actually is the difference between the Waffen SS massacre at Lidice and the bombing of civilan areas of Beirut last night? Both are collective punishment.

And is it not releveent that the international crime of collective punishment that isreal perpetually flouts was as a matter of fact institued as a sepcific repsnce to crimes like Lidice.

And it is you who described me as "anti-Jewish", rather than anti-Zionist.
thereofre my question of whether you consider being anti-Jewish is different from being anti-semitic is a reasonable one.

If you think it is "anti-Jewish" to oppose Israel, then it is you wo are conflating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism.

I am not anti-Jewish but i am anti-Zionist.

As you mention Nik Griffin, he delibertatley conflates anti-zionism with anti-semitism to promote his jew hating.
it seems that by his identity of the two concwpts you lend support to his interpretation.
So my qustion is not bizarre.

latour said...

To me, it seems like the captured soldier was just an excuse to attack Gaza and Lebanon. Israel does not want a functioning Palestinian state, they would rather have Gaza bombed into the stone age. Even after the "withdrawal" from Gaza, Israel still controls what goes in and out. It is sad and pathetic that the world community is ignoring such atrocities in Gaza.

Renegade Eye said...

When the settlers left Gaza, that gave Israel free reign to bomb.

Good analogy about collective punishment. The difference is that to Zionist supporters, Israel has no limits, what tactics it uses. Proportion means nothing to Zionists.

badmatthew said...

Martin Ohr - is that you I was having a discussion (didn't seem like an argument at the time) with all those years ago. What a good memory you have! How good to hear from you, hoppe you are well and happy.

I think I was defending the anti-war movement from the somewhat offensive charge that it was anti-semitic. I still think I was right about that, but you did change my mind about the use of imagery. There is a danger of saying or implying what the Israeli's are doing to the Palestinians is genocidal, but i'd go along with the title of the book that says 'Politicide' and draw analogies with racist settler-colonialist apartheid, or what the invading Europeans did to the native North Americans over a much longer period. I can't believe I would have ever defended the slogan 'real holocaust', but more out of wanting to avoid both exaggeration and the implication that something else might be unreal, than because it was anti-semitic.

AN said...

On the question of whether Lidice is an appropriate comparison for the recent Israeli assulat on Lebanon.

the BBC reports:
"Israel attacked Lebanon after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid a week ago. At least 270 Lebanese - mostly civilians - have been killed since then."

On the question of whether the BBC is offering pro-Zionist propaganda, note that the following article was elevated to a "feature" on their international front page, witha a picture

Whereas the article I quoted first about lebanese casualties was buried away as a link in another article.

AN said...

Blimey i am infleuntail, within minuts of me posting this criticism ther BBC has changed the features story from isralis being in fear, to Lebanese being dead.