Mittwoch, Juni 16, 2010

Israels Wahrnehmung: "Die Welt ist wie Hitler"

Professor Henry Siegman, Direktor des U.S./Middle East Project und von 1978 bis 1994 Direktor des American Jewish Congress, berichtet für die israelische Oppositionszeitung Haáretz:

Following Israel’s bloody interdiction of the Gaza Flotilla, I called a life-long friend in Israel to inquire about the mood of the country. My friend, an intellectual and a kind and generous man, has nevertheless long sided with Israeli hardliners. Still, I was entirely unprepared for his response. He told me – in a voice trembling with emotion – that the world’s outpouring of condemnation of Israel is reminiscent of the dark period of the Hitler era.

He told me most everyone in Israel felt that way, with the exception of Meretz, a small Israeli pro-peace party. “But for all practical purposes,” he said, “they are Arabs.”

Siegman beschäftigt die Frage, ob nicht inzwischen Israels eigenes Verhalten mit dem der Nationalsozialisten im Dritten Reich zu vergleichen ist (ein Vergleich, für den man hierzulande oft des Antisemitismus bezichtigt wird). Siegmans Argumentation:

When I managed to get over the shock of that exchange, it struck me that the invocation of the Hitler era was actually a frighteningly apt and searing analogy, although not the one my friend intended. A million and a half civilians have been forced to live in an open-air prison in inhuman conditions for over three years now, but unlike the Hitler years, they are not Jews but Palestinians. Their jailers, incredibly, are survivors of the Holocaust, or their descendants. Of course, the inmates of Gaza are not destined for gas chambers, as the Jews were, but they have been reduced to a debased and hopeless existence.

Fully 80% of Gaza’s population lives on the edge of malnutrition, depending on international charities for their daily nourishment. According to the UN and World Health authorities, Gaza’s children suffer from dramatically increased morbidity that will affect and shorten the lives of many of them. This obscenity is a consequence of a deliberate and carefully calculated Israeli policy aimed at de-developing Gaza by destroying not only its economy but its physical and social infrastructure while sealing it hermitically from the outside world.

In einem Absatz, der auch an den merkwürdigen "Humor" von Henryk Broder und seinen Kumpels von der "Achse des Guten" erinnert, heißt es:

Particularly appalling is that this policy has been the source of amusement for some Israeli leaders, who according to Israeli press reports have jokingly described it as “putting Palestinians on a diet.” That, too, is reminiscent of the Hitler years, when Jewish suffering amused the Nazis.

Wie können eigentlich intelligente und kultivierte Leute einen derart menschenverachtenden "Humor" entwickeln? Mehr noch, fragt sich Seligman, wie kommt es, dass intelligente und kultivierte Israelis gegenüber den Friedensaktivisten der Gaza-Hilfsflotte ebenso skurille Verschwörungstheorien entwickelt haben wie intelligente und kultivierte Deutsche gegenüber einer "geheimen jüdischen Weltherrschaft":

That intelligent and moral people, whether German or Israeli, can convince themselves of such absurdities (a disease that also afflicts much of the Arab world) is the enigma that goes to the heart of the mystery of how even the most civilized societies can so quickly shed their most cherished values and regress to the most primitive impulses toward the Other, without even being aware they have done so.

(…) Who would have believed that an Israeli government and its Jewish citizens would seek to demonize and shut down Israeli human rights organizations for their lack of “patriotism,” and dismiss fellow Jews who criticized the assault on the Gaza Flotilla as “Arabs,” pregnant with all the hateful connotations that word has acquired in Israel, not unlike Germans who branded fellow citizens who spoke up for Jews as “Juden”? The German White Rose activists, mostly students from the University of Munich, who dared to condemn the German persecution of the Jews (well before the concentration camp exterminations began) were also considered “traitors” by their fellow Germans, who did not mourn the beheading of these activists by the Gestapo. So, yes, there is reason for Israelis, and for Jews generally, to think long and hard about the dark Hitler era at this particular time.

Das Aufmerksam-Machen auf solche Parallelen wird, wie gesagt, hierzulande in der Regel abgelehnt, weil man damit erstens eine Verharmlosung der Nazi-Greuel verbindet und zweitens eine Dämonisierung Israels sowie der Juden im allgemeinen. Das ist es aber nicht, worauf Siegman (und viele andere Beobachter) hinauswollen. Es geht ihm um eine viel zentralere und noch beunruhigendere Frage, die den Kern des Menschseins betrifft:

If a people who so recently experienced on its own flesh such unspeakable inhumanities cannot muster the moral imagination to understand the injustice and suffering its territorial ambitions – and even its legitimate security concerns – are inflicting on another people, what hope is there for the rest of us?